All posts filed under: Brunch

English Seed Cake

Looking back, I guess the cake all started as a way to get the four of us to sit still while she read. During the summer break, Jane would spend an hour,  one afternoon a week,  reading to us. In part, to keep the house from being destroyed as we moved play inside to avoid the heat when afternoon summer temps arched to sweltering highs… but, more over to guide our reading interests to more adult literature. That summer in particular, she read The Hobbit.. As you know, the stories are full of multiple meals, Elevensies, teas, cakes and the such. As a way of getting us in the mood she researched a seed cake made with caraway (a typical tea cake). We noshed on it as they left the Shire and headed on their adventure. Truth be told, I never really cared for it. Caraway seeds in cake just never translated to delicious for me. Jane however, loved it and made it long after the story concluded and we moved on to more contemporary adventures. With the success …

Bread Whore ~ The Modern English Muffin

The other week, out of the blue, Jane says, “I’ve been trying to think what this thing is called…” “What thing..” “Breakfasty, brunchy kind of thing” “What’s in it” Poached eggs and an English muffin…” “Oh, it’s an Eggs Benedict.” She thanked me – obviously it had been nagging at her head for days. A couple of days later…. a repeat of the initial Q & A. Then, last week… “What’s that thing again?” “Eggs Benedict… Do you want one?” “Well… yes. If it’s not a lot of trouble.” Trouble… considering the hoops I have to jump through navigating Jane’s growing food allergies, something like an eggy thing shouldn’t be very high up on the difficulty list. However, all English Muffins contain either soy… or unsafe dairy… or an unrecognizable oil… or a combination of all three. So, getting to the Benedict was going to take some work. Trouble… I poked around several recipes.  There are ones that sound and look like thick, doughy pancakes. There are a couple that have you making your own starter – …

Taste of Summer – Jamaican Banana Bread

I think my parents kept the Time/Life publishing company in business. For a period of time, Dad would buy every box set of music they came out with. And Jane, well it was cookbooks, of course. Not that there was anything wrong with that. From the International Series, that was a little geographic lesson, a cultural sneak peek, and a cookbook rolled into a neatly packaged compendium (complete with a decorative box sleeve), to my all time favorite, The Good Cook – which  consisted of 27 volumes, each devoted to a particular subject. Each were printed, boxed, and lovingly shipped in monthly surprises from the late 70’s to early 80’s. It is my absolute favorite cookbook collection, and even today, I refer to them often when I need a little inspiration. As it so happens, I got a little banana crazy a month ago, and started buying a bunch of banana every week. I like a banana, but I really only like them when they are still just off the green and beginning to turn yellow. …

Egg Smash, and the Tater Tot Frittata

  Usually, I’m pretty conscientious when I go shopping… I bring my own bags, I load my cart with fragile things tucked under or in the little flippy basket, I arrange things on the conveyor checkout thingy so bruisy – easily damaged things don’t end up under the laundry detergent, and I don’t let them bag my crap in 10,000 flimsy plastic bags. I hate those things. Loading them into the trunk and hauling 60 bags into the house with 2 things in it just makes me crazy. But I was distracted. … and I forgot my bags … and before I could go all insane old man on them, they had bagged my entire haul into 22 little plastic bags. So I wheeled my cart full of windsocks out to the car and barreled home in a fury. I was still irritated when I got home, and I began snatching handfuls of lightly filled bags – not really paying attention to what I was doing… and slung the  bag with 2 lemons and a dozen …

Eggsentialism and the Souffle Omelette

  Growing up, my dad cooked breakfast most mornings. There were the run of the mill mornings with toasted biscuit halves and jam, or a big bowl of grits, or Cheese toast and bacon, or the dreaded pancakes. And, there was the rare morning of the odd bowl of cereal…. but those were  – like I said – rare. Most days he cooked… something. Every so often he would make this frittata for breakfast – Eggs, cheese, and whatever meats he had on hand…. although to be fair, he didn’t call it a frittata – he called it an oven omelette. Regardless of the name, the process is  pretty simple: Greased Heavy Iron Skillet – check! Pile o’eggs Beaten to a froth – check! Grated Cheese – check! Diced Meat – Check, Check, Check, check-y check! whisk everything together, pour into a heated skillet and bake it until brown, crusty, golden and bubbly. Sounds simple…right? I can’t do it… never have been able to. The crust never forms right, or it’s too greasy, or the cheese …

Buttermilk French Toast

We’ve been talking buttermilk the past couple of days, and I realize not everyone knows what I mean when I refer to “good” buttermilk. So, let’s look at the dairy counter for a bit. Undoubtedly, you’re going to see a minimum of three different kinds of buttermilk when you look at the labels – Cultured Whole Fat – Cultured Non Fat – and generic, non-specific buttermilk… let’s call it  –  FAKE. But to get a sound understanding as what it is supposed to be, we’ll go back to the very beginning, and start with the original way to get it. … is a by-product of butter production. Whole, cream top milk (meaning – milk straight out of the cow) is dumped into an earthenware churn jug and allowed to sit in a warm area for a minimum of 24 hours. This time allows the milk base to form enzymes that begin to break down the milk and causes to liquid to sour slightly and clabber (clump up a bit). Once the proper aging has happened …

Tales of Woe – The one with the oatmeal

I should eat healthier. I know I should… I’m 50+ (ish),and I’m fully aware of just how much I abused the temple in my younger years. Debauchery, indiscretions, and work related stress aside, my idea of healthy eating was ordering part-skim mozzeralla on my pizza and toasting shredded wheat biscuits with bacon and cheddar. It’s not that I didn’t eat well, or correctly…. it’s just that everything’s better with butter…. lot’s of butter.     … and an egg. But times change, my waist-line expands and contracts like a human Continental divide… and when I turned 49, I got somewhat more serious about it. I lost 27 pounds. I spend much more time out of doors. I, for all intents and purposes…quit drinking anything except coffee. And, I pay attention to whole grains. Which… is why the other morning following the banal chatter on the twitter-verse, I happened on someone that I follow http://foyupdate.blogspot.com/ talking to someone that I don’t (well, didn’t ) follow http://bakedoatmeal.blogspot.com/ about – oddly enough, baked oatmeal. … and I was intrigued. Although, to be honest I wasn’t fully invested in …

Warning, Turkey-Free Zone

I’m not what you call a turkey fan. I mean, I’ve cooked ’em… and, I eat ’em… But I really don’t want that half butchered carcass hanging around in the fridge for a week while I work up the nerve to re-purpose it into something less recognizable as turkey. It has just never made sense to me. I’ve always made sure to gauge the # of people attending against the number of servings per pound so that whatever bird I bought would be gone… history.. vamoose!… at the end of the dinner. Cleaned platters and bowls… I’m a happy guy. So… no Turkey (insert appropriate quasi-ethnic dish here). We’ll do something else instead. Now… Breakfast-4-Dinner is something I can always get behind. Most nights, a waffle or fried eggs and toast will do the trick. Or, if I’m feeling super gluttonous – then it’s scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, hash browns and pepper gravy. And then there’s those times when I don’t want anything sweet or super heavy. Those nights it’s Savory French Toast. Savory French Toast with Fennel and Mushrooms …

Copper River Salmon – King and Roasted Corn Omelette

 Having a plethora of fresh salmon to do my bidding makes me feel a little invincible, and yes..like something off Mount Olympus… BE A PIZZA – and  Voila! there he is – A Fresh Pea Pesto with Salmon Medallions and Caramelized Red Onions BE A ROAST – and… it’s a roast – An Open-Face  Aubergine / Porcini Coulibiac (We’ll get to both of those this next week) … or maybe that’s just the Omega -3s talking… I dunno… But I feel pretty damned special. My latest incantation was for an Asian inspired Omelette. “Salmon,” I says, ” Make me something with sesame oil, scallions and fermented black beans.” Fish in the Bag says, “I can do you one better, O’ tikkity-typey man, I’ll throw in some of that corn you roasted the other night and some fish sauce.” “Who’s owning who now?” Well played, mighty ruby-red king… “Let’s see you do your stuff.” What… you don’t talk to your ingredients? First, the corn. The roasted corn is the Nero Wolfe method. Yes, that Nero Wolfe, the crime …

Altered States

Before you go and get all self righteous on me about overly processed, preservative laden canned goods… Yes, I used readi-mades – occasionally. Why? Because they can be particularly handy, and because not everyone has the time, talent and ability to do everything from scratch – but everyone has the right and duty to serve their family something more than just microwaving a pizza. I like to show that canned goods are just as good of a jumping off point as fresh ingredients…. in some things. I’m a sucker (with a capital G) for those tubed sweet rolls. The gooey cinnamon rolls are good, but I especially loved the orange ones as a kid. Maybe it’s because my taste hadn’t changed, maybe it was because they were always waiting on me at the breakfast table when my dad didn’t really feel like cooking breakfast, maybe it was because it was my job to squeeze the little pouch of overly orange flavored icing over the still-warm-from-the-oven pan. Whatever the reason, I still crave them today. Unfortunately, they don’t taste like they …