Posts Tagged 'Brunch'

Peanut Butter Waffles

How do I love thee, peanut butter?  Next to apple slices, tucked inside a chocolate cup, sandwiched with homemade jam, and now, in waffles.  As someone who consumes peanut butter almost daily, I saw this recipe in the May 2011 issue of Everyday Food and couldn’t resist.

The recipe isn’t on Martha Stewart’s site yet, so I’ve posted it for you.  I was able to get 20 small heart-shaped waffles out of the batter.  Two waffles (before you add bananas and syrup) are 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points.

Peanut Butter Waffles
Yield varies with waffle maker

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing waffle iron
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 bananas, sliced, for serving
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, for serving

Method:
Heat waffle iron and preheat oven to 275°F; set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a blender, blend butter and peanut butter until smooth, 1 minute.  Add buttermilk and eggs and blend until combined, 1 minute. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until batter is combined.

Brush waffle iron with butter and pour in 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.  Close iron and cook until waffles are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.  Serve with bananas and maple syrup.

Note: Waffles can be frozen in zip-top bags, up to 1 month; reheat in the toaster or a 325°F oven.

Source: Everyday Food, May 2011

Peanut Butter Waffles

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bad waffle, but these are tastier than most.  They have a subtle peanut butter flavor when eaten plain; I think the bananas and syrup bring out the peanut butter a bit more.  In terms of texture, they’re pretty light and fluffy. The oven time crisps the outside edge a bit (a plus in my book!).  Since I am always looking for good make-ahead recipes to take the stress out of entertaining (or even just getting Dr. O out the door in the morning), I love that I can make a whole batch and either hold them in the oven or freeze them for later.

These aren’t going to dethrone my favorite classic waffle recipe, but they are certainly delicious and a nice change of pace.  Give them a try!

Update: Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins

Forgive me for another update and another breakfast post.  I’ve been entertaining so much for the past two months that I’ve been returning to my “tried and true” recipes…  It seems I learn something new each time, though.

Today’s recipe – Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins – is one I first tried back in October of 2008.  It’s written for sea level but works beautifully at high altitude, probably because the muffins are made with buttermilk.  (I’ve had a lot of success here in Denver with baked goods that incorporate buttermilk; buttermilk’s high acidity helps batters set more quickly, which can eliminate the “flat tire” phenomenon that occurs so often with high-altitude baking.)  Anyway, they were a big hit the first time around because they’re easy, delicious, and a great make-ahead option for company.

Back in 2008, I placed the batter directly in a greased muffin pan and had just enough for 12 muffins.  This time, I decided to try paper liners.  I couldn’t fit as much batter into the paper liners as I could with the bare muffin cups; each muffin was a scant 1/4 cup instead of a heaping 1/4 cup, so the baking time was reduced from 28 minutes to 22 minutes.

Since the smaller muffins resulted in leftover batter, I decided to make some mini muffins as well.  Each one was made up of 2 tablespoons of batter (one scoop using my cookie scoop) and the muffins baked for 15 minutes.

Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins

They tasted as fantastic as ever, and now I have three different “formats” for the muffins depending on how I plan to serve them.  Here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try them:

Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12 muffins without liners, 18 muffins with liners, or 36 mini muffins

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (use 2 1/4 teaspoons at high altitude)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (can up this to 1/2 teaspoon if you use unsalted butter)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs (I bring them to room temperature)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)
1 cup diced ham (6 ounces)
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

Method:
Heat the oven to 400°F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin pan or 12- or 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with muffin cups.  (The mini muffins will require multiple batches.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and butter.  Stir in the scallions, ham, cheese, and bell pepper.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a rubber spatula to mix until just moistened.  Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (heaping 1/4 cup each for unlined 12-cup muffin pan, scant 1/4 cup each for lined 12-cup muffin pan, 2 tablespoons each for mini muffin pan).

Bake the muffins until the tops are browned (at high altitude, about 28 minutes for unlined 12-cup muffin pan, 22 minutes for lined 12-cup muffin pan, 15 minutes for mini muffin pan).  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes then loosen the edges with a knife (if necessary) and transfer the muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

To store, individually wrap the muffins in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.  To reheat, remove the plastic wrap, cover the muffin in a paper towel, and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds (15 – 20 seconds for mini muffins).

Source: Jim Romanoff, The Associated Press

High Altitude Update: Breakfast Casserole

I was recently hit with a major influx of bread.  My dad was in town last week and my uncle was joining us for dinner at the house, so I had purchased a package of white bakery buns for barbecued chicken sandwiches.  An hour before dinner, I got a fantastic Foodbuzz-related delivery: three packages of rolls – one white, one wheat, one sesame hoagie – courtesy of Nature’s Pride.  My uncle voted for the wheat rolls that evening and I ended up freezing the white and sesame rolls, but my original package of white buns was left sitting in the pantry.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep my groceries bills down and to de-clutter my pantry by using what I have.  What’s one of the best ways to use up extra bread?  Egg casserole, baby.  My mom has a recipe that has been a longstanding family favorite, but I hadn’t tried it since Dallas.  With so many houseguests coming in the next several weeks, I figured it was time to add this one to my high-altitude arsenal.

I followed the recipe exactly as written except that I used some of the Mexican-blend cheese I’ve had in the freezer since the Ocho de Mayo party.  (If anyone wants to come over for quesadillas, let me know.  I still have four pounds of it!)  I also used all of the optional ingredients.  I baked the casserole for the full 60 minutes and let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Breakfast Casserole

This is such a tasty recipe and it absolutely reminds me of being back home.  When I wrote my original post I swore I’d only use challah bread for egg dishes from that point on, but the hamburger buns did an amazing job of soaking up the egg mixture.  (The casserole sat for 30 minutes at room temperature before I baked it; I didn’t refrigerate it at all this time.)    I was a bit concerned that it might not quite be done at the hour mark because the center looked slightly juicy; I used my instant-read thermometer to take its temperature, though, and it had reached a more-than-okay 180°F.  When I cut it after 10 minutes of resting time, it wasn’t runny at all.  (I might still give it an extra 5 minutes of baking time next time just because.)

If you’re looking for a creamy, cheesy, comforting crowd pleaser, this is your recipe. Give it a try!

Link to original post and recipe: Breakfast Casserole

Potato and Onion Frittata

I recently decided to take a good look at the search terms that drive traffic to my blog.  Some of the top terms are common, everyday-type foods (like enchiladas and stuffed peppers), but I was shocked by how many people were out there searching for frittata recipes.  (Maybe they’re more common than I thought?)  It then occurred to me that while I used to make frittatas so often that it was almost an obsession, I haven’t posted a frittata on this site in ages.  (Since October 14 of last year, to be exact!)  I turned to my breakfast recipe spreadsheet to find a quick and easy option with inexpensive ingredients, and the Potato and Onion Frittata recipe from the January/February 2006 issue of Everyday Food fit the bill perfectly.

First, I prepped my veggies.  I peeled, halved, and thinly sliced 1 large onion and 1 8-ounce baking potato.  In a medium (10-inch) nonstick broilerproof skillet, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  I added the onion, potato, and 1/2 teaspoon of crumbled dried rosemary, seasoned with coarse salt and ground pepper, and tossed everything to combine.

I covered the skillet with its lid and cooked the veggies for 10 minutes.  Next, I uncovered the skillet and cooked the mixture, tossing occasionally, until the onion and potato were tender (about 5 minutes).

While the potato and onion were cooking, I whisked together 5 large eggs, 5 large egg whites, 1/2 cup of whole flat-leaf parsley leaves, 3/4 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper in a medium bowl.  (I used a melamine bowl with a spout since it’s easier for pouring.)

At this point, I started heating the broiler so it would be ready for the last step; I also made sure a rack was positioned in the upper third of the oven.

I added another tablespoon of olive oil to the potato-onion mixture in the skillet and poured in the egg mixture.  I cooked the frittata over medium-low heat (use low or medium-low, depending on how hot your stove gets), lifting the mixture a few times around the edges to let the egg flow underneath.  Once the frittata was almost set in the center (12 minutes for me, 10 minutes according to the recipe), I put the frittata under the broiler until it was set and golden brown (3 minutes).  The photograph shows the frittata still in the skillet, but it released very easily; I just ran a clean spatula around the edges and slid it out onto a plate for cutting and serving.

Potato and Onion Frittata

After all this frittata-less time, it was sure nice to have one for dinner.  This one was a bit thinner than what I’m accustomed to; it was almost like a thick egg pancake.  It was really delicious, though, with the tender potato, charred onion, and fresh herbs.  This frittata is especially healthy (only 5 Weight Watchers points for an entire quarter of the dish) because there’s no cheese, but I didn’t think it was lacking in the flavor department at all.

The only thing I would do differently next time is that I would stir the potatoes and onions halfway through the covered cooking time.  I’m a huge fan of charred bits and I think they add a lot of flavor, but letting the potatoes and onions sit undisturbed in that hot oil for ten whole minutes was almost too much.  If charred bits make your day (Christopher, I’m talking to you!), though, give the recipe a whirl as is.

Recipe link: Potato and Onion Frittata

Ham and Potato Bake

As many of you probably know by now, I’m a bit of a brunch fiend.  I love the idea of a relaxed late morning/early afternoon meal, especially one that is likely to involve mimosas, and *especially* one where you have license to chow down a bit more than usual because it’s two meals rolled into one.  Ah, heaven.

My latest brunch experiment is Ham and Potato Bake from the  March 2005 issue of Everyday Food.  This is another one of those recipes I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, but I hesitated to make it because it makes ten servings (for just us two people).  Curiosity finally got the best of me, though, and I decided to give it a shot.  Thankfully, the leftovers reheat beautifully (if a bit messily).

To start, I buttered a 9-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) and lined the bottom with parchment paper.  (I just flipped the pan over before I buttered it, put a piece of parchment paper over the bottom, and followed the edges to cut a circle.)

In a large bowl, I whisked together 6 large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (naughty, I know); I seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper.  Next, I used the slicer blade on the side of my box grater to thinly sliced 2 baking potatoes (1 1/4 pounds total).  (The recipe said the slices should be no thicker than 1/4 inch; mine were thinner.  I’m not sure they would have cooked through completely if they had been much thicker.  If you have a mandoline – I don’t! – this is the perfect time to get it out.)  I dropped the potato slices into the egg mixture.

To assemble the dish, I used a slotted spoon to lift half of the potatoes out of the egg mixture.  I arranged them in the bottom of the prepared pan and then topped them with 10 ounces of sugar-baked ham (thinly sliced), 10 ounces of frozen broccoli (thawed and squeezed dry with paper towels), and 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese.  I lifted the remaining potatoes out of the egg mixture, arranged them on top of the cheese, and poured the egg mixture over the top of the dish.  Using the same slotted spoon, I pressed down on the top layer of potatoes to make sure they were completely submerged in the egg mixture.

I put the pan on a baking sheet (just in case!), covered the pan with foil, and baked the dish until the potatoes were tender (about 1 hour).  Next, I removed the foil and put the casserole back in the oven until it was golden and set (about 45 more minutes).  I let the casserole cool in the pan for 20 minutes, ran a knife around the edges, and carefully inverted it onto a plate.  I peeled off the parchment, reinverted it (so we could see that beautiful browned top), and cut it into wedges using a serrated knife.

Ham and Potato Bake

Yuuuum-MY.  This was so incredibly delicious.  (I’m sure the heavy cream had something to do with it, but what is life without the occasional indulgence?)  I’m a big fan of broccoli-cheese combinations (broccoli-cheese rice, anyone?), and the ham was a terrific addition.  The potatoes were perfectly tender, and the browned edges were exceptionally tasty.

We managed to eat about a third of the dish that first night.  It became dinner the next night and Dr. O’s lunch on the third day.  As I said, it reheated beautifully in the microwave…  I cut each wedge in half for more even cooking and gave each serving 2 – 3 minutes of high heat.  It popped a *lot*, but I’d still rather spend 5 minutes cleaning the microwave than 30 – 60 minutes cooking up another meal.

TIPS:  Any 9-inch cake pan will work fine for this recipe, but I’ll admit that I used a silicone one to make removing the dish from the pan as easy as possible.  I have a pan like this one, but in red.

My only “complaint” about the dish is that I had to make sure the ham was *completely* cut through before removing the slices from the plate.  I didn’t manage a complete cut on my first slice, and the ham layer actually slipped clean away from the slice as I pulled it out.  Next time, I think I’ll cut the ham slices into thin strips before layering the meat to prevent this from happening.

Recipe link: Ham and Potato Bake

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

Happy 2009, everyone!  Hopefully, you had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Our NYE was a bit lame, I’ll admit – poor Dr. O has been sick, so we spent the night in – but we had a nice day yesterday brunching, watching football, and relaxing with one of our dearest friends.

Speaking of brunch, it’s one of my favorite meals.  We have a long tradition of breakfast casserole at my parents’ house, and I’m always looking for new, crowd-pleasing brunch options.  That was my motivation for trying today’s recipe – Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust from the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food.

This recipe is basically a two-step process.  First, I had to assemble and bake the crust; then, I had to fill and bake the center.  I started by buttering a 9 x 2 1/2-inch springform pan.  I cut a strip of waxed paper to be the same height as the edge of the pan (2 1/2 inches), lined the sides of the pan with the paper, and then buttered the paper.  (The first coat of butter helps the paper stick to the pan.)

I squeezed the excess moisture from 1 pound of thawed (previously frozen) hash browns and placed them in a large bowl.  Next, I added 2 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  I mixed everything together and used a buttered measuring cup to press the potato mixture into the bottom and sides of the prepared springform pan.  I placed the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and baked the crust at 375F until it was set (about 20 minutes).

While the crust baked, I whisked together 1 1/2 cups of reduced-fat sour cream, 1 package (5 ounces) of soft goat cheese (at room temperature), 1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl.  When those ingredients were well combined, I whisked in 11 eggs.  Once the crust had finished baking, I poured the egg-cheese mixture into the pan and sprinkled it with 4 thinly sliced scallions.  I put the pan (still on the baking sheet) back in the oven until the quiche was set (about 50 minutes).  To serve, I unmolded the quiche, peeled off the wax paper, and cut it into slices.

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

This quiche was so beautiful when it came out of the oven…  The look of the hash-brown crust is really elegant, almost like a crown.  Unfortunately, the taste didn’t really live up to the appearance.  I like goat cheese, but it just didn’t seem to work that well in this dish.  What I *do* think would work would be substituting cream cheese for the goat cheese and maybe adding a bit of diced ham.  This one is gorgeous enough to be worth another try (with substitutions)…  I’ll let you know how it goes!

TIPS:  Don’t skip the measuring cup when you’re pressing the hash browns into the springform pan.  It’s essential for packing the hash browns down well enough to form a solid crust.

Recipe link: Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins

What if you could invest 20 minutes of active cooking time to have a healthy, satisfying breakfast ready in 60 seconds or less for the next 3 days?  Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins from Jim Romanoff of the Associated Press is a recipe that allows you do to just that.  I made these easy, savory muffins on Saturday morning and we’ve been enjoying them since.

First, I prepped my ham and veggies.  I thinly sliced 1 bunch of scallions to yield 3/4 cup (the recipe called for 1 cup), diced half of a red bell pepper to yield 1/2 cup, and diced 6 ounces of sliced ham to yield 1 cup.  Next, I prepped my muffin pan by spraying it with cooking spray.  (I used a silicone muffin pan for easy release, but any old muffin pan is fine.  You can use liners as well, if you want.)

In a large bowl, I whisked together 3 cups of flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder (the recipe actually calls for 1 tablespoon, but I adjusted for altitude), 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

In a medium bowl, I whisked together 2 large eggs, 1 1/3 cups of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of canola oil, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter.  I stirred in the prepared ham, scallions, and red pepper along with 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

To form the batter, I added the wet ingredients to the dry and mixed with a rubber spatula just until everything was combined.  (Don’t overmix.)  I used an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to my prepared muffin pan; 1 heaping scoop per muffin cup was just about right.  (The cups were very full.)

I baked the muffins at 400F until the tops were browned.  The recipe said 20 – 25 minutes; at Denver’s altitude, I got the results I wanted in 28 minutes.  I let the muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turned them out, and served them warm.

Mmmm.  These were seriously good.  The muffin itself was moist and fluffy with great density, and I loved the chunky texture of the ham and pepper pieces.  The scallions and cayenne pepper added the perfect amount of zing.  I did feel like they could be a bit saltier, so I think I’ll double the salt to 1/2 teaspoon next time instead of 1/4 teaspoon.

The recipe made 12 muffins, which is far more than Dr. O and I can eat on our own.  I wrapped each muffin individually in plastic wrap and placed the leftovers in the refrigerator.  (They’ll keep for 3 days.)  As promised, these warmed up beautifully in the microwave…  Each muffin just needs 30 seconds on high to be back to warm, moist, and delicious.

TIPS: I always ask my deli guy or gal to slice my meats thick when I need them for dicing.  The person behind the counter usually has *some* idea of how thick a slice should be to yield the amount I need (though I never expect them to get it exactly right!).

Also, if you have a silicone muffin pan and you choose to use it, remember to put it on a baking sheet for support before you put it in the oven.

Recipe link: Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins (inactive)

Update 8/23/12: The recipe is no longer published on the Dallas Morning News website.  I’ve written it out in a separate post (and mine isn’t going anywhere!); click here to visit.

Buttermilk Waffles

I actually managed to make a “special” breakfast – Buttermilk Waffles from the September 2008 issue of Everyday Food – yesterday, and I’m ridiculously excited about it.  Beyond the fact that the waffles were amazing, it feels like I’m regaining some sense of routine.  FINALLY.  Unfortunately, we keep finding boxes of kitchen stuff in odd rooms of the house (old markings on recycled boxes can be a bit confusing, I guess), so the space still isn’t 100% organized.  At least my kitchen is becoming truly functional again.

Waffles have a special place in my heart because my mom ALWAYS made them when my brother and I were growing up.  She’d put the batter together, heat up what is now (and might have been then) an ancient waffle iron, and we’d wait anxiously for the steam to die down to signal that the waffle was ready to move from iron to plate.  They were SO good.  Seeing the Buttermilk Waffle recipe in last month’s Everyday Food brought that memory back, so I thought I’d see if I could recreate some of the magic while experimenting with a new recipe.

I really like this recipe because it presents an easy solution to the age-old waffle dilemma: Who gets the first waffle, and how in the world does the cook enjoy breakfast with everyone else at the table?  The first step in the recipe calls for heating the oven to 275F, putting a cooling rack on a baking sheet, and then placing the baking sheet in the oven.  As the waffles come out of the iron, you just transfer them to the baking sheet.  When you’re ready to serve breakfast, you can just take as many as you need from the oven; the cook’s work is done, and everyone gets warm waffles at the same time.

While the oven heated, I made the waffle batter.  (I also plugged in my waffle iron at this time to heat it as well.)  In a medium bowl, I whisked together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  I set the mixture aside.  In a large bowl, I whisked together 2 cups of low-fat buttermilk, 1 stick of melted unsalted butter, and 2 large eggs.  I added the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mixed until the batter was just combined.  (It’s good to have *some* lumps.)

When my waffle iron was heated (mine beeps when it’s ready), I brushed it lightly with vegetable oil and poured batter into its three wells.  (The amount of batter you’ll use depends on the size of your waffle iron.)  My iron also beeps when the waffles are ready, so I just waited for the signal.  I removed the waffles from the iron, transferred them to the cooling rack in the oven, and repeated the process until the batter was gone.  If your waffle iron doesn’t signal when the waffles are ready, just cook them for 3 – 5 minutes until they’re golden brown and crisp.

While my waffles cooked, I used the time to slice and macerate some strawberries, which I served over the waffles.

These were so incredibly good.  They were light as air and slightly crisp with a delicate, buttery flavor.  I think that unless you have one of those waffle irons that flips, it can sometimes be hard to have evenly-cooked waffles.  Putting the waffles in the oven at 275 was the perfect solution; I just put the less-cooked side down on the cooling rack in the oven, and the texture turned out perfectly.  I might start a family tradition of my own with this one! 🙂

TIPS:  Macerating strawberries is really simple.  Just clean and dry 1 – 2 cups of strawberries, slice them, place them in a bowl, and stir in 1 – 2 tablespoons of sugar.  (I like to use brown sugar.)  Let the berries sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and stir them occasionally.  They’ll turn extra sweet and slightly syrupy.

Recipe link: Buttermilk Waffles

Tomato and Leek Frittata

I was digging through old posts recently, and I realized I haven’t posted a frittata since July.  JULY!  I can hardly believe it.  I felt like this blog was “frittata central” for a while there.  I found some gorgeous cherry tomatoes at a local farmer’s market last week, so I decided to get back on the horse with Tomato and Leek Frittata from the September 2003 issue of Everyday Food.  This recipe is special because it uses more egg whites than yolks.  I’m used to using whole eggs in a frittata, so I was really curious to see how the texture and flavor of the dish would be affected.

First, I prepped my leeks.  Leeks can be a bit tricky as an ingredient because they’re usually really gritty, but I love their flavor.  I thinly sliced the white parts of 2 large leeks to yield 2 cups, placed the leeks in a bowl, and covered them with water.  I swished them around, removed them to a separate bowl with a slotted spoon, and dumped the gritty water.  Then, I covered the leeks with water again (this time in the new bowl) and repeated the process until there wasn’t any grit left in the bottom of the bowl.  (I usually wash my leeks 3 times before using them.)  When I was sure they were clean, I drained the leeks one last time and set them aside.

In a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, I heated 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat.  I added the sliced, cleaned leeks and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I covered the skillet with a lid and cooked the leeks for 5 minutes before stirring in 1 cup of grape tomatoes.  I put the lid back on the skillet, cooked the leeks and tomatoes for 2 minutes, and then transferred the mixture to a bowl.  (Be sure to leave the burner on medium heat at this point – it comes back into play.)

In a separate bowl (yes, this recipe is a bit “bowl heavy”), I beat 6 egg whites with salt and pepper to stiff peaks and then folded in 4 egg yolks.

Next, I brushed the skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  I added the eggs, sprinkled them with the vegetable mixture and 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese, and pushed the toppings slightly under the surface of the eggs.  I cooked the frittata over medium heat until the sides were dry (3 minutes) and then transferred it to a 350F oven for 15 minutes.

The answer to the “egg white” question is “holy puff-ola!”  When this dish came out of the oven, it had puffed up considerably.  It’s kind of hard to see the height in this photo, but you can definitely see that the top has a different appearance and texture than the other frittata recipes I’ve posted on the site.

The frittata fell as it cooled (honestly, I’m not sure if this was supposed to happen), but it was still nice and thick in my book.  I actually liked the way the edges stayed high and formed a crust.

Can we say YUM-MY?  I loved the way the hot tomatoes burst in my mouth, and goat cheese and leeks are two of my favorite ingredients in just about anything.  The texture was super light and fluffy but slightly crisp around the edges.  It actually reminded me a bit of a popover.  Mmmm.  Dr. O and I really enjoyed this one, and I’m looking forward to making it again.

TIPS:  This is another recipe for goat cheese lovers only.  If you’re not a fan, I’d try feta or Gorgonzola instead.

Recipe link: Tomato and Leek Frittata

Sweet Sundays: Blueberry Crumb Cake

I recently caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina Garten made an absolutely incredible-looking blueberry crumb cake. I happened to have some blueberries on hand and I am *always* looking for easy brunch recipes, so I just had to give it a try.

First, I buttered a 9-inch springform pan. I sprinkled flour inside, rolled it around to coat the buttered surface, and then tapped out the excess. The recipe says to use a 9-inch round baking pan (not a springform pan, specifically), but I have no idea how you’d get the cake out in one piece without the springform release mechanism. The cake magically went from pan to counter during a commercial break when I was watching the episode, of course.

To make the streusel, I combined 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of lightly packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg in a medium bowl. I stirred in 1 stick of melted unsalted butter, followed by 1 1/3 cups of flour. Once everything was well mixed, I set the bowl aside.

To make the cake, I creamed 6 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter with 3/4 cup of sugar until it was light. (This took 5 minutes at high speed using my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) I reduced the mixer speed to low and added 2 large eggs (one at a time), followed by 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, and 2/3 cup of sour cream (reduced-fat is fine). In a separate bowl, I sifted together 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt. With the mixer on low speed, I slowly added the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. I turned the mixer off and folded in 1 cup of fresh blueberries with a spatula.

I spooned the batter into my prepared springform pan and smoothed the top. With my fingers, I crumbled the streusel topping over the batter. (It’s better to make the crumbles small to avoid any large, too-crunchy pieces; I spent about 3 minutes finely crumbling the mixture.) My cake came out perfectly after exactly 40 minutes at 350F; a toothpick inserted in the center was clean except for a few tiny moist crumbs. I cooled the cake on a wire rack for about an hour. When we were ready to sample it, I ran a knife around the inside of the pan and unmolded the cake to serve.

There is only one word to describe this cake: DEADLY! I think it might just be the best cake I’ve ever made. Ever. Dr. O actually said “whoa” after he took his first bite. It was perfectly moist with a hint of lemon, and the topping was “just right” crunchy. It cut beautifully with a serrated knife, so serving it was a breeze. I have to say I was thankful that Dr. O took most of it to work the morning after I baked it… I can just hear this one calling my name. My only boo-boo is that I forgot the sprinkle of powdered sugar before serving. (Terrible, I know!)

TIPS: Ina Garten always uses extra-large eggs in her recipes. I really only buy large eggs, though. Two large eggs worked well with this recipe; here’s an egg size conversion chart if you’re interested.

Also, don’t worry if your streusel mixture isn’t crumbly until you physically crumble it over the cake batter. It won’t have coarse texture like an oatmeal topping for a fruit crisp might.

A final tip: Always toss fruit (or chocolate chips, or whatever) with a bit of flour before you fold the ingredient into a batter. I tossed the blueberries with about 1 tablespoon of flour before I added them to the cake, which ensured that they didn’t all end up at the bottom of the pan. (Discard any excess flour that doesn’t cling to the ingredient you’re adding.)

Recipe link: Blueberry Crumb Cake




The Daring Kitchen

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