Brioche Spinach Gruyere Strata

I love eggs. Oeufs. If beans are the magical fruit, eggs are the magical dairy. They go with every meal, in any form or method of cooking. They can be savory, they can be sweet. They can add creaminess, body or density to a dish.  They are probably the most versatile and fulfilling ingredient or food I have in my refrigerator. And I have eggs in my fridge all the time – it’s one thing I am never out of.

When I’ve had a long day, or a long week, and it’s time to feed myself I often turn to eggs for dinner and make some form of a savory egg dish. Breakfast for dinner! It’s my favorite kind of dinner actually.

So when, awhile ago now, I had a quickly going stale half-loaf of brioche from the Penn Quarter Farmers’ Market I had to act fast.  Eggs + bread = strata and/or bread pudding in my mind. A quick search on Epicurious brought up a very easy spinach and Gruyère strata recipe that seemed pretty good.

A coffee shop in DC, Tryst for you local folks, serves a frittata where the eggs are almost custard-like. It is divine, and I’ve always wondered how they got that consistency. Well, now I know. A lot of milk. Because when I finally tasted my strata, the eggs were so soft, smooth and had a delicate custard-like texture about them. For what you think would be a very dense, heavy dish actually ended up being incredibly light and filling in a pleasant way.

My only complaint about the dish isn’t even a complaint – I live alone and this made servings for 5 or 6 people! I was eating strata for days, which in the end isn’t that bad I suppose. If you have an army to feed, or are responsible for an egg dish at your next brunch potluck, this strata is perfect!

So, what’s your favorite thing to do with eggs?

Recipe after the jump, enjoy!

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Blueberry Coffee Cake Cups w Crunchy Walnut Topping

I really love breakfast foods. And I adore coffee cake. But the stuff that’s usually sold at Starbucks and coffee shops just doesn’t do it for me. Too sweet…too much like…cake?

When I got this Williams-Sonoma dessert cookbook I was bored and rummaging my way through the Virginia outlet stores. If you’re not already aware of the insanely great deals at the outlets, well, you have some exploring to do!

The book itself was 50% off, making it a cool $7. Plus it’s organized by color. Which, is appealing in its own OCD way. “Yes, I’m only eating BLUE foods this week. Thank you.”

The cake part of this coffee cake is made with sour cream. I love the tartness it adds to the mix. It’s the perfect balance to the sweet blueberries. And the crunchy walnut topping brings a zing in the texture department.

I think you’ll like it. It looks so pretty too…however you make it…in a muffin pan or a springform pan.


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Vegetable Frittata and Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

After all that market talk, I headed down to the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market Sunday morning in search of great spring veggies for a frittata. Sadly, there’s not a huge selection of veggies yet, but what was there was great.

Some fresh salad greens, artisan bread and green, white and red onions…it was a successful trip. Oh! And…I got some quark cheese. A first for me, but it was so delicious when I tried it I had to get some. UPDATE: the cheese is from Keswick Creamery!

A quick pit stop at the Harris Teeter (or, The Teet, as I like to call it) to pick up bell peppers and asparagus (I HAD to have asparagus for some reason) and I was ready to frittata my evening up.

I’m pretty sure that making a frittata is the easiest meal you can make for either breakfast or dinner. And if you’re only feeding one or two mouths, making one can easily fill your belly for lunch and dinner the next day.

There’s no messing this one up folks. Pick a cheese, a meat (optional) and some veggies. Generally speaking, I’d say you need about 2 cups chopped veggies, 1 cup diced/chopped meat and 1/2-1 cup cheese (depending on what kind you’re using). That’s all estimated because you should feel free to put as much or as little in your frittata as you like. I’ve listed some ideas to get you rollin’ below the jump!

I served my frittata with a delicate green salad drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette and a charred piece of artisan bread spread with fresh quark cheese. How can you not love a dinner like this!?


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Mascarpone Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Blueberries

Good lord is this post late on the comin’! I made these delicious pancakes and lemon curd WEEKS ago…thenleft forAustin, TX without writing down the lemon curd recipe! Bagh! How annoying!

Anyhoot ‘n hollar. Here we go. I very much wanted to recreate these farmer’s cheese pancakes I had in St. Louis…and I got close! I have a tendency to over cook pancakes…why, I do not know! And the lemon curd wasn’t as thin as the stuff on my St. Louis pancakes…HOWEVER…it was quite yummy and I was very proud of myself.

Have you ever made something that has  you texting/phoning/tweeting everyone you know about it? Yeah…the lemon curd was that thing for me.

Aren’t they beauties?! So fresh and yellow and…lemony! You’d be surprised at how easy the lemon curd is to make. Only word of caution on this recipe: watch the pot! Don’t. Walk. Away. From. The pot! Keep stirring and pay close attention to the consistency. There’s really not such a thing as too thin, I learned. But there IS such a thing as, “Oh look! The eggs just curdled!” Yeah. So watch that.


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Breakfast for Dinner and Roasted Tomatoes with Herb Paste

Sometimes, you gotta get back to basics…aka, I’m really effin’ tired and I can’t even begin to THINK about what to make for dinner let alone COOK it.

Solution? Breakfast for dinner! It’s the type of menu I lived for when I was little. Especially after we got a waffle iron! Ah! *faints*

As an adult, I don’t have a waffle iron so a good ol’ three-egg scramble with stuff found in my fridge usually hits the spot. An onion (chopped perfectly…thank you very much!),  some mushrooms, garlic and Cholula sauce combined with three scrambled eggs makes for quite a nice meal, yes?

Here’s another winning combo: toast, scrambled eggs and…roasted tomatoes with an herb paste! I told you you might see a few Weight Watchers recipes soon, and this is one of ’em. It’s a flavorful way to pump up your dinners (breakfast and lunches) that happens to be pretty darn easy too!

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Salvadorian Pound Cake

This is, more or less, a guest post from my dear friend and co-worker Lori. Lori, of the famed White Chicken Chili made during snOMG. Lori has a way of choosing recipes I’d just never even think of making. I’m not sure why…it’s not like she’s making odd dishes from completely foreign ingredients!

Anyway, I checked my blackberry on Sunday and found a note from Lori and a link to this Salvadorian “Quesadilla” Cake. Ok, what? I’m sorry…I think I heard you wrong. Quesadilla…cake? Before I got too judgy I read on. From Lori’s email:

“Was looking for a recipe to use up a few random items in the fridge before they went bad — a bit of sour cream, a dash of parmesan — and came across this initially bizarro recipe. Anyway, I love pound cake and the concept of the cheese adding depth and taking the edge off the sweet factor was intriguing. And you know what? It’s awesome. Having it this a.m. with coffee brought to mind those glorious mornings in places like Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic or some equally glorious Caribbean destination….you know the ones, where you’re having what is undoubtedly the best cup of coffee you’ve EVER had, along with the freshest of fruits, and some sweet bread (no, not THAT kind) or slightly-but-not-too-sweet coffee cake type thingy….all the while knowing you’ve got nothing more in front of you than yet another long, languid and lazy day on a beautiful beach.”

SOLD! She took me to another place. And it was a good place.

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Dense Blueberry/Cranberry Cake

 I liked it better with cranberries.

See, I made this cake for co-workers over the Christmas holiday. A gift of sorts. People went nuts for it. Over fudge and magic dream bars even. I was kind of surprised. It was good…but, over fudge?!

Anyway. I decided to make it again and since cranberries aren’t in season and I stupidly didn’t freeze twenty bagillion bags of fresh ones…well…blueberries were my only option. And they were on sale. Ok, I guess I could have used raspberries or something but. Whatever.

Bottom line is, I like this cake better with cranberries. I love the density of the cake…it’s not a crumb-y cake. It doesn’t fall apart in your hand. Actually it is quite the opposite. You could even add a brown sugar crumble to the top and call it a coffee cake if you were so inclined.

But for the love of God…make it with cranberries.


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Cran-Orange Scones

Do your scones look more like the top of a muffin than a scone? Do they have the texture of a muffin or cake instead of being dry and flaky?

I’ve seen too many scones like this lately. I’ve bought them at coffee shops, my friends have made them…hell, I’ve made them! It’s wrong! It’s a travesty! It’s an offense to real scones everywhere! Scones should be so dry they give you cotton mouth!! Ok, not really but you get my point.

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Eggs en Cocotte

Do you like breakfast? I love breakfast. I love breakfast like I love my dogs (they live in Phoenix with my parents)…I experience pure bliss when I’m with them, but miss them ’cause I don’t get to see them often. And so goes the same with breakfast…I don’t see breakfast much at all. Early rising, busy mornings…not a great recipe for a proper, scrumptious breakfast.

But eggs en cocotte have changed that. I’d seen a few recipes for eggs en cocotte (or just, baked eggs if it’s too early for a faux French accent), one at The Kitchn and another at Pete Bakes!, and thought, “Hmm…this looks interesting!”

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