You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘brunch’ tag.

What can you say about Zucchini Bread? It’s fine, but it’s not special.  I find it really hard to get excited about something so mundane.  I know that might sound hypocritical coming from someone who can wax poetic over the glories of a grilled cheese sandwich.  But, what can I say?  I love cheese and, well, zucchini is just zucchini.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like zucchini.  It regularly appears in my stir fry.  And, it has proved a good understudy for Japanese eggplant in my “Thai Red Curry with Chicken.”  Most frequently I add grated zucchini and carrot to my marinara to bump up the nutrition quotient.  But it really is just a delivery system for other flavours.  It has no flavour of its own and the texture is a bit dubious as well.  That said, I do have a really great recipe for a “Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake.”  It’s rich, moist and delicious.  But, alas, the recipe is lost in a mountain of yet-to-be transcribed recipes… in a box, in the den and not likely to see the light of day until later this summer… perhaps.  I enjoy a good zucchini loaf from time to time, but really it’s the nuts and spices that I like.

Zucchini Muffins Ready For the Oven

So, what to do about Zucchini Bread day?  First, I was determined not to make the traditional sweet loaf.   Like I said, that’s all about the nuts, not so much the zucchini.  I searched my favourite website for inspiration and lo and behold… I found my perfect muse.  Epicurious.com has a recipe for tea sandwiches that sounded perfect – Radish Sandwiches on Zucchini and Basil Muffins.  The recipe is from the July 1990 issue of Gourmet and is meant for a summer buffet kind of presentation.  I decided to make regular sized muffins and skip the radishes but the primary goal was achieved.  No sweet, nut-filled loaf for me… instead I got a savoury bite of basil infused goodness.  I had my fresh-from-the-oven muffin with a slab of feta cheese and a few slices of cucumber.   It was the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon tea.

Not a bad afternoon snack. Good enough to go back for seconds actually!

Okay, so these muffins are really all about the basil instead of the zucchini.  But, that little green squash pulled its weight.  The muffins are moist and light, just what you would expect from a bread that uses more vegetable and less fat to create the texture.  Really, it’s the zucchini that makes that chocolate cake so good too.

The real test for me is to ask “would I make them again?” And, yes, I believe I will.  They are a nice addition to the brunch table and they held well over night, so they would be good in a picnic basket too.  I guess there was something to get excited about after all.

Bon appétit,

Della

Advertisements

[ed: After recovering from fast food day and sticky bun day, Sarah is back with another healthful post!]

You know that scene in “Julie & Julia” where Julie attempts to poach an egg for the first time?  Well that was me the other night.  I am a big – nay, huge – fan of eggs benedict and I have purposely been putting off actually making them for myself because who needs that kind of enabling, self-destructive knowledge?  In the name of 365foods though, I made the sacrifice.

It wasn’t the hollandaise that made me nervous, it was the egg poaching.  What if everything breaks apart and then I’m left with egg soup?  Yick!  I was finally up for the challenge though so I looked up a few eggs benedict recipes on the internet, chose the shortest one and dove in.  (Small insert here – I have much newfound respect for all those cooks who can construct these little suckers and have them actually be *warm* when they are served!)

First up: egg poaching.  I filled my largest, deepest frying pan with a couple inches of water and a generous splash of vinegar.  Apparently vinegar makes all the difference.  I let the water boil, then turned down to medium.  My recipe said to crack the egg into a small bowl and then pour into the water.  I tried this … and then watched in horror as the egg white merrily made its way around the pan.  There was enough still stuck to the yoke so I left it alone.  I tried turning up the heat with the next one and that worked better.  I made eight in all (we had company – I wasn’t that out of control!) and while some had more egg white than others, all of them turned out just fine.  I left them in for about four minutes, at medium-high heat, and the yokes were soft-ish and not runny.  A success I’d say.

Next: the hollandaise.  I found a recipe that did not involve whisking ingredients in a double boiler so I very happily chose that.  Two egg yolks, two teaspoons of water, some lemon juice (I squeezed a whole lemon in) and a pinch of cayenne into the blender and turn on low for about a minute.  Next, take the wee middle part out of the blender lid, turn blender back on (carefully – because it could splash out – and it did) and pour in half a cup of melted butter.  Blend on low for about a minute and you’ve got delicious hollandaise!  Add some white pepper if you have some (I had only black, which I added but then had spotty hollandaise).

Meanwhile, you should be frying up some back bacon or black forest ham and toasting the English muffins (in my case, I was defrosting the English muffins then toasting them).

Now here’s my question: how the heck do you do all of the above and keep everything warm??  Maybe I need to practice more (in the fall maybe – it’s getting to be bathing suit season!) but I could get the egg poaching and the ham frying going at the same time, but the English muffin toasting and the hollandaise making had to wait until the first two were done.  Perhaps if I made the hollandaise in the double boiler that would heat things up when I poured it over to but alas, I didn’t.  I also had company and may have been doing a bit of visiting!

In any event, the eggs benedict were very tasty, if a bit cold.  I recommend trying this with perhaps four eggs benedict instead of eight because then you might have a chance of keeping everything warm.  Go forth with hollandaise!

~Sarah

[Ed. – The lovely Sarah has survived the insanity of the gold medal hockey game, and now is waxing poetic about PB…]

Peanut Butter Lovers Day.  Ah, who among us is not a peanut butter lover?  Crunchy, smooth, organic, sugar free, salt free, homemade … everyone can find a peanut butter they can fall in love with.

I found this on Peanut Butter Lovers.com:

“There are many claims about the origin of peanut butter. Africans ground peanuts into stews as early as the 15th century. The Chinese have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries. Civil War soldiers dined on ‘peanut porridge.’ These uses, however, bore little resemblance to peanut butter as it is known today.

 

In 1890, an unknown St. Louis physician supposedly encouraged the owner of a food products company, George A. Bayle Jr., to process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn’t chew meat. The physician apparently had experimented by grinding peanuts in his hand-cranked meat grinder. Bayle mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of barrels for about 6¢ per pound. ”

My favourite mode of ingesting peanut butter is actually just on a knife.  Out for weekend brunch when you’re starving from standing in line for an hour and there are those wee packets of Kraft peanut butter on a table, who can resist?  Crack one open, scoop some out and mmmmm, you can now wait another 25 minutes for your real breakfast to arrive.  I’m also a fan of peanut butter cookies – just the very plain “1c peanut butter, 1 egg, 1/2 c. sugar, mix and bake at 325 for 12 minutes”.  Deliciously peanut butter-y goodness.  My mom has made, for as long as I can remember, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on a weekly basis.  My parents are visiting right now so she brought some for Andrew.  Pictured here are both kinds of cookies, in front of the gold medal winning men’s jockey jersey, worn by a very happy Andrew.

Other vehicles for peanut butter enjoyment include smoothies (try it!  Makes the smoothies stick to your ribs), chocolate cups, with homemade jam on homemade bread … the list goes on.  Peanut butter is also a good snack for puppies.  Susie always gets a peanut butter cookie when we visit the dog store in our neighbourhood.  Unfortunately she ate the last one before I could snap a pic.

I leave you with this word of caution oh peanut butter-crossed lovers: too much peanut butter cannot be good for a person, aptly illustrated by one of my favourite poets, Shel Silverstein:

Peanut-Butter Sandwich

    by Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)

I’ll sing you a story of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing —
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.

And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.

His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
“My boy’s committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”

The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!

The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.

With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil —
For twenty years of tears and toil —
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.

Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.

Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy —
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.

A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak —
The king’s jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak —
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”

~Sarah