Friday, April 10, 2009

A Complete Guide to a BANGIN' Easter Brunch!

This menu is near and dear to my heart. The holidays have always been a big deal in my family and they all have one thing in common- the are centered around the food that we eat. This is a how to guide for an amazing Easter brunch that is simple but delicious and easy to make. You won't find any rabbit food here. So whether you are cooking for just your honey bunny or the whole darn litter, this brunch is sure to knock everyone one right off their keesters this Easter! o hop to it and get to cookin'! (Thanks for indulging me with all of the "rabbit" puns) ; )

Eggs Benedict
Serves 4
½ lb sliced Virginia Ham
1 tbsp white vinegar
8 eggs
4 English muffins, split
In a nonstick pan, heat ham over low heat just until they are warmed thru.
Fill a large saucepan with about 3 inches water, and bring to a simmer. Pour in the vinegar. Carefully break the 4 eggs into the water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are still soft- Cook longer if you like a solid yolk- maybe 6 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon.
Place open English muffins onto serving plates. Top with a nice little pile of ham and 1 poached egg. Drizzle with the Hollandaise (see following recipe), and serve at once.

Hollandaise Sauce
6 egg yolks
1 stick butter (salted)
1 tsp dry ground mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 small lemon
Salt & Pepper
1 tbsp hot water (use more to adjust to desired texture)

Separate egg yolks and put into blender. In a separate bowl, melt stick of butter.
Add mustard, cayenne, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse blender for a sec just to get all of the spices mixed together. With blender running on low, slowly pour in melted butter. Add hot water. Crank blender up to high until the sauce looks light yellow and creamy. If sauce is too thick, just continue to add hot water in small increments until sauce is the desired consistency. Sauce should be thick enough that when you dip a spoon in and drag your finger across horizontally, the sauce does not run together.

Mom’s Fast and Fabulous Home Fries
Serves 4
¼ stick butter
3 tbsp EVOO
4 potatoes
½ small red onions- diced
Dash of Garlic powder
Dash of cayenne
Salt and Pepper

Clean potatoes with water and poke a few holes in them with a fork. Place potatoes in microwave and nuke until tender. When they are ready, slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices.
In a nonstick skillet, over medium heat, add butter and oil- cook until butter melts. Add onion and sweat until almost translucent- maybe 2 minutes. Add the sliced potatoes, raise your heat to medium high, add your cayenne pepper and garlic powder to taste. Give a good shot of salt and pepper. Let the sizzle and flip after about 2 or 3 minutes. Continue cooking until your potatoes are light golden brown and crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside.

Challah Bread French Toast Casserole

This recipe puts a New York twist on one of Paula Deen’s classics. If you are anywhere near the NE, Challah bread should be readily available. It adds richness to the dish in both taste and texture.

1 loaf Challah bread (Italian/French bread will do to substitute)
8 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Maple syrup

1 c brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans
1 stick melted butter
Roughly cut loaf of bread up in to 1 inch x 1 inch cubes. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish well, and then dump the bread in the dish. Next, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and beat with a whisk until all of the ingredients are incorporated and eggs are well beat up. Pour egg mixture onto bread slices evenly. You may want to poke at the bread a little to make sure it seeps in thoroughly. Let this sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator (though it can be prepared ahead of time and let sit over night if covered well).
Cook at 350 for 40 minutes or until the casserole is golden brown on top. Give it a press with a fork- when no liquid seeps thru, its eatin' time!

Serve with love and enjoy a beautiful and yummy Easter!