Showing posts with label Breakfast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breakfast. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Waldorf Salad by Any Other Name

As I joked about in the video, a fruit salad has to be pretty damn good to actually get a name, and the venerable Waldorf salad is certainly worthy. 

I realize that there are a small group of you who won’t be able to wrap your heads around mayonnaise with fruit, and that’s a shame, since it means you won’t get to enjoy one of the great combinations of all time. By the way, if you are one of the aforementioned people, but like mayo slathered all over your sandwich, containing slices of sweet, ripe tomato, and caramelized onions, then you have some explaining to do. Also, coleslaw. I rest my case.

Embellish this as you see fit, but I really like it best with just the four ingredients seen here. Things like dried cranberries can add a nice seasonal touch, but for me, the chewy fruit gets in the way of that addictive crunchy/crisp texture. I really hope you give this old-school, but timeless Waldorf salad a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 1 cup dressing (enough for 2 Waldorf salads below):
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream (I used CF)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

For 2 large or 4 appetizer sized Waldorf salads:
2 large crisp, sweet apples, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small cubed celery root
1 cup quartered seedless grapes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces
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Shakshuka – Say It With Me Now

This Shakshuka, or Shakshouka if you prefer, is why I’m so glad the show/blog/channel is called, “Food Wishes.” This North African one-dish-meal is so fast, easy, and delicious, but it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to do a video for it, unless someone sent me a request. 

I always appreciate these types of reminders, and seeing "Shakshuka" in a subject line does catch your attention, but now I have a little problem. I can’t stop saying it. It has basically replaced using profanity for me. Yes, now when I stub my toe, I yell "shakshuka!"

I know we did an Italian-inspired version of this idea, served in individual ramekins, but this is supposedly the original. The sauce is quite different, and I think more interesting. The peppers and mushrooms add another layer of flavor, and the spicing is much more complex. Not to mention, a large pan of this is much more of a showstopper.

Just be sure to cook your sauce until the veggies are nice and soft and sweet. I don’t think you want crunchy onions and peppers in this, so take a little time building the base. You will also have to monitor the liquid level as it simmers, but that’s very easy to adjust by adding a splash of water or broth.

Once the eggs go in, you can finish covered on the stove, or just pop the pan into a hot oven until they cook to your liking. I go for just barely set, and the advantage of that system is, if you do want them cooked more, you just need to stir the egg into that hot sauce, and it will firm-up instantly.

No matter how you like your yolks cooked, this makes for an impressive breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. And if you’re serving a large group, you can scale this up to any size pan or baking dish. I really hope you “shakshuka!” very soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 6 small portions: 
(one egg per portion as appetizer - double for a main course)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
large handful of sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
28-oz can (about 3 cups) crushed San Marzano tomatoes, or other high-quality plum tomatoes. Of course you can use fresh tomatoes in season.
1/2 cup water or broth, or as needed
6 large eggs (or as many as you can fit in you pan)
crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley to finish
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sweet Potato Muffins – The Sweet Potato Pie of Muffins

Sometimes you don’t have a good reason for not loving a certain recipe, and that’s how it is for me with sweet potato pie. It just does not do it for me, and I don’t even know what “it” is. However, I thought the same flavors could work for a holiday-inspired sweet potato muffin, and I was thrilled with the results.

These are perfect if you have leftover sweet potatoes during the holidays, but if not, totally worth cooking a few just for this easy recipe. I microwaved mine for about 6 or 7 minutes, until they were very soft, but roasting, or boiling will also work.

By the way, we’re not using sweet potatoes for our sweet potato muffin; we’re using yams, which are actually just incorrectly named orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.  So, I guess never mind.

As I mention in the video, these muffins are just a little bit of frosting away from being cupcakes. I’ve never understood the allure of mini marshmallows on a sweet potato casserole, but something tells me some “fluff” would work well on these, as well. I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 24 Sweet Potato Muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups mashed sweet potato or “yams”
1 cup chopped pecans, plus more for the top
demerara sugar for the tops

- Bake for 25 minutes at 350 F. or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Bacon Cheddar and Spinach Strata – We’re Rocking the Breakfast Casserole

For such a simple dish, I sure have a lot of additional info to cover regarding the construction of this beautiful bacon, cheddar, and spinach strata. First of which, is the somewhat unusual name. Whoever invented this recipe apparently thought it looked like layers of rock, known in geological circles as, “strata.”

I guess it sort of does, and probably would a lot more, if we used a deeper dish, and did more layers. Regardless, even with just one layer of filling in the middle, you’ll still be looking at a gorgeous casserole, which should thoroughly impress your brunch guests…bottomless Mimosas or no.

As I mentioned in the video, if you want something a little eggier, a little more quiche-like, just simply increase the amount of egg custard used. As long as your pan is deep enough, you could as much as double the eggs and cream in this.

Speaking of the cream, this is a very rich dish, so you may want to cut the cream with milk. In fact, many people use all milk for this, but I do enjoy the extra butterfat the cream provides. As usual, let your conscience be your guide.

Above and beyond that, this recipe just begs for personalization. I’m not sure what your favorite omelet ingredients are, but I do know they would work in this, and work really well. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 portions:
1 pound loaf of day old bread, cubed
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, milk, or any combination thereof
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1 pound bacon, sliced and cooked crisp
1 pound fresh spinach, wilted, and squeezed dry (or enough thawed, drained frozen spinach to cover one layer)
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided (use 1/2 over the first layer of bread, 1/4 over the spinach, and the last 1/4 over the top layer of bread)
- Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes or until set. Then broil for a minute or two to brown the top.
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Colcannon Hash – I Invented This, As Did Others Before Me

Every year about this time, I try to do some kind of culinary nod to St. Patrick’s Day, and this colcannon hash is the latest example. I really loved how this came out, and it made a beautiful, and delicious base for poached eggs, but there was one problem. Apparently, I didn’t invent this.

I thought I did, as I do with almost all the new recipes I create, but I figured I’d do a search anyway, just to confirm this assumption of singular brilliance. So I did, and it quickly became apparent that many others had the very same idea. Good for them.

I realize St. Patrick’s Day brunch isn’t really a thing, but if it were, this would be perfect. Although, we might have some leftover corned beef the day after, which would make this even more amazing; so maybe we should forget St. Paddy’s Day breakfast, and turn this into a hearty, day-after hangover cure instead. Either way, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large portions:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
2 large russet potatoes, diced, rinsed, and well-drained
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sliced green onions (mostly the white and lighter green parts)
2 large handfuls baby kale, roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated sharp Irish cheddar cheese (or any sharp cheddar)
pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley 
2 or 4 poached eggs, optional (actually, not optional)

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake – Now with More Crumbs

I’m sure I’ve said it here before, but I’m not a big cake guy. I’ll take a few bites at a wedding for appearances, and of course on a birthday, since that’s what you do, but besides that, cake is none of my business. However, one big exception would be the crumby goodness that is pecan sour cream coffee cake. 

As I mention in the video, the best part of a coffee cake is the crispy, crunchy, buttery crumbs; so we significantly upped the amounts used. I’m not sure why everyone doesn’t do this…maybe their health? Regardless, it creates what I think is the “ultimate” coffee cake experience.

One tip for placing on the second layer of batter: You can use a piping bag to squeeze an even layer, and then touch it up with a spatula. Having said that, as you saw in the clip, even if you spread by hand, and mix in a few nuts, it still comes out beautifully.

This recipe is really foolproof, but mind your baking time. I used an 8” x 12” cast iron casserole dish, and it took about 35 minutes, but times will vary for glass dishes, as well as for slightly larger dishes, like the classic 9” x 13.” I’d start checking around 30 minutes, and go from there. I really hope you give this extra crumby coffee cake a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 to 12 portions:

For the crumb:
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the cake:
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour (Almost 2 cups. Do not pack cups. Spoon in gently.)
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

- Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
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