Sweet Potato Hash

I hope you all enjoyed my blogiversary last week, it was fun to share some more details about me with all of you. This week, is the week of Easter and lucky for me, I won’t be cooking at all this weekend. I just get to attend dinner with my family and enjoy it. I will probably be making a nice breakfast for Eric and I on Saturday and the recipe I have today works great for breakfast or for dinner. This was the first recipe I made from my new Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook and its very simple and delicious. It combines two of my favorite foods, mushrooms and sweet potatoes into a sweet potato hash.

Once your ingredients are prepped, boil the sweet potato for about 10 minutes to cook.

Combine the cooked sweet potato, mushrooms, onions and rest of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Saute over medium high heat until soft and browned.

Serve as a side for dinner, as pictured below, or next to eggs and bacon for breakfast or brunch.

This is such a simple and so tasty dish. The touch of maple syrup really plays well with the flavors and makes it a great accompaniment to breakfast. After the way this turned out, I can’t wait to cook more recipes from Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Here’s the recipe:

Sweet Potato Hash
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Author: Tupelo Honey Cafe
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tupelo honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the sweet potato and blanch for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. Remove the potatoes and transfer to an ice bath.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and saute the mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato, mushrooms, green onions, sage, hot pepper sauce, honey, salt, and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and add the potato mixture. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is caramelized.
  4. Serve immediately.

Omelette for Two

One of my favorite things about Saturday mornings is making breakfast. During the week, we’re both up early and on to work by 8 o’clock; breakfast consists of a cup of tea at my desk and a banana or packet of instant oatmeal, an effort to stay healthy but not really a meal. But on Saturdays, I can make those muffins I saw on Pinterest or the sausage I just picked up at market and watch TV in my bathrobe until 11am!

Last weekend, I had all the ingredients to make one of our favorite Saturday morning meals, an omelette for two. I found this recipe in my Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook a few years ago and have been making it with different variations of ingredients ever since. It’s light and fluffy like an omelette but it makes a lot more and is less temperamental since it puffs up in the oven. What’s better is that you can make it with anything you happen to have one hand. For this recipe, I stuck to the ingredients called for, bacon, onion, cheese and potato.

Start by chopping up the ingredients and preheating the oven.

Heat a frying pan over medium low heat and cook the bacon slowly for about 10 minutes.

Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels and add the butter. Once melted add the potatoes and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat until the potato begins to brown and the onion is translucent, another 10 minutes. Add the bacon back to the pan.

While the potato and onion are cooking, beat the eggs and milk together until well combined. Add the cheese to the mixture and some salt and pepper.

Once the bacon has been added back to the potato mixture, pour the egg and cheese mixture over it.

Place the pan into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the egg is fluffy and just cooked through.

Slice and enjoy with a side of fruit and a cup of your favorite hot beverage!

Like I said, use any ingredients you have on hand. A few days ago, I used green peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese to make a different one.

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Omelette for Two
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Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1/4 pound good thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup medium-diced Yukon gold potato
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, diced, plus extra grated cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the bacon crosswise in 1-inch slices. Cook the bacon in an 8-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan, and then add the potato and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced Cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the omelet puffs and the eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute. Serve hot directly from the pan.

Beer + Bacon + Pancakes

In honor of it being Friday, I’d like to tell you about an amazing weekend breakfast/brunch recipe. It combines some of the best things in life, beer, bacon, pancakes and maple syrup. Yes, they are beer and bacon pancakes. While hanging out over on my Pinterest account searching for inspiration I saw this image:

Being a lover of breakfast and more specifically pancakes, my mouth instinctively began to water and I had to find out where this image and more importantly this recipe came from. After clicking the image a few times, I was taken to the deliciously inspirational blog Crepes of Wrath. Needless to say, I had found my inspiration and whipped up a batch of these delicious pancakes for Eric and I last weekend.

My blog post, I’m sure will look very similar to hers, but this is her recipe and we loved it! I’ve also added Crepes of Wrath to my blogroll on the right hand side so you can easily click over and check out what she’s cooking up. I really enjoy her blog, thanks Sydney for the great reads and even better eats!

Here is my recount of making these awesome pancakes. The first thing you must do is make the bacon. Everyone prefers their bacon cooked a certain way, but I have found that the fastest way to prepare the most bacon well is in the oven. Heat up the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Top the foil with a rack and place the bacon directly onto the rack.

Place the rack in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes; take it out when it is your preferred crispiness. Mine typically takes 15 minutes at the most.

Cool the bacon and then dice it up.

It’s time to make the batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl mix together one bottle of beer and egg yolk and vegetable oil. Keep the egg white separate and whisk it until its frothy.

Whisk the egg white into the beer mixture. Make sure you choose a good beer, you will taste the flavor of it more than you expect. I choose  Leinenkugal’s Classic Amber,

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and add all but about a tablespoon of the chopped bacon. Be careful not to over mix the batter, it will look thin and even a bit lumpy.

Cook the pancakes on a griddle pan heated over medium heat for a few minutes each side until golden brown.

To serve, top with a nice hunk of butter and some pure maple syrup, then sprinkle with the diced bacon pieces that were saved.

The combination of the salt and sweet with the additional of the hoppy beer is even better than you are thinking it is right now, in fact not only did I get the approval from Eric to make this dish again, he even said that these may have been the best pancakes I have ever made, and I make a lot of pancakes.

I hope you get the chance to enjoy a big and tasty breakfast this weekend!

Here is the recipe from the Crepes of Wrath blog:

Bacon n’ Beer Griddle Cakes
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author: Crepes of Wrath
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Ingredients
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and diced
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, whites and yolk separated
  • 1 12 oz. bottle nice beer
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • syrup, for serving
Instructions
  1. Cook your bacon. You can either do it the traditional way in the pan, until crispy, or you can do it in the oven, which I find produces better results. First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Simply line a baking sheet with foil, then place a cooling rack on top. Spray with non-stick spray, then lay the bacon over the cooling rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it has reached your desired level of crispiness. Set aside to cool, then dice.
  2. Whisk together your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, the beer, and the vegetable oil. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and add them to the beer mixture.
  3. Gently whisk the beer mixture into the flour mixture, until just combined. Fold in the diced bacon. Heat a large pan over medium-high, until hot. Grease your pan with either non-stick spray or butter. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook for 2-3 minutes, until bubbling on one side. Flip the pancake and let cook until golden, pressing down slightly with your spatula on the top of the pancake.
  4. You can place your pancakes in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Serve with a little butter and lots of syrup.

French Toast Sunday

First, sorry for the lack of posts last week. Things got a little crazy around here and as a result, the blog suffered. I’m back now with some French toast love for you. One of my favorite things is making a large breakfast or brunch on the weekends. I’m more of a sweet breakfast person than a savory; to me brunch means big buttermilk pancakes or Belgian waffles, cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, or something else delicious and sweet. Essentially, I want dessert for breakfast (can you blame me?!).

Recently, I was given one of the greatest hostess gifts on record, granted  I do not entertain  merely for the hostess gifts, but for those of you attending something in someone else’s home, a hostess gift is much appreciated. Upon arriving at our house for a small BBQ a friend handed me a bottle of wine and a loaf of home made cinnamon swirl bread. Yep, he hand kneaded this baby and baked it himself into this gorgeous loaf:

It’s topped with cinnamon and sparkling raw sugar, take a closer look (sorry for the blurry photo):

There is truly nothing like home made bread, especially when it’s swirled with cinnamon and sugar! Naturally, my first thought after marvelling over the bread for a bit, was French toast. So the following Sunday morning I woke up ready to try out my home made cinnamon swirl French toast.

French toast is essentially egg, milk and spices mixed together to coat the bread; I don’t have a recipe, I make it according to how I think it should look and taste. Start by beating the eggs in a shallow dish, I used 3 eggs (a shallow dish is better for dipping the bread).

Next, add some milk (maybe 1/4-1/2 cup) and mix thoroughly.

There are 3 things I like to add to my French toast, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

Add all these to the milk/egg mixture and mix thoroughly with a fork.

Dip slices of bread into the mixture and make sure they are well coated on all sides. Place on a medium-low heated griddle and fry until both sides are a light golden brown.

Top with butter, syrup and even powdered sugar or fresh fruit. This French toast was the best I’ve ever made, thanks for the amazing bread, Mike! The cinnamon swirl made it a cut above the rest.

Simply Delicious – Poached Egg & Arugula

On Sunday I woke up and knew I wanted to make brunch. The problem was that our food supplies were pretty sparse and by sparse I mean no milk, 3 eggs, no juice and some bacon. As I sat contemplating my predicament and googled substituting water for milk when making waffles, it dawned on me that for brunch, anything goes! It didn’t need to be specifically a breakfast dish.

As I spyed some arugula I had picked up a day before (along with the bacon) at the farmers market I made the decision to go with a poached egg (come on, you know they are my favorite now) on top of some bacon and arugula.

It was so simply and so delicious! First, I fried up the bacon and then sliced it. Next, I washed the arugula and placed it into bowls and topped with the chopped bacon.

Poach your the egg and place on top of the arugula, sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper. And voila!

 

Doesn’t it look beautiful?! And I love how the runny yolk acts like dressing. The dish also felt very healthy, even with the bacon…

Sorry for the short post today, I’m in my kitchen pitting 20 lbs of cherries:

 

This is by far the most cherries I’ve ever pitted and I’m not sure if I’ll do this again. Eric was an unstoppable force this past weekend at the cherry orchard. Tart cherry posts coming soon!

Banana Bread

Sunday morning I went downstairs to see what I could scrap together for breakfast. It had been about 2 weeks since I had visited the grocery store and things were a bit lean, to say the least. I noticed that I had only one egg left in the fridge and no bacon or sausage to use for breakfast. We were also out of cereal, even thought we did miraculously have milk. I scanned the fridge and the pantry and my eyes then fell upon some over ripe bananas sitting on my counter. Immediately I thought, banana bread!

I’ve only made banana bread a few times so I haven’t found a recipe I prefer yet and quickly pulled up Epicurious on my phone and searched for a recipe. I found one that all the reviews said was delicious and easy; it didn’t even require the electric mixer!

First, I peeled and mashed up 3 ripe bananas in a big bowl. Next I added all the rest of the ingredients. I love that this recipe uses zero oil. I also added a shake of cinnamon to this recipe.

Mix everything up until it’s well combined, but it will still look a bit lumpy.

Butter your loaf pan, in my case I had two smaller ones on hand that I decided to use so I buttered two. Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45-44 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

I have a bit of chocolate frosting left over in the fridge so I may top mine with a bit of that. Pair it with a hot cup of tea or coffee and it’s a great little breakfast! Plus, I’ll have some left over to take with me to work for breakfast.

In the end, this recipe took about 10 minutes to mix up and was moist and delicious. The ingredients are simple and organic and you can taste that as you eat it. Here is the recipe from Epicurious.com:

Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and serve.

Pancakes

Weekends make me think if brunch which makes me think of pancakes. I’ve mentioned my love of the fluffy breakfast food before in my post on Jenny’s Diner, and I’m about to give you my favorite recipe for pancakes at home.

Pancakes are a very “to each his own” type of breakfast food. I think everyone prefers them a different way. I like mine thin, large and fluffy. Some of my first memories of eating pancakes are as a kid. We would go out to breakfast with my grandparents and the one place we’d go they would make the best buttermilk pancakes and they’d be as big as the plate. They also made them right in front of you in the buffet line and I loved watching them flip those big pancakes.

As I got older and began making my own pancakes, I have always been striving to achieve that thin, buttermilk pancake that I remember eating as a child. Although I still haven’t perfected it, this recipe is the best I’ve come across so far. I do not use a pre-made pancake mix like Bisquick. I have nothing really against bisquick except that the pancakes come out too thick for my liking and I don’t understand why anyone would use Bisquick when it takes the same amount of time to make a better pancake from scratch. One I realized how easy pancakes were to make from scratch I stopped buying pancake mixes all together.

This recipe began as one from a cookbook, but I have tweaked it alot so it has become my own. I begin with one egg and beat it with a whisk until the egg looks lighter with bubbles.

Then I add the flour and milk and whisk together until smooth. Next I whisk in the brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla and two tablespoons of oil. Once everything is mixed, the baking powder will cause the batter to puff up a bit and then you know it’s ready for the griddle.

I have a griddle pan that I heat on medium low heat while I mix all the ingredients. The pancakes take about 1-2 minutes per side to cook through and then I place them in my pancake warmer to keep until I’m ready to eat. Yep, you read it right, I have a pancake warmer. I bought it at Crate and Barrel last Summer and it’s so cool. The lid has little holes to allow moisture to escape and I warm mine up in a 200 degree oven for a few minutes before filling with pancakes; its ceramic so it holds the heat in well to keep your pancakes warm for a while.

Here’s the pancake warmer:

Pile up the batter on the griddle. Make your pancakes as large as you like.

Flip them once you see the edges begin to cook. They should be nice and golden brown on the underside.

The pancake should be done in another minute or so, when the other side is golden brown. Once you’ve made all the batter into pancakes, stack on your plate, butter and pour over some maple syrup. We also paired ours with a side of bacon this morning.

This recipe is perfect for two people; it makes us about 6 medium-large pancakes. If you have more people I’d double or triple it.

Here’s the recipe:

Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Preparation

Beat the egg in a bowl until foaming. Add the flour and milk and whisk until smooth. Add brown sugar, bkaing powder, vanilla and cooking oil. Cook on griddle heated over medium low heat until golden brown on both sides. Top with pure maple syrup or fresh fruit and enjoy!

This recipe is a great base, you can add fruit or chocolate chips to it very easily. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, I really think the vanilla makes all the difference.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Since learning to poach eggs a few weeks ago, I have been dying to try making eggs benedict and as I read through this month’s Bon Apetit Magazine it was as though the universe was smiling down on me. I came upon a recipe by four-star chef Eric Ripert for hollandaise sauce. This is a recipe that he makes at home for himself and if it’s good enough for him then its good enough for me!

I couldn’t believe how easy the recipe ended up being! I will be making this hollandaise sauce often now that I know how. The whole thing took about 15 minutes or less and I made it all in my blender.

Fill the blender with hot water from the tap, as hot as you can get it.  Ifilled it all the way to the top and set it aside until you’re ready to use it. Separate your egg whites and yolks and squeeze some fresh lemon juice; cube up your butter and put in a small saucepan over medium heat to melt. Once the butter is foaming, remove it from the heat.

Dump the water out of the blender and dry it thoroughly. While the blender is still warm, put in the egg yolk and lemon juice and blend together.

Slowly add the butter in a thin stream while the blender is running.

Be sure not to pour all of it right in, keep milk solids out and discard after they collect in the pan. Blend everything until creamy and then season with a more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Here’s a close up shot of the finished sauce:

Serve it immediately, the longer it sits, the thicker it gets.

For our brunch, Eric picked up some delicious sundried tomato and basil sausage at our central market and I poached some eggs. We topped a whole wheat english muffin with butter, sausage, egg and then hollandaise sauce. It was superb!

Here is the recipe from Epicurious.com:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Fill a blender with hot water; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove pan from heat. Drain blender and dry well. Put egg yolks and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in blender; cover and blend to combine. Working quickly and with blender running, remove lid insert and slowly pour hot butter into blender in a thin stream of droplets, discarding the milk solids in bottom of the saucepan. Blend until creamy sauce forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and with more lemon juice. Serve immediately.