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Recipes

Valentine’s Day Breakfast In Bed, With a Jewish Twist

I’ll admit it: I have never been served breakfast in bed. My husband has cooked breakfast for me while I’m still in bed (pretending to still be asleep so I don’t spoil his surprise — honestly, who can stay sleeping with the smell of coffee and pancakes wafting into the room?). But as someone prone to clumsiness and spills, I have always preferred to eat my breakfast with my tush squarely on a chair and two feet planted on the floor. Perhaps for that reason, until recently, I had never made breakfast in bed for someone else either.

And yet, with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I figured there is no better time to throw caution (and crumbs) to the wind. Besides, serving breakfast in bed to my sweetie gives me the chance to arrange all of my favorite classic Jewish morning flavors on a single tray. It seems only appropriate to focus the meal on Jewish food. Jews, after all, share their love through food all year long. Here’s the lineup I have planned for Valentine’s Day morning:

Lox and Labneh on a Bialy
Is there really a question about what classic food combo should sit at the center of a Jewishly inspired breakfast in bed spread? To give the classic bagels and lox duo an update, I subbed in a tender, and topped it with a slick of tangy labneh and a sprinkle of za’atar. Over that I layered on a couple of heart-shaped pieces of lox. Now, on any given weekday morning (or weekend for that matter), you would never find me cutting food into cute shapes. It is hard enough to squeeze in a shower and some emails while our toddler naps. But this is Valentine’s Day, so the details count.

Hard-Boiled Egg With Everything Bagel Spice
Soft-boiled eggs tend to dominate the breakfast-in-bed genre. But I found that their dribbly yolks skew a bit too messy — best to save them for the table. Instead, I included a hard-boiled egg with a little pile of homemade everything bagel spice mix for dipping. To make the spice mix, add a couple of teaspoons each of poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic and coarse salt to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.

Sugared Blackberries Lemon With Mint
Fresh berries are de rigueur on Valentine’s Day. I find that sprinkling them with a little sugar brings out their flavor in a dramatic way. You don’t need much — about half a teaspoon per cup of berries. A twist of lemon zest and chopped fresh mint also helps to brighten the bowl. If you feel wary about serving out-of-season fruit to your honey, swap in some clementine wedges or a couple of dried figs or dates.

Raspberry & Chocolate Rugelach
On her wonderful blog My Name is Yeh, my friend (and Forward contributor) Molly Yeh offers an anatomy of the perfect breakfast in bed. Her most genius tip is to include a tiny treat. “A cookie, a bite of nougat, a shot of cake batter — the best days start with something a little sweet,” she writes. She is spot on. For Valentine’s Day, I went with a miniature raspberry and chocolate rugalah — just enough to end breakfast, and begin Valentine’s Day, on the right note.

Leah Koenig is the author of “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen.” She is a contributing editor at the Forward.

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