Let’s Do Brunch

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Why go out when you can stay in?

I had family in town this weekend and while most of it was spent touring the city and doing kid friendly activities, my contribution to the weekend was hosting Sunday Brunch, kids included (in a not very kid friendly apartment). While I normally have my better half and sous chef (and child wrangler) for these occasions, this weekend I was solo. I needed something easy, kid friendly, and preferably something I could make or at least prepare the night before to save face in the morning. Enter my sister with her delicious, fool proof (baking is not usually my strong suit) night-before-making, baked french toast recipe.

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Cranberry French Toast Breakfast Casserole

2 tbsp softened butter
8 lge eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb loaf egg bread or white bread, day old, torn into pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.  Gently stir in the bread pieces and cranberries.  Let the mixture stand for 15 min.  Give it a little stir, then spoon into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Next day, preheat oven to 350F .  Remove wrap and bake for 35-40 min. or until the casserole is puffed, lightly browned and when  poked with a finger in the middle, is firm to the touch.  Serve with maple syrup.  Serves 8.

Serve with fruit, bacon, and scrambled eggs for the wee-ones and you’ll be considered the hostess with the mostess.

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I did end up having an extra set of paws in the kitchen afterall.

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Holy Mole!

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if you’re only ever going to make one thing you see on this blog, I insist, strongly advise it be this.

I visited my local taco spot/grocer over the weekend, La Tortilleria, and stocked up on goodies to make the most incredible tacos that will make any normally bland weekday dinner mucho caliente! I picked up some chorizo, corn tortillas (gluten free!), hot sauce, queso fresco, and some in-store made Mole sauce. In addition to the Mexican grocer/resto, I stopped at a larger supermarket to get the rest of what was needed for this meal I wish I was eating right now. Cilantro, avocado, pork tenderloin, beans, corn and some yellow onions. All you need now is 5 hours and you’re good to go. I should have mentioned that earlier.. this is a slow cook meal, but it does not have to be. I chose to cook my pork in a crock pot to make it pull-apart but if you don’t have the time, oven, stove top, microwave, anything that will cook your meat will do. Ok here we go.

I put my tenderloin in the crock pot and tossed in 2 quartered yellow onions and 6 cloves of garlic. That’s it. No oil, broth, nothing. The steam from the onions is the juice that cooks the meat. Cover, turn to high and simmer until cooked and pull-worthy. While that’s happening, cook your chorizo on the stove top until cooked through. Maybe 15 minutes. Chop avocado, rinse and drain beans and corn, crumble queso and slice some limes. Once the meat is cooked, add table spoon after table spoon of the delicious mole sauce until you reach your flavor peak, I ended up with using about 6 table spoons. Time to assemble. Drop a dollop of meat onto each tortilla, top with chorizo, avocado, beans and corn, a sprig of cilantro, sprinkle with queso and a drop or two of lime juice. Drizzle whatever your hot sauce of the week is on top. Get yourself a heavy duty napkin cause these babies are gonna get messy, and enjoy. At this point, my work here is done.

This one is for you Beak. Hope they have mole sauce in the Moose.

Good Morning You Green Goddess

ImageIsn’t she lovely. I’m not sure about you, but the colour of this elixir is enough to get me up and going in the a.m, that or it kinda scares me and just keeps me up all night.. jury is still out on that one.

For serious. The Green Goddess smoothie will change your life. It takes some time to wrap your head around the idea of downing a days worth of greens before 7 a.m but I swear, you will thank me once you do. Being so low in sugar and fat, it doesn’t give you an unnatural high only to crash an hour later. It’s greeny goodness keeps me going to lunch. BONUS: After committing to these for 5 days straight, I noticed a difference in my skin (and waist line) that was reflective of how good my insides felt. Totes worth it.

What you will need:

2 handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale

A few sprigs of parsely

1 inch of ginger

1 inch of cucumber

Juice of half a lemon

Half a small apple

Half a ripe banana

Cold water (enough to reach your desired consistency)

A blender

Add all ingredients to blender and blend baby blend! Stream in water as needed. Pour into your fave drinking glass, sip away and be the goddess that you are.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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While it might make sense for my inaugural post to be something more tame and less invasive (eg. hand in poultry cavity), I prefer to jump right in (eg. hand in poultry cavity) and make it known from the get-go that I don’t colour within the lines. Roasted bird, of any kind, has always been intimidating to tackle on my own but I thought it was time, at the ripe old age of twenty nnnn…ooonne….twenty-one.. yes, I was ready. Trust. If I can do it, it really shouldn’t be feared. This is coming from the girl who was actually afraid, legit fear, of raw poultry until a few years ago.

You have to start with a bird, a decent oven, or at least one you can understand, and some sanitizer for you and your counter ready because its going to get messy.

I chose a free run 3 pound chicken. I brought him home, gave him a rinse in the sink and a good pat down to dry off. I suggest getting all your ingredients prepared and portioned before hand so you’re not double dipping into the butter dish or salt&pepper bowl with chicken hands. NOT invited to dinner: sam & ella. No thanks. Heat your oven to 500F, hot hot hot. While that’s getting going, take a couple table spoons of room temp butter and massage it all over the bird, on top and under the skin, in the crevices, everywhere. S&P liberally and top with dried rosemary. Depending on the size of your chicken, you get to have some fun with the “cavity.” Mine was big enough to house half a white onion and half a green apple, they steam from the inside of the bird and the end result is mega-moisture juicy chicken.

Oven time. Place the chicken in a roasting pan or casserole dish, on a rack or on a home-made rack of veggies, brace yourself because that oven is HOT, in goes the bird for 25 minutes. He will get crispy, golden and delicious. After 25 minutes, lower the oven temp to 350F and cook for about another hour, more or less for a bigger bird. Its important the internal temperature reach 165F. Stick the meat thermometer into the breast and thigh and any other thick part of the chicken to check. Once all reads come back at 165F, take him out!! Cover him with foil and let him rest.

If your bird left with you some drippy goodness in the pan, do not throw it out. Make some gravy. Your chicken will thank you for it. Thicken with a rue of flour and butter and add water or chicken stock to add volume. Heat on medium to reduce to your desired consistency. Slice, drizzle, eat, repeat.

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