Category: Brunch

Pumpkin-Pepita Muffins

Pumpkin-Pepita Muffins

Before moving to Colorado, I don’t remember eating pepitas, but I certainly got to them as fast as I could upon arrival. The tiny, full of health “pumpkin seeds” we eat for snacks, add to salads, tacos, omelets, or granola, and what I put on my muffins (above), aren’t like the pumpkin seeds you remove with all of the gloppy mess inside the typical Halloween jack-o-lantern. I mean, you could open up those big fat seeds (which have their own happy uses–see below at MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO READ) and try to get at the little inner seed, but that’s not where pepitas come from. Read on:

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Easy Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

Easy Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

Start the coffee when you slide this baby into the oven because it’s done in 30 minutes!

I can remember, but just barely, my dad scraping the flesh of an apple with a spoon and feeding it to me when I was a capital-T Tiny little kid. Was I spoiled? Oh, I’m sure I was. I was the fourth kid and born 10 years after the third. Did I learn to love apples? You betcha. And, because God was good (and yes, “God did make little green apples”), I grew up in the same house my entire childhood with apple, plum, and pear trees right outside one door or the other. To say nothing of a midwestern summer garden I’ve never since seen the like of. Of course that all meant work, too, even for the kids. There was planting, fertilizing, weeding, hoeing, picking, cleaning, and the final coup de grâce (crushing blow), canning. Lord, the heat. Apples, plums, and pears, but especially apples, however, didn’t necessitate those long three months of labor followed by a week of boiling jars in a steaming, no-AC kitchen. You simply watched as the trees blossomed in the spring, knowing somehow in the sweet fragrance on the breeze that when fall arrived, you could just munch away to your heart’s content by doing nothing more than reaching up to the low-hanging branches or getting your taller sister to do it for you. There was one thing, though. My mom liked to make jam and jelly, so there were still a few hot Mason jars for that, more’s the pity. She’d make it out of just about anything she could find, but because she had tons of apples in her own yard, we had apple jelly out the kazoo. If I ate a PBJ come wintertime, there’d be apple jelly on it nine times out of ten. Well. That was a lot of the same jelly, so….

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Father’s Day: Dave’s Easy Huevos Rancheros with our CHEEP A** BLOODY MARYS.

Father’s Day: Dave’s Easy Huevos Rancheros with our CHEEP A** BLOODY MARYS.

When my husband Dave and I became empty nesters several years ago, we began to eat brunch out on Sundays after church and rarely cooked it at home except on holidays or special occasions. Then came COVID-19. No church except online. No restaurants open until recently. (We’re still not going, though we did go to our local dive drive-in for ice cream the other day.) We immediately hopped to and began cooking brunch at home again–just like in the old days. We shared the work–Dave making eggs, etc. and me happily baking a goodie like the Blueberry Buckle below, which I hadn’t been doing in eons. We’ve taken turns on what we now call our Cheep A** Bloody Marys (more on that later) and now eat brunch BEFORE church for the most part. We’ve even gone way old school and made Dave’s mom Lorna’s comforting egg casserole a time or two as it provides excellent lunch leftovers. (Recipe in photo below.) Could we ever have imagined all this? No. You probably hadn’t either.

Continue reading “Father’s Day: Dave’s Easy Huevos Rancheros with our CHEEP A** BLOODY MARYS.”
How to Make Quiche out of Just About Anything

How to Make Quiche out of Just About Anything

French home cooks always seem to have a dozen wonderful things up their sleeves to make on the spur of the moment. Great ideas to use up leftovers come awfully naturally, as well, and they all appear to know about how to feed 6 people with a cup and a half of milk, 3 eggs, a bit of ham, and a handful of grated cheese. How DO they do it? These folks are always frying croutons, whipping up homemade hot chocolate, baking an apple tart using apples from the backyard tree, simmering cream soups or vegetable pastas, stirring up something tasty with canned tuna … or even making quiche! How is it that even carbs aren’t a problem for them? This is proven routinely by the unending ubiquitous photos of yard-long baguettes being carried home by slim citizens riding bikes down tree-lined sunny Paris streets. (Well, right now they’re limited to an hour out a day and can’t go far from home. Sigh.) Over the years I’ve been writing the blog, I’ve read and seen quite a lot about this phenomenon, but staying in France for two weeks a couple of years ago gave me a much more complete and definitely personal insight. I’m finding it all definitely useful in today’s cooking world.

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Green Chile-Turkey Gravy on Cornmeal Cheddar Waffles (with a fried egg)

Green Chile-Turkey Gravy on Cornmeal Cheddar Waffles (with a fried egg)

If food could laugh, this dish would be a really hearty chuckle!

Dave and I love to go out for breakfast. It’s not that we don’t like to cook breakfast at home; we do. In fact, I cook breakfast many mornings.

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Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon

Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon

Pancakes are the answer when the question is, “What’s for dinner? I haven’t been to the store and there’s nothing thawed. It’s late and we’re hungry.” My happy guess is you have flour, eggs, milk, and syrup or honey. Maybe, if God is good, you have some bacon in the freezer. Enter the fall breakfast for dinner and why not? It’s not something you do often, but when you do, you think, “THIS is a great idea!” Ok, this might not have fit in the “diet,” but I didn’t overdo. Continue reading “Breakfast for Dinner: Apple-Walnut Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon”

Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day

Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day

Brunch, and maybe especially Father’s Day brunch, is one of my favorite meals! This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, Gene Morgan, a good cook who makes the very best of all Sausage Gravies.

Gene, after a lifetime career in nearly every sector of the grocery store arena, knows the food business.  Just ask him about how long green beans are picked before they’re canned, when a melon is ripe, where sugar beets are grown in the world, how coffee is stored in the warehouse, or what H.E.B. actually stands for.  He’s a fair hand in the kitchen, too, and can keep dinner coming. In fact, the man can bake when he wants to. What he’s really famous for, however, is his sausage gravy.  Well, that and being just about the biggest Illini (University of Illinois) fan in the state of Illinois. He once sported an Illini ROOM in the house, in fact, all decorated and gussied up by his wife, my mother-in-law, Lorna, who joins right in year in and year out with the Illini devotion.

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Bacon and Egg Casserole with Sweet Peppers

Bacon and Egg Casserole with Sweet Peppers

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EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. To sign up:  Message me on fb if we’re friended, email me, or leave your email or phone in a comment at the end of the blog and I’ll get back to you.  (Menu:  Carrot Soup with Fresh Herbs, Chicken Fricassee, Chocolate Mousse.) Class limited to 6 students.  I’ll repeat this class at home if needed to accommodate more students.  Can’t wait to cook and eat with you!

Next week, I’ll be attending a DACOR training session (I work as a chef for them twice a month and demonstrate their products) and of course I’ll feed the team that morning so our brains will absorb the information a bit more quickly.  Who doesn’t learn better with eggs, bacon, and cinnamon rolls?  I’ll throw in a beautiful bowl of chopped fruit and we’ll have coffee from the built-in coffee system that makes on-demand espresso faster than you can say, “Just sugar, please.”  I do lust after that coffee machine, I’ll be honest.  Recently a customer bought their second one for the family room in their basement.  We do have an electric kettle in the basement.  Somehow it just isn’t the same. Hmph.  If you’re at home, add a spicy Bloody Mary or a sweet Mimosa along side the coffee. Continue reading “Bacon and Egg Casserole with Sweet Peppers”

Make-Ahead Holiday Brunch for 12

Make-Ahead Holiday Brunch for 12

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I might love brunch more than any meal...perhaps I like the laid-back time involved or the old-school approach.  There’s barely a noted beginning –sitting around drinking coffee as the food is put out — and there needn’t be any end. (Movie with the coffee and brandy??)  It’s almost always a group.  Nearly certainly a special occasion.  More fun at home than at some swanky, pay-through-the-nose, eat-til-you-drop place, I think.  Even the dogs are at ease.

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38 Power Foods, Week 36 — Rainbow Trout — Pan-Fried Trout Brunch with Red Pepper-Zucchini Potatoes and Fried Eggs

38 Power Foods, Week 36 — Rainbow Trout — Pan-Fried Trout Brunch with Red Pepper-Zucchini Potatoes and Fried Eggs

 
Skip the quiche this Easter and fry up a tasty rainbow trout to go with your eggs and a big platter of potatoes with peppers and zucchini. While this is a lovely and not too time-consuming brunch (no do-aheads), it necessitates planning and … well …and doing things in approximately the order (see below), as fish waits for no one.  
Servings:   One fish will serve two people generously.  There’s plenty of Avocado-Basil Mayonnaise and potatoes for four. If you do have four, you’ll need to buy two trout and cook one, putting it in the warming oven while you cook the second.   Alternately, each of the four of you could have a small serving of the single trout.  With the eggs, it’s a filling meal.
       

1.  Make the coffee.  You’ll need it.  Take four eggs out of the frig. 
2.  Set the table–including butter, jam, salt, pepper, water, etc. (Or have a helper do this.)
3.  Make the avocado-basil mayonnaise and place on table.*
4.  Slice half a lemon and put on table.
5.  Make the potatoes and vegetables; place in 200 degree oven to keep warm.*
6.  Set up toaster with bread, but don’t push down yet.
7.  Make the three large dishes with flours and wet mixtures for fish.*
8.  Heat oil in skillet to fry fish.
9.  Set up skillet for eggs; melt butter.  Turn off.
10. Fry fish.*  When you turn it over, start the eggs and push down the toast.
      A helper at this point would be nice.
11. Pour coffee.  Bring oven vegetables out and place on platter.
12. Drain fish on a paper-towel lined baking pan or platter.
13. Gently place fish on top of hot potato mixture.
14. Butter toast and serve up eggs.
15. Enjoy it while it’s hot served with the Avocado-Basil Mayonnaise.
*=Recipe included

AVOCADO-BASIL MAYONNAISE

To the work bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse together until pureed:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Flesh of one avocado
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon-style mustard
Pinch each:  kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Generous shake or two of hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Makes about a cup.  Refrigerate leftovers well-covered; use for vegetable dip or salad dressing.

POTATOES WITH PEPPERS AND ZUCCHINI

1 tablespoon each: olive oil and butter
 Pinch crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small onion, chopped
Kosher salt; fresh ground black pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, minced  
2-3 tablespoons water 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes in a microwave safe container with a splash of water, cover tightly, and microwave at full power for three minutes.  Drain.

Heat oil, butter, crushed red pepper, and rosemary in a large, deep skillet over low heat for a minute or two.


Pour the drained potatoes, red bell pepper, and onion into the heated skillet and season well with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper; raise heat to medium.  Cook five minutes or until bell pepper is softening; add garlic and zucchini.  Spoon in water, stir, and cover.  Lower heat again and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon vegetables onto an oven-safe platter or container and place in oven to keep warm while you cook fish and eggs.  When trout is about done (after turning over), remove from oven and place on a serving platter if needed.

PAN-FRIED TROUT

Don’t be scared; he doesn’t bite.

  • 1 cup all purpose white flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped parsley and dill
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • Hot sauce 
  • 1 approximately 3/4-pound cleaned rainbow trout, head and tail left on (rinsed and patted dry)
  • Olive oil
  • Canola Oil

 

1.  Into one of three shallow bowls, place 1/2 cup flour mixed well with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Into another bowl, place the rest of the flour, the cornmeal, fresh herbs, lemon zest, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt,  and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
3.  Into the third bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and 4-5 drops hot sauce.
4.  Dip both sides of trout first in the flour-salt-pepper mixture, then in the buttermilk mixture, and last in the flour-cornmeal mixture.  Set on plate while you heat oil.
5.  Into a large, deep skillet, pour a mixture of olive and canola oil to fill the skillet 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep.   Heat over medium-high heat.  Gently lay fish in the oil and cook 4-5 minutes or until quite brown on one side.
6.  Carefully turn fish and cook another 2-3 minutes or until browned and, when tested inside, fish is firm and flaking.
7.  Drain fish on paper towels while you fry four eggs in prepared skillet (no recipe included.)  and make your toast.
8.  Gently transfer fish to the platter with the warm potatoes and vegetables.  
9.  Using a sharp, serrated knife and cooking fork, separate head from the body of the fish with a quick cut.  Gently pry apart the opened body of the trout to expose the spine, bones, and flesh.
Filet by removing as much of the skeleton as possible.  Cut fish in half and serve with eggs, potatoes, avocado-basil mayo, and toast.  I leave the tail on for serving.  Watch for bones!

You CAN also filet the trout before cooking; I think the trout is tastier cooked whole.

For detailed trout prep, check this out. 

… … … … …
rainbow trout are sustainable native American fish with a beautiful, delicate flavor.  To me, they’re the American version of sole, one of my favorites.  At about eight dollars a pound for fresh trout, they’re a perfect value for healthy, omega-3s and also have plenty of B vitamins and antioxidants.  Racking up a whopping! 260 calories per six-ounce serving (approximate) makes trout a top-value food.  Catch them yourself or buy farmed trout at your supermarket or fishmonger.
… … … …

 38 Power Foods is a Team Effort!

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

All sites may not blog power foods each week.

  

ON MY DINNER PLACE BLOG THIS WEEK:

MY VERY BEST FROSTED BROWNIES, A SMALL PAN:  

 

Sing a new song,
Alyce