Browsing Tag

brunch

Spring Market Salad



I think my favorite thing to make on the planet is a big beautiful salad. I’m pretty much in a constant state of awe when it comes to the beauty and variation found in fruits and vegetables. I love that they can satisfy hunger, look like works of art with doing pretty much nothing and taste incredible. This Spring Market Salad is a celebration of spring. I would pair this with thick slices of fresh crusty bread slathered with salted butter.

Ingredients
6 c. baby greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.)
1 seedless cucumber
6 radishes
5 spring onions
1 c. peas (snap or snow peas would work also)
5 asparagus
¼ c. mint leaves, thyme, leaves pulled off the stems and torn.

for the vinaigrette:
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. herbes de provence
1 T. dijon mustard
2 t. honey
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan (for garnishing)

Method

  1. Prep the veggies by washing the greens.
  2. Thinly slice the cucumber and radishes.
  3. Slice the spring onions on a bias.
  4. Thaw the peas in hot water then drain if using frozen.
  5. Cut off the woody bottom part of the spear and discard. Slice the tips of the asparagus and then use a vegetable peeler to peel strips from the spear. all will be used for the salad.
  6. Make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, herbes de provence, dijon, honey and salt and pepper.
  7. Make the salad: toss the baby greens with some of the dressing, just enough to lightly coat and taste great. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Build greens on a large platter and arrange the vegetables over the top.
  9. Using a spoon, drizzle more dressing over the top.
  10. Using a vegetable peeler, peel curls of parmesan and sprinkle on top. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-pair with grilled chicken, lamb or fish

Masa Corn Cakes

Masa Corn Cakes are perfect for breakfast, but also a great addition to any meal time. They’re lighter and crunchier compared to a regular pancake which makes them taste even better paired with maple syrup, jam or dunking into a warm bowl of soup. Yes, that’s right! They are just as good paired with savory foods like stewed meats, beans, avocado. They are naturally gluten free by being their awesome selves so this is a perfect excuse to call all your gluten free folks and invite them over for a breakfast party. 

I would recommend pouring yourself a cup of coffee and serving these Masa Corn Cakes as soon as they come off the griddle. This is the one time in my house where it feels like a line forms in the kitchen, and for good reason.

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
2 c. whole milk
4 T. unsalted butter (plus more for cooking)
pinch of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. white or yellow cornmeal (finely ground)

maple syrup (for serving)

Method

  1. Preheat griddle or heavy bottomed pan (like cast iron) over medium heat.
  2. Bring butter, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat.
  3. Put cornmeal in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon continuously until batter is combined.
  5. Flick a drop of water on the surface of your pre-heated griddle. You’ll know it’s ready when the water skips along the surface.
  6. Melt a bit of butter in the pan and pour a bit of batter at a time for each pancake. Let sit for around five minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip until both sides are golden (you can make these whatever size you want)
  7. Repeat with butter in pan and batter until all cakes are cooked.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast
-serve on the side with spicy soups and stews

Everyday Granola

In our house it is always nice to have a jar of granola on the shelf ready to go, for breakfast, for snacking, for topping something like yogurt to make it that much better. My favorite kind of granola is super crunchy and in clusters. I’ve totally been guilty of standing over a bulk bin of granola at the grocery for way too long, trying to get all the big clusters in my bag and none of the “granola dust” with the big awkward scoop. This recipe for Everyday Granola is even better because not only is it super crunchy but it also bakes into one big sheet, so YOU get to decide just how big your granola pieces are. The little crumbles that fall during the breaking process are amazing too, to top on just about a million things.

Everyone has their favorite granola combos. Here are three of my favorites; almonds, coconut and pecans. You can swap out any of these for a cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, even cocoa nibs. Follow your morning cravings. Eat this on its own, over yogurt, or with your favorite milk.

Ingredients
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. maple syrup
⅓ c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
5 c. rolled oats
1 c. almonds, sliced
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c. pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 f.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Fold in the oats, almonds, coconut and pecans.
  5. Pour the oat mixture onto the baking sheet and press mixture firmly with a flat bottomed cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for one hour.
  9. Lift the granola off the parchment paper with your hands (it will be one big piece) and break into pieces.
  10. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

Component in Action
-make your own by adding your favorite nuts or seeds
-gently fold in your favorite dried fruits after you cook, cool and break apart the granola into pieces.
-leave in bigger pieces for “granola bars”
-serve over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey for a breakfast treat.
-serve over ice cream.
-put granola in a quart mason jar with a bow and give as a gift to a friend.

Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk

This morning I woke up chilly and searching for a sweater and warm leggings. What!? Is it really fall in Santa Fe?? Just yesterday I was hooping and hollering about a black widow in the bathtub and sweating. I could not be happier to feel the fall breeze, to boil water for tea and for cozy cuddles with the boys. So it seemed fitting that I make something to fully embrace this first chilly day in Santa Fe. Move over Starbucks anything, because this is a creamy, decadent, SO easy recipe for pumpkin spice almond milk.

First off, you can leave out the spice and it is a perfect rendition of vanilla almond milk. Leave out the vanilla and dates and it is the ideal plain almond milk. Add a different spice combination or sweetening element to make it your own. For instance, today I was tempted to make this pumpkin spice version with a tablespoon of real maple syrup instead of dates..maybe next time. The point is, get ready to pour this over your favorite granola, splash it in your coffee or drink it straight.

Ingredients
1 cup of raw whole almonds (soaked in 3 cups of filtered water overnight in the fridge)
3 dates (pitted)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. pumpkin spice blend (cinnamon, clove, lemon peel, cardamom)
5 c. filtered water

Method
1.) Drain and rinse soaked almonds.
2.) Add almonds, dates, vanilla, pumpkin spice and water to a blender.
3.) Blend on high.
4.) Drain milk through a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or I would highly recommend a nut milk bag.
5.) Refrigerate.

Component in Action
-use as creamer in coffee
-use a dairy free milk substitute
-leave out the vanilla and dates for savory uses
-add other spices like turmeric, ginger or lavender
-freeze in popsicle molds with berries for a fun frozen treat

Summer Fritatta

My cooking has changed since becoming a mom. It’s become less about me expressing myself as a chef and more about the needs of my family. I have grown to love this and I love and am surprised that this small shift has made me a better cook.  I actually spend less time cooking, I think more about nourishment and health and I have been forced to get creative in new ways to meet the needs of my opinionated crew of eaters.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, cooking for a toddler can be more challenging than a packed restaurant on a Saturday night. Sure every child is different, I just happen to have one who, for example, upon catching the slightest whiff of a beef stew I have spent the afternoon making, proceeded to tear up and then projectile vomit across the kitchen table just because “it smelled like meat”. Real fun as a mom who wants nothing more than to cook food for my family and have them love it.

So I guess I’m sharing this because I’m as much on this journey as any mom out there despite having cooked in kitchens across the country. And my goal, despite the obstacles of a picky toddler with a killer gag reflex, is to cook my family food that will nourish and bring them joy.

My four year old still doesn’t eat eggs. One day after reading a book about all the different ways kids like to eat eggs, he was excited to try them out and I was more than happy to oblige. We made eggs scrambled, sunny side up and hard boiled.  He couldn’t bring himself to try the scrambled or sunny side up even though he was glad I made them because they looked “pretty” (so I have that going for me), but he did try the hard boiled egg white and then the yolk with a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on top before the gag reflex kicked in.

I still have hope that someday he’ll eat this fritatta with us. In the meantime I love the fact that I can make this on a Sunday night and my husband and I can throw a couple of pieces in the oven throughout the week for a super fast breakfast that doesn’t taste fast at all. You can even eat this for lunch or dinner and pairs beautifully with a simple salad of greens with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

You can sub out ingredients if you want. This just happens to be my favorite fritatta combo at the moment. You can also double this recipe if you have a big pan or even a baking dish.

The most important thing to keep in mind when making your own fritatta is to cook most ingredients in advance, especially those that you want to caramelize (like bacon or onions) or that have a high water content like tomatoes and bell peppers.

Ingredients
2 pieces of bacon (diced) (optional)
1 T. butter
½  onion
1 Red bell pepper
½ c. halved cherry tomatoes
½ c. basil leaves (finely sliced aka chiffonade)
1 T. thyme leaves (finely chopped)
1 c. fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs
¼ c. whole milk yogurt
Salt and pepper
½  c. cheddar cheese (diced)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°f.
  2. Butter a (approx. 8”) cast iron pan or baking dish.
  3. In another pan over medium heat cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp.
  4. Add the butter, onion, red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Cook until they soften, about five minutes.
  5. Add basil, thyme, spinach, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another minutes until greens are wilted. Take mixture off heat.
  6. In a bowl whisk eggs, yogurt and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour into buttered pan.
  7. Spoon bacon-veggie mix evenly over eggs.
  8. Sprinkle cheese evenly over eggs
  9. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the eggs are set when you jiggle the pan.
  10. Let cool before slicing and serving.
  11. Enjoy cold or warm.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner
-Enjoy cold or warm
-don’t be afraid to switch the ingredients up..
-in spring try pancetta, fresh peas, green onion and lavender
-in summer try mozzarella, basil and tomatoes
-in fall try maplewood smoked bacon, mushrooms and gruyere cheese
-in winter try spinach, goat cheese and caramelized onions

Rhubarb Coulis – The sauce of early summer

There is no question, rhubarb is my favorite fruit of early summer.  It begins raw and inedible, streaky red and green stalks that are usually in need of a good scrub when I lug them home, sticking this way and that out of the bag, already tart and sassy before I even get them home. All that’s needed is care and a bit of time, to coax out their bright flavor and luscious texture. With a bit of sugar to balance out their natural acidity, this humble fruit transcends to its full potential and is always the highlight of the season.

A few weeks ago my husband was making his famous Swedish pancakes for brunch. At the store I was looking for a jar of lingonberry jam (if only we lived near Ikea!) and couldn’t find any, so instead I picked up a few stalks of rhubarb. I ended up making this coulis and to everyone’s surprise, even the Swede in the group, it was a perfect match for the light and airy pancakes. The next day I served the left over coulis with some soft cheese and that awesome. The next morning, we drizzled it on plain greek yogurt for a delightful breakfast treat. I’m only sad we used it all up before I could spoon it on ice cream, but hey, I still have a little time before the rhubarb harvest is over.

A coulis is a French sauce, thick and velvety smooth, made with vegetables or fruit. I could have just cooked the rhubarb and not blended the mixture. This would have been called a compote. Enough cooking vocab, let’s get to the sauce of the season<3.

Ingredients
1.5# rhubarb (washed, trimmed and sliced)
1 c. sugar (granulated or raw)
2-4″ strip of orange peel (or lemon..or both<3)
1 c. water

Method
1.) Bring everything to a boil.
2.) Simmer for 20 minutes.
3.) Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep (just sit around like you’re making a cup of tea) for 30 minutes.
4.) Blend until smooth.
5.) Taste. If is tastes too sweet, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Component in Action
-drizzle over pancakes, french toast, crepes
-spoon over ice cream
-serve with goat and soft cheeses
-use to flavor your own yogurt
-use as a jam substitute (think toast & biscuits)
-make with other fruits too! blueberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches…

Hollandaise Sauce

For week #2 in our summer session I couldn’t resist. I mean, come on! Asparagus is popping up everywhere and is just begging to be the main attraction on the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

The pesky bugger of the brunch world is pesky no more. That’s right. Send out those brunch invitations because you are about to master hollandaise sauce in five minutes!

There is a beauty to the classical way of making this French sauce from Normandy. Thanks to my cooking school days, I still love to make things by hand like whipped cream. I use my biggest whisk and am always sweating by the time the cream has reached stiff peaks. I know I could use a mixer and have it done in a minute, but I like watching the cream slowly absorb the air and changing texture right before my eyes.

If you have the time, I don’t think a traditional method of making hollandaise is anything to be afraid of. It’s just one of those sauces that takes attention and a bit of elbow grease to make, two noble activities that almost always result in a satisfying and sometimes audible “yes!”

Lately I feel like I’ve been cooking while legos are flying over my head or transformers are sliding across the kitchen island so I’m all for a fool proof hollandaise I can make fast. The idea behind the sauce is simple: a luscious emulsification of egg yolks, butter (sometimes clarified), lemon (or vinegar). The most classical version includes a spiced vinegar reduction, a close sibling of Bearnaise sauce which includes peppercorn and tarragon, and is out of this world with a well cooked steak.

For this version I stick with lemon, straight up melted butter (as opposed to clarified) and a blender. Instead of being one of those recipes that “I’d love to make when I have the time”, this is a recipe you can whip up before your coffee is done brewing. Beautiful on eggs, vegetables or fish…and of course spooned over your favorite brunch Benedict.

Ingredients
2 egg yolks
2 T. (15 ml)  warm water
2 T. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 c. (113 g.) butter (melted + hot)
salt to taste

Method
1.) Put egg yolks, water, lemon juice and cayenne in a blender. Blend for around five seconds.
2.) If your blender has top with a vent, turn the blender on a medium speed and slowly drizzle in the melted butter into the egg mixture while the blender is running. You can also do this with an immersion blender.
3.) If your blender is an inverted bullet style blender, add the melted butter all at once and blend for 15-20 seconds until the sauce comes together and emulsifies.
4.) Pour sauce into a heat proof vessel like a pot or bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and keep somewhere warm. My favorite warm spot is a back stove burner that is not on, but picks up residual heat from the oven. OR, pre-heat a wide-mouthed, heat friendly thermos with (very) hot water for five minutes. Pour out the water and pour in the hollandaise. This will keep it perfectly warm until you’re ready to serve if you are using it within a couple of hours.

Component in Action
-pour over poached eggs
-once finished, add fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or chives and serve along side steak, chicken or fish
-drizzle over veggies like steamed asparagus or grilled tomatoes

Gingerbread Pancakes

This is our second holiday season in San Diego and while the weather is vacation worthy year round, I still miss the beautiful snowfalls of the Midwest. Lately I’ve been trying to make these December evenings as cozy as possible. As soon as the sun sets, or as my two year old likes to say, “look mama the night time is coming!”, I turn on some holiday music (my favorite is The Carpenters Christmas album), light the pinon scented incense and candles, and plug in the twinkle lights. I must say it’s working. By the time Saturday rolls around, we are so happy it’s the weekend. Hans is a loyal fan of Swedish pancakes (as any Swedish boy from Minnesota should be), but I couldn’t resist bringing a bit of gingerbread fluffyness to our weekend.

This recipe is from a little book called Cinnamon Mornings that I picked up one summer at the Printers Row Bookfair in Chicago. The book is a collection of breakfast & brunch recipes from B&B’s and Inns from around the country. This recipe is courtesy of the Hersey House in Ashland, Oregon. It also must be said, that Hans and I met just a mountain drive away from Ashland, Oregon, so for many reasons, this is now a breakfast keeper in our house.

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 c. molasses
2 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 T. butter, melted

Method

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  2. Combine molasses, milk and eggs in a bowl.
  3. Stir in melted butter to the egg mixture.
  4. Add molasses mixture to dry ingredients.
  5. Stir only until everything is combined.
  6. Cook on a hot griddle, using 1/4 c. batter for each pancake.

Component in Action

  • whipped cream
  • greek yogurt
  • pecans, walnut, almonds
  • real maple syrup
  • raisins
  • warm maple syrup with orange zest and/or vanilla bean
  • apple butter
  • spiced apples
  • granola