“Bacon-Tomato-Polenta Breakfast Stack”

   “Breakfast Stack” Sunday morning, 6 am….hungry….a fresh & varied selection of homegrown heirloom tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter…some thick sliced bacon in the fridge..a BLT? No bread. Hmmmmm.

I do find, along with the bacon, some fresh mozzarella, some leeks & fresh dill…still…no bread. Polenta? Yes, I have polenta and can make some quick polenta skillet cakes…eggs? Yes, I have eggs from the West Nashville Farmer’s Market.

To Make the Polenta Skillet Cakes you will need:

1 cup polenta, 1.5 cups water, shredded Gruyère cheese (or whatever cheese you have), a hunk of cream cheese would be nice, 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, some fresh dill, butter, salt & pepper to taste.

1. Add the water to a pan & bring to a boil. While whisking, pour in the polenta. Turn heat to medium & continue to whisk & cook until polenta mixture begins to thicken which will take a few minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients whisking to blend. Remove from heat.

3. Let polenta mixture sit for about 15 minutes to cool somewhat while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

4. To make skillet cakes heat a non-stick or well-seasoned iron skillet over medium-hi heat. Add a dollop of butter. (We are not counting calories on a Sunday morning!)

5. Spoon large dollops of the polenta mixture into hot skillet cooking until a bit crusty and brown on both sides. Note: these skillet cakes will be soft, messy but that is okay. Just work the hot polenta dollops into “cakes” using your spatula. When crispy on the outside remove to a sheet pan and place in warm oven until all skillet cakes are done.

“Crispy Polenta Skillet Cakes”

6. Cook some bacon until crispy. (Our dog, Ella, was at this point doing a kitchen dance hoping to get a scrap!)

7. Choose some ready-to-eat homegrown tomatoes to slice.

“Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Wild Cherry, Mortgage Lifter & Yellow Pear Tomatoes”

8. To Serve: Place one of the Polenta Skillet Cakes on each plate. Top with a thin slice of Mozzarella. Add a slice of tomato & then one slice of crispy bacon cut into two pieces. Repeat layers ending with some tomato slices, a dusting of sea salt & cracked black pepper. Eat with a knife & fork. It’s okay to let the stack slide over to eat!

Alternative: Fry up an egg. Slice an avocado. Add  these to the top of stack along with a few tomatoes.

                                                                   “Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes… what’d life be without homegrown tomatoes….                                                                                                                                                                     Only two things that money can’t buy…That’s love & homegrown tomatoes”                                                                                                  Lyrics by Guy Clark, Song: Homegrown Tomatoes

“Pannekoeken, Please”


Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you…high above the skillet, looking very “halo-like” over one of my Charlie Cook tough-guy paintings, suspended for a split second mid-air, is one of Wouter’s Sunday morning Dutch Pancakes. It landed back in the skillet effortlessly and for a moment upon entering the room I  wondered if I had stumbled in on some performance art piece, or breakfast?

Pannekoeken or Dutch Pancakes are one of our favorite breakfasts. Unlike our American pancakes these are a bit like a cross between a pancake and a crepe, can be rolled or eaten flat with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup and can have apples or other fruit added as well as bacon. In The Netherlands we always have at least one breakfast, or dinner of Pannekoeken. It is one of the culinary joys of visiting.

I don’t ask for them often as I understand what makes “something special”,  special. But with food friends Nancy Davidson & Diane Stopford  as guests I asked Wouter to make this very special breakfast for us…..Pannekoeken, please.

“Wouter’s Pannekoeken (Dutch Pancakes) For Sunday Morning Guests”


1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour; 2 large eggs & 1/2 cup milk. 1/2 stick butter for the skillet.  Powdered sugar & real maple syrup. Tart seasonal apples such as Braeburns; Pink Ladies; Jona Golds, Granny Smiths, cored, peeled and thinly sliced.

How to make Dutch Pancakes in photos & words:

1. Mix together in a bowl the flour, eggs & milk using a whisk. Let batter stand about 10 minutes.

2. Using a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat Wouter has melted some butter. When skillet is hot and butter is sizzling he ladles a thin layer of batter, turning pan from side to side to coat bottom of pan with batter. Return pan to heat.

3. When the batter starts to pull away from sides of pan and starts to set around the edges, tilt the pan around so batter can run underneath cooked edges. Do this during the cooking time so batter will cook evenly. It is now time to flip the pancake. You can do this the more conventional way using a spatula or if feeling a bit of theatrics coming on, just flip mid-air like Wouter does!

4. Flip. These are pancakes best served as they are cooked so Diane, Nancy & I waited patiently with our lattes for our first Pannekoeken hot off the grill.

Guests get served first!

First we add powdered sugar…..

…some warm Wisconsin maple syrup….

…rolled & ready to eat.

For Pannekoeken round #2 Wouter poured the same batter over apple slices.

1. Wouter arranges apple slices over bottom of skillet with hot melted butter.

2. Ladles a thin layer of batter over apples & returns skillet to heat.

3.  Cook until edges of pancake are set and middle is bubbly, tilting and turning pan to let uncooked batter seep underneath edges to bottom of pan to cook.

4. Flip. Cook on other side and serve hot!

Diane adding powdered sugar….

…and warm syrup.

The apples are fork tender, the pancake hot with warm syrup & a dusting of powdered sugar. Pannekoeken Perfect!


We like White Lily flour for Pannekoeken.

Finally, the cook gets to eat!

Eet Smakelijk! (or as we say Bon Apetit)