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Joni Woolf: Labor Day provides time for lazy breakfast or brunch

Many who labor in the world of work will be given a brief respite Monday, as the nation celebrates Labor Day, a holiday created by the labor movement over a century ago, honoring American workers. It would be good for all of us to educate ourselves a bit on how the holiday came to be, and what price has sometimes been paid by American workers as they strive for a living wage. Read a little history: then you’ve earned the right to celebrate the day.

Monday will be a slower day for many, and a late breakfast or brunch is in order. After the morning coffee, consider one of the following easy-to-prepare recipes for an enjoyable repast with family and/or friends. Then sit back and give thanks for workers who came before you, and who fought for fairness in the workplace.

My friend Louise Dodd (our food writer at Macon Magazine and a contributing food writer to the Dublin Courier Herald for many years), in 2004, published a classic cookbook entitled “Eating from the White House to the Jail House.” It has been my “go-to” cookbook ever since; it was where I first discovered the Cream Cheese Pound Cake that has become a staple in my family’s cake-baking. There are many dog-eared pages in the book, and I treasure it, not only for its good recipes, but the great memories of a wonderful woman and friend. Her Chicken-Dijon Quiche is the kind of recipe that one could make on a day like Labor Day. Take your time, assemble the ingredients, and treat your favorite folks to a mid-day masterpiece.


Chicken-Dijon Quiche

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz. package)

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms

¼ cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

¾ cup cubed chicken [raw]

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

¼ cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare pie crust as directed on package for 1-crust baked shell, using a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom or a 9-inch pie pan. Place prepared crust in pan, press in bottom and up sides of pan. Trim edges if necessary. Do not prick crust. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 9 to 13 minutes until crust appears dry and is light golden brown. Meanwhile, in medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir until tender. Stir in chicken, Italian seasoning, and wine; cook over medium heat until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Spread mixture over bottom of partially baked shell. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons each of the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses. In medium bowl, combine cream, mustard, and eggs; beat well. Pour over cheese; sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 23 to 28 minutes, until quiche is golden brown and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


The next recipe comes from across the country, where Hans Rockenwagner has established himself as a world-class chef — as this recipe so beautifully demonstrates. Just reading it makes one’s mouth water. Fix this one when you have time to enjoy both the making and the eating.


German Apple Pancakes with Crème Fraiche

Pancake Batter:

7 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, vanilla, and sugar and blend for about 15 seconds, or until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and mix 60 seconds more, until very smooth.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, if desired), cored and cut into ½-inch wedges

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup crème fraiche

1 cup strawberries, for garnish

Preheat the broiler to medium-high heat. Heat a 12-inch, non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Add the apples and saute’ for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the cinnamon and sugar, sprinkling them evenly over the apples, and stir for two minutes, until the apples are glazed and slightly translucent at the edges.


Distribute the apples evenly in the skillet and pour the batter over them. Cook until the bottom seems quite firm, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pan to the broiler, and while watching carefully, cook until the pancake is firm throughout and golden on top. Cut the pancake into 4 wedges and transfer them, apple side up, to serving plates. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, place a dollop of the crème fraiche on top, and garnish with the strawberries.


Now — you’ve worked hard: enjoy your feast, and rest. It’s Labor Day. Time to pause.


Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at




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