There’s a man with a van who hangs out around the closest big intersection to my house. He sells things out of the back of his van. Primarily berries and cherries, but sometimes there are avocados and mangoes or pumpkins and pineapples; it kind of just depends on the season. I live about 40 minutes away from one of California’s biggest strawberry growing regions, so we pretty much get them year round. They are just starting to come into their main season at the moment. The berry man has become my go to source for strawberries and other various items, because 1. he’s cheap, 2. he has a hand painted sign that says ‘Picked Fresh Today’ and 3. they are always delicious, which makes me believe the sign and love the price even more. I drove by the berry man the other day and got the genius idea of buying a full flat of strawberries, which turned out to be able SIX pounds, which is sort of a lot. I felt pretty proud of myself getting 6 pounds of strawberries for just over $2 a pound, especially considering how expensive they are in the grocery store, but as soon as I got home, I realized I had to figure out what to do with six pounds of strawberries…
My first strawberry endeavor was this delicious muffin recipe. It’s perfect for a sweet breakfast treat and also makes a pretty satisfying dessert. Quite frankly, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Nutella. The fresh strawberries only make the Nutella even more enjoyable. My favorite part of these muffins is the little Nutella line that runs through the center. It basically ensures you get a bit of Nutella in every bite!
After eggs benedict and chilaquiles, huevos rancheros is probably my 3rd favorite breakfast of all time. I like ranking things, so this is definitely a statement I can say with confidence. For those of you not familiar with huevos rancheros, it’s a Mexican breakfast dish made with fried eggs, lightly fried tortillas and a tomato-chile sauce and usually served with beans, sometimes rice and a bit of avocado. There are a million different variations, but it’s all the same basic concept. The only down side to huevos rancheros, is that it can be a bit time-consuming to make. I generally hate breakfasts that require a lot of work, so it is a dish saved for ordering at restaurants. Baking the dish helps eliminate a lot of the hands-on work time that the dish usually requires.
For me at least, all the ingredients in this meal are things I always have on hand, so it’s the perfect recipe for a last-minute brunch (or even dinner). The next time I make this, the only thing I would change would be the amount of cheese. The original calls for 12 ounces, I would half that and only use the cheese sprinkled on top and not bother mixing it in with the bean mixture. That said I did you an awesome combination of pepper jack and garlic jack from the Sonoma Cheese Factory. They are a California company, so I’m not too sure what their distribution range is, but if you can get your hands on some garlic jack, I would highly recommend it.
1 large onion, diced (emphasis on large, or 2 medium onions)
6 – 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
2-14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with chilies/jalapeños
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 canned chopped chipotle peppers
6-8 corn tortillas (I could only fit 6, original recipe called fo 8)
8 large eggs
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 avocados, pitted and diced
generous sprinkling of garlic powder
good dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup pico de gallo or favorite chunky tomato salsa
Handful chopped fresh cilantro
1 small red onion, minced
Combine avocados, garlic powder, cayenne and lime juice in a bowl. Mash together (a potato masher works perfectly). When mashed, add in salsa, cilantro and red onion. Stir to combine.
For serving (all optional):
hot sauce (I recommend Cholula (original) and/or Pepper Plant (Chunky Garlic or Original California Style)
black olives, sliced
green onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, and chipotle chiles; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Stir in half the cheese.
Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with spray. Overlap tortillas so that they cover the bottom of the baking dish. Spread tomato mixture over tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and, with the back of a spoon, make 8 indentations in the dish. Crack an egg into each indentation. Top with remaining cheese. Return the dish to the oven and bake until whites are set and yolks reach desired runniness; about 15 minutes for yolks that are still runny, 20-25 for harder yolks.
Dish up eggs on individual plates and top with salsa, olives, onions, sour cream if desired.
Yesterday was a lazy Sunday on a Monday. It was nice. I didn’t really feel like doing too much work in the kitchen after all the cooking I did over the weekend. This was the perfect lazy dish. I basically opened the cupboard and the fridge and just grabbed whatever sounded good at the moment and ended up with a delicious (and easy) breakfast/brunch.
This would be perfect to make for breakfast on New Year’s day. Anyone could manage to pull this dish off, even if they have had a bit too much New Year’s merriment the night before.
Boursin Baked Eggs with Tomatoes & Spinach
1 large onion, sliced
garlic powder, to taste
2-14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
2 huge handfuls of baby spinach, rinsed
1 package of Boursin cheese of choice (I used Shallot & Chive)
Preheat oven to 425F/220C. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add onion and sauté until lightly caramelized.
When onions are starting to caramelize, add in garlic powder and tomatoes. Stir to mix together. Add in spinach and allow to wilt.
Add in Boursin and stir until melted. Remove pan from heat and pour contents into a large baking dish with tall sides.
Crack eggs one at a time, keeping yolks whole.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. (I don’t like runny yolks, so I baked mine for 25 minutes.)
I really like eggs benedict, even though I don’t much care for eggs or bread or Canadian bacon, but nevertheless I really like eggs benedict. It’s usually my go to when it comes to breakfast or brunches out, but I had never made it before. Poaching eggs and hollandaise just seemed like way too much effort. I was totally wrong about that. Poaching eggs and hollandaise sauce could not be easier. Seriously. You could totally make this for breakfast right now and it would be ready in about 15 minutes. Do it.
Hollandaise sauce was always some big mystery to me. I assumed it would be super complicated to make, but I was most pleasantly mistaken; it seriously could not be easier. Now, if I had my way chipotle would be in every where, in everything, all the time. It would be good. This hollandaise is not just good, it’s great. It really needs to become part of your life as soon as possible.
I ended up using Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Multigrain Bread instead of english muffins because the super expensive ones I got at Whole Foods went moldy within 2 days of buying them (still a little annoyed about that…), but the bread totally worked. I also served this with some delicious home fries. It made for the perfect breakfast.
Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise (adapted from Cassie Craves)
2 English muffins or 4 slices of toast
8 slices bacon
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper
Chipotle hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)
Heat a sauce pan with 2 inches of water to a simmer.
Split the English muffins in half and toast until browned.
Cook the bacon to a crisp and set aside.
Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and lime juice and mash with a fork.
Spread the avocado over the toasted English muffin halves and top with the bacon.
Crack 1 egg at a time into a separate small bowl or cup. Stir the simmering water with a spoon and gently pour the egg into the swirling water. Repeat with additional eggs.
Cook the eggs for 2 1/2 minutes, until the whites are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain for a minute before placing on top of the bacon. Season each egg with salt and pepper, and top each serving with chipotle hollandaise.
2 egg yolks
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo puree
1 stick of butter, melted
lace egg yolks, lime, salt, chipotle and adobo sauce in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds before streaming in the melted butter. Serve immediately.
I have to admit, I am still pretty unsure of my gluten free baking skills. Gluten free flour is kinda weird. It either cooks way too fast and burns or is still a goopy mess after a billion hours of cooking.
I decided to use a recipe that I knew was good. I made these scones before, last New Year’s in Poland with my friend Ksenia. I knew if they could turn out well in Eastern Europe, they would turn out great any where. I just had to factor in the gluten free flour issue now. It’s always something…
These scones turned out perfectly. They were light and fluffy and the chiles and cheddar were such a good combination. Definitely make sure you use sharp or extra sharp cheddar. I totally forgot about the egg wash from Deb’s original recipe, but luckily the scones didn’t dry out or get too burnt on top. You should definitely make these soon.
Gluten Free Jalapeño Cheddar Scones (adapted from this Smitten Kitchen Recipe)
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, divided
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
1 can diced chiles
Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain can of chiles. then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.
Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
I made these yesterday morning for an impromptu brunch. After watching my dear Rafa lose Wimbledon, I decided that brunch was the most appropriate way to ease the pain. For some reason people seem to think that brunch has to be some be fancy to do. Yes, brunch might be the greatest meal ever created, but that does not mean it has to be stressful or difficult to pull off. One of the best ways to approach brunch is to use recipes that can be prepared and cooked simultaneously.
This potato recipe is super fast and easy and can be cooking while you are making other brunch essentials like your eggs or toast. I served these potatoes with some crispy bacon I cooked in the oven and a mixed salad with some tomatoes, onions and French dressing and an egg for Mama Cooks. Brunch was ready in less than 40 minutes!
Home Fries (serves 4 – add 1 potato for every 2 people)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black peper
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and coat. Cover for 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat evenly. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove lid and add in onions. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Cook until potatoes are tender and have reached desired crispiness (I like mine a little crispy, so I left them on for about 15 minutes instead of 10.)