Archive for Brunch

Recipe ReDux: Stacking patties

March is well-known for its green-themed, leprechaun-y, gold & clovers holiday, so for this month’s Recipe ReDux I’m bringing you the luck o’ the Indians!

Wait, what?

patties

Our task this month was to play off St. Patty’s with a healthy stackable patty recipe, but while we started in Ireland, I looked around on the other side of the globe for my stackspiration (wow, that’s bad, even for me). Garam masala - a spice mix originating from Northern India – is one of my all-time favorite flavorings, so I worked up a breakfast? lunch? recipe that combines it and curry powder with stacks of quinoa, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and eggs.

How do those nutritional powerhouses stack up? Here’s the recipe so you can see/taste for yourself:

Curried quinoa, sweet potato, egg and spinach stacks

(6 servings)

Patties:
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ red onion, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1.5 tsp curry powder

Stacking layers:
4 hard-boiled eggs
½ red onion, chopped
Olive oil for sauté
Cashews

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the patty ingredients – quinoa, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, and spices – in a food processor, and process until the large pieces are well-chopped and combined.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, or spray it with cooking spray. Dust your hands with some flour, and form the processed mixture into 12 patties, each a little smaller than your palm. Those of you playing along at home will note I just un-gluten-freed this recipe; but if you want to avoid the flour, a little oil or water on your hands will help keep them from sticking, too.

Arrange the patties on the prepared baking sheet, and put them in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the hardboiled eggs into slices. Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and sauté the spinach and remaining onion until just cooked.

When the patties are ready, carefully lift them off the baking sheet (sticky little buggers), then build each stack with a patty, egg slices, another patty, sautéed veggies and a few cashews on top. Grate some fresh black pepper over top, and then demolish that tower you just built.

fork

If you want to play more patty-cake, my fellow Recipe ReDuxers have a bunch more recipes for you:

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Nooks & Crannies Week: Chocolate chip, banana, peanut butter waffles

A brief backstory on how I arrived at waffles for a weekly theme: I’ve been eager for a way to cram protein into a baked breakfast food other than pancakes (it’s an obsessive/hungry runner thing), and Santa brought me a waffle maker this past Xmas.

Waffles

Put those things together with a 7-year-old who would take chocolate chips intravenously, if he could, and we get crispy-soft banana pancakes with hits of rich chocolate and peanut butter.

Waffle iron

The backstory is pretty simple, just like waffles. They’re basically crispier, fluffier pancakes with ready-made receptacles for all kinds of sweet or savory toppings. And while the topping options (toptions?) seem limitless, there’s something even more interesting about tweaking the waffle itself to include some novel ingredients.

Miles eating waffles

So while Miles is perfectly happy with the additions of chocolate, peanut butter and banana, I went a little farther out to find recipes using fun stuff like bacon, sweet potato, cardamom, and even crabmeat. This week’s recipe list also includes a way to get almost-waffles from scratch without a waffle iron, in case Santa was too busy getting you FaceBlast IV: Facepocalypse for the PS4 to bring you new kitchen gadgets.

  • Chocolate chip banana peanut butter waffles from Eating The Week (recipe follows below)
  • Sour-cream cardamom waffles from Epicurious (here)
  • Crab & veggies waffles from Runners World (here)
  • Sweet potato protein waffles from Food & Fitness (here)
  • Crispy cornmeal bacon waffles from Epicurious (here)
  • Apple, cheddar & prosciutto waffles from 10th Kitchen (here)
  • Grill pan waffles from Always Order Dessert (here)

Chocolate chip banana peanut butter waffles

(4 servings)

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips
1 ¼ cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup peanut butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs honey
1 ripe banana, mashed

Combine all the dry ingredients (flour through chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (milk through banana). Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.

I usually transfer the batter to a 2- or 4-cup measuring cup, to make pouring easier.

For each waffle, pour approximately ¼ of the batter onto a warmed up waffle iron & cook according to your equipment’s instructions. Top with buttery spread and maple syrup, and enjoy!

An alternative method is to keep the chocolate chips separate, and then sprinkle some on the finished waffles.

Recipe ReDux: The merriment of mixes – chocolate chip banana scone gift mix

Blink and you might miss the end-of-year holiday season. Before you know it, the pumpkin pie pan will host nothing but crumbs, smoke will waft away from the blown-out menorah candles, and you’ll be considering launching a search & rescue team to find Little Timmy in the avalanche of ripped-open wrapping paper.

But thanks to the Recipe ReDux, you can feel good about gifts that will endure right into the new year – for this month’s theme, we’re doing shelf-stable food mixes that you can share with hostesses, friends and family alike.

Scone mix2

Now would be the time to get your name on my gift list, because I think you’ll like what I’m giving out: a mix to make warm, moist but crunchy, banana chocolate-y scones.

Scones1

These are the same tasty little guys with which I kicked off this blog; with a pedigree like that, you know they’re good. But I don’t want to be that jerk who gives the gift of a grocery-shopping trip, so I changed up the ingredients (dry vanilla powder in the mix instead of liquid extract) and the method (chocolate chips added before butter, not after) to try to minimize the effort needed to bring the dry mix to scone-y life.

Scones2

Do you know someone who likes a little something special for breakfast? Then package up this mix and check some gifts off your to-do list.

Chocolate chip banana scone mix

(8 servings, approx. 310 calories each)

Dry mix:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp dry vanilla powder
½ cup chocolate chips

Combine all the dry mix ingredients and package in a sealable, present-y container.

Scone mix1

Write or print out the following instructions to accompany your scone mix gift:

Ingredients to add to the dry mix:
½ cup (1 stick) of butter, softened slightly
2/3 cup buttermilk (or 2/3 cup 1% milk with 2 tsp vinegar; let sit 5-10 minutes)
½ banana, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Put the scone mix in a large bowl. Use your fingers to squish the butter into small pieces & drop them into the dry mix. Using your fingertips, blend the butter into the dry mix until it resembles wet sand and the butter is evenly distributed

Add the buttermilk to the butter/dry mix and blend with your hands until they just come together. Add the banana pieces and mix until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough into eight balls and transfer them to the baking sheet. Press gently on the tops to flatten them a little, then pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (the magic number is 22 in my oven). When done, let them cool for a few minutes on a rack before eating

Have a big gift list this year? Never fear – my fellow ReDuxers have got you covered with a bunch more shelf-stable gift mix recipes:

Recipe ReDux: Brunch recipes for May showers

For this month’s Recipe ReDux – courtesy of Jenna Braddock at Fresh Food Perspectives – the group is sharing favorite healthy brunch dishes to celebrate May showers: bridal showers, baby showers, graduations parties.

My fellow ReDuxers are gracious hosts, offering up French toast bread pudding, pretty pink beet hummus, broccoli & egg muffins, and strawberry-rhubarb mimosas or coconut mock-jitos to wash it all down. And while I love me some brunch – so much so that my inaugural post focused on this great all-morning meal – I just couldn’t extend the invitations this time around. I’m in the middle of an all-out effort to get our little Cape house ready to sell, and I’m pretty sure the paint fumes would be off-putting to guests.

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But don’t let my poor hosting skills keep you from enjoying May shower season! You’ll find links below to more than 50 great brunch ideas from this talented, health-and-tasty group:



Multi-Layered Week: Pepper Jack and veggie strata

I recently submitted a short piece to be included in an upcoming cookbook, waxing poetic about our new-ish tradition of hosting New Year’s Day brunch that centers around soft, sometimes savory, often sweet stratas.

Sure, the brunch menu always include scones and fruit salad, coffee and juice, but everyone’s really there for the strata (our friend Annie, for example, has moved over the years from “Soooo, what are you making?” to “Seriously, make the strata.”). I’m all too happy to oblige, because they are a cinch to serve at brunch – I pop it into the oven before my traditional New Year’s Day run, and a few miles and a shower later, my family and our friends are gathered around the good stuff.

When the folks at Cabot sent me their reduced fat cheeses to show off their recent package re-design, it was a no-brainer to use the pepper Jack in a vegetable strata I knew would bring people running (in my case, literally). The cheese gives it just enough kick to keep things interesting alongside the sweet bell peppers, tomatoes and savory mushrooms.

Photo courtesy of Cabot Coop

The recipe for my pepper Jack and veggie strata follows below, and if you want to round out the week with stratas every morning, here are six more recipes I found around Teh Internets. Where some of these (the Martha Stewart and Oprah recipes, for example) use whole milk and a bazillion whole eggs, you can save a few calories by using lower fat dairy and using roughly 1.5 egg whites instead of each whole egg:

  • Pear gruyere cinnamon swirl strata from Cooking Light (here)
  • Savory bread pudding with kale and mushrooms from New York Times (here)
  • Tomato spinach dinner strata from Eating Well (here)
  • Portabello asparagus goat cheese strata from Whole Foods Recipes (here)
  • Sausage and swiss chard strata from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Raspberry goat cheese strata from Oprah (here)

Pepper Jack and veggie strata

I don’t actually measure how much bread goes into this, but it’s probably about 5 cups of bread cubes.

(8 servings, approx. 270 calories each)

Ingredients:
½ Tbs olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, chopped
4-5 oz sliced mushrooms (~1/2 a box from the grocery store)
1 ½ cups shredded reduced-fat Pepper Jack cheese like Cabot Pepper Jack Light
1 baguette, roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups 1% milk
5 egg whites and 4 whole eggs
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried oregano
¼-1/2  tsp ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salsa to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once it gets shimmery, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms have released most of their water. Remove the pan from heat.

Spray the inside of an 8×11-ish casserole dish with cooking spray. Inside the dish, layer ½ of the bread cubes, ½ of the vegetable mixture, and ½ of the shredded cheese. Follow that with a layer of the remaining bread cubes and then the remaining vegetable mixture. Arrange the tomato slices to cover the top, and then layer on the remaining cheese.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, egg whites, whole eggs, cumin, chili powder, oregano and black pepper. Whisk together and pour over the contents of the baking dish. Press down gently on the top with a spatula, to compress the layers and allow the liquid to soak into all the ingredients.

Cover with foil and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes but ideally overnight in the fridge.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350. Bake the strata at 350 with the foil on for 25 minutes; then remove the foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve with salsa of your choice!

Pest Control Week: Beneficial brassicas + Brussels sprouts frittata

If asked, many people would tell you they try to avoid pesticides in their food – by buying organic produce, growing their own food using non-chemical pest control, or eating meat that was raised on low-or-no-chemical feed. But getting ready to make the whaaaaaa face when I say you should deliberately eat some pesticides.

No, not the kind brewed up by Industrial Chemicorp, LLC. I’m talking about the natural pest-resisting compounds in brassicas, better known as the cabbage and mustard family or as cruciferous vegetables.

Cabbage, broccoli, mustard, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi and other members of the plant genus Brassicaceae are chock full of phytochemicals, notably indoles and isothiocyanates. The plants use them to ward off pests, but it turns out those compounds also help humans ward off some other insidious invaders. Research shows that the indoles and isothiocyanates in brassicas can increase DNA repair, and that people who consume more cruciferous vegetables are at lower risk of developing some cancers.

Brussels sprouts frittata

My own research, however, shows that they are not effective at warding off dachshunds (who stole several of my recently harvested Brussels sprouts right out from under my hand).

The sprouts that survived the Dog-Shaming-worthy onslaught went into a new recipe I worked up for lunch – Brussels sprouts frittata with capers, parsley and parmesan cheese. With a splash of balsamic vinegar on top, it has a taste that is savory, nutty, slightly sweet and a smidge bitter all at once.

The frittata recipe follows, but you should also take a tour through the other beneficial brassicas with this week’s worth of recipes from around Teh Interwebs:

  • Brussels sprout and shallot hash from Epicurious (here)
  • Roasted kohlrabi from AllRecipes (here)
  • Roasted broccoli and garlic soup from Not Eating Out in New York (here)
  • Rigatoni with roasted cauliflower and spicy tomato sauce from Herbavoracious (here)
  • Thyme-roasted root vegetables from Eating The Week (here)
  • Sweet potato sandwich with cabbage slaw from Dorm Room Dinner/Big Girls Small Kitchen (here)
  • Roasted brussels sprouts with cranberry and barley from Cookie + Kate (here)

Brussels sprout frittata

Two servings, approx. 285 calories each

Ingredients:
½ red onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup Brussels sprouts
½ cup water
4 whole eggs + 1 egg white
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs capers
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Cut the stem ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut them into halves or quarters, so that you have leaves and roughly ½-inch size pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are turning translucent.

Add the Brussels sprouts and a pinch of salt; cook another 3-4 minutes, until the leaf edges are turning brown. Pour in the water and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the water has evaporated.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, mustard and parsley. Grate in some black pepper, then pour the mixture over the onions and Brussels sprouts in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Heat the broiler to high. When the frittata is done cooking on the stove, remove it from heat and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put the pan under the broiler for 3 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cut into four wedges (two per serving). Top with a little balsamic vinegar, if you like.

Recipe ReDux: Stick with Maple Syrup – an easy, nutritious “French toast” recipe

The snow has receded, the sun has come out, and the temperatures are headed up (this week, insanely so). These few weeks in the very earliest part of New England’s spring are the time to forget any lingering bitterness about a dreary winter and tap into a natural source of sweetness.

Tapped sugar maples just around the corner from our house

The sunny sides of sugar maples yield a sap that when boiled down (in something like a 40-to-1 ratio) creates a fantastic amber treat: maple syrup. The process is explained nicely by the Boston Globe.

Photo by Clampants (aka Mr. Eating The Week) on flickr

To celebrate this seasonal bounty, we Recipe ReDuxers are “Sticking with Maple Syrup Sweetness” for our March theme. There are myriad ways to add this natural sweetness to meals, and I already had a simple breakfast recipe that mimics the flavors of French toast using maple syrup, cooked barley and a hard-boiled egg. But I decided to add in a few more healthy ingredients – banana and walnut – to really bring it up to Recipe ReDux standards. The result: banana walnut “French toast” barley:

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Rhode Scholar: Week 8 – Fourteen with Flail

Week 8 of marathon training was a little light on running; my workouts were: a rest day, cross-training (step aerobics & weights), intervals + some hill work, more cross-training (step & weights), a rest day, a 4-mile shake out, and a 14-miler. Mr. Eating The Week had a short-notice whirlwind trip to Seoul, which meant I couldn’t sneak out of the house easily to run pre-dawn (doing that would leave 5-yo Eating The Week Jr. by himself).

But what week 8 lacked in workout frequency it made up for in intensity & mileage. I decided to combine my interval and hill workouts, and had a 14-miler today that represented the farthest I’ve ever run in one go. Flailmates Adam & John joined me, which was critical for motivation to keep going, as well as for photo-ops to appreciate my carbo-load water retention.

We returned to my house – Adam after an additional 2 miles to total his scheduled 16 – and snarfed down some recovery smoothies (at the end of that post) and spinach strata.

Next up is a pullback week, with several rest days and only easy-pace runs for 3-4 miles. I’m going to relish this week, because thereafter the intervals get longer, the hill workout repeats get more numerous, and the long runs just get absurd.

Recipe Redux: Straight to the heart – double chocolate ginger scones

In the month when we celebrate love, Recipe Redux is aiming straight for your heart with chocolate.

Chocolate has a taste that has launched a thousand obsessions. But the cocoa bean – and darker, less processed chocolates – also contains flavanoids that may act as antioxidants, help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow throughout the body, and prevent abnormal blood clotting. It’s no wonder that the culinary dietitians of Recipe Redux would focus on this heart-healthy, tastebud-friendly food for February (which is National Heart Month in the U.S.).

For my contribution, I figured one superfood is great, and two would be even better. So I combined heart-healthy chocolate from local Taza with the spicy-sweet anti-inflammatory root, ginger.

The result: a rich, zesty start to your morning with double chocolate ginger scones:

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Recipe Redux: Eggs BeneMex for a fresh start with breakfast

Fresh off our holiday trip to Texas, I was charged with devising a “fresh start” breakfast recipe for January’s Recipe Redux. Hopelessly Tex-Mex obsessed at that point, and looking for any excuse to douse things in salsa, I trained my sight on eggs Benedict. This was a perfect candidate for a healthifying Redux, what with the sticks of butter involved in the traditional sauce and noticeable absence of anything recently derived from a plant.

But simply omitting the hollandaise and adding salsa doesn’t maintain the creamy, sloppy texture that is a good part of what makes eggs Benedict awesome. Enter the magic ingredient: avocado.

By mixing up these mean, green nutrient machines with some lime and hot sauce, I got a spicy sweet sauce with that desired creamy texture, minus all the saturated fat. Combining the sauce with salsa over poached eggs and corn biscuits, I ended up with Eggs BeneMex, a great Tex-Mex take on the traditional breakfast dish.

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