Years ago, Matt bought me this wonderful cookbook of just Brunch Delights for an anniversary. Given that Brunch is probably my favorite meal of the day, I thought I would be making all sorts of recipes from this book, but I confess to say that we fell in love with the French Toast and a blintz recipe, and then really never made the time to make other inventive brunches from the book because French Toast was ordered every week!
Anyways, we finally decided to make the plunge and try a different, perhaps healthier recipe and came across this one. The book claims that this is a typical Basque dish, and it really is versatile in that it suggested either serving it over bread, OR with a poached or fried egg, and then we ended up just doing all of the above to end up with a toasted piece of challah, layered with the peppers, and topped with a poached egg. If you’re not a “brunch” person, this savory dish will surely make you reconsider.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 oz prosciutto (or cooked Italian sausage instead is also delicious)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- chopped parsley for garnish
- 4 fried or poached eggs (for 4 servings)
- In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the proscuitto (or sausage) and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it softens, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they give off some of their juices, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are very tender, 20-25 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and stir in the paprika. Continue to cook until the juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- (Optional) Toast two slices of bread such as challah and put on plates.
- Divide the peppers among the bowls serving with parsley and a fried or poahed egg. Serve hot!
From Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers.
Even the best dinner intentions sometimes end in a mild catastrophe, but this always seems to be the best way to end up cooking something new and inventive.
I was waiting for my husband to come home and had made this delicious red quinoa salad out of leftovers with sliced cucumbers and a variation of tzatziki that I had just “whipped up” and was feeling so proud of myself when…. I opened the refrigerator door too quickly and the glass bowl that contained this eclectic concoction spun out of the fridge and crashed on my floor.
Now if you’ve never tried to clean up quinoa from a tile floor, let me tell you, it’s high on my list of “very difficult” right beneath trying to clean up a smashed jar of turmeric (but that’s a story for another day). Anyways, the point is that now I had very little time to whip together something to replace this salad and while leafing through My Paris Kitchen, a wonderful book that Lisa gave me about a year ago, I ended up making this delicious couscous salad.
I happened to have almost everything in my pantry (including preserved lemons), and was sooooo delicious that we could not believe we had not made it before.
- 1 preserved lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp salted OR unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup diced dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous
- freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the stem end from the lemon and cut it into quarters. Scoop out the pulp and press it through a strainer into a bowl to extract the juices; discard the pulp. Finely dice the preserved lemon rind and add it to the bowl along with the parsley, butter, dried fruit, walnuts, salt and cinnamon.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a bowl over high heat. Add the couscous and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the couscous and add it to the bowl, stirring until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are well mixed. Season with pepper and serve.
Adapted from My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz
STOP! Whatever you do, please do NOT serve that pathetic jellied stuff that comes in cans this Thanksgiving. It is so simple to make your own cranberry relish and my recipe keeps beautifully in the fridge and will be a wonderful accompaniment to any poultry or pork dish or will serve as a chutney with Indian food. We like it so much that I always make double the recipe to ensure that I have plenty of left-overs. My 92 year-old mother eats it right out of the jar like a dessert. However you decide to use it, do yourself and your friends and family a favor and make it this year. You’ll be so glad that you did. I promise that I will add beautiful photos starting next week, but I want to get these recipes out there.
Lisa’s Orange Cranberry Relish
Yield: About 6 cups
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup tap water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 medium navel orange, 1/2-inch dice WITH the peel
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Mandarin Napoleon OR Triple Sec
- Dissolve sugar in the water in a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. All of the other ingredients except for the walnuts and Grand Marnier
- Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for approximately 10 minutes. The cranberries will be popping (and yes, they may spatter some.)
- Once the cranberries have mostly popped open, turn off the heat and add your walnuts and Grand Marnier. Allow to cool down uncovered.
- Put in glass jar(s) and refrigerate. This will last for months if you can manage not to eat it all.
NOTE: This recipe easily doubles or triples. The relish will thicken as it chills. Serve at room temperature for full flavor. I buy fresh cranberries when they are on sale and freeze them for when I need them.
Again, in preparation for Thanksgiving (but good all year) I am posting recipes that I know work out well, but for which I do not currently have photos. This is another great vegan recipe – and who doesn’t love corn muffins? These are moist and full of that corn flavor you look for in a good corn muffin. And while they are wonderful for Thanksgiving, they also go great with my Vegetable Chili. Look for photos around Thanksgiving.
Lisa’s Eggless Corn Muffins
Yield: About 2 Dozen
3 cups cornmeal, preferably stone ground
3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
½ Tablespoon salt
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 cups milk (can substitute soy milk)
9 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks, melted
1 can (15.2 oz.) corn kernels, drained or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
- Preheat oven to 400◦F
- Spray standard-size non-stick muffin tins with Pam or line with paper cups
- Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Combine the milk, applesauce and melted butter until everything is smooth.
- Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing just until blended. DO NOT OVER-MIX
- Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup completely.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until just golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Immediately turn out of the pans and enjoy.
NOTE: These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave or oven.
Maybe you aren’t all as compulsive as I am and you don’t plan your Thanksgiving dinner weeks in advance. Actually, I don’t think I do it out of obsessiveness so much as I just find it incredibly fun to think about what I will be making and then putting together the best recipes I can. This soup is wonderful any time, but I like to keep it for Thanksgiving. I do that with certain recipes, whether it is for the Jewish holidays or secular holidays. This soup not only tastes wonderful but it is such a pretty color. I serve it in my Staub pumpkin soup bowls and it is always a hit. Now because I won’t be making this until a couple of days BEFORE Thanksgiving I won’t have any photos to add until then. But since I hope that some of you may want to make this for the holiday, I am including it without the photos for now. You will just have to trust me that this beautiful and delicious soup is worth making.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: Serves 4-6
1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into about ½ inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used a mix of hot curry powder and mild ratio 1:2)
2.75 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth (vegan)
6 oz. canned coconut milk (Do not use Light Coconut Milk)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt & white pepper to taste
- Peel squash and cut into pieces.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon broth in medium soup pot. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and continue to sauté for another minute. Add turmeric, curry powder, and mix well. Add squash and broth, and mix. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend with coconut milk. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Thin with a little broth if needed. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Reheat, and add cilantro.
NOTE: I tripled the recipe for Thanksgiving and the only thing I changed was that I used two 13.5 oz. cans of coconut milk for the pot.
When I had knee replacement surgery about five years ago, I had a bad time of it. I was pretty miserable and I wasn’t eating. My husband was always looking for treats to entice me and cheer me up. There is a little food shop with a small counter a couple of blocks from our house that makes breakfast and lunch and they sold a ricotta rum pound cake with chocolate chips. Well, it turned out that I was always happy to eat that! It set me on a quest to find a good recipe for this delicious pound cake that I could make at home. I found a ricotta pound cake that Giada made and used that as my base. It’s fabulous with coffee, tea or a dessert wine, but no one will stop you if you have it with a glass of milk.
Ricotta Rum Pound Cake adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: One 9 x 5 inch loaf
1.5 cups cake flour (I like King Arthur brand)
Grated zest of one navel orange
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1.5 sticks (3/4 cups) of unsalted butter at room temperature
1.5 cups whole milk ricotta
1.5 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Dark Rum
3/4 semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (do not go over 63% cacao)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or PAM a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with waxed paper which is then also greased or sprayed with PAM.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, salt and baking powder and stir to distribute the ingredients. Measure your chocolate chips into a small bowl and spoon a couple of Tablespoons of the flour mixture over the chips to coat them. This will prevent the chips from sinking to the bottom of the batter while baking.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ricotta and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You should still see some ricotta lumps. With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time.
- Add the vanilla and rum and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients, slowly, mixing just until incorporated. By hand, using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips, dusted with flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 75-80 minutes. Let the cake cool in th epan for 10 minutes and then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Wrapped tightly, this cake will last a week.