Top Hats

I am very late to the Pioneer Woman bandwagon. Not sure why. I love her recipes and style of cooking. Might have to do with my general aversion to blogs for such a long time. I still find it amazing when I look at my stats each day that people actually stop by here and read my blog!

Anywho … I was gently lulled into my affection for the Pioneer Woman.  Watching her one morning on the Food Network she made Egg in a Hole. This recipe opened the flood gates of memories for me. My Aunt used to make this for me when I was little. She called them Top Hats. It has always been one of my absolute favorite breakfasts. So comforting.

Thank you Ree for reminding me of this childhood favorite.  This was included in The Pioneer Woman Cooks – don’t have it? Get it! There are some great recipes in here!

Breakfast doesn’t get easier than this. Whether you call this Egg in a Hole or Top Hats or Bird’s Nests, make them! They will quickly become a favorite of your family!

  • 1 slice of your favorite kind of bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of tabasco (optional)

With a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, cut a hole in the center of the slice of bread. This disk forms the “hat” part.


Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt in the butter. When the butter is melted, place the piece of bread and the hat in the skillet. As the bread and hat begin to turn golden brown, crack the egg into the center of the hole. Salt, pepper, a dash of tabasco, if using.


Cook until the egg sets a bit on the bottom, about a minute.  After the minute, flip it over with a spatula and salt and pepper the other side.

Move the whole piece of toast and the hat around the skillet, soaking up all of the butter. Let cook until the yolk still feels soft.

YUM! And don’t let anyone steal your hat! That’s the best part!

Blythe Danner’s Blueberry Muffins


I love blueberries. I like them in everything and on anything. It makes me sad that blueberry season is so relatively short.

BLueberries freeze beautifully, so there are always bags of frozen blueberries in the freezer so I can have a little bit of blueberry sunshine all year ’round.

While thumbing through My Father’s Daughter – a surprisingly terrific cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow – I came across this recipe for Blyth Danner’s Blueberry Muffins. This had to be the first recipe I tried from this book!

I changed a few things in the recipe to make it my own.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • 2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 C fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried


NOTE: I added lemon zest in. I love the brightness it brings to everything and blueberries and lemons are natural partners in goodness!

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray well with cooking spray.

NOTE: I opted for the cooking spray. I hate the added hassle of trying to get the liners off!

In a large bowl whisk the cooled butter, eggs and milk until everything is incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir everything together until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Fold in the blueberries.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full, dividing the batter evenly amongst all 12 cups. Sprinkle the muffin tops with the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bake them for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

NOTE: I used demerara sugar to sprinkle the top. I love the extra little crunch and sparkle it gives!

These were SO good and so quick to come together. They were light and fluffy and chock full of blueberries. The batter was thick enough that the blueberries did not sink to the bottom. This may need to become my go to blueberry muffin recipe!

“BLE” Breakfast Sandwich

I am not a breakfast person.

Don’t get me wrong …

I love bacon and eggs, and waffles, and pancakes. Oh, and hash and eggs! Wait, Eggs Benedict!

I just can’t eat them first thing in the morning. I love breakfast for dinner or breakfast for lunch.

And when it’s really hot out, I am happy to not have to cook much at all. Breakfast is the perfect solution.

The BLE Sandwich satisfies that. A poached egg, crispy pancetta, arugula, aioli, on a ciabatta. Yummy. Filling. All your food groups covered. Quick. Very little slaving over a hot stove.

I must admit before we go much further, this was my very first attempt at poached eggs. Why, yes, I had been living under a rock. Thank you.

So here we go ~

For the Sandwich:

  • 4 small ciabatta rolls or one loaf cut into 4
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices of pancetta
  • 2 C arugula
  • aioli (recipe below)

For the Aioli:

  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2/3 C olive oil
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

NOTE: I used Eggland’s Eggs – especially for the aioli. The ciabatta rolls shouldn’t be much larger than the poached egg. I hate when all you have left is bread and no stuff inside. Though with this, a little bit left to mop up the egg yolk that may have escaped wouldn’t be a bad thing!

Split and lightly toast the ciabatta.

Preheat oven to 400.

Please pancetta slices on foil or a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pancetta.

NOTE: You can also crisp the pancetta in a saute pan the same way you cook bacon.

Add 3″ of water to a shallow pot. Bring water to a boil and then reduce the heat so the water is just simmering. Crack an egg into a small, shallow bowl or cup. Gently slide the egg into the water. It will look like this is going to be a disaster, but the egg starts to tighten up.

Now, the timing – 2 minutes for runny yolks, 3 minutes for soft yolks, 4 minutes for firm yolks.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water and place on paper towels. Pat the top of the egg to dry the egg off.

For the Aioli:

Add the garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse for 2 seconds. Add the yolk and lemon juice, and pulse on and off until blended. Turn on and begin slowly streaming the olive oil, and the extra virgin olive oil.

NOTE: If the aioli gets too thick, you can thin it out with room-temperature water and then continue adding oil until you’ve used it all. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now to assemble ~ place the bottom of the ciabatta roll on a plate, add some arugula, a slice of crispy pancetta, a poached egg, a dollop of aioli and the top half of the ciabatta.



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