Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easy Easter

We celebrated Easter a few days early this year with a casual and easy brunch with my brother and his family. Easter is one of my favorite holiday meals to cook for a few reasons. The main one being that I love scrambled eggs and ham. The fact that I get that for breakfast all week after this meal is reason enough to love it.

I also like all the options you have. There isn't as much of a "set" meal as there is with a dinner like Thanksgiving. We made spiral ham, and then used that to make a ham and Gruyere quiche. We also made lamb lollipops, where we coated the chops in breadcrumbs and cheese and pan fried them until golden brown.

We also made asparagus and cheese tarts, along with chocolate covered strawberries to try and utilize the fresh spring produce that is creeping into supermarkets.

And one of the things that we are starting to make at almost any meal where we have company... popovers. This time we made some blueberry butter to serve along with them. To make the butter, we just combined a few tablespoons with some blueberry Trappist Reserve. It was delicious!

And of course we served mimosas and coffee. What would brunch be without those staples? It was a fun, simple meal to put together, and a great way to celebrate Easter. Alleluia!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Full Irish Breakfast

Last year for St. Patrick's Day we made a traditional New England boiled dinner. The next morning we used the leftover corned beef to make hash, and then added a poached egg and some Hollandaise sauce to create a festive Benedict. (I just wanted to quickly recap that because IT WAS DELICIOUS.)

This year, we wanted to try a traditional Irish breakfast instead of the Americanized version. After a bit of research (and some reminiscing over Jon's trip to Ireland a few years ago) we came up with a game plan. On the menu was bangers, boxties, beans, rashers and eggs. Easy, right?

Actually, it was pretty easy. We found a ton of recipes for boxies, and ended up using this one as a general guide. Bangers are pork sausages which are named because of the bursting open or "banging" when they are cooked. Rashers are pretty much in-between American and Canadian bacon; thin slices of pork loin with some belly fat left on it.

Coffee with Baileys was our morning pick me up. followed by some Guinness. Eggs and beans are self explanatory, we just used traditional baked beans in a tomato sauce and cooked an over easy egg. We also made some soda bread to top it all off.

It was really fun to re-create this Irish classic, but I have to say... I like the New England version better :) Hope you celebrated St. Patrick's Day with some delicious food of your own!

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Surprise Retirement Party

My mom recently retired from her job as a gate agent for US Airways. As soon as she told us the news, we called my brother and sister-in-law and started to plan a party for her. I can't believe I'm saying this, but we actually got her out of the house and were able to surprise her! This is no easy feat, and the only reason we were able to pull it off is because we used my adorable niece to lure her out (no one can say no to spending time with that munchkin.)

Since she was working for US Airways we decided to throw an airline themed get together. We got a bunch of balloons and had those floating around the kitchen. These made a big impact when everyone walked in.

The bar was set up like an in-flight beverage cart: full of mini soda's, nips, and champagne splits.

We found paper lunch trays from Shop Sweet Lulu and cooked a first class meal. Everyone enjoyed shrimp cocktail, shaved brussels sprout salad, lemon spatchcocked chicken, and garlic red potatoes. I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure it was the best airline food they have ever had :) We even printed out the US Airways logo and wrapped the utensils with it to make it that much more personalized.

Overall it was a really cute get together and very fun to plan. We are so happy for my Mom and hope she enjoys her retirement!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Harvest Tacos

We love fall. The weather, the food, the sports, everything. It is the time of year when you start to break out the comfort food again, and with those delicious savory flavors there is usually a heavy, filling meal. These tacos will give you a ton of fall flavor without feeling overly heavy, which is an awesome way to start off the season.

Harvest Tacos 

Corn tortillas
Chipotle Mayo
Roasted Carnival Squash (butternut or acorn works well too)
Avocado (sliced into cubes)
Fajita style onions
Pancetta (cut into 1/2" cubes and pan fried until crispy)
Shreded queso

To prepare squash:

  1. Cut squash in half length ways, scoop out seeds (reserve for roasted seeds!) then cut into 1/2" slices. 
  2. Lightly coat squash with olive oil and season with a dusting of paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper powder and chipotle chili pepper powder.
  3. Arrange squash slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake at 400 until soft and lightly browned, flipping half way through.
  5. Remove skin from squash once cooked 

To prepare chipotle mayo:

  1. Mix together roughly three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one one chopped chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) with seeds. 
  2. Sprinkle with roughly 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper powder
  3. Add roughly 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce. 
  4. Adjust to taste. 

Toast your corn tortillas in a dry cast iron pan prior to assembly.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reading & Drinking Suggestions

I love Manhattans but I always pause before I order one out. There are so many variations of this drink and it can be hard to pin down one you like. My go to recipe is Formula #1 from David Wondrich's 2007 book "Imbibe!". If you have not read it I suggest you do. David does a great job providing historical reference and tips for each drink, all with a good deal of humor. One very valuable tip that Wondrich provides is to make sure the whiskey you use is at least 100 proof. It makes a world of difference with this recipe.

Jon's Favorite Manhattan: Adapted from "Formula #1", Imbibe!

1 1/2 oz Bakers bourbon 107 proof
1 1/2 oz Martini and Rossi RossoVermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 tsp simple syrup 1:1

Fill glass 3/4 full of fine shaved ice, mix well with spoon, strain into coupe and serve with lemon twist.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sriracha Fried Eggs Three Ways

In our house eggs are a "go-to" food. Sriracha fried eggs is something that we made up while experimenting one morning for breakfast and since then has become a favorite. They aren't as spicy and way more sweet than you would think. The fact that they only take a few minutes and that the recipe is super simple doesn't hurt either. (While the idea of using Sriracha on eggs is not so novel, my extensive research of food blogs has turned up zero results for Sriracha and eggs prepared in this manner.)

Sriracha sauce
1 tab of Butter
1 Egg


1) Melt a tab of butter in a cast iron pan, swirling around to coat.

2) Make a bed of Sriracha sauce in the pan roughly the size of a cracked egg and let it cook for about 20 - 30 seconds. (Warning! It will spit and pop quite a bit, but that just adds to the excitement.)

3) Crack your egg in the center of the bed and let cook, flipping half way through until desired doneness. I like my eggs over easy and super runny; Kate prefers the yolks cooked all the way through. The finished product should have a thick layer of Sriracha paste on the egg.

4) Enjoy them with home fries for breakfast, on top of a burger for lunch, or with some fried rice for dinner!

Sriracha fried egg with scallions.

The Hoisin burger:  Scallions, Sriracha fried egg, hoisin infused burger patty, fresh cucumber slices on a sesame seed roll. 

Sriracha Fied Egg over Pork Fried Rice

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Munchen Brunchen

Since the last brunch we had was so much fun, we decided to make another one shortly after... but this time only for Jon and I :) We had been reminiscing about our trip to Germany, and decided we were going to try and recreate one of our favorite dishes we had while out there: ochsenaugen.

We have no idea what it actually was, the translation while ordering was a bit fuzzy (me tyring to act like a chicken laying an egg, Jon pointing to other people's dishes and saying "eggs" over and over.) We ended up getting the dish we wanted, and decided it was a creamed spinach with fried eggs on top, served with home fries. And it was AMAZING. So after some searching we found a few recipes to try at home to mimic our glorious Munchen brunch.

German Creamed Spinach
adapted from: What's Cooking America

2 - 3 Large Bunches Fresh Spinach
4 Tbs. Butter
4 Tbs. Finely Chopped Onion
4 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
3 - 4 C. Milk (depending on how thick you want the sauce)

Cook spinach and squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop the spinach into smaller pieces then set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions in it until they are translucent. Add the flour and cook for a minute or two, until it is smooth and there are no lumps. Add in desired amount of salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk to the onion/butter mixture, mixing constantly. Bring the sauce to a boil then remove from heat. Mix the sauce with the chopped spinach, add more salt/pepper to desired taste.*

*We actually ended up added a bit of turmeric and garlic powder to this to give it a little more dimension. But that is optional.

We also tried our hand at homemade German pretzels! They turned out OK, but nothing to write home about. I'll try again to make better ones, maybe using a different recipe, and definitely putting more salt on them. The one thing I learned about pretzel making... even when you think its a lot of salt, its not enough. Probably why the beer tastes extra good in Germany.

On that note, what would a Munchen brunch be without sausage and beer?! We brought the giant mugs home from Germany, so we busted them out along with a spread of all the beers we tried while over there. We were able to find literally the EXACT beer we had with this brunch in Munich thanks to Craft Beer Cellar! We were so happy that a local store carried it. It definitely brought us back. We were also able to get weisswurst thanks to Karl's Sausage Kitchen. They had a rost bratwurst that we got and truly enjoyed, but we LOVED the weisswurst. Between that and the beer we felt like we were back in the Marienplatz.

Oh, take us back!