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Posts tagged ‘brunch’

Simple Concord Grape Jam

Grape Jam on buttered english muffin

The last two weekends at the farmers market I have found plentiful amounts of concord grapes, it’s that time of year you know. I love them, eating them right off the stem sweet and tart at the same time and an intense burst of concord grape flavor. I bought a lot of them, really way too many to eat so I decided to try my hand at making jam. I have never canned or preserved anything before, one day I will, but not this time, so this jam has to be used fairly quickly within a month or so but honestly, it’s so good it didn’t last more than a week. I sterilized some canning jars poured the hot jam in the jar, sealed and refrigerated it overnight, by the morning it was thick rich intense grape jam.  I have become somewhat obsessed with making jam now, giving jars to my daughter to take home for the kids and they are really enjoying it. This weekend I made a spiced plum jam following a recipe from Hannah and her beautiful blog, Blue Kale Road, it is amazing and you should try it. Back to the grape jam though, it’s so easy to make, and you can make it in small batches. This is going to make a really good PB&J sandwich.

Ingredients:

2 quarts (about 8 cups) concord grapes, cleaned and removed from stems

4 -4.5 cups sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Add grapes, sugar and lemon juice to a medium saucepan mash the grapes to release some of the juices. Bring to a boil on high heat, when it comes to a rolling boil reduce heat to medium and let simmer uncovered for about an 1-1 1/2 hours. You will notice it is thickening and it will coat your spoon. Drop some of the jam onto a saucer and if it thickens it’s ready.

simmering grapes

While the grapes are simmering sterilize your jars and lids, let them boil for 15 minutes, remove to a clean tea  towel to dry. When the grapes have finished cooking take a large non reactive bowl, I used an 8 cup heatproof glass measuring cup place a sieve on top and carefully pour the grapes into it. Stir it so that the liquid drips into the bowl, stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the sieve from time to time.

Strain it well

All you want left is the skin and seeds, push the pulp through, there will be very little left in the sieve.

See not much left only seeds and skin

Place the liquid back in the saucepan and simmer on medium for about 15 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, screw lids on tightly and let sit until it reaches room temperature. You then refrigerate overnight or several days. It will become very thick and jam like.

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake
I make this recipe every year during apple season, it’s hands down one of my favorites. The cake is so moist and the aroma when baking is heavenly. I like to make homemade apple cider applesauce for the cake, it’s so easy and I think it really adds to the flavor of the cake, but using commercially made applesauce is perfectly acceptable. I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine about 6 years ago. It’s loaded with apples, spices and is utterly delicious. I can’t wait for the apples to arrive at the farmers market this will be the first thing I make. My family loves it as do I. It keeps well and even tastes better the next day.
APPLE CIDER APPLESAUCE
  • 1 pound juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled. cored and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup  apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, you can use white, turbinado or brown your choice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Clean, peel, core and quarter the apples. Add to a medium saucepan. Add the cider, sugar and salt and boil until apples are soft. Remove from heat and mash (I used a potato masher) keep some small chunks of apples. Set aside to cool.
THE CRUMBLE TOPPING AND CAKE
  •  The Crumble Topping
  • 4 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecans chopped (If you have a nut allergy the nuts can be omitted)
  •  The Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons  cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves (Optional, I didn’t use, really don’t like cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup  apple cider applesauce
  • 2 small juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans chopped OPTIONAL
  1. Make your crumble topping. In small bowl combine the butter, sugar, oats,flour, cinnamon, salt and pecans mix with fork or by hand to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your tube pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. (I recommend using a non stick pan) Sift flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Cream butter and white and brown sugar in your electric mixer until smooth about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time make sure egg is incorporated before you add another one. With mixer on low add the applesauce and then the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Add the optional chopped pecans and fold in.
  3. Pour batter into oiled pan. Place apple slices on top of cake tucking some into the batter,sprinkle on the crumble topping. Bake for 60-70 minutes check by inserting cake tester (I used a bamboo skewer) near the middle of the cake and it should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pan on wire rack.
  4. Remove from pan and if you do not serve immediately wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to serve. NOTE: if you make in a bundt pan like I did it could take some coaxing to get it out of the pan when  cooled. It could be easier to remove from a tube pan because it does not have all the grooves that a bundt pan does.

Stuffed Avocado With Poached Egg

The food52 contest is all about avocado’s. My entry is very simple and makes a fantastic breakfast or brunch but can really be eaten anytime of day. I stuffed the avocado halves with sauteed grape tomatoes and shallots, topped with breadcrumbs and heated in the broiler for about a minute and then topped it with a poached egg. It’s delicious, loaded with flavor and you can make this your own by adding whatever you like.

Serves 2

1 ripe avocado halved

1/2 cup  grape or cherry tomatoes halved

1 lobe of the shallot chopped

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

olive oil for pan

salt and pepper to taste

2 large eggs poached or fried

1/2 lime (for the avocado)

  1. Add olive oil to saute pan and add the chopped shallot, when it has softened add the tomatoes and saute just until the tomatoes start to soften and give off a little of their juices, season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and add the bread crumbs.saute until they have absorbed the oil and are lightly browned. Remove from pan
  2. Turn oven to broil, place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut your avocado in half, squeeze the lime on both halves, sprinkle each with a pinch of sea salt. Fill the cavity with the tomato and shallots, top with bread crumbs and place in oven for approximately a minute just so it’s warmed and the crumbs are golden brown.
  3. Top with a poached or fried egg and enjoy

Breakfast-Banana Waffles

Banana Waffles with Hot Buttered Syrup

I shunned my usual shake this morning for some hot home made waffles. I was thinking of making banana bread today, had two banana’s that are on their way to becoming very very ripe, but instead I decided to make banana waffles. I used my go to recipe for waffles from an old Betty Crocker recipe book but really tweaked it. I used all purpose flour, stone ground whole wheat flour and cake flour, buttermilk, brown sugar and banana.  I usually separate the eggs, whip the whites and fold them in, instead I beat the whole eggs with the electric mixer which produced a less fluffy waffle but still very good. If you want a higher rise and lighter texture just beat the whites separately and fold in. The syrup is Grade B maple syrup, butter and Lyles Golden Syrup. Just using maple syrup is great but I love Lyles and like to mix it with my maple syrup, add butter and heat.

Makes: 12  waffles

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 ripe banana mashed

Maple syrup

Lyles Golden syrup (optional)

Butter (I used 2 tbs)

Heat waffle iron according to manufacturers directions.

Add flours, baking soda and powder, sugar and salt to mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl beat eggs with electric mixer until thick and foamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold in.

When waffle iron is heated add some batter, use as much as directions say to use for your waffle maker. While waffle is cooking, preheat oven to 200 degrees. In saucepan add the maple syrup, Lyles syrup and butter and heat gently, simmer until waffles are ready, I am not giving amounts you decide how much of each you want to use and certainly you can omit the Lyles Syrup. Have baking sheet ready, lined with parchment, when waffles are done remove to sheet pan and keep warm in the oven, do this until all the batter is used. If its more waffles than you need freeze them and use another day.

Baked Egg Casserole

I usually make this on the stovetop but adapted it to bake in the oven primarily because I entered this recipe in a Whole Foods Baked Breakfast contest. I actually like it better baked in the oven so from now on that’s exactly how I am going to make this. I must confess I try to have a healthy smoothie or shake for breakfast every morning but every now and then and I want something filling and warm and well, with runny eggs, cheese and bread.  This certainly satisfies me in every way and its quick and easy to make to boot. It consists of a baguette cut into cubes, cherry tomatoes roasted in the oven, eggs and a quick and easy no fuss cheese sauce.

  • 1 small baguette cut into cubes
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs (preferably organic and pastured)

Preheat oven to 450 Tear off 2 sheets of foil and lay on baking sheet, on one sheet place bread cubes and drizzle with olive oil, on the other sheet place tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes until bread is lightly browned and tomatoes are soft. Remove from oven. Mix the grated cheese and heavy cream together. Keep oven at 450 degrees. Butter a gratin pan and scatter the bread cubes in the pan so that they cover the bottom. Add the tomatoes next and distribute evenly with the bread, now carefully break the eggs on top nestling them into the bread and tomato, season the eggs with a little salt and pepper, now spoon the cheese and cream on top of the eggs making sure its evenly distributed. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minute until the egg whites are somewhat set, now turn on broiler and broil for 1- 2 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned, Note: Watch carefully oven temps vary and it make take a little less or more time depending on your oven and the size of the baking pan, I used individual gratin pans and it took 8 minutes to bake and a bit over 1 minute under the broiler.

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are tender and moist, flavored with lemon and chock full of blueberries. The batter has both whole milk ricotta and whole milk buttermilk. I love the combination of lemon and blueberries and the ricotta and buttermilk give these muffins a slight tang that is delicious. I also used some cake flour to give them a more tender crumb. The muffins are only slightly sweet and to add a little more sweetness, after you remove them from the oven brush with some melted butter and dust with granulated sugar.  When you just have to have a muffin I hope you will give these a try, they are simple to make, and you can whip them up in a flash. They also freeze beautifully. NOTE: If you use lowfat buttermilk and part skim ricotta increase butter to 6 tbs +4 tbs vegetable oil, and if you use lowfat buttermilk with whole milk ricotta just increase the butter to 6 tbs+ the 2 tbs vegetable oil.

Ingredients:

4 tbs melted butter
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour +2 tsp for blueberries
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk (whole milk buttermilk if you can find it)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
2 large eggs at room temperature lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries frozen (use fresh when in season)
1 1/2 tbs lemon zest
2 tbs butter melted  (to brush on top of muffins)
2 tbs granulated sugar (to dust tops of muffins)
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin
Melt butter and add the oil, sift flour,baking powder, baking soda,salt and sugar into large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and lemon zest and stir only to mix, it may be a bit lumpy but thats ok. Sprinkle the blueberries with the flour and toss, add to the batter and gently stir. Place into lined muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. Let muffins sit for 10 minutes in pan, then place on rack to cool, brush top of the muffin with melted butter and dust with granulated sugar.  Makes 12 muffins