Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

As the winter chill is dissolving into the sweetness of spring I find that a garden brunch is a fantastic way to celebrate the re-birth of the season with friends and family. The splendor of the newly budding flowers makes a perfect backdrop for the abundant fruits and vegetables. Orange juice mimosas (3/4 glass champagne to ¼ glass juice) are still popular and there are some delicious variations. Try substituting pomegranate juice, cranberry juice or blueberry-mango juice. The pre- preparation allowed by all of these menu options allows the host and guests to relax and enjoy each other.
Carrot Ginger Soup
1-tablespoon olive oil
2 medium red onions, sliced
1 (4 inch) piece fresh ginger
8 cups vegetable stock
2 pounds carrots cut into 2-inch pieces
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2-teaspoon white pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat and sauté onions until they are translucent. Roughly chop the peeled ginger and add to the onions and sauté’ together for about 3 minutes. Increase heat and add the stock and carrots. Simmer over medium heat until the carrots are tender let cool a bit and then puree. Return to the pot to re-heat just before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Cured Salmon
Get a side of salmon, pack it in chopped dill, wrap it in rock salt, sprinkle a bit of aquavit - just to make it moist – wrap in plastic or big zip lock - all air has to be out - weigh it down with bottles or bricks - 24 hours later (no more or it gets hard) thoroughly wash the salt off - display with skin side at bottom - with your best knife shave the salmon into paper thin slices and serve with the following dressing.
Whisk together:
1-cup olive oil
1/4-cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3-tablespoon fresh dill

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata
1-pound asparagus
1 dozen eggs
1-cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1-teaspoon thyme
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon pepper
2 cups goat cheese

Butter a 9-12 inch Pyrex rectangular pan. Set aside. In a large Sauté pan, melt butter and sauté asparagus, onion, and bell pepper. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk and seasonings. Add the asparagus mixture and mix well. Crumble and add the goat cheese. Pour into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 oven about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Blueberry and Mango Salad
Juice of 4 limes
Zest of one lime
2 large mangos, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups blueberries
10 mint leaves, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Gently toss together let stand for an hour or overnight and serve.

Shrimp and Berry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
1 basket black berries
1-basket raspberries
1/4-cup pine nuts
2 firm-ripe avocados
1-teaspoon fresh limejuice
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 cups baby mixed greens

Quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit and peel. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with limejuice and season with salt and pepper. Prepare barbeque or stovetop grill (medium-high heat). Pour 1/4 cup dressing (recipe below) into small bowl. Reserve remainder for salad. Brush shrimp with dressing from small bowl and grill until opaque in center, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. In a large serving toss together mix greens, berries and pine nuts and dress lightly. Arrange avocados and shrimp on top of salad and serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4-cup fresh orange juice
Juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
6 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3/4-cup canola oil

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients with salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon Rosemary Pound cake
1-cup butter
2 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped
3 teaspoons lemon zest
4 eggs
1-cup sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-teaspoon baking powder
1/4-teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with bakers joy. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter, zest, and rosemary and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla. On low speed add flour baking powder and salt until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely.

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