Tag Archives: breakfast

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

I’m in the middle of a blog purge. Going through old blog posts and deleting the ones with bad pictures, or no pictures, and updating my favorites. Here lies the latter.

Smoked salmon eggs Benedict is a wonderfully decadent breakfast or brunch item that I try to enjoy once per year. Don’t even ask if I make my own Hollandaise sauce (I don’t).

It is an adaptation of a breakfast item I had all the time when I lived in Oregon, at The Victorian Cafe in Bend. This place is famous for its eggs Benedict, notably this beauty.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Ingredients (for two):

  • 2 English muffins, split
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon (the flaked kind, not the lox kind)
  • 1 package dried Hollandaise sauce, (you’ll need milk and butter for this)
  • 1/4 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 T capers, divided
  • Paprika, for garnish

Heat broiler for muffins and set large pan of water to boil on stove. When water heats to a rolling boil, add a dash of vinegar, if you have it, and reduce heat a bit. Drop in eggs one at a time and swirl water to keep whites together. Gently nudge eggs to keep them from sticking on the bottom. Cook until desired runnyness – I like mine very runny in the middle, about 5 min.

While the eggs cook, prepare the sauce according to package instructions (will take just a few minutes) and toast your muffins under the broiler.

When eggs are done, drain on paper towels and cover with foil to keep warm. Now, quickly assemble: On each muffin half, place a few slices of onion, then salmon, then egg. Next, pour the sauce all over it and then sprinkle a few capers on top. Finish with a dusting of paprika.

Deeeelish! The Hollandaise has a nice lemony kick to it, and the capers add a salty bite, along with the onion and smoky salmon. When you cut into the egg, the yolk will run out and swirl with the sauce in an oh-so happy way.

The English muffin is just there to soak up all the yummy juices.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Toasted Hazelnut Biscotti with Citrus and Black Pepper

Biscotti is a tricky treat because of the twice-baked method. You make a simple dough; you bake it; you slice it; you bake it again. I call this out only because it made me fumble in the baking exercise and resulted in a less-than-perfect biscotti. But it still tasted fine.

I like mine a bit chewy – not so crunchy that they’ll break your jaw if not dipped in coffee. So adjust the baking time to your desired crunch factor.

This recipe came from my friend Merissa. I made only a couple tweaks.

Toasted Hazelnut Bsicotti with Cirtus Zest and Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleanched all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups hazelnuts, with skns, toasted, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg, whisked for egg wash

Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the
bottom third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cookie
sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt,
and pepper and whisk together.

In another bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the
sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture has formed. Add the eggs,
zests, and extracts and mix until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine well. Add
the hazelnuts and fold in with a spatula to distribute the nuts
evenly. The dough will be very thick and hard to stir at this point.

Divide the dough into four equal portions, about 14.5 oz. each.
On a lightly floured counter, roll each portion into a log 9 inches
long by 2 inches wide by 1.5 inches high. Place 2 logs on each of the
prepared cookie sheets with several inches between the logs.

Here’s one big log, pre-portioning:

In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 tsp. of water to make an egg
wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and
sides.

Bake for 22 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom
halfway through baking. Bake until lightly browned, puffy, and still
somewhat soft. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.

Cool for 30 minutes, then place one log at a time on a cutting
board. With a serrated knife, slice each log into individual biscotti
by cutting at a slight angle into 3/4-inch think pieces, keeping the
slices in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place
them back onto the cookie sheets, then separate the slices, leaving 1/2
inch of space between each one.

Bake again for 16-20 minutes, rotating once during the baking until
the biscotti are slightly firm and light brown in color.

Cool and eat, or pack in an airtight container to store for up to 6 weeks (they also freeze well!).

I love the combination of flavors – all the citrus with the hazelnut and black pepper that kicks in at the end. A wonderful little breakfast or tea-time snack.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Breakfast Pizza

Oh my.

Every time I make my own pizza dough instead of buying it pre-made, I’m ever so thankful – stretching out that soft dough that smells fresh with yeast and then baking it until golden, it yields a chewy-but-crunchy consistency that’s perfect with any toppings. This recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, and while I didn’t love the dough recipe as much as some others I’ve made, Grant swooned over it, so I’m going to post it here as she published.

Add any toppings you think sound good – there’s really no stopping the fabulousness of a pizza with a soft-cooked egg on top, just waiting to be punctured.

Breakfast Pizza (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

The night before, prepare the dough: Place 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes more. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and form each half into a tight ball. Place on a large floured sheet pan, covered, and refrigerate overnight.

One to two hours before baking, place the dough in a warm spot to proof. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and set a pizza stone on it. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the pizza.

Prepare the dough and toppings: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Dip your hands and a ball of dough into the flour. On a lightly floured countertop, pat the dough into a disc with your fingertips,stretching and pulling into a circle. Take the pizza stone out of the oven and throw the dough on it. Brush olive oil all over the surface.

Sprinkle the dough with half of the Parmesan, mozzarella , shallots and bacon. Crack 2 eggs over the top (try to build a little fence of cheese around them so they don’t slip off the pizza – it happened to me!) and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, when the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and the egg yolks are cooked but still soft. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle half of the parsley and scallions on top. Let cool for 2 minutes before slicing. Prepare the second pizza in the same way.

Before you’re ready to slice, poke the egg yolk with a fork and swirl that delicious yolk all over the pizza.

It’s like eating a pizza with a flavorful, fresh sauce dripping off of it. Simply delicious, with the delicate shallots, salty bacon, herbs and mixture of cheeses.

Because I had some issues with my dough not rising enough, our pizzas were smaller and denser than they should be, but like I said, nobody complained. SO good the day-of and for leftovers. The eggs cook fully when you microwave, but still taste yummy.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sage Sausage and Gravy

Sunday was wet and cold and the worst day for a 2-hour run. As Grant and I jogged through downtown, Old Salem and past churches emptying pious citizens, all I could think about was biscuits and gravy. That ultimate in comfort and soul – thick, peppery gravy spilling over spicy sausage and buttery biscuits. Knowing I had buttermilk at home, I couldn’t resist the temptation. And hey, we earned it after braving that weather.

I found a recipe in my trusty Best Recipes cookbook, although I altered it a bit. The result was a delightfully buttery biscuit that deeply pleased my Southern boyfriend.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, plus 4 T
  • 2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with your rack in the middle.

Place flour, powder, soda, sugar and salt in food processor and mix to combine in six 1-second pulses.

Distribute butter evenly over and pulse 12 times. Pour buttermilk over and pulse 8 to 10 times, until wet clump forms.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into a ball. Using floured rolling pin, gently roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Use floured biscuit-cutter to cut 8-9 biscuits. Grant had a fab antique biscuit-cutter:

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until tops are light brown, 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, make the sausage and gravy…

If we’re going authentic, I only use one kind of sausage:

While biscuits bake, heat large nonskillet over medium and add hand-formed sausage patties (size and shape don’t matter, just make sure to cook through). Cook until browned on all sides, then cover and let steam until fully cooked, 5-8 min. Remove to paper towels to drain.

To drippings, add 2 T flour and whisk until well incorporated, 1 min. Whisk in about 1 c. milk and a splash of cream (if you have it – I find the all-cream kind way too rich). Reduce to low and whisk until thickened. Add a bunch of cracked pepper and salt, to taste.

To serve, you may butter your biscuits, or not…

Grant likes to put mustard on his, but I go plain, with  my sausage on the side and gravy all over. We added salted and peppered tomato slices up top, along with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

The combo was yummy and so satisfying on a dreary day.

Enjoy your next comfort meal, friends! xoxo

Best breakfast in Winston-Salem – Breakfast of Course

Winston-Salem has a wealth of tasty Southern-foodie restaurants, and my favorites are the ones that serve brunch (brunch is a fever that the NW hasn’t caught yet). One thing I like about the Southern soul food trend is the new twists on old classics, like fried chicken and waffles.

I’ve been to Breakfast of Course a number of times, but never saw the chicken-and-waffles meal as a “for me” item (to use ad-speak). But then I recently read the description – spiced waffles sandwiching a lightly breaded and pan-fried chicken cutlet, with real Grade A maple syrup on the side. I ordered it immediately, with a side of tomatoes just to get a vegetable in.

Y.U.M., folks. The chicken was so tender and smoky-savory and it was insane surrounded by the perfectly cooked waffle, which had hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. I drizzled a little bit of syrup on top and everything came together.

I highly recommend this dish next time you’re in the mood for some soul food that isn’t deep-fried. (Note: the owner came to our table and said this is one of her favorite dishes)

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Best breakfast sandwich

My old neighborhood was so extremely D-list that I almost moved away before experiencing the awesomeness that is Dioli’s Italian Market. Located awkwardly next to a Starbucks, T-Mobile and McDonald’s, this place has my favorite sandwiches in Winston-Salem. And I mean the BEST meatball subs, full of spicy marinara, sausage and provolone. Then there is the prosciutto and arugula sandwich, the Italian … and everything else you could want from an Italian deli, not to mention the tarts, cookies and cakes…and various antipasto and side salads.

Dioli’s also makes my favorite breakfast sandwich in Winston-Salem, which I try to order every time I go to the north side of town. All I can say is you know a sandwich is fresh when they get out a new slab of pancetta to slice for your sandwich. It comes on focaccia bread and also includes an egg and cheese, if you please.

I recently went there for brunch and read my Martha Stewart Magazine and watched a long line of cars waiting for McDonald’s…if only they knew that a comparably priced and much higher-quality sandwich existed just across the street.

Here’s to breakfasts!

Pumpkin-ginger waffles

Pumpkin challenge No. 3!

A sweet brunch

A sweet brunch

I found this recipe in Country Living. It takes less than 30  minutes to make and is surprisingly healthy, according to the nutritional info in the magazine. I also like this recipe because it only uses 1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree, which is all I had left. The original recipe includes chopped up crystallized ginger, but I decided that I didn’t need it. It is still QUITE gingery without those chewy pieces.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/4 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree (about half a can)

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Get out your waffle iron and heat it.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla. Whisk in flour mixture until combined. Stir in butter.

Scoop about 1/2 c. of the batter into the waffle iron and cook to your desired doneness. Keep the finished waffles in the oven at 200 degrees to stay warm.

With these, I browned up patties of chicken Italian sausage that was 50% off at Harris Teeter’s a while back. Horray for the discount meat bin! The sausage was a nice addition to the waffles, which totally smelled like pumpkin pie. They weren’t too pumpkiny, but were more spiced tasting.

Both Jesse and I  really, really liked the waffles. They were very sweet, especially with all the maple syrup we poured over them. You’ll definitely need a glass of cold milk to wash it down, and this recipe made enough for two mornings’ worth of breakfast (stretching those $$$).

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Turkey eggs …?

Turkey eggs

Turkey eggs

After reading “The Ominvore’s Dilemma,” I promised myself that I would start buying all my eggs from local farmers who allow their birds to roam free all day and lay eggs at will. According to the book, egg hens have worse lives than birds grown for meat – confined to a shoe-box cage, going so crazy that they will peck themselves and each other until they are featherless and scarred (which is why they aren’t used for meat).

So this brought me to the Piedmont Triad farmers’ market. I decided on one vendor because his eggs were beautifully speckled and HUGE. He was all out of chicken and instead had duck, quail and turkey eggs. They were $3.25 per dozen, which is actually similar to the grocery-store “organic” or “cage-free” egg prices. But at the grocery store, I still don’t know exactly how the animals are raised and fed.

I spoke to the local farmer, peppering him with questions about what the birds ate (no animal by-products) and where they roam. He convinced me that they roam around the yard, pecking at the ground as such animals are wont to do.

The farmer told me that turkey eggs taste the same as chicken eggs, but are bigger and take longer to cook. When I took them home to cook, however, I found that they tasted different. Richer, more substantial. Meatier.

Turkey egg vs. regular ol' chicken egg

Turkey egg vs. regular ol' chicken egg

I made a simple egg-over-medium with a slice of rosemary toast. The shells were thicker, harder to crack, and those yolks were so big, the eggs were difficult to flip. I noticed that the whites puffed up and became very thick as they cooked.

It was a delicious meal and I believe what they say about beyond-organic eggs – they have more nutrients than the industrial-ag eggs. I can’t wait to bake with them and see how they do!

A healthy, hearty breakfast for one

A healthy, hearty breakfast for one

Breakfast in bed

One by one, my boyfriend and I are figuring out how to beat the system.

As lovers of a good breakfast cafe, we’ve visited nearly all the best places Bend has to offer. And we’ve begun to make our favorite dishes at home.

Today, we made a version of Nancy P’s lox bagel sandwich. It was 100% the bf’s concoction.

Here’s how he did it:

Toasted everthing bagels

Cream cheese

Capers

Red Onion

Lox

Simply mix a Tablespoon of capers into a couple Tablespoons of cream cheese (whatever you would normally put on a bagel). Spread that on your bagel, then top with a couple slices of lox (we get ours from Newport Ave. Market) and some thinly sliced onion, to taste.

Ta-da!

Who stole my huevos?

My favorite breakfast food to order out is huevos rancheros. The best place I’ve found it in Bend is at the Victorian Cafe: vegetarian huevos rancheros: two blue corn tortillas with eggs-over-easy, vegetarian chili, black beans, cheese and avocado.

After reading Smitten Kitchen’s post on these delights, I elected to try my novice hand at it. I added avocado and sour cream…it was delicious and my sweetie asked for seconds.

This dish is easy, cheap and sure to get you rave reviews in the kitchen. Maybe for a special sleepover?

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium. Add a drop of olive oil and one corn tortilla. Once it starts to bubble or brown, flip it and add a sprinkling of cheese (whatever you life, but try the Mexican kind). Once the cheese begins to melt, crack and egg on top. Wait until it starts to turn white at the edges and flip it over as best you can. It’s OK if the yolk isn’t center, just don’t break it!

Sprinkle cheese on the other side and cook until the egg is at your desired firmness. Slide onto a plate, then top with more cheese, black beans (cooked with a little cumin), your favorite salsa, sour cream, avocado and hot sauce. Some pan-fried Mexican chorizo would be delicious, too, and I’ve found it at Newport Market and Albertsons (or any store that sees a lot of Hispanic customers).

Salud!

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros