Category Archives: Brunch

Egg-in-a-hole-Avocado Toast

4 toasts 2
Egg-in-a-hole used to be one of my favourite meals as a child. I loved taking the little round piece of toast and poking it into the center of the egg, watching the runny golden yolk ooze out. I had completely forgotten about this egg dish until Tieghan Gerard, over at Half Baked Harvest, had the genius idea to turn it into a new way to eat avocado toast.

She topped hers with mashed avocado, corn, nectarines and feta cheese. We are not quite in nectarine season here, so I decided to roast some little cherry tomatoes with the corn. Mine got a topping of ricotta salata, basil and cilantro. A squirt of hot sauce or some pickled jalapeños would also be quite delicious if that’s more your jam. What you'll need

tomatoes and corn ready for roastingThe tomatoes and corn spend about 20 minutes in a hot oven, getting all golden brown and delicious. This gives you time to mash the avocados and make the egg-in-a-hole toasts.avoeggs in hole2 toasts 1This is comfort food at its finest. It would make a beautiful brunch, but I love it best for dinner. There is something a little bit indulgent about having breakfast for dinner. 1 toast

Click here to print recipe for Egg-in-hole Avocado Toast.

1 toast yolk broken 1 625 sq

Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach

with tea 2 dpiAccording to my sister Bo, if I post any more of Melissa Clark‘s recipes I will be veering dangerously close into stalker territory. We both have a bit of a girl crush on Melissa. She is pretty awesome. To date, I have posted 9 of her recipes on my blog. I think that 10 is the line I must not cross or the restraining order will be shortly forthcoming.

Not to worry Melissa, I have a new girl crush. Her name is Mindy Segal. Although her book, Cookie Love, was released in 2015, for some reason, I just discovered it last month. Which, for a cookie fanatic like me, is kind of surprising. Mindy has turned the cookie world on it’s ear, taking the classics and updating them into fun and most decidedly delicious little bites.

Deciding which cookie to bake first, from this gem of a book, was not easy. As you can see, I have bookmarked lots.cookie loveThis is not a book for those looking for simple mix and scoop cookies. Many of the recipes in this book involve multiple steps and several “mini recipes” within a recipe. If that sort of thing bugs you, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking to up your cookie game, and enjoy spending time in the kitchen, creating little master pieces, then look no further, you have found your guru.

I decided to start with her cinnamon brickle rugelach. Rugelach, for the uninitiated, are a small Jewish pastry, of Eastern European origin. You can learn more about the history of rugelach in this post.

For these cookies you need to make a cream cheese dough, cinnamon nut brickle, and caramel sauce. All three of these components can be done several days ahead and you can assemble and bake the rugelach on another day if you like.

I started with the caramel sauce. Mindy’s recipe makes a generous 4 cups, and you really only need about 1/4 of this amount for the rugelach. But the caramel sauce keeps in the fridge for 6 months and it’s always a good idea to have some caramel sauce around in case of emergency.  I don’t know about your emergencies, but some of mine can be resolved with a spoonful of salted caramel sauce. You can of course buy caramel sauce in a jar, but please don’t. Homemade is so much better. caramel sauceWhile the caramel sauce is cooling, make the cream cheese dough.cream cheese doughcutting circleThis is a supple dough, easy to roll, with no cracking. Mindy suggests you roll it into a rectangle and then cut it into triangles. I read her instructions for doing this 3 times and could not figure it out. Geometry was never my strong suit. I decided to form mine into a circle, and used a 13 inch round plate to make my circle perfect, because that’s how we roll around here.

The dough needs to chill for about 30 minutes before you can make the rugelach, so go on to the cinnamon nut brickle. Brickle refers to something with little elasticity; hence it is easily cracked or fractured or snapped. Does anyone else remember Butter Brickle Ice Cream from their childhood? My mom used to buy the “light” version and we’d end up eating twice as much.

We’re essentially making nut toffee here. Butter, sugar and cinnamon are heated until melted. Mixed salted nuts are coated in this concoction and then tipped out onto a baking sheet to harden.nut brickleThen get out the food processor and make some noise. There will be leftover brickle after forming your rugelach. It will keep for over a month, and is excellent on yogurt or ice cream, in case of another emergency.chopped brickleNow for some fun.

 

I altered Mindy’s recipe slightly, using less caramel sauce and less brickle than she does. spreading caramel saucesprinkling brickleA pastry wheel or pizza cutter make quick work of forming the wedges. You could also use a sharp knife. cutting rugelachrolling rugelachMake sure you brush with beaten egg whites so that the cinnamon sugar will stick. Mindy topped her rugelach with more brickle, but I found that most of it just fell off and burned on the baking sheet, so I left that step out. I did however, sprinkle them lightly with flaked sea salt (Maldon), before baking. The salt really balances out the sweetness of the caramel sauce and brickle filling. ready for bakingThe rugelach will ooze quite a bit of their filling so don’t be alarmed. Those little pools of ooze will harden into a delicious toffee. Keep a ring of the toffee around each rugelach for a more delicious treat. caramel oozing on baking sheet

Click here to print recipe for Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach.

with tea 1one rugelach

 

 

 

Rhubarb Upside-down Cake

3 slicesHappy Mother’s Day! I fully intended to post about this cake last week so you would have ample time to plan ahead and make this cake for your mom. But unfortunately, the ultimate mother (Mother Nature), did not cooperate. Local rhubarb only showed up at my market yesterdayfresh rhubarbThe hardest part about making this cake is arranging the rhubarb in this gorgeous chevron pattern. I have been going through a chevron phase for a few years now and I’m still not tired of it. I alternated the rows, cut side up and cut side down, for an ombre effect. Rhubarb Cable Knitbaked 1It really links like a chunky cable knit sweater! Sadly, with my poor fine motor skills, this is as close to knitting that I am ever likely to get. Arranging the rhubarb is really not that difficult to do. It just takes some planning, patience and precision. If that’s not for you, feel free to slice the rhubarb into 1/2 inch thick pieces and just scatter them on the bottom of the pan.

I created this video to walk you through the process.

If you were one of those kids that excelled at Leggo and puzzles, this will be a piece of cake for you. Once you get the main chevron pieces in place, you need to go back and fill in the top and bottom gaps with little wedges of rhubarb. For the record, I am spatially challenged, so if I can do it, anyone can. spooning batter Raw rhubarb is quite astringent, not to mention tough and fibrous. But blanket it with butter and brown sugar and it just it melts into silkiness in the oven.  The sour cream in the batter makes for a super moist cake.

Click here to print recipe for Rhubarb Upside-down Cake.

ready to serve 1

one slice

 

 

Asparagus Ricotta Galette

BakedOnce local asparagus shows up, you know that flip flops and a chilled glass of rosé can’t be too far behind. This tart is a splendid way to showcase asparagus, Post-Asparagus Stinky-Urine Disorder, be damned.one sliceMild, milky ricotta is the ideal partner for asparagus. They complement each other perfectly. Ricotta can be a bit bland, so I added  lemon zest, lemon juice and red pepper flakes to ramp up the flavour. Some grated Gruyere cheese and a beaten egg add some heft to the filling.

For the dough, I decided to use Kim Boyce’s Rustic Rye Dough, from her book Good to the Grain. The hearty rye dough stands up quite well against asparagus’ strong flavour.

This dough takes a bit of time and needs several hours to chill. If you don’t have the time or the inclination, I think that this tart would still be very delicious using my go-to simple Galette Dough.making rye dough 1Rye flour, all purpose flour sugar and salt are sifted. Cold butter is worked in with your hands. Ice water and cider vinegar bring it all together.making rye dough 2Once the dough comes together, let it rest in the fridge for about an hour, then roll it into a rectangle, and fold the rectangle into thirds, like a letter. This is similar to the process of making puff pastry. The dough gets rolled and folded two more times and is then chilled for an additional hour. You can make the dough and the filling components a day ahead and then just assemble and bake before you are ready to eat. making rye dough 3making rye dough 4I decided to roll the dough into a rectangular shaped tart, but feel free to to roll it into a circle. I have a strong aesthetic sense and I prefer the linear way the asparagus line up in a rectangular tart.

To punch up the flavour profile even more, I spread the tart with a pistachio pesto (recipe from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Cook.)  Whole grain dijon mustard or a jarred basil pesto would  be good substitutes.Spreading pistachio pestoSpreading ricotta fillingThe border of the tart just gets folded over the filling. No need to be too precise or precious about it. It’s supposed to be rustic. galette ready for ovengalette cut upThis would be great as a light lunch or dinner, or cut up into smaller squares and served for aperitivo with a freezing cold glass of Prosecco, on the dock. (I have big plans for this tart!)3 plates

Click here to print recipe for Aspsaragus and Ricotta Galette.

Click here to print recipe for Rustic Rye Dough or here to print recipe for Galette Dough.

galette with a glass of wine

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.