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Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Blueberry Scones fit for dessert.

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When last Sunday turned cool and blustery, I turned to my stove to make one of my favorite breakfast treats for an evening snack.  Blueberry scones.  I happened to have organic blueberries on hand, some heavy cream left over from a pasta dish I had made earlier, and plenty of butter, flour and sugar stashed away in my cupboards, just waiting for an opportunity to turn themselves into something delicious.   In less time than it would have taken me to walk to and from my favorite bakery I had 8 perfectly golden, perfectly scrumptious scones.  And I now have a wonderful breakfast to look forward to for the rest of the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 5 TBSP butter (really cold – stick it in the freezer for 20-30 min ahead of time)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (again, really cold), plus a little extra for brushing the scones before baking
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 TBSP turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl, and transfer into a food processor.  Cut the butter up into small pieces (halve the stick of butter lengthwise, then flip it and halve it again, and then cut it 6-8 times across) and toss it, along with the lemon zest, into the food processor with the dry ingredients.  Pulse until well blended (pieces will look like dry sand).  Transfer mixture back into large mixing bowl, and to that, gently mix in blueberries.

Make a well in the center, and pour the heavy cream into the middle.  Slowly blend everything together, being careful not to break the blueberries.  When mostly mixed, (it’s okay if there are a still some bits that are still flour-y, and some that are wetter), move the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm.  Roll, or press out into a 3/4″ thick rectangle – around 10″ x 7″.  Cut the rectangle into quarters, and then cut the quarters into even triangles – making 8 even pieces.

Place the 8 pieces onto an ungreased cookie sheet, brush with extra heavy cream, and sprinkle on the turbinado sugar.  Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 15-18 minutes.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and just TRY to wait until they’re cooled to dig in.  I give you five minutes before you break down and nibble off one of the corners 🙂

Happy Eating!

The Perfect Scone Topping

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All anyone can talk about is the Royal Wedding. And as much as I tried to rise above the ever-building insanity surrounding this event, I inevitably found myself drawn into the thick of it… Will! Kate!! What will they wear? What will they eat?  I should really be focusing on the more important world events, but for some reason, this has captured my (and apparently everyone else in the world’s) attention.

To really put things over the edge, my team at work decided to host a “Royal Wedding Breakfast”. Of course, my contribution must be food-related, so I’ve offered up a take on the oh-so-English Devonshire (Clotted) Cream.  Someone is bringing in scones from The Wholy Grain bakery in the South End, so this would seem to be a fitting accoutrement, no?

The recipe I’m using is really simple, and one I found on joyofbaking.com.  Since I unfortunately don’t have enough time to search out unpasteurized heavy cream and let it cook for 8-12 hours, I thought this would be the next best bet.  And who doesn’t like mascarpone cheese and heavy cream?

The following recipe and photo are both courtesy of joyofbaking.com. 

  • Four ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 or 2 TBSP granulated white sugar
  • zest of one lemon

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until the mixture holds it shape and looks like softly whipped cream.  Use right away or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Serve with scones, crumpets, or any other toasted mound of loveliness…

Happy eating!

Banana Butterscotch Pudding Cake

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my adventures in the kitchen.  (Chalk it up to day-job overload…ugh.)  Which means I’ve been coming home (late) and quickly throwing something together without giving it much thought.  Well enough is enough!

Today I decided to make a recipe from Rachel Allen’s PBS program, Rachel’s Favorite Food at Home.  If you’ve never seen her show – make a date (or set your DVR) to watch an episode.  First off, everything is shot in her beautiful country home in Cork, Ireland, providing you – as only PBS can – with a 30-minute escape to a simpler, slower life.  Secondly, she makes food that you WANT to eat.  It’s not complicated for the sake of being fancy, and all the ingredients she uses are wholesome and in-season.  On top of that, throughout the program you feel like you’re in the kitchen of your best friend who also happens to be an incredible chef.  As she cooks, she provides really helpful tips on things people actually want to know, but aren’t able to ask – like why to use the type of oil she’s suggesting, or how to test if your jam is “set”.

The particular recipe I’ve chosen is actually not hers, but a take on a very famous dessert by Bill Granger – Banana Butterscotch Pudding.  I’ve decided to call it Banana Butterscotch Pudding Cake because that’s really more representative of what it is – at least to me!

It’s really fairly simple, and takes about a half hour to prepare and about 40 minutes in the oven.  I chose to make it for breakfast – come on, you all know you like cake for breakfast – but I think it would be lovely served after a hearty stew or roast.

Ingredients (translated into US measurements from a UK recipe)
For the pudding:
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP plain flour
3 level tsp baking powder
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP sugar

1 egg, beaten
1 banana, mashed

1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 TBSP butter, melted

For the topping:
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
2 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the wet ingredients (egg, butter, mashed banana, milk + vanilla) into one bowl.  In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar + baking powder).  Incorporate the wet mixture into the dry.

Pur into a well-greased baking dish – I used a 9″ round pie dish with 2″ sides.  (Note – the 2″ sides are important.  If you use a 1 1/2″ side pie dish the mixture will boil over and spill out into your oven.)

To make the topping, in a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil.  Pour immediately (and carefully!) over the pudding/cake batter, distributing evenly in a figure 8 motion.  Don’t worry when the “topping” inevitably sinks to the bottom.  Bits of it will rise to the top while it’s baking and will form a nice crust.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.  Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before serving to allow everything to set properly.

Top it with vanilla ice cream or fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream.  It’s delicious on its own, too 🙂

Happy eating!

Yummy Brunch – in 5 minutes!

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Oh how I love Monday holidays.  I get up late.  I brew some coffee.  I eat brunch!

Today, not really having a plan for my meal, I decided to see what I had in my fridge… hmmm, potatoes (leftover from brunch the other day at The Friendly Toast), some cherry tomatoes, onions, eggs, a couple of pieces of prosciutto, some Port Salut cheese…  I could work with that.  A scramble would be just the thing to start my day (um, afternoon) off right!

I started off by putting the two pieces of prosciutto in the toaster oven and toasting them until they got nice and crispy.  As that was cooking, I chopped up the already cooked potatoes and onions, and sauteed them until crisp (along with some salt + pepper).  To that, I added some butter + two eggs, and scrambled it all together for about 30 seconds.  (While that cooked I quickly chopped up the tomato.)

After the 30 or so seconds, I shut the burner off and threw in the cheese, tomato, and broke the prosciutto into bits over the top and covered the pan.

A minute or two later, when I took the cover off, the cheese had melted thanks to the residual heat, and the tomatoes had warmed through.  I mixed it together again and sat down for my super quick, super frugal and super delish brunch.

Happy eating!