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Posts tagged ‘Breakfast’

Blackberry Scones


There are a lot of scone recipes out there.  I tend toward a more traditional cream scone, but I did not happen to have any cream in the house…so a little internet research turned up some alternatives, and a few seemed promising using evaporated milk.  After reading through them and finding some consistencies between them, I sort of made up my own recipe, fingers crossed that it would turn out.

Since it is the new year…and I’m sure you all have resolutions that you are trying to keep…many having to do with eating healthy, getting fit and watching your weight…here’s a little bonus!  Using evaporated milk makes these scones lower in fat.  You can substitute evaporated milk for heavy cream in many recipes, it provides the thickness and creaminess without the added fat.

Mini Blackberry Scones

2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 can evaporated fat-free milk
1 cup fresh blackberries

Mix your dry ingredients together, then dump in the cold chunked butter and cut it in using a pastry cutter or two forks.

Before adding the evaporated milk, toss in the blackberries.  This helps them to stay whole and forces you to barely mix the batter once the liquid is added.

Pour in the evaporated milk and mix very gently.  It’s okay if the berries break up a bit.

Spoon into a scone pan (we scored this one years ago from our wedding – but they are not really necessary), or dump batter onto a greased cookie sheet and spread into an approximate circle or square.  Then using a pastry scraper or a knife, divide the dough into scone shapes (wedges, squares, triangles…whatever you fancy).

Bake in oven set at 400° F for 12-20 minutes depending on the size of your scone.

You are looking for tops that are golden brown.

Once they’ve come out of the oven and cooled just a bit, serve them up with honey, clotted cream, lemon curd or butter and of course, a cup of tea!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti


Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti are an annual tradition for us. It would not be autumn without pumpkin cookies and my husband is a sucker for biscotti.  Also…I’m guessing that you’ve got an extra can or two of pumpkin lying around from Thanksgiving.  These biscotti are perfect as it seems just a teensy bit too early for christmas cookies – it’s barely December!

Full disclosure…original recipe comes from my family cookbook and stops a few steps short of making biscotti.   I love the original pumpkin cookie, which turn out a bit cakey and only get better the second and third day.  Feel free to make those as well – only difference is you spoon the batter into dollops on the sheet pan – they end up looking a bit like scones!  We came up with the biscotti idea as Woody prefers crunchy cookies…not cakey ones!

1½ cups brown sugar
½ solid shortening (crisco)
2 eggs
1 lb. canned pumpkin (I’ve gotten away with the 14.5 oz. can)
2¾ cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 cup pecans, chopped (or more)

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and pumpkin thoroughly.

Mix dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture; blend well.

Chop the pecans and fold in to combine.

I like my biscotti pretty nutty!

Pour and scrape the batter into two logs on a parchment lined half-sheet pan.

Using a spatula, flatten out the batter so the biscotti loaves will cook evenly.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are just beginning to brown.  You want the loaves to be cooked through, otherwise slicing them cleanly will be difficult and gooey, but not so cooked that they will burn when you put them back in the oven!

Once removed from the oven, let them cool completely (they will smell really good…and it will be very difficult to not nibble the edges)!

When the loaves are cool, gently lift onto a cutting board and slice in 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices.

Lay the slices sideways on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 325º for 25 to 35 minutes.  I know that is not very specific, however, this is the part of the recipe that takes a bit of experience to get it right.  You want to dry out the biscotti without toasting them too much – so think low temperature for longer.  Every oven is different and you could probably do this at 250º for much longer.  It is also important to note that they might not seem done when you remove them from the oven, but remember that as they cool…steam (i.e. moisture) is escaping and they will continue to dry as they cool.

Cool the finished biscotti completely before storing them in any airtight container.  Serve up with a steamy cup of coffee and enjoy at all hours of the day!

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Okay…now it is on to the next holiday…Christmas, OF COURSE!

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie


For many years there was truly only one smoothie that I could get behind.  Strawberry banana.  Period.  Tropical flavors aren’t really my thing; mentioning a juice-fast in my kitchen may as well be a punishable offense; and (surprise, surprise…) I’m a bit picky when it comes to fruit on my plate or in my glass.  However, I have broadened my smoothie horizons as of late, learning to love a non-berry-banana concoction.

Only 5 ingredients and poof…you have a delicious and filling breakfast.  I start with the banana…just peel and dump it into the blender.  Next, I add a large spoonful of peanut butter.  We happen to use creamy, but since you’re blending, the crunchy kind would work fine.  Next, I pour in a 3-4 tbsp.’s of almond milk and then somewhere between ½ to 1 cup of whole milk.  (I always start with less and add more if it is too thick.)

Top with a handful or scoop of ice, again, you can always add a little more later.  Blend away until it is smooth and creamy.

You want it to be thick without being icy but still thin enough that you can suck it through a straw with no problem!  When making this for two, I start with 2 whole bananas and then guess on the amounts of everything else.  With the temps being so high lately, this is a great cool way to start the morning.

What’s been your favorite smoothie recipe this summer?  What recipes do you use to help beat the heat?

Spring Onion & Leek Crostada with Ricotta and Back Bacon


 

We love brunching, we frequently find ourselves trying out new places in town (like here, here or here) or venturing to old standby’s (including here, here, here and here) when the world is still quiet and sleepy.  Every now and then we are lucky enough to be invited over to friends’ houses where we can nibble bites and sip our coffee at a more leisurely pace.  A few Sunday’s back, we were just in luck and threw together a spring onion and leek crostada with back bacon and ricotta…all thanks to our CSA box from that week.

When I started cooking the back bacon – I’ll explain what it that is in a minute…I didn’t really have a firm plan about when I was making and how it would take shape.  When this happens, sometimes the end product is brilliant…and other times, well…that is when it’s time to stop by a bakery on your way over.  This time, it was lovely!  The spring onions and leeks from our CSA box were too beautiful to not use and they screamed to be the feature of a dish.

So back bacon is not made from pork belly – it is the center cut boneless pork loin and is much leaner and meatier than regular American bacon.  It might also be labeled as Irish bacon.  It can be tricky to find so regular, good ‘ole bacon will do just fine.  We found it at a Fresh & Easy market, whose parent company is British…which explains why they carry it.

I started by washing the leeks and then slicing the leeks and the spring onions into very thin slices.  The ramekin in the back holds none-other than rendered bacon fat.  We always have it in the fridge and it keeps very well.  Whenever you cook bacon, just strain the warm oil that was left in the pan and cool, then place in the fridge.  Dare I say, it makes a decadent grilled cheese and it is very spreadable!  I also prepared a short crust – something like you would use in a tart or a quiche – generally it is just flour, salt, cold butter chunks and a little ice water.  Whenever you are making a pastry dough, it is important to let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you roll it out. Which is plenty of time to slice and cook your onions and leeks and cook the bacon.  I sautéed the onions and leeks in butter and some of the bacon fat for about 5 or 6 minutes as I wanted them to sweat but not gain any color, and I seasoned them with fresh thyme.  Turn the oven on to 350º so it has plenty of time to reheat.

Next, I rolled out the crust and placed it on a piece of parchment on a half-sheet pan.  We had some ricotta left in the fridge which was perfect because this crostada needed something to hold it all together and work as a base.  I thinned the ricotta just a bit with some heavy cream and of course, seasoned it with salt and pepper and a little more of the fresh thyme.  Spread it evenly on the rolled out pastry leaving a 1-2 inch border on all sides and top with the back bacon slices leaving at least 1 piece to sprinkle on top.  Next, spread the spring onions and leeks over the top and top with another sprinkle of salt.

Now, fold the pastry in towards the center starting on one edge and working your way around.  A crostada is not a fancy food…so it does not need to be perfect!  Top with the last slice of bacon either sliced or crumbled.  Count yourself lucky if you manage to hide the last piece from your husband who is trying to sneak as many nibbles as he can blaming his actions on pure famine!  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and some of the onions and leeks have crisped on top.

Our CSA box had also arrived full of late harvest citrus and some fresh mint…so we brought those along with us as well.  Start by slicing off the top and bottom of the orange and then slice the peel and as much of the pith off of all sides.

When serving citrus served like this, it is best to ‘supreme’ the fruit…I can’t figure out an easy way to write up instructions for you…but I found a great video on youtube that will show you exactly how to do it here.  Next, chiffonade some mint and toss it with the segments of orange – very refreshing and easy to eat as there is no pith or seeds to pick out of your teeth.

The crostada is delicious warm or room temperature and was a delightful addition to the brunch buffet.  It was crumbly and savory, with a nice oomph of onions and leeks!

What dishes have you made that turned out surprisingly well despite no real plan when you started?  We are always on the lookout for new recipes that travel well…what are your favorites for a potluck brunch?

 

Hot Cross Bun(nie)s!


What do you get when you our boiling water down a rabbit hole…?

Hot Cross Bunnies! 

Okay, I kid.  But I do love some hot cross buns!  I came across a recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It seemed to have a nice balance of spiced dough with just a bit of sweetness not too much dried fruit.

Recipe can be found right here and the only changes I made were that used about half the total dried fruit called for in the recipe and only used currants.

I soaked them in rum as I did not have any apple juice in the house. This is a great trick to make sure that your dried fruit doesn’t steal all the moisture from your dough during the rising process.

No need to worry about the order of mixing either,  I added all the dry ingredients to the bowl, gave it a quick stir with the dough hook and then threw in the wet ingredients – eggs, milk and room temperature butter.

I happen to love the Proof function on my oven…it heats to about 80º (my guess is using the heat of the oven light), but it ensures that my rising dough stays warm and out-of-the-way of any drafts.

Note that it is not a super-puffy rise.

Just as the recipe stated, it makes 12-14 (for me – 14 exactly) and they are about the size of billiard balls.

And since I wanted warm toasty buns on Easter morning without having to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the dough going, I started it the evening before and left them formed in rolls over night in the fridge for the second rise.

I slashed the tops with a razor and let them sit on the counter to take the chill off of them while the oven heated.  Woody tried to get Cleo interested in them…which I don’t approve of.

Last step before the oven is to brush the tops with an egg white mixed with milk to help them brown up.

All seemed to go as planned although I cooked them a bit longer as they were so well chilled that I worried they would turn dark brown without the insides being cooked through.

Poof!  They magically turn into delicious and golden brown rolls,  Okay…maybe an oven was involved – at 375 for 20 minutes and at 350 for the remaining time.  In total, they baked for 30’ish minutes.  I know, very precise.

The dough only has a bit of brown sugar in it, so the icing was a nice addition.  (I can’t believe I actually advocated for icing…as I am almost categorically opposed to it…but I’ll admit…it was needed and delicious!

We are soon headed to a delicious brunch and therefore these were just a morning snack to hold us over until our 2:00 pm reservation.  Add in a steaming cup of coffee and it was a fabulous spring morning!

What are your Easter traditions?  Whatever they are I hope they are filled with delectable items and people you love and hopefully some delightful spring weather!

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Brioche French Toast


I adore waking up in the morning, turning on the stove still a bit bleary-eyed, putting some coffee on while still in pj’s and making breakfast.

French toast is a favorite…although I’m not one for thick, fluffy and soggy French toast…I like it thin, dipped-but-not-soaked in egg and nicely browned in a pan. Topped with a dab of butter and just drizzled with real maple syrup.

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Indulgence…? Nah, not this dish!


A little something to keep you full until the next post…

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Caviar, Chives, Creme Fraiche and Truffle Salt

These are a favorite of Woody.  No, we don’t eat Caviar very often…but Woody does love the stuff.  It’s not like you can let a little leftover caviar go to waste.  In fact…most people might say they’ve never even heard of such a thing as “leftover caviar”.  (read: my mother might be one to lick the jar just to make sure that not a single little smidge went to waste)

The key is to start the eggs in a pan on very low heat…and go slowly.  Season as you go and never let the eggs brown…you may as well start over at that point.  (secret: I like my eggs cooked…like really cooked…like I can barely admit this…but I like my eggs to be browned and as my mother would say…they should bounce.  Now…don’t tell anyone this little secret.  I redeem myself by really enjoying perfectly cooking eggs for other people – fried eggs, soft and fluffy scrambled, over easy, poached – I just don’t really want to eat them myself.)  When plating the eggs, they should still be one mass…and not a whole bunch of bouncy browned pieces.  Top with a dollop of creme fraiche, sprinkle with chives and give a little drizzle of Truffle Salt if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand and make sure to serve while it’s still hot.

These eggs would be good with any one of the components of the dish…now throw them in there altogether and, well…it’s pretty much amazing…and ridiculous…and Woody better not get used to such a highbrow breakfast.  He’s in for big disappointment is this is the case…but don’t worry…I treat him well.

Until the pan hits the stove next…

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