Breakfast in bed is leisurely, delightful, chummy, delicious and downright fun. It is a heaven-sent treat for those whose first thought on wakening is FOOD, but who don't want to leave their bed to do anything about it.
Breakfast in bed is not a joy everyone can savor. compulsive cleanaholics who rise at the crack of dawn to dust every weekend morning won't appreciate it. Nor will stodgy cornflakes-and-milk fans who fidget spill their food on the sheets.
Fortunately, the rest of us can appreciate this decadent joy. It's an easy one to come by, and not just when we're sick and being waited on or when a friendly cabin steward brings tea and muffins as a wake-up service.
The secret to successful and frequent breakfasting in bed is organization the night before.
Granted, someone does have to pry loose from the comforter to go start the coffee and fetch whatever goodies are to eaten. But a little planning ahead can make these tasks as effortless as opening the front door to pick up the morning paper.
The No. 1 consideration is, of course, what to eat.
Bacon and eggs, omelettes and most other typical breakfast fare call for a lot of last-minute preparation, too much activity to be done looking past heavy eyelids.
Besides, a plateful of wet, slippery food is not easily balanced on a tray. Non-dripping finger (or spearing) food is your best bet. For the sake of comfort, stay away from crumbly things like crackers, too.
You may not want to sit up stiffly while enjoying such a lazy meal, so plan for items which will be easily consumed while you are resting on your elbow doing a crossword puzzle.
One very tidy breakfast can be made entirely the night before. Place some chunks of mild, creamy cheese-cream haverti or Monterey Jack would be good-with slices of prosciutto or Westphalian ham on a platter. Add some fresh grapes and other fresh fruits and refrigerate. In the morning, reach into the ice box is all the work needed.
Or, make a batch of bite-sized buttermilk doughnuts, freeze them and while the coffee's brewing, reheat as many as you'll want to eat.
Mushroom-stuffed eggs, smoked salmon, small sandwiches, dried fruits croissants, breads, rolls and brioche are also well-suitet to breakfast in bed.
Champagne, Bloody Marys and screw-drivers are fine accompaniments for a leisurely breakfast or brunch, but if alcohol first thing in the morning isn't appealing, try an imaginative fruit drink instead. Arum-less fruit daiquiri would fill the bill; do all the preparation work, including setting up the blender, the night before.
Honeyed fruit yogurt is a rich-tasting morning treat which can ve eaten with a spoon from large wine goblets filled the night before.
Hardcore breakfast-in-bed addicts will move two kitchen appliances to their bed-side-a toaster oven and a hot plate or coffee percolator.
A toaster oven within arm's reach eliminates standing around in the kitchen while your bacon, egg and cheese timbale or open crabmeat sandwich is heating up.
Measure out the coffee or tea the night before, so all the work your hot beverage will require in the morning is running some fresh cold water. After that's done, move the whole operation into the bedroom. Having the coffee or tea right there means no running back and forth to the kitchen for warmups.
Bring in a pitcher ofextra cold water if you expect to brew a second potful.
The following recipes are enthusiastically recommended for enjoyment in bed, but will also be at home on the breakfast, lunch or brunch table. BUTTERMILK DOUGHNUTS (25 to 30 bite-sized doughnuts) 1 egg 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Pinch nutmeg Pinch cinnamon Pinch salt Flour Oil for deep frying
Beat eggs. Add sugar and continue beating until thick. Add buttermilk and melted butter. Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Add more flour if necessary to make a dough firm enough to roll out.
Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into 1/2 inch squares. Meat the oil to about 375 degrees. Fry the doughnut squares, turning so that they cook evently on all sides. Remove when golden brown. Place on paper towels to cool.
To freeze: As soon as the doughnuts have reached room temperature, wrap in foil or an airtight container. Freeze as quickly as possible.
To reheat: Place doughnuts uncovered in a preheated 375 degree toaster oven for 15 minutes. MUSHROOM STUFFED EGGS (8 stuffed egg halves) 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice 4hard cooked eggs 1/4 teaspoon salt Dash pepper Dash Worcestershire sauce 8 capers
Melt half of the butter and saute the mushrooms with the lemon juice until very little moisture remains. Add the remaining butter. Cool.
Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with the mushroom mixture, salt, pepper and a very small dash of Worcestershire sauce. Stuff into the whites, either with a pastry bag or a spoon. Garnish with a caper on each egg half. Chill until ready to eat. RUM-LESS FRESH FRUIT DIAQUIRI (1 drink) Juice of 1 lime 1 ripe peach or nectarine or 1 cup berries 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar (depending on sweetness of the fruit) Ice
Place all in ingredients in a blender. Blend to a smooth consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Serve immediately. HONEYED FRUIT YOGURT (About 3 1/2 cups) 1 orange 16ounces plain yogurt 2 tablespoons honey 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained if canned
Peel and section the orange. Cut each section into 4 bite-sized pieces. Mix together all ingredients. Chill overnight before serving. OPEN CRABMEAT SANDWICHES (4 open sandwiches) 6 ounces cooked crabmeat 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard Dash cayenne pepper Dash dry sherry 2 English muffins, split and toasted 4 thin slices mozzarella cheese
Mix together crabmeat, mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne and sherry.(Mixture may be held overnight in refrigerator before being used.)
Spoon onto English muffins, dividing equally among the four halves. Place a slice of cheese on top of each muffin. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. BACON, EGG AND CHEESE TIMBALES (4 timbales) 3 strips crisp bacon 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese 2 large eggs 1 cup half and half 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg Very small pinch cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Crumble the bacon. Toss with cheese. Sprinkle mixture in the bottom of 4 ovenproof custard cups or timbales. Beat together the eggs, half and half and seasonings. Pour into the custard cups, diving equally among them.
Place in a 325 degree preheated oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Note: May be cooled and kept under refrigeration for up to 3 days.
To reheat: Remove from refrigerator. Place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You may want to stagger the reheating so that 'seconds' are in the oven while the first servings are being enjoyed.