Archive for the Category ◊ Breakfast & Brunch ◊

08 Jun 2012 Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Spiced Maple Syrup

Love blueberries! Love cornmeal! So when I saw this recipe (having bought blueberries just yesterday and forgetting why), I jumped up from my chair (well…, not exactly “jumped”) to make an impromptu special breakfast since it was my son’s one day off this week. And he was HOME. And he was UP!  What an opportunity!!  I saw this recipe on Pinterest,  pinned from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures and she got it from Fine Cooking.  Fine Cooking has published the recipe in their “Big Buy Cookbook“.  Long pedigree, I know, and it’s a keeper.

This recipe makes a lot of batter.  I am not even half way through it and I’m full, my son is full, my grandson is full, my daughter is full, and my daughter’s guest and her two kids are full!  Make ’em and freeze ’em, I say! Or mix up the dry ingredients, divide into three parts, and make one part now with 1 egg and 1/3 of the rest of the liquid ingredients.  Save the rest of the dry ingredients in an airtight container until needed. If you don’t have buttermilk substitute milk stirred with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes, or use buttermilk powder (add the powder into the flour then add an amount of milk or water equal to that of the buttermilk in with the liquid ingredients.  If you do use buttermilk, and you have some leftover, remember that you can freeze buttermilk so you have some on hand next time.

Tracy didn’t make the Spiced Maple Butter,  I don’t know why, but I quite enjoyed it!  If you make it, taste it.  As written, the butter is very, very lightly spiced. Not a tinge of heat.  Next time I would up the spices a bit, maybe using 1/2  teaspoon chili powder ( or 1/4 tsp cayenne).  I can’t believe I am saying this!  My taste buds must be changing.  I really am (or used to be, I guess) a pepper wimp.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

  • 1 3/4 cups (7 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I was tempted to add more, I like sweet, but I am glad I didn’t)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used about 1/4 cup more, I like a thinner batter)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (all out!  How can I be out of oil?  Substituted melted butter)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (was tempted to add some grated lemon zest, too)
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  1. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and gently whisk just until combined.  The batter should be a bit lumpy.
  2. Heat the frying pan, reduce the heat to medium, and then add 1 teaspoon of oil or butter.  Once the oil/butter is hot, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides.
  3. Use a 1/3-1/2  cup measure to portion the batter into the hot pan.
  4. Sprinkle some blueberries over the surface of the pancake (do this evenly so every bite has at least one blueberry!).
  5. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and the bottom browned, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 more minutes.  If not serving immediately, transfer the cooked pancakes to a wire rack in a preheated 200 degree oven.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
  7. Makes about 15 pancakes 1/3 cup pancakes.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and/or more blueberries or this fabulous topping…

Lightly Spiced  Maple Syrup

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup/1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Stir the chili powder and cinnamon into the butter.  Add the maple syrup and heat in microwave until you have a beautiful, pourable syrup.  Pour a little over your pancake. YUM.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen this morning 🙂  I hope I got this recipe to you in time for weekend pancakes!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

18 Mar 2012 Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

I’m pretty sure this recipe will make my Top Ten list for 2012.  It’s certainly the best recipe I’ve come across so far this year–and the one that has gotten me back into the business of blogging, which was no small feat. This is a delicious make ahead special occasion breakfast/brunch dish.  Keep it in mind for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduations, as well as anytime you have overnight or early morning guests.

My friend Karin made this at our Cookbook Club’s Snow Holiday.  I ate it the morning she made it, and had it again for the following three mornings! Loved it.

Karin learned to make  this from her cousin in Germany who had made it for an Aunt’s milestone birthday celebration. The original recipe is full of German words, quantities stated in grams, and a few ingredients mentioned in the directions but not in the ingredient list, but we’ve fixed that for you. Truthfully, both Karin and I wouldn’t have made this if we hadn’t eaten it before reading the recipe.  Cream cheese and eggs never appealed to me, and neither did the thought of eating cold omlette. Just overlook those things!  Be smarter than we would have been. This recipe is a winner. Don’t hesitate to make it. Remember to plan ahead;  make, assemble and roll this the night before your special occasion.

Since I ate this for four days, I know it stays fresh and delicious for at least that long, but I probably wouldn’t push it  much longer than that.

I know this is thinking a bit far ahead, but wouldn’t the green spinach, the “red” salmon, and the make-ahead-ability make this perfect for Christmas morning?   Salmon Spinach Breakfast Roll

  •  approx. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced (can substitute some finely diced and sauteed onion or shallots)
  • 6 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz shredded swiss or gruyere cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese with herbs, divided use, at room temperature (don’t even be tempted to try to make this with cold cream cheese)
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced lox-style salmon
  • Bagels, toast, or mixed greens, to serve
  • a few teaspoons of capers, optional, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with Pam or spread with butter.
  3. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese onto the parchment paper.
  4. Beat 4 oz of the softened cream cheese and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the chopped spinach, sliced green onions,  the Swiss or Gruyere cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well. (It will probably look like you have used  too much spinach, but it’s OK. The spinach will reduce significantly when cooked.)
  5. Pour egg mixture carefully over the Parmesan cheese onto the parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake  at  375 degrees F.  for 10 min.
  6. Remove cooked eggs from oven. Let cool in pan.
  7. When cool, flip omlette over and onto a long piece of plastic wrap.  Remove parchment paper.
  8.  Spread remaining softened cream cheese on top of eggs.  Lay thinly sliced smoked salmon over the cream cheese, covering the entire omlette.
  9. Roll egg-cheese-salmon omlette tightly in plastic wrap–you can roll from either end, making a bigger spiral serving fewer people or a small spiral serving more people with lighter appetites– and place in refrigerator overnight (at least 8  hours).
  10. Remove roll from refrigerator about an hour before serving (just to remove the chill). Slice, arrange on platter (sprinkle with capers, if desired) and serve. (The first day we put this on lightly toasted bagel halves, the following days on slices of sourdough toast. Can we also served on a bed of greens as a light salad.)

THANKS for stopping by my kitchen today.  Aren’t you glad there was a new recipe posted?  Me, too! I hope there’s another one tomorrow…or the next day.

 

 

17 Oct 2011 Brown Bag Popcorn

I have been meaning to post this for ages.  It’s so simple.  It’s so easy. It’s so GREAT.  Listen, there is no need to buy any more packages of oily microwave popcorn!  REALLY!  Save money. Save calories. Reduce waste. Skip the preservatives.

Those big time popcorn companies really pulled one over on us.  You don’t need thier fancy box,  their fancy bag, their celephane overlay, their oil (or any oil at all), to pop popcorn in the microwave.  You just need one plain brown lunch bag (approx 10.5 inches x 5.5 inches), 1/3 cup of popcorn, and 1 microwave, and 2 minutes on the timer.  DONE! It’s like….a miracle!

Why did I post this recipe now?  Because a Pumpkin Spice Coffee (my previous post) a fresh bowl of popcorn, and reality TV  is just about the perfect way to enjoy a bit of fall R&R. Project Runway hails on Thursday.  Brew the decaf.  Pop the corn.  Slippers.  Snuggle quilt. It’s gonna be a good, good night!

Brown Bag Popcorn

1/3 cup popcorn kernels (no more, no less)

1 brown lunch bag

1 tablespoon melted butter, if desired

pinch of salt (to taste), if desired

Pour the measured 1/3 cup popcorn kernels into the brown bag.  Fold the top of the brown bag down at least twice, just so the bag fits into the microwave and is able to turn.  Set the timer for 2 minutes.  POPCORN!  IF desired, drizzle the freshly popped popcorn with 1 tablespoon butter and a pinch of salt.  Shake in the bag to combine.  Then pour into a bowl and enjoy.  Serves one or two.

Just a few notes…there will be some unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bag.  Look for them, and then don’t pour them into the serving bowl!  Measure the popcorn!  If you get too much popcorn in the bag the bag could burst.  If you put in too little, the popcorn could start to burn.  Gray popcorn does not taste good.

My grandson likes popcorn for breakfast. I think it's a lot better for him than highly processed, often highly sugared, always full of preservatives boxed cereal.

It’s so SIMPLE!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope there are many bowls of freshly popped popcorn in your future.

 

 

08 Oct 2011 Quesadilla Pie

Looking for something new for lunch? I have the perfect thing!  This lunch has to be baked, so it’s a great fall-winter recipe.  I found it at Simply Recipes awhile back .  Finding this recipe was a paradigm shift in lunches around here.

For me now it’s not so much a recipe, but a method.  I did make some changes to the recipe though,  mainly around baking time.  I don’t know why they cook their pie so long, the pie would be cracker crispy if baked for as long as they specify. Still, it would be good to go to the site, there are some good layering photos posted.

The only two ingredients needed for this pie are cheese and flour tortillas.  Everything else is up to you, what you like, and what you have on hand! (see the ingredient suggestion list).  Do you see the paradigm shift potential here?  It’s kind of like learning to make an omelet, or a sandwich, and realizing there are no limits to what you can do, every omelet could be different, every sandwich could be different, just every Quesadilla Pie can be different.

Yes. every time I make Quesadilla pie, it’s different, and every time I make it, it’s good. Sometimes it has three layers, other times five layers. Some times it’s all veggie-most of the time actually, and sometimes it’s a carnivore’s delight. The pie I have pictured here has a layer of spinach and cheese, a layer of fresh tomatoes (juiced, seeded, and chopped) and cheese, a layer of fresh spinach (no need to precook) and cheese, a layer of sauteed onions and zucchini and cheese, and a layer of corn and cheese. That’s five layers, and six tortillas.

Quesadilla Pie

  • 4 or 5 or 6 plate sized flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter), depending on how many layers you want your pie to have!
  • A bit of butter (not optional)
  • Approx. 1/2 pound grated cheese-one kind, or a mixture based on what you have on hand, (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella are really good.  I usually blend a variety of cheeses-whatever I have in the refrigerator, and always add some Mozzarella (I like it’s “stringy” qualities!).  A bit of cheddar is OK when mixed in with other cheeses, but I find a lot cheddar results in an oily, soggy dish.  A pre-packaged, pre-shredded “Mexican Blend”  could be used, too.)
  • Choice of filling ingredients: (Each layer should have cheese plus one, maybe two, filling    ingredients. Don’t make each layer the same!)
  • fresh  spinach leaves; tomatoes, juiced, seeded and chopped (otherwise they make the tortilla soggy); sliced olives; sautéed/cooked zucchini; any leftover cooked veggie, diced (I’ve added broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato…); chopped and sautéed/cooked onions (yellow or red onions); chopped green onions; cooked mushrooms (if not sautéed first, they make the tortilla soggy); leftover cooked and cubed or shredded chicken, beef/steak, pork, sausage, bacon; cooked or canned green chiles; canned or cooked beans (black beans, pinto beans, pinquitos); fresh or frozen corn
  • Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a pie plate or quiche dish, (pie plate or quiche dish should be approximately the same size as your tortillas). Do not skip the butter.
  3. Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. Use a generous portion of cheese. Add your chosen filling ingredient to this layer. If you want, sprinkle some cumin or chili powder on top for a spicier pie (probably  not necessary if you are using Pepper Jack and/or chilies).
  4. Repeat: tortilla, generous sprinkling of cheese, a chosen filling ingredient, and a sprinkle of optional cumin or chili powder. Make three or four layers, all stacked on top of each other.
  5. Butter the top of the final tortilla and place on top of your “pie”, buttered side up.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  7. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and increase the heat to 375°F. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the top tortilla is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Cut into slices.  This pie is finger food (once it cools off a bit!).  It’s actually a bit difficult to eat with just a fork.
  11. Serves 2, 3, or 4 persons–depending on appetites and possible side dishes. We just eat, as-is, for lunch.
  12. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado, if desired.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope  you and this recipe for Quesadilla Pie enjoy many happy years together!


17 Aug 2011 Overnight Blueberry French Toast

My elder daughter, Hannah, found blueberries on sale at Safeway this week: four pounds for five dollars! After she posted the “find” on her facebook page I had to go out and get some… But WHAT am I going to do with four pounds of blueberries?!? Hannah made a Fresh Blueberry Pie  (one of our family’s favorites),  and I decided to try this recipe for Blueberry French Toast since it’s been in  my “To Try” file for ages.

I fell in love with overnight casseroles a few years ago.  I probably have overnight guests more than most, so I have quite an array of breakfast recipes, but I’ve gotten lazy.  Although I am usually up earlier than my guests, I’d just rather not rush to pull a breakfast together. I like to get up, make myself a latte, and enjoy some peace and quiet with the newspaper and the Internet –while in my jammies– before facing a busy day ahead.  Overnight casseroles are one of my secret weapons to maintaining my slow-and-easy morning routines, yet still provide a nice breakfast for my guests.

This breakfast casserole is really more of a cross between a bread pudding and french toast.  It’s not very sweet,  so you can douse it with powdered sugar or maple syrup. But with only two eggs, it’s not very egg-y or french toast-y.   And in spite of all that cream cheese, it’s not very cream cheese-y, either!  It is nice though; warm, full of juicy blueberries with just a hint of cream cheese and a hint of egg.  A side of bacon or sausage could be a nice salty, crispy counterpoint.  I think it’s best with enjoyed with some newly awakened house guests, a second latte, and a fun chat about the plans for the day.

Blueberry French Toast

  • 1 lb. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, but that seemed a bit too much for me)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 10 slices of good quality french bread, sliced about 3/4 inch thick, if possible
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Maple syrup or powdered sugar, to serve

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese sugar and vanilla together until smooth.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Slowly beat in the milk.

Cut the slices of french bread into cubes and spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the cubed bread.

Pour the cheese-milk-egg mixture on top of the bread and the blueberries.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove casserole from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown (perhaps 5 minutes longer if casserole was still cold from the refrigerator when it went into the oven).

Serve with maple syrup and/or powdered sugar.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  If you still have blueberries leftover, be sure to make some Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins , which are one of  my top three favorite muffin recipes. Ohhh, and I’ll have to post the recipe for a Blueberry-Lemon Pavlova, too…!

16 Jun 2011 Gravlax (sort of like Lox)

A few weeks ago my Aunt and I went on a seven day cruise to Alaska.  I spent most of the time reading while  looking out to sea and waiting for the next meal to be served, usually just a couple hour wait! It’s quite decadent to eat four multi-course meals a day (breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner) all chosen off a menu, all served by waiters, while sitting at tables set with linen, too much  silverware, and many glasses.  And after all that, the biggest thrill yet awaits.  The getting up from the table, without removing a plate, and walking out the door, with not one thought about cleaning up or storing leftovers.  Now THAT, was lovely.  I wouldn’t be opposed to a fourteen day cruise next year!!!

As on most cruises, the Head Chef did a little demonstration for those of us who like to cook in real life (being on board ship is by no means real life). The Head Chef of The Dawn Princess showed us how to make Gravlax and Tiramisu. Tiramisu I can take or leave, and I usually leave, which is very odd since I am a cake person to rival Gayle King, and a coffee person to rival Howard Shultz but, hand me a raw fish and I get all giddy!  I took lots of notes during the Gravlax portion of the demonstration.  When I got back on land, I knew I was going to make  Gravlax for our Cook Book Club meeting.  The theme was “Something You Love But Seldom Make”.  This recipe fit perfectly, as I love it, but had never made it.  Gravlax is one simple recipe, and it’s a stunning appetizer plate or brunch treat.

I know some of you are asking, but what is Gravlax? Think Lox!  It’s very similar, but with a shorter curing time (two days versus six months). Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish of dry-cured raw salmon marinated in salt, sugar, dill, and citrus and often served thinly sliced on bread as an appetizer often accompanied by a dill-mustard sauce.

Dawn Princess Gravlax

  • 1 salmon fillet, about 2 lbs (very fresh, wild caught)
  • 500 grams of table salt (I weighed this out to be about ¾ cup)
  • 500 grams of sugar (I weighed this out to be about 1 ¼ cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One bunch fresh dill
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  1. Place the salmon side on a large piece of plastic wrap. Run your hand over the surface and remove any and all bones with small tweezers.
  2. Mix the salt and sugar together. Sprinkle approximately half of the salt/sugar mixture over the salmon fillet. Then top with a good amount of  freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Top the black pepper with a heavy layer of fresh dill sprigs.
  4. Top the dill with a layer of the orange and lemon slices.
  5. Pour remaining sugar-salt mixture over the top of everything.
  6. Wrap the fish, covered with the salt, the dill, and the orange and lemon slices and a final layer of salt/sugar, completely and tightly in plastic wrap.
  7. Lay plastic wrapped fillet on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30-48 hours.  (80% of the recipes I read on the Internet said to weigh the fish down with something heavy during the refrigeration time. The chef did not say this, but after reading the recipes on line, I decided to do the same.  I used a 12-pack of soda.)
  8. Remove the plastic wrap from the fish. Drain off the liquid. Quickly rinse the salt off with cold water, then dry with a paper towel.
  9. Thinly slice the salmon, holding the knife at a diagonal.  Serve.  The chef served the gravlax on a sliced sweet baguette with a honey-mustard-dill sauce (equal parts of honey and mustard, with a few tablespoons chopped fresh dill).  My kids, and I, love to put the Gravlax on top of  bagel halves which have been spread with thin layer of cream cheese and then topped with thinly sliced red onion, capers, and tomatoes. Or how about Eggs Benedict with Gravlax rather than Canadian Bacon?
  10. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for one week in refrigerator, and can be stored in freezer for longer storage.  If gravlax is frozen, be sure to defrost gently in refrigerator, or the texture of the gravlax will be compromised.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you’d like to see more recipes, just click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” header on the top left hand side of the page, which will allow you to scroll the recipes in order of posting.  If you would like to search on a particular ingredient, just type the name in the search box.  I think my dear friend Rattie has designed a very user friendly website!

Polly