Thursday, May 22, 2008

Holiday Weekend Brunch Ideas

panini.jpgI like a good breakfast on Sunday mornings. Perhaps its just to offset the cold cereal guilt for the rest of the week's morning meal, or just because it's a relaxing way to start a Sunday morning.

Orange Brioche French Toast with Bananas and Coconut
For the Toast
3 eggs
1/3 cup cream
1 tbs. Orange flavor (real stuff)
zest of one orange
3 tbs. juice of orange
1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
1 loaf Orange Brioche, sliced
Butter
1 recipe bananas Foster (follows)
flaked coconut
powdered sugar

Heat butter in skillet. Mix the first six ingredients with a whisk. Dip both sides of the bread slices in the egg mixture. Cook the bread slices in the skillet until golden brown on both sides. Keep warm.

Prepare the Bananas Foster. Heat 4 tbs. butter in skillet, add 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 tbs. of dark rum. Heat until sugar dissolved. Saute 3 sliced bananas in this.

Top toast with the Bananas Foster, a sprinkle of coconut and powdered sugar. Something like a Blueberry Compote would also make a fine topping.

Shirred Eggs
4 very thin slices of Canadian bacon or ham (or prosciutto)
4 eggs
2 tbs. cream
2 tbs. Gruyere or other cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray four ramekins with cooking spray. Line each with a slice of ham, pushing it into the cup to make a pocket. Crack and egg into each ramekin on top of the ham.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (for easy removal from oven) and bake for about nine minutes just until eggs are set. Remove from oven and top each ramekin with 1/2 tbs. of cream and 1/2 tbs. of cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

To get the tops brown and bubbly, broil for just a minute at the end. You can also add spinach to this dish, which is a great variation. Just clean a bunch of spinach and heat in a skillet while it is damp just until it begins to wilt. Divide the cooked spinach among the ramekins, placing it in second after the ham and before you crack the egg in.

Breakfast Panini
4 large slices of rustic Italian bread (I like Olive Oil Rosemary)
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
4 eggs, scrambled
1 tbs. butter
4 oz. semi-soft cheese such as Fontina, Gouda, or Provolone, shredded
2 slices ham, optional
1/2 cup arugula leaves, torn
1 tbs. fresh basil leaves

Prepare all the ingredients and scramble the eggs. Add 1/2 tbs. butter to the skillet. Lay two slices of bread in. Using half of the sandwich ingredients, lay cheese, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers evenly on each slice. Add the arugula and basil to one slice and the ham, if using, to the other. Add the eggs.

When the bread is golden brown on the bottom, carefully flip one fully loaded slice on top of the other. Now, using the spatula (because who really needs that expensive panini press?) or a grill press, press down on that sandwich to flatten it a bit. Turn it over and press again.

Repeat with the other two slices of bread and remaining half of ingredients. Cut each sandwich in half. Serves four if you have fresh fruit or sides.

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