Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Matthew Mead

Matthew is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor, and noted style expert. Matthew is the official food photographer for the Associated Press and is a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, and Oprah.com. He has also written several books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

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  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • Every dad will agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But surprising dad with breakfast or brunch can be a feat in itself. This year take him to a late showing of his favorite kind of movie and set your alarm to get up and help the kids prepare an unforgettable breakfast.

    Dad's like to be appreciated and creating a memorable meal is one way to celebrate. Pull out all the stops and make a delicious breakfast that might be a little out of the ordinary and refreshing. If you have young children and they want to help set the scene then start with a nice place setting. Use scrap book paper in shades of blue to make a paper doll garland in dad's likeness to grace a mantle or doorway. Use the same paper and your home computer to make a special place setting using paper circles topped with a clear glass plate.
  • Photo Credit:​ Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • Dad might enjoy a handcrafted crown that he can wear at the dining table or a gift that can be wrapped to look like a dress shirt and tie. You can fill the box with whatever you want because it is the tiny details that make it all feel special.
  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • In the kitchen it's easy to make a simple but special meal really shine and don't be afraid to rely on local bakeries, gourmet stores and farm stands with local products to do it. It makes it easy and allows time for setting the table and crafting gifts.

    Start with pop overs. You can buy them or make them from a simple mix. The results are always grand and impressive.   Serve with a favorite local jam from dad's favorite farm stand.
  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • Try your hand at a crustless quiche.  Mix eggs, milk, chopped cooked bacon and cheese and bake in an oven.  Make individual ones in small casserole dishes or in muffin pans.  Serve with a fresh local breakfast sausage or make your own patties with a mix of ground pork and savory spices like dried thyme and rosemary.
  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • Try a refreshing banana salad made with kiwi, banana, red pepper for vitamin c and chopped salted cashews for crunch. Make up a plate for dad and serve it. All with fresh squeezed orange juice and tea or coffee.
  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead
  • What celebration doesn't come with dessert?  Just cause its breakfast don't skip the chocolate. Fill store bought crepes with chocolate mousse and drizzle with chocolate sauce.
  • Photo Credit: ​Matthew Mead, Holidays with Matthew Mead

    Kiwi Banana Salad

    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1 tablespoon minced shallot
    2 teaspoons rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon honey
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
    4 kiwis, peeled and diced
    2 firm ripe bananas, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
    2 tablespoons chopped cashews, toasted (see Tip)

    Whisk lime juice, oil, shallot, vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add kiwis, bananas, bell pepper and mint; toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with cashews.

    Homemade Sausage Patties

    1. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2. 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    3. 1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
    4. 2 tablespoons milk
    5. 2 lb ground pork (not lean)
    6. 2 teaspoons salt
    7. 1 teaspoon white pepper
    8. 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    9. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    10. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    11. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    12. 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    13. 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
    14. 2 large egg yolks

    Cook onion in 2 tablespoons oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. While onions are cooling, stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand until crumbs absorb milk. Add onions and remaining ingredients to crumb mixture and stir with a fork until blended well.

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

    Form sausage mixture into 3-inch patties (about 1/2 inch thick) with dampened hands and arrange on a wax-paper-lined tray. Heat remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook patties in 3 batches, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Drain patties briefly on paper towels as cooked, then transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm, covered with foil, in oven while cooking remaining batches.

    Crustless Bacon Quiche

    1. 1 1/2 tablespoons fine dry plain bread crumbs
    2. 1 cup frozen chopped onions
    3. 1 cup crisp cooked bacon, drained (1/2 pound before cooking)
    4. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    5. 1 (8-ounce) package shredded Swiss cheese (2 cups)
    6. 4 large eggs
    7. 1 cup heavy cream
    8. 1 cup whole milk

    Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter quiche dish, then sprinkle all over with bread crumbs. Cook onions in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 5 minutes. Spread in dish, then evenly sprinkle cheese on top. Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and pour over cheese. Bake until top is golden and custard is set in center, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into wedges.
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