Posts Tagged ‘Brunch’

From Dish Rachelle:


I love brunch but on a chilly January Sunday, sometimes I love lounging in my sweatpants even more. What’s a Dish to do?

The answer’s surprisingly obvious: if you can’t bring the people to the croque madame, bring the croque madame to the people. To be honest, this isn’t my go-to brunch order (I’m more of an omelette or pancakes kind of girl) but I recently saw two internet recipes that inspired me to give this gourmet ham, egg and cheese another shot.

The first is this breakfast sandwich post from Ideas in Food, one of my husband’s favorite cooking blogs. He sent it to me because he knows there’s a special place in my heart for “Egg in the Bread” aka “Toad in the Hole” because my parents used to make it for me when I was little and I still cook it for us every once in a while.

The second is Ruth Reichl’s grilled cheese recipe from her How to Make it Better series for Gilt Taste. I incorporated many of her suggestions here and as promised, my sandwich was better for it.

I’m not going to get overly precise in my measurements here because seriously, it’s brunch – if we can’t be laid-back before noon on a Sunday, then really, when can we be?

Also: do you know how to make ANYTHING better? Add cats.
Ingredients (serves two)

4 slices country bread

butter for spreading

shredded gruyere cheese (start with about a cup – if you need more, go for it)

1-1 ½ tablespoons chopped shallot

black pepper

2 slices of ham

mayo for spreading

more butter for cooking

2 eggs

Diet food, this isn’t:


Start by layering one slice of bread on top of another and creating a hole in the center using a cookie cutter. Extra points if it’s cat-shaped. Repeat for second sandwich.


Mix together the grated gruyere with the chopped shallots and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Butter the inside of each slice of bread. If the butter’s too cold and/or the bread’s too delicate, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Butter side up, sprinkle a healthy amount of the cheese mixture on two slices of bread (one for each sandwich). Avoid the hole in the center.

Cover the cheese with a slice of ham, tearing it into pieces if necessary to arrange it around the cat.

Sprinkle just a bit more cheese over the ham and then close the sandwich, lining up the holes. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the outside of the bread and flip, carefully, to repeat on the other side.


Once both sandwiches are closed, melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Carefully place your sandwiches in the hot butter and crack an egg in the center of each one.

Cook on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes, and then flip. Cook until bottom side is golden brown and the egg has reached a desired level of doneness.

Serve immediately, with a nice helping of dressed greens, Brooklyn brunch style.


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From Dish Paige:

Hello and welcome back to Saucy Little Dish! While we’ve been on summer hiatus, I started culinary school and have been very busy making my way through my International Baking and Pastry program. I figured, since I’ve already learned so many new things, I should share a few of them with everybody here.

I just finished a bread course, and one of the things we learned was that bread loves to ferment at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, in 80 percent humidity. Which, if you live in the Northeast, is exactly the temperature outside (and inside if you don’t have central air like me). I know you’re all thinking, “but it’s 80 degrees and 80 percent humidity in my apartment, why would I also turn on the oven?” Well, that’s the beauty of this formula (I call recipes for baking “formulas” now, it’s a professional thing *wink), the English Muffins are cooked on the stovetop!

Ok, so now it’s time to get super technical on you all. There are ten steps to yeast bread production. If you follow these steps, you will get bread. Great bread. Delicious bread. All formulas follow these ten steps. Follow the steps. Follow them and apply them to future bread endeavors:

1. Scaling/Measuring
2. Mixing/Kneading
3. Fermenting
4. Punching
5. Portioning
6. Rounding/Benching
7. Make-up/Shaping
8. Proofing
9. Baking
10. Cooling/Storing

Let’s go!

Milk – 9.25 fl. oz.
Active dry yeast 0.4 oz.
Pastry or cake flour – 1 lb.
Bread flour – 1 lb.
Baking powder – 0.4 oz.
Granulated sugar – 1.25 oz.
Salt – 0.25 oz.
Unsalted butter, room temperature 1.5 oz.
Water – room temperature 9.25 fl. oz.
Cornmeal – as needed for dusting

This formula uses the “sponge” method, which basically means that we are going to create a mini little starter (kinda like a sourdough) and let that get going a little bit before we mix everything together. Let’s go step by step:

Scale out all of your ingredients. Measuring by weight is the most accurate, so here you go.

Now make the sponge: Heat the milk until just scalded. Stir in the active dry yeast, then mix it with the pastry flour. Cover and let ferment about 15 minutes.

Once your sponge has fermented, mix together the rest of the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter and water and add the sponge. You can use your hands or a mixer fitted with a doug hook. Mix for about 3 minutes, then begin kneading for about 7 minutes until the dough is soft and somewhat sticky.

Cover and let your dough sit for 20 minutes wherever it is 80 degrees and humid. The dough should double in size and slowly spring back when poked with your finger.

You can literally punch your dough, or if you want to be nice, fold the outsides of the dough in on itself a few times in order to equalize the temperature. Let the dough rest again, covered, for another 10 minutes.

Here, with other doughs, you would divide it into however many loaves or rolls or whatever you have, keeping the section you’re not working with covered while you work on the rest. With this dough, we’re going to roll out it out to a 1 inch thickness.

Again, with other doughs, you would now take the portioned dough, roll it into a smooth ball and then let it take a nap for about 10 mins, covered. For the English muffins, cover them and let the rolled out dough relax just for a few minutes to relax the gluten strands. Otherwise, you’re going to cut out the shapes and they will shrink on you.

Shape the portioned doughs. For the muffins, cut them into the desired size. You can use biscuit cutters, or something circular that’s close to the size you want and trace it with a paring knife. I used a coffee mug for the small ones, and the top of a Chinese soup take-out container for large, sandwich size ones. Place them on a baking sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal and cover.

Let your dough take another nap, covered, until doubled in size.

Bake, or in the case of English muffins, cook on a skillet or in a pan until golden brown, about 3-7 minutes per side. The inside of your bread should be in the temperature range of 190-210 degrees.

You don’t want to put your hot breads in a plastic bag or aluminum foil because they will sweat. Use parchment to wrap them when warm. Once they are cool, use whatever you want! Just remember, bread you make at home will go bad way faster than what you buy at the store, so keep your English muffins in the refrigerator or freeze them for longer storage.

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From Dish Gwen:

The other night my cupboards were looking pretty bare, and cereal for dinner wasn’t really appealing to me, so I had to get a little creative. Using a can of black beans, some corn meal, eggs and a handful of salad greens I was able to pull together a rather fancy little dish that hit the spot and was healthy to boot. I think I’ll probably make it again.

– 1 can black beans
– 2 cups corn meal (or dry polenta)
– ½ cup shredded parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
– 2 eggs
– a handful of salad greens
– 4 radishes
– 2 scallions
– olive oil
– apple cider vinegar
– salt
– pepper

Stew up the beans with some salt and pepper to taste and keep them on warm on the back burner. In a sauce pan, boil 6 cups of salted water, then sprinkle in the polenta while whisking – make sure to whisk thoroughly because otherwise you’ll get lumps. Once the polenta is mixed in, turn the heat down to medium-low and use a spoon and stir until the it thickens. Check the polenta by tasting to see if it’s softened (if it’s grainy and tough you need to add more water and keep stirring until it softens up – this can take about ½ hour).

Grease a square brownie pan or small cookie sheet with butter, then pour out the polenta into it and smooth it over with a rubber spatula to create a flat cake. Cool the polenta in the fridge for an hour so that it firms up, then sprinkle parmesan or Romano cheese evenly across the top and put the pan in the broiler on high to melt and brown the cheese. Once it looks nice and brown take it out and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Slice the cake of polenta into 3 or 4 inch wide squares. (instead of broiling you can also fry polenta cakes! Try it!)

Dice up the radishes and scallions and toss them in a large bowl with the salad greens and a table spoon of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, plus a dash of salt and pepper. Fry two eggs and plate them on top of the dish, with the beans on the bottom, then the polenta cake, then the egg, then the salad mix on top (the plating of this dish is what takes it from random to gourmet). Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and serve!

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From Dish Paige:

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Take my mom’s egg salad, for example. It’s just hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and maybe a dash of salt, but scoop it onto an everything bagel and I guarantee you’ll feel close to heaven. When I make egg salad, I gussy it up a little bit, but always with the understanding that it doesn’t need too much to make it spectacular.

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches)
4 slices crusty bread, toasted
1 small tomato, sliced
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Directions: There are lots of ways to hard boil an egg, and in my experience, people can be very attached to a certain way of doing it, but I’ll tell you how I do it. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with enough water so that it covers the eggs by about an inch and add a capful of vinegar (so the eggs peel easier). Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for one minute. Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and let sit for 8 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, thyme, and lemon juice. Add in the hard boiled eggs and mash with the back of a fork. Salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the sandwich with a layer of the salad, red onion, tomato and lettuce.

Serve with your favorite potato chip. Try not to float away.

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From Dish Danielle:

I’ve just returned from my very first trip to Mexico. I had the perfect guide, Dish Amelia, who’s been across the border before and knows Oaxaca City like the back of her hand. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we did an excellent job eating our way through the OAX. SLD style….

The trip provided each sense with its own degree of intoxication: The brightly colored buildings and the incredible flora of southern Mexico; the hypnotizing sounds of bustling markets; vendors waving flags and enticing you with their sing-song-y pitches; the dizzying aromas wafting out of kitchen windows; Mexican chocolates, fresh tortillas, grilled meats over massive barbecues; the textures of traditional woven garments…
All of the flavors of Oaxaca are woven into their food and drink: bright yet earthy, hearty but not heavy. Dreaming of mezcal to mouth watering mole, I’m already dying to go back.

With that being said, I’ve had a killer hankering for a particular breakfast that Amelia & I ordered nearly every morning (and kicked ourselves when we didn’t…), Huevos Divorciados, behold:

For salsas:
1 lb plum tomatoes, rinsed
1 lb tomatillos, husks discarded & rinsed
3 small jalapenos
1 poblano, roasted, skinned and deseeded
1/2 a large white onion
4-5 garlic cloves
Handful fresh cilantro, rinsed
Water as needed.

For 8 tortillas:
1c masa harina (I actually picked up ‘instant’ which meant I didn’t need to wait for the dough to ‘set.’)
2/3 c water, plus a little more if needed

For desayuno:
2 eggs per person being served.

Start by roasting the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and onion on a comal or dry cast iron skillet until blackened on all sides, (15mins or so). Core roasted tomatoes. De-stem/de-seed jalapenos.

Make red salsa: Puree tomatoes, 1½ jalapeños, 2 garlic cloves, ½ the onion, and salt in food processor, (add water to thin salsa if desired). Set aside.

Make green salsa: Purée tomatillos, 1½ jalapeños, poblano, 2 garlic cloves, rest of onion, salt, cilantro, and 1/2 cup water in food processor, (add a bit more water if desired).

Make tortillas: Combine masa harina and water in medium bowl. Mix with hands until a soft malleable dough forms that keeps its shape. Add tiny amounts of masa/water as needed if too wet/dry. Form into 8 small balls. Keep dough covered with damp towel. Use tortilla press to flatten into perfect discs! Fire up your comal/dry cast iron to cook these bad boys. Gently place tortilla on hot surface. Cook for about 1min on each side—you’ll see it firming up and your nose will tell you when it’s time to pull one off!

Once your tortillas are finished place them snuggly in a tea towel to keep warm. Now fry your eggs to your own liking and lay 1 fried egg atop 1 tortilla, and serve 2 of these per plate.

Spoon liberal amounts of green salsa on one egg and red salsa on the other. I complimented the eggs with my own rendition of a black bean puree we had on the side of this breakfast in Oaxaca, (I simply stewed the beans with a few cloves of garlic, a hunk of onion and some freshly ground Oaxacan allspice that I picked up down there). Feel free to make any accompaniment to your Saucy Little Dish, and enjoy.


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Ed’s note: SLD is very proud to announce that two of Dish Amelia’s SLD recipes have been published in the Edible Brooklyn Cookbook! Take a moment to look back at Wanna Get Lucky? Eat Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens and OMG Appletinis!. Congratulations, Amelia!

From Dish Amelia:

The past few weeks have been filled with special food. All food you make at home can be special in its own way of course, but holidays can include some additional dishes that are more prestigious due to their complexity, valuable ingredients, or timely significance. For Christmas I made a ham. That week I also made Gypsy Stew, and then for new years day I made Black-Eyed Peas. (There was also salad, cake, cookies, mashed potatoes, pierogies, borscht, and more cake, and more cookies.) So there’s been a lot of food in the fridge, and eating has been more of a game of how to reassemble the current pieces into an equally nutritious and interesting meal as the ones before, until everything is accounted for and put to use. And man, the ham has really gone far! So instead of one recipe, or the several mentioned, here is how they met for breakfast.

These Huevos Rancheros use the ingredients listed, placed on a plate in this order:

Tortilla (some decent storebought wheat ones) (heated for a few seconds on a pan or zapped)
Potato (1 large one, grated, squeezed and forgotten periodically in a cast iron pan until crispy)
BEP’s (with ham and green chile)
Red chile sauce
Fried egg (C’mon now)

The Black Eyed Peas this year featured frozen and canned ones, and chopped green chile left over from the Gyspy Stew, and cooked with the Christmas ham (which included whole grain mustard, maple syrup, and Riesling). This makes so much sense I can’t believe I never thought of it before. The ham was the smallest one they had, a real nice fancy 3.25 lb Hudson Valley smoked one. I based my ham on this recipe from Bon Appetit. Also, I loved discovering that I could slice superthin curls from my now frozen ham and then dice it into tiny geometric pieces that would not have been possible at room temp. The ham was wonderful with pan juice gravy on Christmas, as ham sandwiches all week, giving smoky backbone to the BEPs and to a soup — which I’ve yet to make.

And speaking of that, here’s to the future! I wish you health, happiness, love and luck in 2012!

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From Dish Danielle:

There are countless things to express gratitude for this time of year, but one thing I’m especially appreciative of is the wisdom of the American Grandmother.

A dear friend and I have been slowly cultivating a side project called ‘The Golden Skillet.’ We seek to preserve the culinary knowledge of our oldest female generations; to capture their personalities, stories, knowledge, and love of home cooking on film. Deborah & I have had the pleasure of working with four ‘Skillets’ so far, and with each one we meet, we are further humbled and inspired by the women we call our grannies, nanas, nonas, and gampies.

Deborah and I launched a Kickstarter account merely three weeks ago, with a goal of raising $5K. As a struggling young professional in the big city, I had my doubts about whether or not we’d reach our goal in 30 days or less. We made 60% of our goal within six days! …And in the last two weeks, our fundraising efforts ticked up past our goal. ‘Hot Stuff!’ as my Nana would say…

This post is in honor and THANKS to not only the incredible grandmother’s we’ve filmed, but to those of you who have given us your support and positive feedback (and I’m not just talking about moolah people) in our Skillet endeavors. THANK YOU, from the bottom of our cast iron, er, I mean, Golden, Skillets.

Ann Fernald’s Cranberry Island Gingerbread (without ginger!).
2/3 c canola oil
1½c sugar
1 large egg
1½c molasses
4 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 tsp ground cloves
1½ tsp baking soda
1/3 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 16”x12” pan (or two 9”x13” pans).
Sift all dry ingredients together, including spices (but not including the sugar).

Mix oil, sugar, egg, and molasses with paddle attachment in a stand mixer. An egg-beater will also do, but this batter becomes very stiff and hard to mix by hand… at least for this dish. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet in three separate increments. Mix until just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape sides of the bowl to be sure all the dry has been incorporated. Measure out buttermilk and add the baking soda to it. Fold buttermilk in by hand with spatula. Mixture should be very stiff.

Spread batter into pan(s) and bake for 30-40 minutes. Ann advises to bake them until just ‘under-done, so they’re chewy.’ You want the toothpick to come out with a little batter on the bottom of it.

Hula-hoop until they’re ready, then share with loved ones you’re grateful for.

Please take a moment and watch Ann Fernald, a total Golden Skillet, show you how it’s really done.

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