Brunch

Recipe—Breakfast Portobellos

This is one of those recipes I found on Pinterest and have been meaning to make for quite some time. I only wish I would have made it months ago! It was absolutely delish! Being a semi-frequent low-carb eater I am always looking for new and exciting breakfast recipes. This was completely decadent and unlike anything I had ever had before. The portobellos have this great earthy flavor that is perfectly complemented by the sallty prosciutto, and if you cook them just right you get a nice little bit of yolk to sop up with the mushroom. So I If you are looking to make a fabulous breakfast then give this recipe a try. It would be the perfect dish to serve mom for Mother’s day!

Note: If you end up with shallow mushrooms the eggs may try to slide out of the caps when you put them in, so if you have the ability to examine the underside of the mushrooms look for ones that have a deeper well and are even in depth.

INGREDIENTS
2 large portobello mushrooms (4”–5” in diameter)
olive oil
salt & pepper
3 ounces of sliced prosciutto
4 eggs
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Wash the portobello caps and pat dry.
  • Using a spoon scrape out the stem and all the gills creating a well in the mushroom cap.
  • Rub the mushrooms with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.
  • Line each mushroom cap with a couple of slices of the prosciutto making sure to go up the sides. (This will help keep the eggs in if your well isn’t quite large enough to hold two eggs.
  • Place the mushrooms in a glass baking dish.
  • Carefully crack two eggs into each mushroom cap.
  • Carefully place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20–30 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your mushrooms and how you like your eggs cooked.)
  • Remove the eggs from the oven and garnish with the chopped parsley and additional salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Paleo Spirit.

Brunch

Recipe—Almond Poppy Seed Bread

There are several occasions throughout the year when I am scrambling to put together a brunch menu, Easter, Christmas, etc. One staple item I always have is some sort of breakfast loaf. I love making breakfast loaves because I can have them done the day before, giving me one less thing to worry about the morning I am entertaining. This glazed almond poppy seed loaf is a classic recipe. It is super simple (you literally throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix) and goes with everything from a simple cup of joe, to a full brunch spread.

Note: This batter works great for almond poppy seed muffins too. Just follow the directions as written but use greased muffin pans instead of bread pans and bake for 18–23 minutes.

BREAD INGREDIENTS
3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/4 c cooking oil
2 1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c milk
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

GLAZE INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
1 1/2–2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c sliced almonds (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Mix all of the bread ingredients together.
  • Pour the batter into greased 2 loaf pans.
  • Bake for 50–60 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted comes out almost clean. (I like my bread moist so I pull it out when the toothpick still has a little bit of crumbly residue on it. A totally clean toothpick will mean a dryer loaf.)
  • After removing the loaves from the oven, place the sliced almonds on a baking sheet and roast them for 3 minutes or until they just start to turn a golden color.
  • Allow loaves to sit for 15 minutes after removing from the oven.
  • Gently remove loaves from pans and place on a cutting board or cooling rack to cool.
  • Once the bread has completely cooled, combine the melted butter, almond extract, vanilla, water, and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk until smooth. (Start with 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and add more as needed to get desired consistency. I like mine slightly runny so it drips down the sides when drizzling over the bread.)
  • Drizzle the frosting over the bread and then immediately sprinkle with the roasted sliced almonds.
Brunch

Recipe—Sausage Gravy

I was never really a huge fan of biscuits and gravy, until I had this recipe. Oh my goodness! Now I am hooked! I am a huge fan of breakfast and this is the perfect side to serve up with some scrambled eggs and potatoes. It is the ultimate in breakfast comfort food (especially after a night of drinking). I actually really like this gravy with Pillsbury biscuits, they are cheap, quick, and convenient. Sausage gravy and biscuits are perfect for a cold winter day and best of all it is super easy to make.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb roll breakfast sausage (not link or patty)
2 tbsp flour
2 c milk
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • In a medium skillet brown the sausage over medium high heat.
  • Remove the sausage when done and set aside.
  • Leaving the drippings in the pan, stir in the flour.
  • Cook over medium heat for 1–2 minutes.
  • Pour in the milk and whisk to combine.
  • Cook over medium or medium-high heat until thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve over warm biscuits.
Appetizers, Brunch, Side Dishes

Recipe—Crab Stuffed Mushrooms


Are you looking for a classy appetizer to serve at your New Year’s Eve party tomorrow or any other night of the year? Search no further! These crab stuffed baby portobello mushrooms are easy, can be made ahead of time, are really elegant, and of course delicious. These will be a hit with all your guests. The crab filling is creamy with a nice little kick to it thanks to the Tabasco and the breadcrumbs give them the perfect little crunch. If you are serving a steak for a main course these can also be the perfect complementary side dish. Either way enjoy this fabulous recipe as you ring in 2013! Happy New Year everyone!

Note: You can completely make and assemble the stuffed mushrooms a half day in advance and store in the fridge until ready to bake.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, chopped
10–12 baby portobello mushrooms, washed and destemmed
salt and pepper
3 tbsp red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz lump crabmeat
1 tsp hot sauce (I like Tabasco)
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 c breadcrumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and shallot and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the mushroom caps for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the mushroom caps from the skillet and place them upside down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
  • In a medium bowl mix together the crabmeat, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, old bay seasoning, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the sautéed veggies and mix well.
  • Stuff each mushroom cap with the crab mixture and top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the breadcrumbs start to brown.
  • Allow mushrooms to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
Sandwiches

Recipe—Hot Ham & Swiss Sammies

I think I have mentioned before that ham and mayo on a croissant was my favorite sandwich as a kid. And by favorite I mean that was one of the only sandwiches I would eat. I have grown up haven’t I? Well this is my favorite childhood sandwich on steroids, and it is AWESOME! I know you may look at the poppy seed sauce and wonder what that’s all about. Well the sauce bakes to the top of the croissant making an ordinary croissant extraordinary. It does not leave the croissants soggy. It actually gives them a nice caramelization and lots of added flavor. Since these make a good size batch and they can be assembled ahead of time they are perfect for a luncheon or shower. These may be my ultimate in comfort food sandwiches this winter, just throw in a bowl of soup and call it dinner.

Note: These can be assembled and kept in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. How handy is that?!?

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
9 medium sized croissants cut in half
1 lb thin sliced deli ham
9 square slices of Swiss, cut in half horizontally
mayonnaise

POPPY SEED SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp yellow mustard
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp yellow onion, finely minced
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Spread each half of the croissant with a thin layer of mayonnaise.
  • Place a piece of Swiss on the bottom half of the croissant.
  • Evenly distribute the ham among the nine sandwiches.
  • Top the ham with a second piece of Swiss cheese and then the croissant top.
  • Place the finished sandwiches edge to edge in a large baking dish or on a cookie sheet. It’s okay if they are snug.
  • In a small bowl whisk together all the poppy seed sauce ingredients.
  • Spoon the sauce over the top of each sandwich and allow the sandwiches to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15–18 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the foil and allow the sandwiches to cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
Brunch, Dinners

Recipe—Leek Quiche

I recently started following this fabulous gourmet blog called C’est la Vie Cuisine. On the day I found out I would be receiving leeks in my next produce box Lucie posted a recipe for leek quiche. I knew it was meant to be! I adapted her recipe (see the original here) based on what I had on hand and by adding in some extra eggs and cheese to accommodate a deeper pie dish. This recipe turned out great! I served it for dinner with some breakfast sausage and toast but it can be enjoyed for any meal. One of the many fabulous reasons I love quiche! This recipe was so easy and really tasty! The caramelized leeks and onions take on a nice sweet flavor making it a fabulous complement to salty breakfast meat like sausage or bacon.

Leeks are a part of the onion family and are very mild and sweet in flavor. The leek basically looks like a HUGE green onion. Leeks are known for being very low in calories and having wonderful health benefits. They are high in dietary fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, folic acid, and vitamins A, B, C, and K.

Notes: Leeks can have a large amount of soil and dirt between the layers so after you slice them make sure to wash them thoroughly. I submerge them in water and use my hand to swish them around. The leeks float to the top and the dirt sinks to the bottom. I then use a salad spinner to help remove all the excess water.

You can omit the piecrust all together to create a low-carb version of this recipe. To do this, grease your pie dish and whisk the mozzarella in with the egg mixture. Bake time will be the same.

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (see above note about washing)
1 tbsp garlic
1 sheet of refrigerated piecrust at room temperature
salt and pepper
9 eggs
1/2 c half and half
1 c mozzarella

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • In a larger skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, leeks, and garlic to the skillet.
  • Cook stirring frequently until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
  • While the leeks and onions cook gently press the crust into your pie dish.
  • In a medium-mixing bowl whisk together your eggs and half and half until well incorporated.
  • When the leeks are done cooking season with salt and pepper and gently fold the cooked veggies into the egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle half of the mozzarella into the bottom of your pie dish.
  • Add the egg mixture to your pie dish and top with remaining mozzarella.
  • Bake the quiche in the oven for 30–35 minutes or until the middle is firm.
  • Allow quiche to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from C’est la Vie Cuisine.

Brunch, Dinners

Recipe—Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Bake

A few weeks back I received some violet queen purple broccoli in my produce box. It was the most gorgeous piece of produce I have ever seen! It was almost too pretty to eat… almost being the key word there. I was over the moon about this exciting piece of produce and wanted to do something really spectacular with it. Alas, my busy schedule kept me from really thinking outside the box so I made one of my favorite broccoli recipes with it, a broccoli and cheddar egg bake (a.k.a. a quiche with no crust, perfect for the low-carb lover).

This purple broccoli was just too pretty not to show you! I just wanted to put it in a vase on my table. Once the broccoli was cooked it looked slightly darker than a typical bunch of green broccoli. It ended up loosing most of that purple coloring.

One thing I truly love about egg bakes is that they are perfect for any meal of the day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and they are so versatile. You can add any ingredients you want! This recipe is written with some pretty basic ingredients but you can go wild with whatever you like. Red bell peppers and mushrooms are also great additions. I made this one for dinner the other night and just served it with some toast. The leftovers made an awesome breakfast the next day. Gotta love it when you make a meal you can stretch out over a few days.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
12 eggs
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 c broccoli, chopped and steamed
1 small tomato, chopped
2 c cheddar, shredded (divided)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat cook your bacon until done.
  • Remove cooked bacon from skillet and dispose of most of the grease leaving a tablespoon.
  • Sauté the onion in the reserved bacon grease over medium-high heat until brown and caramelized.
  • While the onions are cooking scramble the eggs, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the bacon, steamed broccoli, chopped tomato, sautéed onion, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese to the mixing bowl.
  • Pour the egg mixture in a greased 8” x 8” baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 35–45 minutes or until the center is set.
  • Remove the egg bake from the oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Brunch

Recipe—Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes

I have posted a few recipes now that call for puff pastry. As I have said before it is a great ingredient! I always keep it on hand in the freezer because it is incredibly easy to whip up some quick breakfast pastries. Here is a fabulous recipe for blueberry cream cheese danishes. One thing I love about these is that you can prep the rolls the night before, refrigerate them and then when you wake up in the morning all you have to do is slice and bake. Perfect for all the company you will be having over around the holidays!

Note: You can substitute the blueberries and jam for any flavored fruit jam you have on hand. I’m really fond of apricot too.

INGREDIENTS
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar, divided
2 tbsp blueberry jam
1/4 c fresh blueberries, chopped
1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, room temperature
flour for work surface
1 egg
1 tbsp water

STEPS

  • In a small mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter and 1 tbsp sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Fold in blueberry jam and blueberries making sure not to over stir.
  • Sprinkle flour on the work surface and unfold puff pastry.
  • Evenly spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over the pastry leaving one edge exposed about an inch back.
  • Starting at the edge opposite from the exposed edge roll up like a jelly roll.
  • Wrap your roll in saran wrap and chill in freezer for an hour or fridge for a couple of hours. (This will make it easier to slice through.)
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl.
  • Remove the saran wrap and cut roll into 1/2” slices.
  • Place the slices cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Brush the top of each spiral with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  • Bake for 14–16 minutes or until just starting to turn a golden brown.
  • Remove the spirals from the baking sheet and allow to cool.
Brunch, Sweet Treats

Recipe—Spiced Carrot Bread

With my produce now being delivered weekly, rather than bi-weekly, I am finding myself with leftover items when the weekend rolls around. This equates to some creative cooking. I still had some giant carrots from the previous week and decided to make some spiced carrot bread with them. This bread is quick and easy to make, the challenge is waiting for it to bake and cool because it smells so incredibly good while in the oven. You just want to eat it right away! My entire house had the aroma of sweet spices wafting around for days, perfect for fall. While this would be fabulous with a cream cheese based frosting, I wanted something that didn’t require refrigeration. It gives the bread just the perfect amount of sweetness. Enjoy it as is for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert, either way you will be indulging your sweet tooth while getting in a healthy serving of veggies.

Note: This recipe makes two loaves of spiced carrot bread. Enjoy one now and freeze one for later! 

BREAD INGREDIENTS
1 c oil
4 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 c sugar
2 c shredded carrots (2–3 large carrots)
4 c flour
1/2  tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp baking soda
1/2  tsp nutmeg
1/2  tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp water
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

BREAD STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Stir in the shredded carrots.
  • In a second large mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 60–70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when inserted in the middle.
  • Allow loaves to sit in the pans for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and place on a cutting board or cooling rack.
  • Allow loaves to cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING STEPS

  • Once the loaves have cooled completely stir together the melted butter and water.
  • Add in half of the powdered sugar and beat using the fork until smooth.
  • Add in the remaining powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is nice and smooth.
  • Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziploc bag cut off a small corner of the bag.)
  • Drizzle both loaves with the frosting and allow to set for 15 minutes before slicing.
Brunch

Recipe—Dutch Apple Pie Muffins

The last couple of weeks I have had some beautiful apples in my produce boxes. Not quite enough to make applesauce or an apple pie though. So I thought, why not try to whip up some apple pie muffins! This recipe calls for brown sugar rather than any white sugar giving them a rich caramel apple flavor. These are not your typical light and fluffy muffins, they are actually dense and really moist, sort of like a pound cake. A perfect treat to enjoy during chilly fall mornings with a big cup of joe. Not that we have had any mornings like that this season in California though. My Halloween decorations are up and I don’t think we have had a day under 90º. This girl is ready to break out her scarves and boots! Nonetheless, I will continue pretending like it’s fall weather when cooking in my kitchen. This weekend I am headed up to Apple Hill for our annual family pumpkin picking trip where I will be sure to get a big bag of apples. My next mission, crock-pot applesauce!

Note: This recipe makes one dozen delicious muffins.

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
1/2 c brown sugar
7 tbsp flour
1/4 c butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

MUFFIN INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2/3 c oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sour cream
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 c diced apples

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Grease your muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.
  • In a small bowl combine all topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix together sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, and sour cream.
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Slowly stir the flour mixture into the batter until combined.
  • Add the diced apples mixing until evenly distributed.
  • Distribute the batter among the 12 muffin tins. It’s okay if they are fairly full. These do not swell up really big.
  • Generously sprinkle the muffins with the topping.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  • Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5–8 minutes before removing and then transfer to a cooling rack or cutting board.