Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

This may seem like an odd name for a recipe, but it comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral:  A Year of Food Life.  In it she describes a winter of  relying on root vegetables and home-grown  canned goods, so the first green shoots to emerge from the earth in the spring were pounced upon by her family.  The minerals contained in these new shoots were believed to provide renewed vigor and energy for bodies tired of being cooped up all winter.

This recipe uses fresh young asparagus but if you’re in an area where fiddleheads** are available they would be a wonderful replacement for the asparagus.  The quantity of the recipe is designed to fit into a 9″ or 10″ pie pan.  If you’re using a shallower quiche pan  use 3 eggs and cut back the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

The buttermilk called for in this recipe gives the custard a “tang” that is typical of buttermilk.  If you prefer a more traditional flavored  filling you may use regular milk instead with equally good results.  This quiche cuts and hold its shape vey well especially it you let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving as the recipe suggests.

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SPRING TONIC  (ASPARAGUS ) QUICHE

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Yield:   8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 single recipe pie dough, or use 1/2 package refrigerator pie dough
  • 2  1/2 cup asparagus spears or fiddleheads, bias sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1  1/2 cup grated cheese ( your choice, but Swiss, Parmesan and/or Asiago are good)
  • 3 to 4 four large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan  or 10-inch quiche pan with the pastry.  Chill the lined dish while the oven comes up to temperature.  This will minimize shrinking while it bakes.

2.  Bake the chilled crust for 10 minutes;  remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*.

3.  For the Filling:  Spread the sliced asparagus over the crust.  Place the tips around the outside edge for a nice effect.  Sprinkle the chives and cheese on top.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and Worcestershire and pour over the vegetables and cheese.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

4.  Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is firm 3″ in from the edge and a knife inserted in that spot comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Out of the oven and cooling.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

**A note about fiddleheads:  These are the tops of ostrich ferns, and they appear in shady woodland spots in early May.  They look like green, fuzzy bumps;  below the brown stalks of last year’s growth.

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the ...

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the spring (taken in Rindge, New Hampshire). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They emerge tightly curled and covered in a brown, scaly papery covering.  They can easily be snapped off when they are no more than 3 or 4 inches high.  To clean them, wash well and remove the papery covering.  Cook in boiling salted water until you can just pierce them with a fork.  Drain and rinse and treat them as you would asparagus.

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour.

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Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread.  Waffles.  Think about those words, say them slowly out loud so you get the full impact.  Banana Bread Waffles!

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I know, they sound impossibly good don’t they?  Well,  just to let you know,  they are!  As usual when bananas are involved it all starts with a few over-ripe ones.  There they were lying sadly, neglected, past their prime.  What would YOU do with them?  Make banana bread most likely, and so would I.  Nothing too original there.  But I wasn’t in a baking mood, so all day I looked at them and felt guilty.  By evening I made up my mind that something must be done with them.  And since the next meal we would be eating would be breakfast and the next day was Saturday, waffles came to mind.

Waffles for breakfast.  What a treat!

Waffles for breakfast. What a treat!

Let me say at the start that they are not all that sweet.  I used a basic waffle recipe, added mashed banana, some sour cream and the typical spices used in banana bread.  The resulting waffle was crisp on the outside, with a thick and soft interior, a lot like the end piece from a loaf of banana bread.  I left the sweetness to be managed by the maple syrup added at the table.  For your further information, the leftover waffles were just great toasted and spread with a little peanut butter, a riff on the favorite Elvis Prestley sandwich!

BANANA BREAD WAFFLES

Yield:   about 6 round waffles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Typical ingredients for banana bread.

    Typical ingredients for banana bread.

  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  •  pinch cloves
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, or greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mashed banana ( about 3 medium )

1.  In a large bowl (A batter bowl works well because you can pour from it directly onto the waffle iron.), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and salt.  Whisk to combine well.

2.  In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and banana.  Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine, but do not over mix.

3.  Heat your waffle iron and bake the waffles as per the manufacturer’s directions until golden brown and crisp.

Bake in a heated waffle iron till brown and crispy.

Bake in a heated waffle iron till brown and crispy.

Serve with butter and syrup.

Add some butter and syrup at the table for a little added sweetness.

Add some butter and syrup at the table for a little added sweetness.

SOURCE:   Inspiration came from a variety of sources with the basic waffle recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Eggs with Asparagus, Potatoes, Pancetta and Bread Crumbs

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Placing an egg with a still-runny yolk on top of any roasted or sautéed vegetable is a perfect recipe.  The soft, yolk flows over the vegetable, making a simple, luscious sauce.  In springtime asparagus is a great choice, but if not available in your area, then try sautéed broccoli, or kale instead.

I made this meal not long ago and included potatoes to give it even greater substance for our supper.  If you portion the ingredients for the number of people who will eat it, you will not be tempted to over eat, because it is filling and you will be satisfied.  I used an egg poacher to cook the eggs, but you could also fry them with equally good results.  To make this into a vegetarian meal, omit the pancetta.

EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS, POTATOES, PANCETTA AND BREAD CRUMBS

SERVINGS:    4IMG_3725

  • 1  pound asparagus, tough ends removed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F    Spread the asparagus in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the spears several times to coat them evenly with oil.  Roast, turning once or twice, until the spears are tender-crisp, about 15 minutes;  the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears.  Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside.

2.  In a large non-stick skillet put a small amount of water – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Lay the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan placing as close together as you can.  Add water if necessary, so there is enough for them to start cooking.  Cover the pan and cook potatoes till just barely fork tender, about 5 – 6 minutes.  Drain out any remaining water.  Add 2 Tablespoons butter that has been cut into small pieces.  Let it melt in the hot pan lifting the potato slices so butter gets underneath them. You may need to turn up the heat, so potatoes get a nice browned crust on the bottom.

3. While the potatoes are cooking, in another small skillet,  over medium heat, fry the pancetta until crisp.  Set it aside in a small bowl.  In the same skillet cook the bread crumbs in any drippings from the pancetta, and it there are none add a drizzle of olive oil.  Get the bread crumbs crisp and slightly browned.  Set them aside.

4.  Place the asparagus spears on top of the now browned potatoes, and in another fry pan fry the eggs,  or you may want to poach them instead.  When the eggs are cooked to the point where whites are firm, but yolks still runny, remove them for the heat and place on top of the asparagus.

Place cooked eggs on top of   asparagus and potatoes.

Place cooked eggs on top of asparagus and potatoes.

5. Before bringing to the table, sprinkle pancetta and bread crumbs over the top.  Serve with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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SOURCE:   Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Blog,  The Blender

Banana Scones

Banana Scones

Banana Scones

Weekends are great for having a lovely leisurely breakfast (or brunch) so I’m getting you ready for the weekend with this recipe for some great tasting banana scones.  The flavor of banana is unmistakeable and enhanced by cinnamon and a little nutmeg.  A little like warm comforting banana bread but not so sweet.  I think they are perfect just as they are, but the original recipe I found included a Brown Butter Glaze to put on them after they are baked.  This could elevate them to a dessert if you are so inclined.  We enjoyed them plain, so no glaze for us, but I am including the full recipe here.

The scone dough is tender and lightly seasoned.  It includes mashed banana and yogurt as the moisture source in the dough.  The recipe produces a large yield ( I got 30 small-sized scones), but they freeze well, so you could bake half and freeze half to be baked at a later time, or just make half the recipe for a reduced number of scones.  If you do freeze them, remember to add about  5  minutes to the baking time.  You will have some lovely breakfasts to look forward to in the weeks ahead.

BANANA SCONES WITH BROWN BUTTER GLAZE

YIELD:  about 14 – 16 large or 25 -30 small scones

INGREDIENTS:

Just a few ingredients, including yogurt or sour cream.

Just a few ingredients, including yogurt or sour cream.

For the scones:

  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  1/2 cups white whole wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 Tablespoons  ( 1 stick ) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1  1/2 cup mashed banana  ( about 3 – 4 bananas)
  • 1 cup low-fat greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Buttermilk, if needed, plus more for brushing the tops

For the glaze:

  •  8 Tablespoons,  (4 oz.) butter
  • 1 1 /2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk, plus more as needed

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

2.  In a very large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Whisk to blend.  Stir in the pieces of cold butter and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.

Cut butter into the dry ingredients.

Cut butter into the dry ingredients.

3.  In a second bowl, combine the mashed banana and yogurt and stir to blend.  Add the banana mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Fold banana mixture into dry ingredients.

Fold banana mixture into dry ingredients.

Fold together gently with a spatula until a dough begins to come together.  (Be careful not to over mix, as it will result in tough, dense scones.)  If some of the dry ingredients are not incorporating into the dough, add a bit of buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time just until all dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated.

4.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Gently knead a few times to ensure even mixing.  pat the dough out into a slab about 3/4 -to-1-inch thick.  Cut out rounds of dough using biscuit/doughnut cutters  (about 3 1/2-inch diameter for large scones or 2 1/2 inch diameter for smaller scones.)  Place dough rounds on the prepared baking sheet at least an inch or two apart.  Lightly brush the tops with buttermilk.**

5.  Bake the scones until the tops are golden brown and scones are just set, about 16 – 18 minutes for large scones and 14 -15 minutes for smaller ones.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Don't they look tender and light?

Don’t they look tender and light?

6.  While the scones are cooling, make the glaze.  Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Let melt and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color,  being careful not to burn it.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Transfer the browned butter to a bowl and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar.  Whisk in the milk a little at a time until the mixture is smooth.  Spoon or drizzle the glaze over the scones and let set before serving.

Scrumptious with a little butter on a warm scone.

Scrumptious with a little butter on a warm scone.

*  I prefer using half white whole wheat flour in as many baked goods as is feasible, but you can use all all-purpose flour if you wish.

** At this point you can place the unbaked scones on a baking sheet, transfer to the freezer and freeze until solid.  Then store in an air-tight container and save for later.  To bake after freezing, just bake as normal but add a few minutes onto the baking time and check to be sure they are fully baked through.

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SOURCE:  Adapted from  The Kitchen, via Annie’s Eats.

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Just the name of these muffins puts you in a good mood doesn’t it?  Somehow it feels like you’re going to have a good day.    I like to call them “glorious morning muffins”, and they are one of my favorites.  They can turn the dreariest morning into a glorious one.  : )

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These carrot-flecked whole-grain muffins can be made ahead so you can hit the floor running on a busy morning.  Add a non-fat latte and your day will be off to a healthy start.

COCONUT-CARROT MORNING GLORY MUFFINS

YIELD:  12 muffins

Assemble the ingredients and they go together quickly.

Assemble the ingredients and they go together quickly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or coconut oil, melted if necessary
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts,  optional

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners

2.  Whisk whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and allspice in a medium bowl.

3.  Whisk eggs, applesauce, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Gently stir in the flour mixture just until moistened.  Fold in carrots, 1/2 cup coconut, raisins and nuts, if using.

4.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Mix together the remaining oats, and coconut.  Sprinkle on muffin tops.

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5.  Bake at 350* until they spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached,  30 – 35 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Delicious as they are when first made and eaten warm, they also seem to improve over night and taste even better the next day, when flavors have had time to blend.

SOURCE:  Eatingwell.com

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs.

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs.

If I am lucky enough to have some corned beef left from our St. Patrick’s Day meal, I like to make corned beef hash.  I can remember  back to when I was  child visiting my grandmother, and she made this same meal in a black cast-iron frying pan.  She kept the pieces of potato rather large, almost like home-fries, and they got brown and crusty, along with the meat.  She also added any carrot that might be leftover and lots of onion.  As she served it, she topped each serving with a poached egg.   I loved, loved, loved it.  Although I now have and use her cast-iron pan, I can’t seem to quite duplicate  what she created.  Perhaps over time, my memory has enhanced what it was like, but that is what I aim for whenever I make hash.

This year I was fortunate in having a good-sized piece of corned beef left and I cooked extra vegetables so I could make this hash dish.

CORNED BEEF HASH WITH EGGS

SERVINGS:   About 4 servings

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3  cups of cooked potatoes, cut into cubes, about 1/2 to 1 inch.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil,   Or 1 Tablespoon oil and 1 Tablespoon butter;  I think it helps brown up the potatoes.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • about 1/2 pound corned beef, cut into pieces about the same size as the potatoes
  • optional:  left over carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

WHAT YOU DO:

1.  Heat oil in a heavy fry-pan,  cast-iron, preferred.  Add potatoes, cook until golden in color, 10 – 12 minutes.

2.  Add onion, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until potatoes and onions are browned,  about 5 minutes

Browning the potatoes and onions.

Browning the potatoes and onions.

3.  Add horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir in corned beef ( and carrots, if using).

Add in corned beef and carrots.

Add in corned beef and carrots.

Add cream, drizzling evenly over all.

Pouring in the cream.

Pouring in the cream.

Make 4 depressions in the mixture and break an egg into each one.  Cover lightly and cook until egg whites are set.

Cook until eggs are set.

Cook until eggs are set.

Serve each portion of hash with an egg.

Serve each portion of hash with an egg.

SOURCE:  Martha Stewart

Mushroom, Leek, and Cheese Frittata

Mushroom, eggs and fontina cheese frittata.

Mushroom, leeks, and fontina cheese go into this frittata

Throughout this Lenten season I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of meat we consume, incorporating more fish and other seafood, or going completely meatless.  Today’s recipe features a one-pan entree where eggs and cheese provide the main protein, and meaty mushrooms and leeks provide the vegetables.

A frittata is is an egg based dish, somewhat like a quiche without a crust, a little like an omelet only baked.  Hard to describe, but if you like eggs in any form you can’t miss with this dish.   Frittatas are eggs-cellent served hot or at room temperature, which means you can do it ahead.  It would be a great addition to brunch, make a light lunch, or a meatless main meal served with another vegetable and a salad as I did.

In the version you see pictured here I made only half the recipe for two of us, and we had about half of it left for another time.  Also the recipe calls for Baby Bella mushrooms, but I used Shitaki mushrooms.  I would not do that again as they do not have enough natural moisture for this kind of recipe.  Shitakis need to be cooked in a liquid in order to become tender, so I found that in this recipe they were a little tough.  Fontina is the suggested cheese to use here because it has a mild flavor and excellent melting properties.  A good substitute would be muenster or edam cheeses.

MUSHROOM, LEEK, AND CHEESE FRITTATAIMG_3465

SERVINGS      About 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, whites and light green parts only, chopped
  • 8 oz. crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.    Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a 10 – inch heavy weight oven proof skillet such as cast iron.

2.  Add leeks to the hot oil and cook over medium heat, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8 – 10 minutes.

Sautee the  leeks and mushrooms.

Sautee the leeks and mushrooms.

3.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs, creme fraiche or sour cream, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in 1/2 cup cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

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4.  Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 Tablespoon oil to the skillet.  Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute the mixture.  Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes.

Cook until the edges just begin to set.

Cook until the edges just begin to set.

5.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven.  Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set,  25 – 30 minutes.

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SOURCE:   BONAPPETIT.COM

Citrus Waffles with Marmalade Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Every once in a while I pull a surprise  meal and we have “breakfast for supper”.  The events last weekend provided me with just such an opportunity.  We had plans for Sunday that would have included a meal but at the last minute they were unexpectedly cancelled .  I was then faced with the need to come up with a meal that I had not planned for.  So, breakfast for supper was the perfect solution.

Running in parallel  was my desire to incorporate more citrus into our diet.  So I came up with this idea for adding grated orange zest to my waffle batter and making an orange compote to spoon over the top.  Brilliant, if I do say so myself  🙂  I like to add some whole wheat flour to waffles as another way to get in some fiber, and I also added some wheat germ.  Buttermilk makes waffles nice and light if you have some, but you can sour milk and get the same results just by adding a little vinegar to the amount of milk called for.  A non-stressful Sunday evening supper that turned out better than I expected.

COMPOTE

Orange Compote

Orange Compote

YIELD:   Serves 6

Make the compote first and keep warm while you make the waffles.

  • 1/4 cup reduced- sugar orange marmalade  (such as Smucker’s)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups fresh orange sections, or any combination of orange and grapefruit.  I used a Cara Cara orange, a navel orange and a clementine.

To prepare compote:   place first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat;  cook 2 minutes until marmalade melts.  Reduce heat, and gently stir in orange sections;  keep warm.

WAFFLES

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flourIMG_3264
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1  1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1  1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • powdered sugar

1.  To prepare the waffles:  lightly spoon both flours into a bowl.  Add brown sugar through nutmeg and stir with a whisk.

2.  Combine buttermilk and next ingredients through egg.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

3.  Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat it.   Spoon batter onto hot waffle iron, spreading out to edges.  Cook 5 minutes or  until steaming stops.  Repeat with remaining batter, keeping waffles warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

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4.   Sift powdered sugar over tops of waffles and serve with warm orange compote.  Maple syrup tastes really good on them as well!

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SOURCE:   a Carolyn Original

Good Morning Breakfast Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

In the morning there are often “sleepy-heads” who take their time about getting to breakfast.  If it’s your job to marshall the troops in the morning, this cake might just be the magic that gets everybody up and on their feet.  What, cake for breakfast, you’re asking?  Yes!  This one has all good things in it to jump start the day.

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Starting with pumpkin providing carotene and fiber, add eggs for protein, some walnuts with their heart-healthy oil, a topping that’s heavy on the oatmeal (but I won’t tell if you won’t), and milk.  The flavor is outstanding–not sweet, just right– and the crumb will melt in your mouth especially if served warm.

I baked this cake on a Saturday afternoon intending it for Sunday morning, but we could not ignore the wonderful aroma of it baking.  When I asked Mr. D. if he would like a piece with coffee he replied, “I thought you would never ask.”   It was as flavorful and satisfying as the aroma promised and we both wanted another piece.   (But we didn’t).

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PUMPKIN CRUMB CAKE

SERVINGS:   About 12

INGREDIENTS  for the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter (If you use salted butter, cut back on the salt.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Making the crumb topping

    Making the crumb topping

For the TOPPING:

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350*,   grease or spray a 8″ x 11″ baking dish.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients  (flour through salt) and set aside.

3.  In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter till light and fluffy.  Gradually add in the sugar and continue creaming.  Add the eggs one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl after each.

4.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix in well.

5.  Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk just till incorporated.

6.  With a spoon, stir in the nuts.    Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

7.  Prepare the crumb topping:  In the medium bowl, measure out the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Whisk together. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives.   Sprinkle over the cake batter in the pan.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

8.  Bake at 350* for 45 – 50 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness.

Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Please have a piece while it is still warm to fully appreciate this wonderful cake!

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

Eggnog Baked French Toast

Eggnog baked French Toast

Eggnog baked French Toast

If you are anything like me right about now you have “bits of this” and ” a little bit of that” left over from Holiday cooking and baking, and you’re wondering how to use it all up.  If it’s eggnog you want to use up, wonder no longer.  I have just the recipe for you.  You’re gonna love it, and so will any children you may be feeding.  This might even turn into a post Holiday tradition, or a special breakfast for New Year’s morning.

The cranberries provide a hit of tartness in amongst the sweet.

The cranberries provide a hit of tartness in amongst the sweet.

Besides including eggnog, this French toast will also accommodate any other additions such as fresh or dried cranberries, or raisins that you might want to add.  In my version, pictured here, I used fresh cranberries, and we particularly liked the occasional tartness in amongst the sweetness of the toast.   Since this is prepared the night before and baked in the morning it is an ideal menu item for either breakfast or brunch.

Great for a Holiday breakfast or brunch.

Great for a Holiday breakfast or brunch.

EGGNOG BAKED FRENCH TOAST

YIELD:   4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat eggnog
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 small French baguette, (or half a large one) cut into 1-inch cubes.  (About 5-6 cups )
  • 1 cup additional fruits, i.e. cranberries, raisins, dried cherries

DIRECTIONS

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, and whisk briefly.  Add the eggnog, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix in.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk well till all is evenly combined.

Stir in the bread cubes until evenly coated.  Stir in the fruit.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  Transfer the bread-egg mixture to the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375* F.   Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown.  Let cool a few minutes, then serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and additional maple syrup if desired.

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SOURCE:   Everyday Occasions,  via Annie’s Eats Blog