Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ultimate Breakfast in Bed : Overnight Yeasted Waffles with SundaeToppings, Homemade Hash Browns, Sausage, and Magic Cold Brew Coffee

Is there anything better than breakfast in bed?  It's pretty much the most indulgent way to start the weekend, and I love treating my honey to a special weekend morning.  This particular set of recipes is nice because you get lots of yummy dishes but many of them get started the night before so your morning is slightly less hectic.  Here's a run-down of all this deliciousness...

First, yeasted waffles! My mom has made these for me, but I had never tried them myself.  They have a great, slightly yeasty flavor and are extra light and fluffy.  I topped these with decadent sundae toppings -- strawberry syrup, Hershey's chocolate sauce, and lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Continuing the carb overload theme is homemade hash browns.  These are so, so good and much easier than I thought they would be! They do remind me of the best diner hash browns, with the bonus that you can season them up with whatever herbs and spices you like.  A cast iron skillet is key here for getting that really crispy crust.  Rounding out the plate is sausage patties -- we took the grocery store shortcut on these and picked them up pre-made in the meat case.

To drink, you have to try "magic" cold brew coffee from Food 52.  I've written about cold brew coffee before and how easy it is to make.  This recipe takes things to the next level by infusing the coffee grounds with cinnamon and brown sugar.  I recommend using New Orleans-style chicory coffee if you can find it for the extra layer of flavor, but either way this is a seriously delicious recipe...smooth, sweet, spicy, and of course super rich from a splash of heavy cream.  (If you're drinking this on a regular basis, you might want to sub in milk instead, but ohhhhh that cream is good!

All in all, pretty much a perfect breakfast in bed.  Just plan for a long nap after!

Game Plan:

The night before, make the waffle batter and the magic coffee concentrate.  You can also make the strawberry sauce ahead and reheat in the morning.

The next morning, start off by straining the coffee.  Then get the strawberry sauce going if you didn't make it ahead.  Whip the cream and set out other fixings (i.e. chocolate sauce for the waffles, ketchup for the hash browns, and unwhipped cream for the coffee).

Grate and drain the potatoes, and then start the sausage and hash browns on the stovetop. Cook the waffles and keep warm in the oven.

To serve, pour the coffee and plate up the waffles, hash browns, and sausage.  Enjoy!

Overnight Yeasted Waffles with Sundae Toppings (adapted from Smells Like Home and Just a Taste)
Makes lots, depending on your waffle maker -- I would say enough to serve 4-6 depending on appetite

For the waffle batter:
8 T unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups whole milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

For the strawberry sauce:
2 generous cups sliced strawberries
3/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon

To serve:
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate sauce

1. The night before, melt the butter.  Whisk the melted butter into the milk, and gently heat until warm (not hot) -- 30-second bursts in the microwave work well.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the eggs and vanilla.  Don't over mix--small lumps are fine.
3. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.  Make sure there's room for the batter to rise and not overflow in your fridge.
4. The next morning. Combine the berries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then lower the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let thicken slightly while you cook the waffles.
5. Remove the waffle batter from the fridge and whisk to recombine the batter.  Cook according to your waffle maker's instructions, and keep waffles warm in a 250 degree oven before serving.
6. Serve the waffles hot with whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and chocolate sauce.

Homemade Hash Browns (adapted from the Kitchn)
Serves 2

10-12 ounce russet potato, peeled
Salt and pepper
Generous pinch of smoked paprika
1 T butter

1. Line a colander with a clean dishtowl.  Grate the potato into the colander.  Wrap up the towl and squeeze as much liquid out of the potatoes as possible.
2. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and season with salt and pepper, plus a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika.
3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Melt the butter.  When it's hot and melted, add the potatoes -- depending on the size of your pan, you can make one big hash brown that you'll divide up later, or you can make two separate piles.  Flatten with the back of a spatula.
4. Let cook 3-4 minutes, until the first side is as crispy as you like it, and then carefully flip and cook the second side for 2-3 minutes.  Serve right away!

Magic Cold Brew Coffee (adapted from Food 52)
Serves 2-4 depending on how much coffee you like

3 cups water
2/3 cup ground New Orleans-style chicory coffee
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Heavy cream and ice, to serve

1. The night before, whisk together the water, coffee, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large container.  Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.
2. The next morning, line a strainer with a large coffee filter and set over a bowl.  Carefully pour the coffee mixture into the filter and let drip until only the grounds remain in the filter.
3. For each drink you're preparing, fill a glass halfway with ice.  Fill about 3/4 full with coffee, and then top off with heavy cream.
4. Any leftover coffee concentrate keeps well in the fridge in a large Mason jar.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Avocado-Sweet Corn Toasts

You guys!  Stop whatever you are doing and make this recipe right away! It is seriously summer on a plate, and it made me soooo happy. There's something about meals on toast that is just fun, and the flavors here are killer.  Start with a good-quality seedy bread--you want something hearty with good texture.  On top of your toast goes mashed up avocado mixed with tart lime juice for lots of richness.  The next layer is fresh corn -- you can play around with how you cook it, either grilling, broiling, or steaming, but don't try to cheat with frozen corn, which just won't taste as fresh.  And finally, a generous sprinkle of goat cheese contributes more creaminess and a yummy tangy flavor.  We seriously could not stop eating these...they are just so, so tasty!  Bonus: this makes a super-quick lunch, dinner, or snack; just adjust the portion size appropriately, and be aware that you'll probably manage to eat however much you make.  Now I just need to make them again...

Avocado-Sweet Corn Toasts (adapted from How Sweet It Is, original recipe here)
Serves 2 generously, easily multiplied

For the corn:
2-3 ears sweet corn
1 T olive oil
2 T softened butter
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

For the toasts:
2 ripe avocados
Salt and pepper
1/2 lime
4 thick slices seedy whole grain bread, toasted
Crumbled goat cheese

1.  Shuck the corn and rub with olive oil.  You can cook it however you like -- I cooked mine under the broiler, but the grill is also a great option and steaming will work as well. 
2. While the corn cooks, mash together the butter, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.  Then rub it all over the hot corn as soon as it is done. 
3. Let the corn cool a bit, and then carefully slice the kernels off the cob into a bowl.
4. Mash up the avocado with the juice of 1/2 lime. Season generously with salt and pepper.
5. To assemble the toasts, spread each piece of toast generously with avocado.  Top with lots of the corn, and then sprinkle with goat cheese.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lunch Box: Bleu Apple Salad

This is more a set of ingredient ideas than an actual recipe, but it was too good not to share! I got the idea for this salad from The Kitchn, which did a post on 'salad swag' -- that is, all the fun stuff that makes your salad actually worth eating.  I tried their bleu apple salad, and totally loved the results.  A bed of fresh spinach gets spruced up with quick-cooking barley, rotisserie chicken, green apple, and blue cheese.  Other than the barley, nothing is cooked, so it's just about the assembly...which makes it a perfect lunch box meal in my book.  I love my three-part lunch containers (which have apparently been discontinued, sadly, but you can find similar options on Amazon).  The barley, chicken, spinach, and cheese go in the big container.  The apples go in the medium container, submerged in water which is a pretty genius trick for keeping them crispy and non-browned (although you have to be careful - this would not work for kids). And finally, the dressing goes in the mini container.  While you have to keep this upright unless you have a perfectly water-proof container, I didn't think that was too big of a deal -- I had no leaks.  Of course, you can also pack this in completely separate containers if that's what you have.  This salad works best if you have a big plate or salad bowl at the office to toss everything together, but you can also eat it out of the container if you work carefully.

Bleu Apple Salad (adapted from The Kitchn)

Large container:
Cooked barley (I like the quick-cooking barley from Trader Joe's)
Rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped
Raw baby spinach
Bleu cheese crumbles

Medium container:
1/2 green apple, chopped -- submerge in water to avoid browning, and carefully scoop out at lunchtime

Small container:
Lemon vinaigrette -- whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, minced parsley, salt, and pepper to taste

At lunchtime, carefully transfer the salad ingredients to a plate, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and eat!

Other Lunch Box Posts: 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring Green Produce Bowl

I love meals in bowls, in part because it's fun to come up with recipes based on what I have on hand or what looks good at the grocery.  My basic formula is grains and/or lentils on the bottom, a combination of raw and cooked vegetables, a fun sauce, and maybe some meat or cheese. Here, I took advantage of lots of green veggies to create a bowl that tastes totally spring-y, combining a base of green lentils and quinoa with raw spinach, sauteed zucchini, shishito peppers, cubed apple, broiled chicken, and feta.  The shishito peppers in particular are a favorite of mine, because they cook up so simply but have amazing (and unique) flavor.  Granny smith apples lent a burst of juicy, tart, sweetness that worked well with all the other flavors. I kept the dressing simple since there were so many other flavors going on -- just a little Dijon shaken in a jam jar with lemon juice and olive oil.

The "recipe" below is more of a collection of suggested ingredients.  This would be very easy to change up based on other favorite green vegetables...I'm thinking of green beans, fava beans, arugula, snap peas, and asparagus...yum!  You can't go too wrong here.  Depsite all the components, this meal was actually very quick -- I prepped and cooked all the components while the lentils were cooking, so the total time was around 35-40 minutes.  You just need some counter space to work with so that you can lay out each ingredient as it's finished.  Happy Mother's Day and Happy Spring!

Spring Green Produce Bowl...a loose guide...

Green lentils + quinoa: simmer the lentils in salted water for about 35 minutes, and add the quinoa with about 13 minutes to go. Drain well.

Broiled chicken breast seasoned with smoked paprika and kosher salt

Vegetables: zucchini coins sautéed with minced garlic, flash-sautéed shishito peppers with lots of lemon juice, and raw baby spinach

Toppings: cubed Granny Smith apple and crumbled feta

Lemon-Dijon dressing: lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme leaves, salt, and pepper

To assemble, add a scoop of the lentil-quinoa mixture to the bottom of your bowl and drizzle with a little dressing.  Layer on raw spinach, and top with chicken, zucchini, peppers, and apple.  Drizzle with more dressing, and then sprinkle with feta.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mustard-Crème Fraîche Pan Sauce

This pan sauce is seriously glorious.  We made it to pair with steak and crispy smashed potatoes, and it made the meal insanely delicious!  The mustard lends a lovely sharp flavor, and the crème fraîche creates a beautifully creamy sauce that won't break or separate.  A final handful of parsley brightens everything up.  The sauce comes together in maybe 5 minutes or so, so your food won't get cold while you make it.  The best part is that you'll open up a bottle of wine and use a bit in the sauce, so you can enjoy the rest with your  meal!

This sauce would also be fantastic on roasted chicken.

Mustard-Crème Fraîche Pan Sauce (adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution)

After cooking your steak (or other meat), drain off excess fat from the pan. Place the skillet over medium-high heat, and when it gets hot, add a generous spoonful of whole grain mustard.  Pour in about half a cup of white wine, and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scraping any crispy bits off the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until reduced by half. Add a generous spoonful of crème fraîche and stir briskly to combine. Return to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in a handful of minced parsley and a pinch of salt

Sunday, May 3, 2015

SRC: Asian Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Veg

My partner for this month's Secret Recipe Club is Lisa of Sweet as Sugar Cookies.  Her blog is full of delicious-looking recipes, so it was hard to choose what I wanted to make! I noticed that Lisa has posted a few different meatball recipes, and since meatballs are one of my all-time favorites, I decided to give one of them a try.  I ended up selecting Lisa's spicy peanut butter meatballs, but her oyster sauce meatballs and barbecue meatballs also looked amazing!

These turkey meatballs are full of flavor from cilantro, onions, garlic powder, and chili flakes.  After a quick bake in the oven, they're tossed in an awesome spicy peanut sauce.  You can add more or less Sriracha to make these as spicy (or not) as you like...I used about 1 teaspoon for a medium-spicy level of heat.  The sauce is sweet, rich, and so delicious!  Because of the rich sauce, I decided to leave my veggies raw and toss them with a little rice vinegar.  The combination of peanut sauce with quick pickled veggies is one of my favorite aspects of chicken satay, and duplicating that effect here worked really well.  Definitely a winning recipe -- thank you Lisa!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Veg (adapted from Rachel Ray via Sweet as Sugar Cookies)
Serves 3-4

For the meatballs:
20 ounces ground turkey
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup minced onion (or 1 heaping T Penzey's toasted onions rehydrated to make 1/4 cup)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
Generous pinch chili flakes

For the peanut sauce:
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
3 T sugar
1 T sesame oil
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp Sriracha

For the veggies:
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
Rice vinegar

Steamed white rice, to serve

1. First, get your rice going so that it will be ready when the meatballs are done!
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with oil.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the turkey, cilantro, panko, onion, garlic powder, salt, and chili flakes.  Mix gently with your hands to combine.
4. Roll the turkey mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet.  If you have a cookie scoop, this will speed things up (scoop all the meatballs, then roll).
5. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center (cut one in half to check).
6. Meanwhile, whisk together all the peanut sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to taste.
7. Toss the veggies in a separate bowl with a generous drizzle of rice vinegar and a pinch of salt.  Taste and adjust seasoning -- you want the vegetables to taste fairly acidic to balance the rich sauce.
8. When the meatballs are cooked, transfer to a skillet and add the peanut sauce.  Heat over medium heat, stirring often, just until the sauce is heated through.
9. To serve, add a scoop of rice to the bottom of each bowl.  Top with the fresh veggies, and spoon the meatballs on top.