Category Archives: Breakfast

E.A.T. Breakfast Sandwiches

breakfast is ready 1This started out as a post about biscuits. Specifically, the amazing biscuits from Biscuit Love, the beloved Nashville brunch hot spot. I had breakfast there last year. Their lofty flaky biscuits, slathered with butter and sorghum syrup were one of the highlights of my visit. Biscuits were added to my must blog about list.

I found their recipe online and read through it very carefully. It’s an unconventional recipe as it uses yeast as a leavening agent. Most traditional Southern biscuits rely on baking soda and/or baking powder. The other unusual ingredient was melted butter. Every other biscuit recipe I have read uses very cold, sometimes frozen butter. The theory behind cold butter is that, when the biscuits hit the oven, the butter begins to melt, causing steam, which contributes to flakiness. This recipe ran contrary to everything I knew about biscuit baking.

I took a leap of faith, mixed up the dough and baked a batch. I split a warm one open, buttered it and took a bite. It was good, but nowhere near as flaky and delicious as I remembered. These were not the biscuits of my dreams. Clearly some more research is needed here before I pass the knowledge onto you.

I decided to turn these passable biscuits into something really special. I created the E.A.T. breakfast sandwich featuring  Egg, Avocado and Tomato. I had some halloumi cheese in the fridge and fried some of that up as well, for a salty, cheesy layer.

I sliced up some pretty heirloom tomatoes, salted them well and drizzled them with olive oil. tomatoes and avocadoesI decided to mash up the avocados to give the sandwich a creamy base. A bit of lime juice, olive oil, salt and some red pepper flakes were added to the mash. Fried halloumi cheese and some fried eggs added the final two layers.ready to assemble

I took an adequate biscuit and turned it into a spectacular breakfast.

I did a bit of research and discovered that Biscuit Love makes 3 kinds of biscuits. The yeast raised ones that I made (also known as Angel biscuits) are what they use for their biscuit sandwiches. They also make a beaten biscuit, which are tiny and firmer, more like soda crackers. And finally, they make a traditional drop biscuit, which is what I must have been  served with butter and sorghum syrup. Those were the lofty flaky biscuits of my dreams. The quest is on to reproduce these biscuits. I’ll be back with something soon, I promise.

In the meantime, feel free to use store bought biscuits, english muffins or even some great bagels for this sandwich.

Click here to print recipe for E.A.T. Breakfast Sandwiches.

 

Mexican Frittata

cooled and ready to cutI struggled with what to call this dish. To give you a better idea of what I created, try to imagine if Shakshuka and Nachos were to hook up. This dish would be their love child.

I first had Shakshuka a few years ago in Israel. It is essentially eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. My husband loved it and kept asking me to recreate it at home. While I loved the classic rendition, I couldn’t resist tampering with it. Ingredients for sauceI began with the usual base for a Shakshuka sauce; canned tomatoes, onions, garlic and sweet peppers. I took a page from Mexican sauces and added a few dried chile peppers. I used an ancho and a guajillo pepper. Dried peppers add a depth of flavour you just can’t get from chile powder. Here is a great primer if you want to learn more about cooking with dried peppers. Many of the more popular dried peppers are not that spicy, so don’t be afraid. I added corn to my sauce because corn makes everything better.cheesesI knew that I wanted to top the dish with cheese, because, Nachos need cheese. I settled on a mix of cheddar, Monterey Jack and Queso Fresco, a mild cow’s milk cheese. If you can’t find it, Ricotta Salata would be a good substitute, or just use extra cheddar and Monterey Jack.

Rather than fooling with poached or fried eggs, I decided to make it easy and use scrambled eggs. Inspired by matzoh brei (fried matzoh), I briefly mixed the tortilla chips with the eggs, before pouring them over the tomato sauce. I added some chopped pickled jalapeños to the eggs for a bright bit of heat. ready for oveneggs and tortillasready to assembleready for ovenI served it with black beans, salsa and sour cream. Diced avocados or some guacamole would also be very welcome at this fiesta. ready to eat

Click here to print recipe for Mexican Frittata.

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Breakfast Pizza

cutting-leek-pizzaI blame my addiction to online shopping on my late paternal grandmother, my Bubbe. I grew up in Toronto, but she lived in Philadelphia. At least twice a years would send us her special poppy seed cookies. She always packaged them in a shoe box for mailing. I was conditioned to anticipate the arrival of apparel boxes at a very early age. It’s not my fault.

If you think about it, online shopping is really just the evolution of 20th Century catalogue shopping. If you are Canadian and of a certain age, you will remember The Eaton’s Catalogue. As a child, I spent many happy hours lusting after Barbie clothes and accessories. Not much has changed.

I recently discovered an unexpected bonus of online shopping. With my Amazon Prime subscription, I have access to Amazon TV. While making these breakfast pizzas, I began binge watching Good Girls Revolt. I had been feeling a bit lost after finishing Downton Abbey, and this series is filling the void.

Feel free to use store-bought pizza dough, or make your own. I am a big fan of Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough. All you do it mix flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Cover it and let is sit overnight until it becomes all bubbly. I have included the recipe for it at the end of this post.

My breakfast pizzas were inspired by an episode on Cook’s Country

The first one I created starts with a ricotta and feta base and is topped with nests of sautéed leeks cradling golden eggs.leek-pizza-mise-en-placespreading-ricottapouring-egg-into-leek-nestEach bite delivers a perfect combination of texture and taste; crispy, bubbly crust, creamy ricotta, gooey mozzarella, tangy Gruyere and golden brown caramelized leeks.  Topping this pizza off with eggs may seem like excess, but trust me, when your fork breaks the sunny yolk, and you drag the crust through that golden eggy goodness, you will thank me. slice-of-leek-pizzaMy second breakfast pizza is Southwestern, featuring tomatoes, corn, jalapeño, avocado and cilantro.tomato-nestsThinly sliced grape tomatoes form the nests to hold the eggs. pouring-egg-into-tomato-nestThe avocado and cilantro are added after cooking. tomato-avocado-pizza-sliced

 

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Click here to print recipe for Ricotta-and-Leek-Breakfast-Pizza.

Click here to print recipe for Tomato-and-Avocado-Breakfast-Pizzas.

Click here to print recipe for Jim-Laheys-No-Knead-Pizza-Dough.

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Apple Custard Cake

sliced-cakeI have a recipe for an apple caramel cake that is outstanding. But some occasions (maybe breakfast if you’re my husband) call for a simpler cake. This cake is perfect for those times. This is a dense cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I mean dense in the best possible sense. This is yellow cake at it’s finest. Owing to butter, eggs, whole milk and sour cream it has a compact velvety texture.

My dad would have described this cake as plain. And he would have meant it as a great compliment. He liked subtle flavours, nothing too sweet, ornate or fancy. The inspiration for this cake comes from Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook. Sarabeth knows good breakfast!

The first tweak I made to the original recipe was to toast the sugar. Stella Parks over at Serious Eats convinced me to give it a try. The bottom line is that toasting sugar in the oven tames sugar’s sweetness and the longer you toast it, the more intense the caramel flavour will be. Check out her article if food science is your jam.

I toasted my sugar for about 2 1/2 hours. The toasted sugar is on the right. I tasted both, side by side and did find that the toasted sugar tasted less sweet. You can toast 4 pounds at one time and it will keep forever, just like white sugar. toasted-sugarStart with a 9 inch tube pan (also called an angel food cake pan). Butter and flour the pan very well.brushing-panI made this cake twice last week. The first time I made it, I found it too plain. (Sorry dad!). On the second go-round I added an additional layer of apples and coated the apple slices in cinnamon-sugar.

Half the batter goes into the pan. Smooth it out.smoothing-batterI used the first Honeycrisp apples of the fall season! Pink Lady or Granny Smith would also be great choices.slicing-applesTop batter with cinnamon apples.arranging-applesRepeat with a second layer of batter and cinnamon apples. Then drizzle with custard mixture.drizzling-custardResist the urge to turn the cake out of the pan until it has completely cooled. Your patience will be handsomely rewarded. 3-slicesThe ribbon of cinnamon coated apples that runs through the center of this cake is quite beautiful.one-slice-1

Click here to print recipe for Apple-Custard-Cake.

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Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage Hash

brunch for 2Although I write a food blog, I seem to struggle when it comes to deciding what to make when I have company for brunch. Smoked Salmon, cream cheese and bagels (unless I bake my own), feels like I phoned it in. Just not enough effort. Sort of like serving jarred salsa and bagged tortilla chips when friends come over. Pancakes and waffles are a challenge because they really are best served as soon as they are made and I don’t love cooking when I have people over. I prefer to have as much done in advance if possible. Plus, so many people are avoiding gluten and/or carbs these days.

My go-to brunch standard is a fritatta. My favourite is studded with sautéed leeks, cauliflower, corn and Gruyere cheese. It can be made ahead of time and is delicious served warm or at room temperature. But I get easily bored with food and always want to try something new.

Clinton Kelly made a variation of this hash on The Chew a few weeks ago. It seemed like a perfect brunch dish. He used ready made chicken sausage, but I keep Kosher, and couldn’t find any at my butcher. I decided to make my own. Since I wasn’t putting  the sausage in casing, it really is quite simple to do. It’s just a matter of picking the right seasonings.making sausageI decided to use ground turkey and seasoned it with paprika, fennel seed, allspice, salt and red pepper flakes. Ground turkey tends to be dry, so to add moisture, without adding extra fat, I added some finely grated apple and onion. I learned that trick from Rachel Ray.

Once the ground turkey is browned up, it’s time to make hash. I used a combo of sweet potatoes and Yukon golds. I added some corn, sweet red peppers, and jalapeños for a bit of zing. ready to make hashOnce all the veggies are cooked, the ground turkey is mixed in and it’s time to add the eggs. before baking12 minutes in a hot oven and brunch is ready. A big (12 inch) cast iron skillet is perfect for this dish, but any large skillet will work. It can be brought right to the table and served from the pan.hash for 4brunch for 1 625 sqIf you want to get really cute, make the hash in a big pan, and then transfer it to 4 mini cast iron pans. Top each with an egg and bake. Serve each person their own little pan. I found the mini pans at World Market for $7.99 each. I couldn’t resist. hash in mini pan 625 sq

 

Click here to print recipe for Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage Hash.