Tag Archives: breakfast

Big, bad, beautiful brunch

My MIL just moved to Austin and we decided to host a brunch to welcome her to the land of the weird. I was traveling aaaalllll week, so I wanted something super easy. Well, easy and delicious…I have a rep to maintain, yo. I decided early on that a bagel bar was the ticket. Easy, filling and yummy. That would allow me to only make a few small items to fill in the holes. Here’s where we landed:

  • Plain and pumpernickel bagels with chive cream cheese, lox, red onions, tomatoes and capers
  • Sesame bagels with candied ginger cream cheese and shaved Granny Smith apples
  • Cinnamon raisin and cranberry bagels with plain cream cheese
  • Curry dip with veggies
  • Delicious yellow honey dew melon
  • The creamiest, dreamiest cheese grits with andouille and shrimp, served with a green tabasco cream sauce
  • Individual pavlovas (courtesy of my increasingly skilled sister-in-law) with mixed berries and almond Greek yogurt
  • Mimosas
  • The BEST Bloody Marys ever. (period)
  • Topo Chico sparkling water

I think it was a big success. The flavored cream cheeses are badass. Just let some cream cheese soften, chop up some herbs or whatever, fold in and serve in a cute container. The candied ginger cream cheese was TO DIE FOR.

Breakfast of champions

I know it’s not rocket science, but we had the loveliest breakfast with my father-in-law on Saturday. Little banana and pecan muffins (from the freezer!), greek yogurt, and the prettiest plate of fruit with a squeeze of lime. I need to get the banana nut recipe from my moms, because they were fantastic straight out of the freezer. I want them in my life on a far more regular basis. Sigh.

Romesco sauce

I have been a bad, bad blogger. Life’s just been a bit nutso with work and family and blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I am back on this horse….starting with Romesco sauce. Yum. My mom and I first tried this as an accompaniment for empanadas and it was de-licious. Now, I am not about to make empanadas on any given Monday, so I needed some other dishes for this crazy yummy (one might say sick delicious) goodness. That turned out not to be an issue at all. Here’s what it is excellent with:

For breakfast, with a fried egg

As an appetizer with grilled sausage

As a side, with roasted potatoes

On a sandwich, with roast pork, arugula and whatever else your little Dagwood heart desires

Finally, I would like to note that, while the ingredient list is somewhat long, there is ONE step for actually making the sauce. That’s as easy as it gets, people. So, let’s get started:

Makes about 4 cups

1 Cup Marcona almonds, toasted

7 cloves garlic

3/4 Cup EVOO

2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (2 parts red wine to 1 part balsamic does in a pinch)

1 small hot chili (serrano, thai, etc.) or 1/4 t cayenne

2 Cups roasted red bell peppers (it’s better if you roast them fresh, but I use canned about 75% of the time)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a food processor, puree everything except the peppers until smooth. Add the peppers and puree until smooth, but textured. Sauce keeps for about a week in the fridge

Pavlova!

I think I can safely say that I make no other dessert that consistently knocks people out of their chairs like pavlova. While it certainly looks lovely, there is something innocuous about it sitting on the plate…just this white puff with some yogurt and berries. Nothing special, right? W-R-O-N-G. It’s crunchy on the outside and melt in your mouth fluffy on the inside, a heavenly pillow of dessert. AND you can make it in advance. AND it is secretly the best breakfast ever.  Just trust me on this one, ok? 

Makes 1 medium “cake” or 6 individual “cakes”

4 large egg whites

1 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw multiple 3-4 inch circles on the paper. I usually end up with 6-7, but draw 8 just in case. They don’t spread in the oven, so you can fit quite a few on one sheet. If it does take two pans, make sure your pans both fit in the oven before you start cooking. No harm in over lapping them a bit.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, OR using a hand-held mixer with both beaters and a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold very soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. It’s hard to over-beat meringue, so if you’re not sure, give it another minute.
  3. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and fold in with a rubber spatula,.
  4. Gently scoop and spread the meringue inside the circles drawn on the parchment paper. They should be nice, high mounds, 2-2.5 inches high. With a spoon, swirl the middle slightly to create a small well in the center. This will hold your yogurt or whipped cream.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven (about 1 hour). The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you may get a little cracking.
  6. Serve with whipped cream (sweetened and with vanilla) or Greek yogurt (sweetened and with almond) and top with diced berries and fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, kiwis, blackberries, etc.)

Roasted pears with vanilla

I made this for dessert a bit back and it was good…not chocolate, but good. It was, however, an insanely delicious breakfast. Plus, it’s easy to do in advance and serve for a group. Just serve it with some doctored up greek yogurt (honey & walnuts, splenda and almond extract, etc. ) or with oatmeal. Serious crowd pleaser. This adapted from an adaptation that also suggested it as an accompaniment to a cheese platter. I rarely make cheese platters (too dang pricey compared to other apps), but that does sound super good, especially for you perverts that like blue cheese.

Finally, I would just like to note that pears + butter + sugar * roasting = pear caramel sauce. The pears may be the movie stars of this dish, but the sauce is the starlet in the background, silently plotting a revolution.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 pounds firm medium pears, peeled, halved though the stem and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.
  2. Carefully toss the pears with the lemon juice, then sugar mixture. Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit (I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters). Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
  3. Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Flip the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes longer. My pears were big and took about 50 min total, but if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking- – a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance.
  4. Serve warm, spooned with the caramelized pear drippings from the pan. If your pear caramel separates a bit, just combine it in a small saucepan over low heat.

Veggie fried rice…for breakfast

I was so pleased with the ginger and leek fried rice I made earlier this year, that I thought I’d try a variation for breakfast. I’m always trying to find ways to bring veggies into breakfast, but I get sick of omelets. I had some leftover white rice and tons of different veggies, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This is a very loose recipe, so just play with it.

1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 Cup carrots, diced

1 Cup spinach, cut into strips or chopped

1 small onion, diced

2 toes garlic, pressed through

1 inch ginger, grated

1 T soy

1 T hoisin sauce

2 t chili sauce

1 t sesame oil

4 eggs

2 Cups leftover white rice

1 T roasted peanut oil (or whatever…that stuff just tastes GOOD)

  1. Heat 1/2 T peanut oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onions, carrots and peppers, and saute until fork tender (soft, but not 100% done).
  2. Make a small well in the center of the pan and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant (~30 seconds) and then stir into veggie mixture. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Allow the spinach to wilt a bit (1-2 min) and then set aside mixture in a small bowl. No need to wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add remaining peanut oil to empty pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add rice and distribute in an even layer. Cook without turning for ~1-2 minutes. This will allow some of the rice to crisp up a bit. YUM. Pour in the soy, hoisin, chili and sauces, as well as the sesame oil. Stir to distribute and allow to heat through (1-2 min more).
  4. Add the veggie mixture and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, maybe a bit more soy or some rice wine vinegar for tartness). Serve into 4 bowls.
  5. With the heat still on medium high, crack 4 eggs into the skillet. If your pan isn’t big enough, you may need to work in batches of two. Once the outside is set, cover with a lid to allow the yolk to set some without flipping. Cook eggs sunny side up. When cooked, place an egg on the rice, dot with Schriracha sauce (if you like delicious hotness) and serve.

Roasted rhubarb

I really liked this recipe, but didn’t luh-uv it. I think I just liked it more in theory than in practice. The thing is, I’m sick of oranges, apples, grapes and bananas! So, I came home from the grocery with rhubarb, a mango, a pineapple, the first good batch of strawberries (yay!) and some raspberries (that’s for my raspberry buttermilk cake– recipe comes later this week…you’re welcome).   It’s great with yogurt for breakfast. Tart, a little sweet and so pretty.

2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
½ cup sugar
½ cup crisp white wine (Sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, etc)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  1. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Put the rhubarb in a Dutch oven or other deep oven-safe pot. Add the sugar, wine, and vanilla bean, and stir to mix.
  3. Bake uncovered for ~20 min, or until very tender, stirring gently midway

Yummy thick & chewy granola bars

This recipe is CRAZY adaptable. It is great with all sorts of combinations- different nuts, fruits, nut butters, etc.

1 2/3 Cups rolled oats

1/3 Cups oat flour (you can buy this or just process oats until super fine)

1/3  Cup light sugar (white or light brown)

1 tspn salt

1/2 tspn cinnamon

2-3 Cups dried fruits and nuts, all in small pieces

6 Tbls melted butter or veggie oil

1/4 C liquid sweet stuff (honey or maple syrup)

2 Tbls water

1 Tbls molasses (optional)

1/3 C nut butter (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and nut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
  3. Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but don’t fret, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
  4. Cool the bars in their pan for 20 min or so on a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. Once 100% cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.
  5. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried a or even chocolate chips. My mix: pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, cherries and apricots!