Lee's Kitchen: Easy breakfast ideas for family get-togethers

By the time you read this, I will have watched my granddaughter, Laurel White, graduate from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Altogether, I have six grandchildren from my husband’s three children, and Laurel is the fourth to finish college.

After a while, graduations seem to be just another thing that happens every May or June. But they are always exciting and I never stop adding them to memories of Thanksgivings, Christmases and summers on the shore. Often these memories included a whole lot of family lunches, dinners and breakfasts.

If you will be spending lots of time in the kitchen during this spring’s festivities, I got through breakfasts with these two dishes, one of which you can make the night before while the other can be doubled and put together in minutes, using just about any vegetables.

Creme Brulee French Toast

adapted by Liz Paradise of Portsmouth, R.I.

This is a wonderful recipe because it can be assembled the night before and popped into the oven in the morning.


1 cup pecans

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup

French bread, crusts removed and sliced into 3/4” thick slabs

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)


Spread pecans in bottom of 13- by 9-inch pan. Melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup and pour evenly over pecans.

Fit slabs of bread tightly over butter-sugar mixture.

Beat eggs, half and half, vanilla, salt and liqueur and pour over bread slices. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tomato Frittata

Makes 6 servings


3 tablespoon olive oil

6 large eggs

3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan

1 garlic clove, minced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes (5 to 6 medium), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4” slices


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick* skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese and garlic and season with salt and pepper. While oil is simmering, pour egg mixture into pan and cook until eggs begin to turn golden brown around the edges. Arrange tomato slices on top of egg mixture. (Some slices may sink.)

Transfer skillet to oven and bake frittata until eggs are just set in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, loosen frittata from pan and slide into a warm plate. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.


*While many recipes call for nonstick pans, I have only one non-stick pan that I use only to make crepes. I have found that food I cook in my All-Clad, stainless steel pans do not stick as long as the oil or butter is hot enough (and even if food might stick a tiny bit, it is so easily to clean that it might as well be non-stick).


On the Side: Fatboy's Kitchen and Bar

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by Cathleen Clifford at the Groton Public Library. Before it began, we talked about where we had eaten lately. She raved about the avocado toast at Fatboy's in New London.

I went there for lunch a few days later and asked for the avocado toast. Sadly, it is only available on weekends. But it was lunch time, so I ordered a McLovin' Burger, medium rare toward rare. It may be the best burger yet: truly rare, served on a toasted bun, topped with cheese and shriveled onions. Next to the burger bottom was the burger top, inside of which was a stenciled heart-shaped aioli-like mayonnaise mixed with cherry juice and barbecue sauce. Although I didn't eat the whole bun, I did dip the burger into that luscious condiment. Wow!

Fatboy's Kitchen and Bar, 104 Bank St., New London
(860) 574-9154


Lee White lives in Groton. She can be reached at leeawhite@aol.com.


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