Tag Archives: brunch

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

Asparagus, Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Brunch with my girls – all gussied up in springtime dresses with light cardigans to protect against the breeze, new pedicures shining under out-from-hibernation sandals and plates of delicious fare to celebrate the season.

I’m lucky to have so many foodie friends who go all-out for a simple ladies’ brunch. Miss Valentine brought homemade orange-cranberry scones with English clotted cream and raspberry preserves…

Erika brought bacon-leek quiche, Lindsay brought tea cookies and Seton made brown-sugar bacon and poured spicy Bloody Marys and orange-mango mimosas.

What did I make, my friends? A fresh salad of roasted asparagus, sweet cantaloupe, fresh mozzarella, crispy proscuitto and toasted pine nuts. All tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe from Giada di Laurentiis, for your pleasure:

Asparagus, Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 small cantaloupe (about 12 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss asparagus with salt, pepper and 2 T EVOO. Roast 7-8 min, until just tender but still with a bite. Set aside to cool and reduce oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the melon and mozzarella cheese and toss until all ingredients are combined.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the melon and mozzarella cheese on top of the asparagus. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the top. Crumble the prosciutto over the top, then pine nuts.

Finally, serve to your lady friends!

This was a nice combination of flavors. A twist on the classic melon-prosciutto appetizer. I normally hate melon (because I’m a closeted picky eater), but this was so pretty, I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Smoked-salmon blini with creme fraiche and dill

I used to hate smoked salmon, and now I’ve posted two smoked salmon recipes in a month. Chalking it up to brunch being such a large part of my life now that I live in The South – and smoked salmon just screams brunch.

Blini are like tiny, salty pancakes that offer a soft receptacle for fancy toppings, such as meat, cream and caviar. I made mine with slices of smoked salmon, a dollop of creme fraiche and a small sprig of dill. I’m not a huge dill fan, but its slight addition to the blini is nice – just don’t overdo it.

So delicious. The blini are made with buckwheat flour and regular flour, so they have an earthy taste. The creme fraiche is creamy and tangy, matching the smooth piquant fish.

Perfect party food because it is a perfect finger food, I give you…

Smoked Salmon Blini with Creme Fraiche and Dill

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified, divided (melt butter in saucepan and spoon off the white solids that rise to the top. Otherwise, butter will crackle on pan and spit grease at you!)
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Fresh dill sprig, for garnish

Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter, then whisk into the flour mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter in a medium saute pan and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Set aside.

I made mine the day before, then chilled them. Before serving, place on baking sheet in single layer and heat gently in an oven at 200 degrees. Then, top with remaining ingredients.

To serve, top the blini with a piece of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprig of dill.

I was surprised how easy the blini were to make – they slide easily out of the pan after becoming lightly browned on each side.

These blini bites are colorful, fresh, festive and simply delicious. Perfect for brunch, or an after-work get-together or any other time you want to make something a little bit special.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Mini frittatas with andouille and spring onion

Whenever I have a brunch, I feel it’s important to bring something with eggs and possibly meat. Mini frittatas are a nice way to make individually portioned eggs pumped up with smoky andouille sausage, tomato, spring onion, parsley and finally melted Jack cheese.

I don’t really have a recipe for these because I just mixed a bunch of stuff in a bowl and then poured it into greased nonstick muffin tins (note: the eggs will cement to the sides if you don’t use nonstick, I even recommend muffin papers to be extra clean).

Multiple people have asked for the recipe, so I give you…

Mini Frittatas with Andouille and Spring Onion

Makes 24 frittatas

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk or cream
  • 1 c. sliced andouille sausage
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 spring onions or 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 T chopped parsley
  • 1 c. Jack cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • EVOO
  • Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375. Grease muffin pans.

Whisk eggs with milk in large bowl, set aside.

In medium saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Then add sausage, browning, 3-4 min. Add spring onions and stir until translucent. Add mixture to eggs. Stir in tomatoes and parsley. Season to taste with S&P.

Pour frittata mixture into muffin tins almost to the brim, then top with shredded cheese. Bake until set and the cheese is lightly browned, 20-30 min. Cool 5 min. in pans, then finish cooling on wire rack. Can be made ahead and warmed in the oven before serving.

I sprinkled chopped chives over mine after plating. I promise these will be a big hit!

Enjoy, 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

Smoked salmon and apple carpaccio

My latest fave for brunch: a dish that tastes great and requires no actual cooking! From the cookbook of Giada de Laurentiis, this dish layers the smoky creaminess of salmon with the crisp tartness of green apple, the briney bite of capers and fruity essence of good extra-virgin olive oil. I crack a little black pepper over the top, too, for extra seasoning.

Giada makes hers with toast points, but I find that completely unnecessary.

Smoked salmon and apple carpaccio

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thin, then kept in a bowl of lemon juice-water to prevent browning
  • 2 T capers, drained
  • EVOO
  • Cracked black pepper

Layer the salmon on a serving platter. Follow with apple slices and capers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked pepper, to taste.

Serve!

I recently made this for a lovely brunch with a few of my girlfriends. It went perfectly with the other dishes, which included healthy chocolate-cherry scones, fruit salad, mimosas, cinnamon rolls, spicy ham-and-cheese potatoes au gratin…

And this wonderful bacon, leek and Gruyere quiche:

I loaded up a heavy plate and took more home – I love a party where you get a doggie bag!

Enjoy your next brunch, friends! xoxo

Sausage and Gruyere egg bake

IMG_4332

One of the virtues of being home more often is the ability to watch a Food Network show, become inspired and make whatever you witnessed. Yesterday was such a day. I watched Giada on “Everyday Italian” make what she called an omelet but what I would call an egg bake. If it were cooked on the stove first, I would call it a frittata. If it had bread in it, it would be a strata. So I guess it is an oven-omelet? Whatever.

Oh my GOODNESS I love Gruyere. It has to be my favorite cheese to cook with. Melts perfectly, has a nice nutty flavor, mmmmm. The Gruyere makes this dish, although Jesse says that each ingredient was a star, like you can really taste each in every bite. Instead of following Giada’s recipe exactly (I don’t like bell peppers), I made it my own.

I used spicy Italian chicken sausage instead of turkey sausage and I used tomatoes instead of bell pepper. I also used more cheese (oops!) because the Gruyere only comes in 8 0z. packages and she called for 6 oz. Oh wells!

Ingredients:

Italian sausage

parsley

2 tomatoes

1 small onion

Gruyere cheese

eggs

milk

S&P

butter

olive oil

Here’s what I did:

Preheat the oven to 425 and butter a glass baking dish (mine is 8-inches square).

Heat 2 T EVOO in a large skillet and sautee one chopped yellow onion until translucent. Add in 1/2 lb. sausage, casings removed, and brown. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat seven eggs (she called for eight, I had seven) with 1/3 c. milk (I used 1 percent). Add a large pinch of salt and some cracked pepper to taste. Stir in two tomatoes, seeded and chopped, 1 c. shredded Gruyere and 1/4 c. parsley. Stir in the onion mixture.

Pour that into the buttered pan and cover with more cheese. Bake until the center is set, about 25-30 min. and the cheese is amber and bubbling. Just make sure the center is set – these things can take forever to bake! If your cheese is getting too brown and the middle still isn’t set, put the whole thing in the microwave for a couple minutes, or put foil over the top and keep baking until done.

While that bakes, make some toast and spiced apples. I peeled and sliced two gala apples and added them to a pan with 2 T. melted butter, over medium heat. Then I added a few shakes of cinnamon and some freshly grated nutmeg. Then the juice from one lemon and two tablespoons of brown sugar. Stir and cook until thick and bubbly.

A sweet side dish

A sweet side dish

For the toaste, I just sliced the rest of our ciabatta bread and toasted it with garlic-olive oil.

When the bake is done, let it rest a few minutes and then cut into wedges, sprinkling with more parsley. In my opinion, the corners are the best because they have all that crusty cheese…

Baked cheesy goodness

Baked cheesy goodness

Turns out, this meal was wonderful for dinner, but of course works for breakfast and brunch. You could even make it ahead and bake it off in the morning, although it really doesn’t take that long to prepare. I thought I didn’t like strata-type baked egg dishes, but this one proved me wrong. And it was dirt cheap – eggs go a lot farther if you mix them with vegetables, meat and cheese, then bake them. Nummy.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo