Brunch

Turk-Ish Yogurt Parfaits

I have been named the "Brunch Queen" by my friends, family and clients, but with this reign comes a lot of pressure. I am constantly having to come up with new and innovative brunch dishes that will keep my guests excited.  This dish all started with my love for dried Turkish Apricots.  These apricots are the perfect amount of chewy and juicy and have a sweet but floral taste to them. Some of the classic Turkish desserts involve honey, rose essence, pistachios and spices so I decided to take these flavors and combine them into the perfect savory but sweet parfait. The good quality extra virgin olive oil I use in the granola just add this rich, savory element to the dish that is perfect with the sweet honey and apricots. 

 

Ingredients-

  • 3 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer 0% fat Fage)
  • Rose Extract (only a few drops)
  • Clover Honey
  • Turkish Dried Apricots (or any apricots dried or fresh)

Pistachio Olive Oil Granola-

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
  • 1 cup coconut flakes ( I prefer the unsweetened coconut chips)
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Store in an airtight container or mason jars if you do not use all of it right away.

Assembling the parfaits-

  1. Choose the parfait glasses or bowls you would like to assemble the parfaits in and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt with just 2-3 drops of Rose Extract.  If you prefer a stronger rose flavor add more to your liking. Note that it is very strong and can be overpowering, you want the flavor to come through but subtly.
  3. Scoop a few tablespoons of the rose infused yogurt into each parfait cup. Drizzle the yogurt with clover honey, sprinkle it with a few pieces of the chopped apricots and the Pistachio Granola.
  4. Repeat the layers as many times as you like! Be sure to have the top layer include the granola, apricots and a nice drizzle of honey.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Granola Bars

 

New Year, new me right? Dieting is not my forte because I love sweets! I created a granola bar recipe that is overall pretty healthy and truly satisfies my sweet tooth.  The toasted oats, flax and nuts combined with the honey and almond butter give these bars such a warm, comforting and rich flavor. They are the perfect afternoon pick me up and an easy way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.  Make the batch on a Sunday and enjoy them all week long. You'll never get sick of these because you can change up the mix-ins up as you wish! Maybe try dried apricots and candied ginger, or how about a cinnamon and dried blueberry with yogurt chips! Make your own variation and get featured on our Instagram! @gotroomformore or facebook.com/gotroomformore 

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (not sliced, slivered- you can also used chopped whole almonds) 
  3. 3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
  4. 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
  5. 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar 
  6. 2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Almond Butter ( My favorite is the Classic flavor from The Nutty Spoon https://thenuttyspoon.squarespace.com/) You can order online! 
  10. 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries ( I used Dried Cherries)
  11. 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs (I used dark chocolate coated nibs from Trader Joes but you can just use raw nibs if you like)

(Feel free to put in any mix ins that you like! Use different nuts like cashews or even put in some unsweetened coconut or sunflower seeds! )

Steps-

  1. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.(you can use a square dish too and have them a bit thicker) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the oats and almonds onto a half-sheet pan. Place the flax seed on a separate sheet pan. Place pans in the oven and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Flax seeds may be faster depending on your oven so check on them frequently! You just want them lightly toasted and aromatic. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the Almond Butter just until it is melted and incorporated. 
  4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs over the top and and place a piece of parchment on top and press down to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (will take a few hours or so). Cut into squares (or whatever shape you like) and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Savory Fall Tart

Puff Pastry filled with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Here you have it! An easy and impressive looking/tasting tart that will start your holiday dinner off with a bang! 

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Large Vidalia Onion
  2. Balsamic Vinegar (Just a few Tablespoons)
  3. 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes) You can also use one package of pre cut squash if you find it at the grocery store..just makes your life easier!
  4. About 25 Brussel Sprouts( (cleaned, dried and cut in half or quarters if their very big)
  5. 5 Oz Creamy Plain Chevre Goat Cheese (can also use Cranberry goat cheese)
  6. 1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry Dough, thawed (I like Pepperidge Farm) 
  7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. Salt & Pepper
  9. Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
  10. 1-2 Tablespoons Honey
  11. Egg wash-1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of milk

Steps-

While your caramelizing the onions roast the sprouts and squash!

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Caramelized Onions-

  1. Heat olive oil and butter, add onion slices: Use a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan for maximum pan contact with the onions. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter (about 1 teaspoon per onion). Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.

  2. Depending on how strong your stovetop burner is you may need to reduce the heat to medium or medium low to prevent the onions from burning or drying out.

  3. After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt and black pepper over the onions, and if you want, you can add a dash of sugar to help with the caramelization process. One trick to keeping the onions from drying out as they cook is to add a little water to the pan.

  4.  Cook, stirring every few minutes: Let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. You want the onions to get nice and soft and a caramel color (but not hard and burnt!).When the onions are at this point add about 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar to deglaze the pan and create more flavor.  Let the liquid evaporate. Set onions aside. 

Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

  1. Spread out the peeled and cut squash on a sheet pan and drizzle with Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. 
  2. on a separate sheet pan spread out the cut Brussels Sprouts and drizzle with Olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. On separate racks in the oven, roast until fork tender and caramelized. 

Assemble the Tart- 

  1. On top of parchment or wax paper roll out the puff pastry dough until it is about a 10x16 inch rectangle. 
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of a sheet pan or rectangular roasting pan. Carefully flip the dough onto the prepared pan making sure it doesn't have any holes. Remove the parchment paper. 
  3. Leaving a 1 & 1/2 inch rim of bare puff pastry around the tart, spread on an even coating of caramelized onions. Use all of them!
  4. Then sprinkle and even layer of the Brussels Sprouts and roasted squash. 
  5. If you like, sprinkles a little red pepper flakes over the top as well as a little black pepper and salt.
  6. Drizzle a little honey over the top of the filling. 
  7. Fold in the sides of the puff pastry to create a barrier so the filling doesn't spill out. 
  8. With a pastry brush, baste the edges of the tart with the egg wash. 
  9. Bake the tart in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes or until the edges and bottom are golden brown. Remove from the oven and crumble the goat cheese over the top of the tart. Bake another 5 minutes or so or until the goat cheese melts slightly and everything comes together. 
  10. Option-drizzle some more honey or some balsamic reduction (you can buy at the store) over teh top of the tart for a little extra flavor and color. 
  11. Cut with a pizza wheel or knife and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Squash Toast

I would like to think I am not like all the other 20 something year old years, except for my taste in television shows. I have to admit I love the show The Bachelor. The drama, the unrealistic dates, the sappy proposal speeches, you just can't not get hooked! Why am I bringing this up? Well my sister, my best friend and I have Bachelor Mondays where we each take turns hosting the group for dinner and of course The Bachelor viewing. For the shows big finale, my best friend Rebecca had one wish, and that was for me to recreate her favorite appetizer from one of the best restaurants in NYC. Lucky for her, her best friend (me) is a chef, so helloooo challenge accepted and dominated, but of course I had to put my own "Got Room For More" spin on it.  I changed up the type of squash and added the beautiful nutty crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Well lets just say I totally got the rose that night...and so did Lauren B (who we were rooting for since day 1). You go girl! Now what to do until The Bachelorette starts..sigh. We cannot wait to cheer on JoJo the newly elected Bachelorette while we stuff our faces and cry about how we don't look as good in a bikini.

Ingredients-

  1. 1  2 1/2- to 3-pound Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash or kabocha, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch pieces  (NOTE: I use one acorn squash and 1 small butternut squash. I find the blend is very nice)
  2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the bread
  3. ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
  4. 1 Tablespoon Honey (I like a nice wildflower honey)
  5. 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  6. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  7. ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  8. ¼ cup maple syrup
  9. 4 slices country bread, 1-inch thick ( I prefer Puglisi bread or ciabata
  10. ½ cup fresh, creamy ricotta cheese
  11.  Coarse salt & Ground black pepper to taste
  12. 4 tablespoons chopped mint
  13. 3-4 Tablespoons of toasted, hulled Pumpkin Seeds

Steps-

 

  1. Heat the oven to 450F. Combine the squash, 1/4 cup olive oil, chile flakes, honey and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 20-25 minutes or a little longer. You want the squash to be fork tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and darkening, at least 20 minutes.Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, again at least 15-20 minutes or so. You want it to be a nice caramelized, cohesive mixture that has a jam like texture. 
  3. Combine squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil onto a baking sheet. Place slices of the bread onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the tops of the bread with more olive oil.  Sprinkle the bread with some ground black pepper. Toast in the oven on 400F until the bread is toasted and slightly golden, but not too toasted where it is very hard to eat. (but please toast to your liking! My grandfather likes it burnt..I mean completely burnt ;) )
  5. Spread the ricotta cheese on toasts, then top with the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with a small pinch of coarse salt, a little bit of the toasted pumpkin seeds and finally the fresh mint.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crumb Cake

I have to honest, this cake gets me going, it is so darn delicious! My boyfriend and I are very opposite, from our appearance to our personalities, we are pretty ying and yang, but as you know opposites attract! Something we do have in common, besides our names (Danielle and Daniel), is we LOVE Peanut butter and chocolate together, so back in September I came up with this recipe for Dan's birthday.  We are two weeks away from Christmas now and this is the perfect cake to give as gifts to coworkers, neighbors, mailmen..whomever! It is made in a large rectangular pan, so you can cut it into big squares and pack them into nice little boxes tied with holiday ribbon. If you are not a peanut butter person you can leave it out and it just becomes a double chocolate crumb cake! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients-

For the cake-

  1. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  2. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  3. 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  4. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup white sugar
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 3 large eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I use Skippy)

For the Chocolate Crumbs-

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  3. 2 sticks butter, melted
  4. 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  5. ¼ cup confectioner's sugar

 

Steps-

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 13inch x 9inch pan or a "jelly-roll" pan ( a pan about 15-inch by 10-inch by 2-inch) if you'd like, by greasing the pan generously with butter and dusting it with flour.  You can also line the bottom with parchment paper after you butter it if you are worried about it sticking. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and espresso powder.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer or using an electric hand beater, cream the butter and sugars together.  Once the butter mixture is nice and light add the eggs one at a time until they are fully incorporated.  Next add the vanilla.

Next add the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture alternating with the sour cream.  

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Place the peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl, and microwave it for about 30 seconds or until it is liquidy. Drizzle the peanut butter all over the cake and then use a butter knife to swirl it lightly around the cake. You want to see the peanut butter so do not mix it completely into the batter.

Place the cake into the oven and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 15 minutes. While cake is baking, make chocolate crumb topping as follows: In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and 3/8 cup cocoa powder. Add 2 sticks melted butter and stir until mixture is thick and workable.

With your hands, pinch off chunks of the chocolate mixture and place them on top of the partially-baked chocolate cake. Continue until all of the chocolate mixture is used and the cake is evenly covered. Return the cake to a 350 degree (F) oven, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven. Do not over bake, you want it to be a little fudgy inside, but make sure it is set!

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely. Dust the top with the confectioners sugar and enjoy! For an added touch, melt 1 cup of peanut butter chips (reeses makes them in the baking isle), in the microwave with 1 teaspoon of crisco shortening and then drizzle it over the top of the cake.  Once it hardens and cools enjoy!

 

 

Danielle's Chicken and Waffles

We all know that brunch is a GRFM specialty.  Chicken and Waffles is an iconic Southern, American dish, but this aint your mama's chicken and waffles, this new and improved.  This has everything you want in a good southern dish, but with a more refined twist.  First off my waffles are not just plain ol buttermilk waffles, they are buttermilk, cheddar, cornbread waffles! They are subtley cheesy, mildly sweet and the perfect texture.  They are crisp on the outside, but the club soda that is folded in the batter really gives them this wonderful airiness inside and the buttermilk of course gives them the perfect amount of moisture. The sweet and savory honey butter full of fresh thyme and honey just elevates the whole dish as it brings this very aromatic, floral note to the dish. The fried chicken is rather perfect if I do say so myself.  The combo of the rice flour and cornstarch along with the spices, gives the chicken the perfect, extra crispy, texture on the outside, just like your favorite fast food restaurant..but totally better.  Soaking the chicken in buttermilk and Harissa makes the meat so incredibly juicy and flavorful it almost explodes when you bite into it. How I recommend you eat this dish is, you need to eat each element of this dish all at once, in one big, messy, orgasmic bite. You need that fluffy, cheesy, corny waffle with that crispy, spicy, juicy fried chicken, the creamy, floral, salty honey butter and finally the sweet, sticky, delicious maple syrup...try not to drool on yourself there, I know you did. 

Ingredients- 

Fried Chicken

  1. 1  1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  3. 1/4 Cup Rice Flour 
  4. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  5. 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt plus more to sprinkle on the finished fried chicken
  6. 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  10. 1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or if you like spicy go for 1/3 teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 Teaspoon of Oregano 
  12. 1 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut lengthways so they are about 1  1/2 inches thick)- You can do this same recipe for chicken wings or any chicken pieces on the bone
  13. Harissa Paste (A spicy, savory pepper spread) You will use about 1 Tablespoon
  14. Buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  15. Canola Oil for frying

 

Steps-

  1. The night before you are serving up your fried chicken, you will want to do this step! When the chicken soaks in the buttermilk mixture overnight it is magical! 
  2. First you want to coat your cut chicken breasts in the Harissa paste using your hands (use gloves if you have them and don't touch your eyes!).  Make sure they are fully coated. 
  3. Stir together in a bowl the paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard powder, cayenne and oregano. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the chicken that you tossed in the Harissa, set the rest of the spice mixture aside for later. Place the chicken in a sealable plastic container or a heavy duty ziplock bag.  Pour buttermilk over the chicken until it just covers the chicken.  
  4. Allow the chicken to sit no less than 4 hours but preferable overnight, it makes a huge difference. 
  5. The next day, fill a large dutch oven or large pot with canola oil.  You want enough oil where the chicken can be fully submerged. Heat the oil on the stove until it reaches about 360F, use an oil thermometer if you have one.  Remove the chicken from the fridge. Stir together the AP flour, rice flour, baking powder, cornstarch and the remaining spice mixture. Piece by piece, remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and allow the excess to drip off.  Drop the chicken into the flour mixture in a sealable container or large ziploc bag. Toss to coat the chicken and then once all the chicken is coated, seal up the container or bag and shake to get the chickens really encrusted in the flora mixture. You can use your hands to press more flour onto the chicken if necessary. 
  6. Preheat your oven to 300F
  7. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time until they are golden brown and crispy and fully cooked inside.  Remove form the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.  Sprinkle the finished chicken with salt. As you are frying the rest of the chicken, place the finished chicken thats on the rack into the oven to stay warm and crispy.  Keeping it on the rack will keep it from getting too oily and soggy. 

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup cornmeal
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1  1/3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 1 cup buttermilk
  10. 1 cup club soda
  11. 1/3 cup canola oil

Steps-

  1. Sift together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in cheese. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and canola and gently stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Next with a rubber spatula gently fold in the club soda until fully combined.  
  2.  
  3. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.  Spoon batter onto preheated waffle iron. Cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown and fully cooked on the inside. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4.  
  5. Transfer waffles to a baking sheet with a wire rack, and keep warm, uncovered, in the oven at 200° until ready to serve. Waffles can be frozen in zip-top freezer bags and reheated in oven or toaster oven or oven.
  6. For the chicken and waffles- For each person, place 2 waffles on each plate, top these waffles with a dollop of honey thyme butter, few pieces of fried chicken and then drizzle it all with some maple syrup :) 

Honey Thyme Butter-

  1. Salted Butter room temperature or softened until spreadable 
  2. Fresh Thyme
  3. Honey

Stir together the butter with some fresh thyme and a good amount of honey.  Taste it and adjust according to your preference! I love a good amount of honey and thyme in mine. 

 

Strawberry Basil Shortcake

It is June which means it is the start of Strawberry season! In NY we can buy berries all year long, but there is a drastic difference between the berries in the winter and the berries in the early summer.  Strawberries in June are deep red throughout, they are extremely juicy and fragrant and they are as sweet as sugar! This easy recipe really showcases summer fruits, and the best part is you can use whatever you have on hand! Use strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or fresh or grilled peaches! The basic buttermilk biscuit recipe is super flaky and buttery and if you want savory biscuits you can even leave out the sugar and cinnamon and add chives and cheddar or leave them plain! My strawberry filling is brought to a whole new level with the addition of fresh chopped basil...my favorite smell in the world is basil.  I always say if I could walk around with sprigs of basil under my armpits I would ;) My whipped cream filling has a little vanilla and a little almond extract which really compliment the strawberry flavor. This is the perfect 4th of July treat or for any summer night for that matter ;)

 

Shortcake (Sweet Buttermilk Biscuits)- You can leave out the sugar and vanilla for a delicious savory biscuit! Use them for egg sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and more!

Ingredients-

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 7 tablespoons cold butter
  7. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  8. 1/2  teaspoon vanilla
  9. 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  10. Sugar in the Raw (white sugar is fine too but large granule is better)- All you need is a few teaspoons
  11. Cinnamon (a sprinkle)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
  3. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or using an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  You want the butter to be tiny pea size pieces in the flour mixture. Make sure the butter is super cold because it will only make the biscuits more flaky.
  4. Make a well in the center of butter and flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk and vanilla extract; stir until just combined.
  5. Turn dough onto a floured work surface, pat together into a rectangle.
  6. Fold the rectangle in thirds. Turn dough a half turn, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat twice more, folding and pressing dough a total of three times.
  7. Gently roll dough on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Cut out 10-12 biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter.
  9. Transfer biscuits to the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle a decent amount of sugar in the raw on top as well as some ground cinnamon.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven until browned, about 15 minutes.

Strawberry Basil Filling

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Lb Fresh, Ripe Strawberries sliced in 1/4 inch slices (tops removed)
  2. 2-3 Tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
  3. 4-5 Basil Leaves Chiffonade (cut into thin ribbons)
  4. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice 

Steps-

  1. Stir together the ingredients and set aside for at least 30-45 mins. You want the juice to slightly extract a little.  If it doesn't have enough juices, add a few drops of water.

Vanilla Almond Chantilly Cream- (You can use store-bought whipped cream as well)

  1. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  2. 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Steps-

Whip all the ingredients vigorously with a whisk or use hand beaters or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment until it is fluffy and forms peaks.  Do not over whip or it will get grainy or even turn into butter!

To Assemble the Cakes-

Cut each warm biscuit in half, top with a heaping scoop of the strawberry basil mixture, top with the chantilly cream and then place the top of the biscuit on top.  You can even place another dollop of cream on top and then sprinkle some toasted slivered almonds over the top. 

Matcha Almond Cake

Lets just say that New York is Mad about Matcha! Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown green tea. What's great about Matcha is that it is incredibly versatile.  Matcha has many health benefits and will give you an energy boost without the crash and caffeine withdrawal that coffee gives you.  As a caffeine sensitive person, trust me this is a great way to start your day.  The obvious way to enjoy matcha is as a hot beverage, but in recent years it has been popping up in all sorts of recipes, from ice cream to crepes and even in savory dishes like sauces and rubs. Last week I stopped by a new NYC brunch hotspot called Egg Shop, down on Elizabeth Street in Soho.  Normally I opt for the traditional mimosa when I have brunch, but when perusing this menu the Matcha Almond Latte jumped out at me.  The latte consisted of steamed almond milk and matcha powder and had this incredible earthy and mildly sweet flavor.  When you first try Matcha you may think it is a little bit grassy in flavor, but do not give up right away!  Trust me as you continue to drink it or eat it, it will grow on you and you will find it extremely pleasant.  After I had this latte, the chef in me began to ponder ways I could use it in an original recipe for GRFM.  I loved the almond and green tea flavors together, so I decided to make a delicious tea cake that you can eat for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack.  I originally wanted to make a very dense poundcake style loaf, but in the end I ended up with a moist but fluffy loaf that will be awesome with a cup of tea or coffee and a great asset to my next brunch spread.  If you love green tea..give this one a go!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour

  2. 1   1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt

  4. 1/2 cup butter

  5. 5 oz  cream cheese softened

  6. 2  1/2 Teaspoons Matcha Powder

  7. 3/4 cups white sugar

  8. 2 large eggs

  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  10. 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

  11. About 1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds

Glaze-

  1. 1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar
  2. Fresh Lemond Juice
  3. Almond Extract
  4. Water

Steps-

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F . Grease (with butter) and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the Matcha Powder, vanilla and almond extract. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. DO not over mix! Do it by hand if you want to prevent over beating. 
  4. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle some slivered almonds evenly over the top.  You can put as much or as little as you want or none at all! I think it adds a wonderful crunch to the top of the cake.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes,then turn out onto a wire rack.  Quickly put together the glaze while the cake is still pretty hot. 
  6. Stir together the confectioners sugar, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, a drop of almond extracts (remember it is very strong and concentrated so a drop is enough) and a few tablespoons of water until it is a loose glaze consistency.  Next drizzle it over the top with a spoon and brush the sides of the cake with the glaze using a pastry brush.  When the cake cools the sugary glaze will leave a nice sugary crust on the outside. 
  7. Enjoy!

The Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

 

  1.         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2.         ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3.         1 cup white granulated sugar
  4.         ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  5.         2 eggs
  6.         1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (I use 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  7.         ½ cup sour cream
  8.         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9.         2 cups flour
  10.         1 teaspoon baking soda
  11.         ½ teaspoon salt
  12.         1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  13.         Additional brown sugar for the top 

Steps-

  1.         Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2.         Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring together well.
  3.         Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add it slowly to the banana mixture.
  4.         Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with paper liners
  5.         Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of batter
  6.         Bake at 325 degrees: large loaf pan for about 1 hour, for muffins around 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
  7.         Allow bread to cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan on the counter several times to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling completely.

 

French Toast Casserole

French toast makes me laugh because as a child I HATED it, but now I can't get enough of it!  I even won a special "Chopped" cooking competition on the Anderson Cooper Live show for my French Toast dish! For someone with an incredible sweet tooth, it was strange for me to dislike such a sweet, carb filled breakfast treat, but I think it was the way my mom made it for me.  My mom is an exceptional cook and I talk about it all the time in my blog posts and videos, but I was never fond of her french toast method.  She used to make it with plain white bread that was soaked in egg, milk and sugar and then browned in a pan.  Since she only used thin, plain white bread it ended up having this unfavorable texture and  the flavor was often metallic..maybe it was the pan she used, but I just did not like it.  Once I moved to NYC I started going on brunch adventures with friends and working in top NYC restaurants, so I discovered how absolutely incredible French Toast can be!  The 3 key things to remember when making french toast are:

-Use good bread!  The best breads to use are thick, eggy breads like Challah bread (my favorite), French Pullman bread, Brioche, or breads that have yummy flavors like cinnamon swirl bread, or those new sliced white breads that have flavors like Pumpkin Spice and French Vanilla.

-Make sure your egg/custard mixture is flavorful! Make sure you add some sugar, some vanilla extract, or vanilla bean (or almond or orange extract can be nice too!) and a pinch of salt.  This will ensure that you have a flavorful french toast inside and out!

-Soak it for several hours or overnight! My french toast casserole especially and all other thick pieces of bread that are used for French Toast should be soaked in your egg and milk/cream mixture overnight to ensure that the inside gets all the yummy flavors and texture as well.  When you cook it the outside will be nice and crisp and brown and the inside will almost be custard like..rich and heavenly!

The recipe below is a recipe for French Toast Casserole which is fantastic for big groups and families because you can assemble it the night before, set it in the fridge to soak up all the good flavors and then bake it in the morning all at once!  You don't have to hover over the stove for hours flipping each individual piece of French Toast until each person is fed.  This casserole can be stuffed with any fruits, chocolate, nutella, peanut butter, cream cheese your heart desires!  Here are my favorite combos-

-Nutella & Banana

-Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Bananas, Strawberries or Raspberries (or all three)

-White Chocolate Chips and Blueberries

-Add Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cinnamon and Nutmeg to the egg mixture to make a nice fall casserole.  You can even whisk some pumpkin puree into the egg batter.

-Cream Cheese and Strawberry or Raspberry Jam

-Or just some Cinnamon and Nutmeg in the batter and on top..a little Dark Brown Sugar is good too! Simple and traditional

 

French Toast Casserole

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Large Loaf of Bread cut into 1 inch thick slices or large 2in x 2in cubes (Challah Bread is preferred or a mixture of breads.  I sometimes will do 3/4 Challah Bread and then 1/4 Pumpkin Spice Bread (you can find it at the grocery store in the bread isle in the Fall)
  2. 8 Eggs Beaten Lightly
  3. 3 Cups Half and Half
  4. 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar plus a little more for the top
  5. 1  1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  7. 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon plus more for the top
  9. Any Fruits or Topping you may like (see my suggestions above)
  10. 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Steps-

  1. Butter a 13inch x 9inch Pyrex dish or any Casserole oven-safe dish you have. Arrange bread nicely in the baking dish.  If you want to put fruit or any filling do it now!  Layer your bananas, jam, chocolate chips or whatever you'd like in between the layers of the bread.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over the bread in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 7-8 hours.  
  4. Remove from the fridge 25-30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  5. Dot the top of the French Toast with small pieces of the butter.  Sprinkle the top with a little Cinnamon if you'd like and then sprinkle some granulated sugar evenly over the top.  Not too much but just enough to get a nice crystal like appearance when you bake it.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the French Toast puffs up and the center comes out clean.  Let it stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly.  Serve with maple syrup!

This should feed about 10 people but if you have extra just put it in the fridge and eat it all week! Just heat it in the microwave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Angeled Eggs"

AKA Beet and Pomegranate Deviled Eggs

Theyre just too pretty and too healthy to be called Deviled Eggs!

People ask me all the time how I come up with my recipes and my honest answer is I dream about them! Sometimes I have food daydreams that are so detailed and so vivid that I am starting to feel like I am a food psychic, if that even makes sense. This recipe came to me in one of those daydreams.  In my dream I started picturing these beautiful red deviled eggs, which got me wondering how they got red in the first place.  I wanted the eggs to become red in a natural way so I thought of two of my favorite ingredients, beets and pomegranates.  Both have the natural ability to dye foods a vibrant color (and also your hands so watch out), and are also full of nutrients.  The beets give the egg yolk mixture a wonderful earthly flavor as well as some moisture which makes it creamy with no fattening mayo added.  The juicy pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth when you bite into the eggs, cutting through the richness and giving the eggs a fresh finish. These are the perfect edition to your Memorial Day or summer time BBQ!

 

Recipe Feeds about 4-6 people (I estimate everyone at a party will have at least 2 halves or one whole egg)

Ingredients-

  1. 6 Whole Hard-boiled Eggs
  2. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  3. 1/3 of a Small Shallot
  4. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  5. ½ Cup Canned Red Beets Chopped (reserve the liquid the beets come in a set aside)
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar ( You can put more if you like more of a vinegar taste)
  7. Dash of Salt & Pepper
  8. 1 Pomegranate (you will only need the seeds so cut the pomegranate in half and gently pop out the seeds)
  9. Fresh Parsley finely chopped (you can also use mint)

Steps-

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggs in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks gently so you don’t break apart the whites of the egg, and place the hard-boiled yolks into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Set the egg whites aside on a plate.
  2. Blend together the egg yolks, Dijon, shallot, honey, beets, vinegar and salt and pepper until creamy.  If the mixture is too thick add a few drops of the reserved beet juice until you reach the desired consistency and texture.  You want it thick, but still very creamy.
  3. Evenly scoop heaping teaspoons of the egg/beet mixture into the egg white halves.
  4. Garnish with some parsley and about 3-4 pomegranate seeds per egg half.
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

Corn Cakes topped with Avocado, Tomato, Poached Egg & Smoked Salmon

To ring in the New Year I decided to cook a beautiful brunch for my boyfriend, my sister and few close friends.  All of my guests have been to my apartment before for brunch and several dinner parties, so I knew I had to create something new and unique that they all would enjoy.  My friend Jon and I love smoked salmon, my sister and I love pancakes, my boyfriend enjoys a good poached egg and my very health conscious friend Chris loves a good avocado.  I decided to put these items together in one savory and hearty brunch tower that is not only full of flavor but the presentation is restaurant quality.  Poached eggs have a great texture and appearance, but you can substitute them with traditional over-medium fried eggs.  Many people are intimidated by poached eggs, but trust me they are super easy when you follow my few simple instructions. 

Happy New Year to all of my followers! I look forward to sharing more of my original recipes with you in 2014! I hope you #gotroomformore delicious recipe ideas this year!

 

Makes 6 Servings (1 Cake/Egg per person.  If you are only serving this, double the recipe so each person gets two egg topped corn cakes)

Savory Corn Pancakes

Ingredients-

  1. 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  2. 1/2 cup cornmeal
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. ¾  teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon sugar
  6. 1 egg, slightly beaten
  7. 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  8. 1 tablespoon Canola or Vegetable oil
  9. ½ a fresh green jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped (You can use the whole pepper if you want more heat)
  10. 1 Teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  11. Salted Butter

Steps-

  1. In a bowl combine cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and oil. Whisk into the flour mixture along with the jalapeno, and cilantro.

  3. Place a griddle or skillet over medium heat and place a pat of butter in the pan. Once the pan is hot and the butter is melted Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle, forming 4 to 5-inch rounds like traditional pancakes. Turn cakes when bubbles form on the top and the bottoms are golden and crisp. Flip with a spatula and cook on the second side until cooked through, another 3 or 4 minutes. Keep cakes in a warm oven on the lowest setting until ready to serve.

Poached Eggs-

Ingredients-

  1. 6 Eggs
  2. 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar

Steps-

  1. Heat a large pot of water on the stove until it is almost at a boil.
  2. Once the water is almost boiling, add 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar or Rice Vinegar.
  3.  Crack the eggs gently right above the surface of the water.  It is very important to drop them close to the water so they don’t break and lose the proper consistency.
  4. When the eggs are cracked into the water, the vinegar will cause the eggs to congeal.
  5. Shut the stove off and cover the pot for about 4 minutes or until the white of the egg are fully cooked and the egg looks like a smooth ball. You want the yolks to be runny!
  6. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon.  (If you need help making a poached egg, there are videos and more detailed instructions online, or just make an over-medium egg instead in a frying pan.)

While you are poaching the eggs start assembling all the other ingredients-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Red, very ripe, medium tomato sliced in ¼ inch slices
  2. 2 Medium size ripe Avocados
  3. Salt & Pepper
  4. 6-8oz Smoked Salmon (I use Nova)
  5. Fresh Dill (garnish)

 

Steps-

  1. Slice the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Smash the avocado with a fork and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Scoop about 1 Tablespoon (or more if you like) of the avocado onto each corn pancake.
  3. Place a slice of tomato on top.
  4. Then place a poached egg on top of the tomato. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  5. Top the egg layer with a nicely folded piece of smoked salmon (about 1 oz of salmon for each one) and garnish with black pepper and a little fresh dill.
  6. Serve and enjoy!!

Mexican Quinoa Cakes with Avocado Tomato Salsa & Lime Cream

One of my favorite culinary tips is “cross utilization!” If you have leftover ingredients such as chicken, potatoes, rice, tomato sauce, you name it, you can create a whole new meal in the blink of an eye!  When I made my delicious Chicken Cacciatore (see recipe below) I used my leftover tomato sauce as a main ingredient in the dish and then served the chicken with some Quinoa.  I had a hefty portion of Quinoa leftover so instead of tossing it in the trash I used it to make a whole new creation!  This dish can be made as sort of a "California style" savory brunch dish or as a healthy dinner!  The Quinoa cakes are packed with nutrients and zesty Mexican flavors, and the salsa and lime cream on top bring some moisture and freshness to the dish. If you are a vegetarian (or even a carnivore like me) this is the dish for you! I told you healthy food does not need to be boring food! 

 

 

Ingredients- 

  1. 1 Cup of Plain Cooked Quinoa
  2. 1/3 Cup Red Kidney Beans (Canned)
  3. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Chopped
  4. 1 Small Garlic Clove Minced
  5. ¼ Cup Green Bell Pepper Diced Finely
  6. 1 ½ Tablespoons of Fresh Lime Juice
  7. A Few Dashes of Mexican Chili Powder (as much as you like)
  8. 2 Eggs Lightly Beaten with a Fork
  9. ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese (you can use whatever shredded cheese you like)
  10. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  11. 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

 

Steps-

  1. In a medium bowl break up the kidney beans slightly with a fork.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together using your hands or a fork to make sure everything is evenly combined.
  3. Heat up the Olive Oil in a skillet on medium heat.  When the oil gets hot, form pancake like circles of the Quinoa mixture on the pan.  Mine were about 4 inches in diameter.
  4. When the cakes are nice and golden brown on the bottom, gently flip with a spatula.  Cook on the 2nd side until it is golden brown and the inside of the pancake is cooked and no longer sticky inside. 
  5. Top with the Avocado Tomato Salsa and a Dollop of Lime Cream.

 

Simple Avocado Salsa-

Ingredients- 

  1. 1 Medium Size Ripe Tomato Diced
  2. ½ An Avocado Diced
  3. ½ Teaspoon Cilantro or Parsley
  4. Salt & Pepper
  5. Honey
  6. Fresh Lime
  7. Olive Oil

Steps-

  1. Stir together the diced Tomato, Avocado and Parsley or Cilantro.
  2. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top, along with a drizzle of olive oil, and tiny drizzle of honey. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Toss everything together and serve on the Quinoa Cakes, on fish, tacos, chicken or whatever you like! 

Lime Cream-

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 Cup of 0% Fat Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream (Greek Yogurt is the Low Calorie Option)
  2. 1/2 Small Lime

Steps- 

  1. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the yogurt, stir and dollop on top of the Quinoa Cakes, or even tacos, quesadillas and more!


Pumpkin Multigrain Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup, Golden Raisins & Slivered Almonds

Nothing says Fall like the smell, taste and site of pumpkins!! Pumpkin is such a wonderful, versatile ingredient because you can use it in both savory and sweet dishes.  This dish is also inspired by another fall favorite, fresh apple cider.  What I discovered during my “Chopped Challenge” win on the Andersen Cooper Live show (see the media tab) was, when you cook down cider it reduces down into this thick, sticky, sweet syrup just like red wine does when you’re making your favorite Bearnaise.  The combination of the savory, spice filled waffles with the tart apple cider syrup and sweet, golden raisins is truly the perfect way to start the fall season. I add some crunch to the dish by sprinkling some  toasted slivered almonds over the top.  Since the waffles are multigrain and do have some nutritional value, I like to top mine with a nice dollop of delicious honey butter...hey live a little.  I invited some friends over, warmed up some fresh apple cider, and plated up colossal mounds of these wondrous waffles. 

 

Pumpkin Multigrain Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup & Golden Raisins

(Feeds 4 People)

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups  Multigrain Pancake & Baking Mix (I use Trader Joes)
  2. ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  5. ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  7. ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  8. ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  9. ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  10. 3 Eggs
  11. 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (melted)
  12. ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
  13. 1 2/3 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  14. Slivered Almonds (lightly toasted)- Garnish (Walnuts are also great with this dish)
  15. Powdered Sugar- Garnish

 

Apple Cider Syrup-

  1. 1 ½ Cups Apple Cider
  2. Dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  3. 1 Tablespoon Honey
  4. 2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
  5. ½ Cup Golden Raisins
  6. 1 ½ Tablespoons Butter

Steps-

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the Multigrain Baking Mix, Brown Sugar, Salt, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Set aside.
  2. Separate 2 of the eggs, and beat the eggs whites with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the whites form stiff peaks.  You want the whites to be stiff and foamy and full of air.  Set the beaten egg whites aside.
  3. Using a whisk or a stand mixture, blend the remaining egg (do not separate from the whites this time) in with the dry ingredients along with the vanilla, Pumpkin, Milk and melted Butter.
  4. Using a rubber spatula fold the stiff beaten egg whites into the waffle batter.  You want to fold it in so that the air from the egg whites stays in the batter.  This will help you to have nice, light and airy waffles.
  5. Heat Your waffle iron on high.  When your waffle iron is heated, spray it with nonstick cooking spray and pour about 1- 1 ½ Cups of Batter into the center of the iron.  Close the lids and cook them for about 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. While you are making the waffles prepare the syrup!  Keep the waffles in the oven on a very low heat to keep them warm if necessary.
  6. Pour the apple cider, 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and raisins in a small saucepan or nonstick skillet.
  7. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until a lot of the liquid evaporates leaving you with a syrup-like consistency.
  8. Stir in the maple syrup, honey and spices.
  9. If the syrup is too tart for your liking, add more honey or a little brown sugar. 
  10. When the syrup is at your desired consistency, remove from the stove. Be careful not to reduce it down too much because it can get too dark in color and start to burn. If it thickens too much add a little more apple cider.
  11. Dust some powdered sugar on top of the waffles, drizzle on the syrup and raisins and then finish it off with some toasted slivered almonds or walnuts.

Strawberry Cornmeal Scookies?

My obsession with cooking and the Hospitality industry all started at the age of 14 when I started my own business baking and selling scones in my town.  My scones are still the most requested baked good at every birthday party, brunch, dinner party, Mother’s Day celebration you name it.  I spent endless hours in the kitchen practicing and editing my recipe until it was just right.  Although my scone recipe will forever be a family secret, I have come up with a twist on the classic scone recipe to share with my loyal followers.  My mom and I absolutely love a good corn muffin in the morning, so I decided to combine 3 of my favorite foods all into one irresistible breakfast treat…the Cornmeal Scookie.  The Cornmeal Scookie is a combination of a corn muffin and scone and a cookie all in one!  I add fresh, ripened Strawberries to add some sweetness and a pop of color.  Make these for breakfast, dessert, or as a take-away at your next brunch party!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Cup Cornmeal
    1  Cup All Purpose flour
  2. 1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar
    1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
    ½  Teaspoon Baking Soda
    ½ Teaspoon Salt
    6.5 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
    1 Cup Ripe Fresh Strawberries Diced
    ¼ Cup Sour Cream
    1/3 Cup Milk (I used skim)
    ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
    2 Large Egg Yolks

For the Egg Wash-

  1. 1 Whole Egg
  2. 1 Tablespoon Milk
  3. A few tablespoons of granulated sugar to sprinkle on top.  You can even use large granulated sugar or sugar in the raw on top for a prettier look!

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Stir together the Cornmeal, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.
  3. Dice the Cold Butter into ½ inch cubes.  Toss them into the bowl with the flour mixture.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until each piece of butter is about the size of a pea.  You want there to be pieces of butter throughout the dough, so that when the scones bake the butter will melt into the dough and make them buttery and tender.
  5. Set the flour mixture aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the Sour Cream, Milk, Vanilla and 2 Egg Yolks. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar onto the diced Strawberries and stir them around so they are fully coated. 
  8. Stir the Strawberries into the flour mixture until each berry is fully coated.  Be gentle so the berries don’t break up too much and dye the scones red.
  9. Pour the Milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until everything is fully incorporated.  The mixture will be fairly wet.
  10. Cover a Large cookie sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Scoop 8 large, round, heaping mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet.  Leave about an inch and a half to 2 inches in between them so they have room to grow.
  12. In a small bowl beat together the whole Egg and Tablespoon of Milk using a fork.
  13. Using a pastry brush, brush a little of the egg wash onto each mound of dough and then sprinkle each one with some sugar. I use a generous amount of sugar on the top because it adds to the texture and flavor.
  14. Baking in the oven for about 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, or until they are fully cooked inside and they are golden brown on the bottom and edges.
  15. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for about 20 minutes so they can set.
  16. Eat them with butter on them, or clotted cream along with some nice strawberry preserves if youd like!

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches with Carrots, Cucumber, Avocado and a Sherry Tarragon Mayo

I recently had a dish with a Sherry Mayo on it, and it was so delicious and unique, I knew I had to come up with my own recipe and share it with my readers.   The Sherry Tarragon Mayo that I came up with is so simple to make, but the flavors are so dynamic.  The Cooking Sherry itself is slightly sweet and slightly nutty, and the Tarragon has wonderful hints of fennel/licorice, pepper, and pine that can completely transform a dish.  This mayo is perfect in a chicken salad, with sliced turkey or with salmon, as I did in this dish.  The flavorful mayo, creamy avocado slices, earthy carrots, refreshing cucumbers and sweet and spicy salmon filet all come together harmoniously on the crispy Ciabata bread.  This sandwich is perfect for a luncheon with friends, but is also hearty enough to be eaten for dinner!

 

Sherry Tarragon Mayo-

Makes about 1/3 cup of mayo (enough for 3-4 Salmon Sandwiches)

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 Cup Hellmann's Lite Mayo
  2. 1 Medium Shallot
  3. ½ Teaspoon Fresh Tarragon Leaves (Chopped)
  4. 1 Small Garlic Clove
  5. 2 ½ Teaspoons Cooking Sherry (you can get it in the grocery store)
  6. 1 ½ Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  7. Dash of Black Pepper
  8. Pinch of Salt
  9. ¼ Teaspoon White Sugar

Steps-

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the garlic and shallot are chopped finely and everything is combined.
  2. I like to put the mayo in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or so, so the flavors really come together.

Salmon Sandwiches-

Makes 2 Sandwiches

Ingredients-

  1. Sherry Tarragon Mayo
  2. Ciabata Bread or Baguettes (Toasted)
  3. 2 Raw Salmon Filets (About .3 lbs per sandwich)
  4. 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  5. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  6. ¼ Teaspoon SIracha Hot Sauce
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. 1 ½ Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Grated Carrots (I used a peeler to grate them)
  10. Thinly Sliced Cucumber
  11. Sliced Ripe Avocado

Steps-

  1. Mix the Soy Sauce, Honey, Siracha and Olive Oil together in a bowl.
  2. Place the Salmon filets in a large Ziploc bag and pour the soy sauce mixture in. Gently shake the bag and get the salmon completely covered in the mixture.  Set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat your grill pan or outdoor grill on medium/low heat.
  4. When the pan is hot, spray it with nonstick cooking spray and place the salmon filets on the pan.
  5. Grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until it is cooked all the way through. During the cooking process pour any extra marinade over the top.
  6. Spread a few Tablespoons (or as much as you like) of the Sherry Tarragon Mayo onto the bread slices. 
  7. Next, top the bottom slice of bread with the grated carrots and sliced avocado. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the avocado.
  8. Place the Salmon filet on the sandwich next and then top with the cucumber slices.  I put mayo on both slices of bread so that is hold everything together.
  9. Enjoy! (Click the picture of the sandwich to see more photos)

Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

I absolutely LOVE oatmeal! It is warm and hearty and oh so comforting, especially in the morning before a long, stressful day of work.   My mom will tell you that during my adolescent phase of life, I was often eating oatmeal three times a day…go figure.  I love baked oatmeal because it has this great “oatmeal cookie” like outer crust and a warm gooey center.  I add some delicious fresh fruits for their color, flavor, texture and nutrients of course!  Fruit is the most natural way to give your body the energy boost it needs to start your day!  This recipe is super easy and makes enough for about 3-4 servings, so you can make it and eat it a few days in a row for breakfast!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1 ½ Cups of Oats (Quaker Old Fashioned Whole Grain Oats)
  2. ½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  3. Dash of Salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  5. ½ Cup Fresh Blueberries
  6. 1 Large Banana
  7. ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  9. 1 Tablespoon of Butter (melted)
  10. 1 Cup Skim Milk
  11. 1 Egg
  12. ¼ Cup chopped Walnuts or Almonds (Optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Stir together the oats, 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Nuts (optional), Cinnamon and Blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl mash HALF of the banana (set aside the other half)
  4. Stir the Vanilla, Egg, Milk and Butter into the bowl with the banana.  Stir until combined.
  5. Stir the milk/banana mixture into the oat mixture and mix until fully incorporated.  Be careful not to break up the blueberries! Be gentle!
  6. Slice up the remaining half of the banana and set aside.
  7. Spray a small ceramic dish or pyrex loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  You want to mixture to be about 3-4 inches high in the pan so it doesn’t dry out.
  8. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the dish and spread it out.  Place the banana slices evenly over the top.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of Brown Sugar over the top.  (The brown sugar on top is optional if you are super health conscious.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the oats are nice and tender.
  11. Enjoy!!

Farina with Raspberry Liqueur, Devonshire Cream & Fresh Berries

One of my fondest memories of growing up was waking up on a Saturday morning to a piping hot bowl of creamy Farina, made by my beautiful mother.  This wasn’t your average bowl of Cream of Wheat, (you know the bland, paste like hot cereal that kids dread to taste) this one was magical. To give my Farina some extra sweetness and color my mom would put in a few drops of Chambord, a Raspberry flavored Liqueur.  The funny thing is, my mom did not realize this was alcohol at first, and would let me put in a few extra drops since I loved the taste so much.  I am sure the alcohol was slightly cooked off by the heat of the stove, but hey maybe this is why I was such a well behaved, friendly child? Anyway…I would stir my Chambord Farina around until it turned a pretty pink color and then before my mom knew it, it was all gone.  On a trip back home to Long Island, I found the little nip of Chambord in the kitchen cabinet where it always was, and decided to put my own twist on this rather funny family recipe. I make basic Farina, Drizzle some Chambord on top, put a dollop of homemade Devonshire Cream (Clotted Cream) and a handful of mixed berries…simple yet delightful.  Eat this for breakfast any day of the week, or even serve it in small bowls as a starter course at your next Brunch party beside some Chambord Champagne Cocktails.

 

Recipe Serves 3-6 People (3 larger bowls or 6 small helpings)

Ingredients-

Farina-

  1. 1+2/3 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  2. 1+2/3 Cups Water
  3. ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  4. 2/3 Cup Farina- Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal
  5. Granulated White Sugar
  6. Chambord (or any Raspberry Liqueur)- A few Teaspoons full (as much as you like!)
  7. Mixed Berries (about 1 Cup) I use Raspberries and Blueberries

Devonshire Cream-

  1. ½ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. ¾ Cup Sour Cream
  3. 1 ½ Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Steps- 

  1. First make the Devonshire Cream (Clotted Cream), by whipping the cream with a stand mixer, hand mixer or a whisk, until soft peaks form.
  2.  Add the Powdered Sugar and Whip until fully incorporated. 
  3. Add the sour cream and beat until the cream is nice and fluffy and holds its shape.
  4. Set aside in the fridge.
  5. Note: This cream can also be used on desserts like fruit pies and cakes, or with scones and biscuits too!
  6. Next, make the Farina by stiring together the milk an water in a medium size pot or saucepan and bringing it to a boil.
  7. Once the liquid is boiling, stir in the Farina gradually and stir constantly so there are no lumps.
  8. Return to a boil and then lower the heat so that it is just boiling slightly and stir continually until it has reached our desired texture.  I prefer it to be thick but still creamy so it can pour off the spoon and not latch onto it. 
  9. Ladle the Farina into serving bowls.
  10. Sprinkle some granulated sugar evenly over the top so there is a light dusting of sugar throughout the dish.
  11. Drizzle some Chambord over the Farina (about 1 to 1 ½ Teaspoons per serving or as much as you’d like)
  12. Put a handful of berries on top of each dish
  13. Remove the Devonshire Cream from the fridge and put a dollop in the center of each bowl.
  14. Enjoy!

Hash Brown Crusted Turkey Burgers with Tomato Onion Chutney & Poached Eggs

As I was perusing the isles of my local grocery store, pondering about what I wanted to make for dinner, I stumbled upon some ground turkey meat.  I do enjoy a healthy Turkey Burger once in a while, but I do find that they can be very dry and lack flavor.  I love having a starch with my meats, especially potatoes, because they have such a comforting flavor and texture.  My friends introduced me to these great “Simply Potatoes” Hash Browns which are fresh potatoes that are already grated for you so it saves you time and labor! I crusted the turkey burgers with these potatoes, so when they cook and get crispy, they act as a barrier that locks in all the juices.  The Tomato Onion Chutney is slightly spicy from the Siracha and pleasantly sweet from the ketchup and Vidalia Onion.  I top this beautiful burger with a poached egg, because when you cut into it, the velvety, creamy yolk pours out onto the burger and acts as a sauce…and what goes better with potatoes than eggs, right?  No bread is needed for this burger, just eat is by its lonesome or pair is with a crisp, tangy Green Bean salad like I did.

 

Recipe Feeds 2 People (Makes 2 very large burgers, so you can make them smaller and feed 3 people)

Tomato Onion Chutney

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Clove of Garlic Minced
  2. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. 1 Cup Chopped Vidalia Onion
  4. ¾  Teaspoon Siracha Hot Sauce
  5. ¼ Sea Salt (or Regular Salt)
  6.  Dash of Ground Black Pepper
  7. ½ Teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
  8. Dash of Sugar
  9. 1 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
  10. 2 Tablespoons Ketchup

 Steps-

  1. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add the Olive Oil
  2. Add the Onion and Chopped Garlic and Saute until the onions are translucent and become very potent.
  3. Once the onions are tender add the Siracha, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Sugar, White Vinegar and Ketchup. 
  4. Simmer on low heat until the liquid starts to evaporate and the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and put in a small bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

Turkey Burgers-

Ingredients- 

10-12 Ounces of Ground Turkey (I used 93% Lean)

1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Small Clove of Garlic Minced

Pinch of Salt

¼ Teaspoon Ground Balck Pepper

10-12 Ounces Grated Potatoes (Best to use “Simply Potatoes” Hash Brown Potatoes because they are pre-grated)

Flour (About ½ Cup)

3 Eggs

Steps-

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Remove the Chutney from the fridge when it is cool
  3. Using your hands, mix together the Ground Turkey, 2 Tablespoons of the Chutney, Thyme, Garlic, Salt and Pepper, in a large bowl.  Make sure it is evenly blended.
  4. Make two Large burger patties with the meat (about 1 ½ inches thick)
  5. Poke a hole in the center of each burger , fill them with about 1 Tablespoon of the Chutney and patch up the hole with the meat that surrounds it.
  6. Dip the burgers in flour.
  7. Beat one egg in a dish and pour the uncooked hash brown shredded potatoes onto a separate plate
  8. Dip the burgers in the egg and then place them onto the plate with the potatoes.  Press the potatoes all over the raw burger so that it is completely covered.
  9. Heat a large skillet on the stove on medium/high heat with about 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Canola Oil.
  10. When the pan is very hot, gently put the burgers onto the pan. You want it to sizzle! The goal is to get the outer potato crust to be crispy and brown.
  11. Cook the burgers on each side until they are golden brown and start to cook/stiffen up.
  12. To continue the cooking process I put the burgers in the oven on a pan until they are fully cooked an there is zero pink inside.  (poultry meat must be fully cooked!) Should take about 10 minutes or so.
  13. While they are in the oven, prepare the 2 poached eggs.
  14.  Heat a small pot of water on the stove until it is almost at a boil.
  15. Once the water is almost boiling, add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or Rice Vinegar.
  16.  Crack the eggs gently right above the surface of the water.  It is very important to drop them close to the water so they don’t break and lose the proper consistency.
  17. When the eggs are cracked into the water, the vinegar will cause the eggs to congeal.
  18. Shut the stove off and cover the pot for about 4 minutes or until the white of the egg are fully cooked and the egg looks like a smooth ball. You want the yolks to be runny!
  19. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon.  (If you need help making a poached egg, there are videos and more detailed instructions online, or just make an over-medium egg instead in a frying pan.)
  20. Remove the burgers from the oven and use a spatula to put them on plates.
  21. Put one Poached Egg on top of each burger.
  22. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and top with a sprig of fresh Thyme for garnish.

            Enjoy!