Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Brunch

With so many holiday parties and evening events some times a leisurely brunch is a great way to entertain. Here is a very special menu that offers something for everyone. If you don’t like bacon and cheddar try replacing it with ripe winter tomatoes slices and goat cheese. Ginger scones are my most requested but I like to make all of them as minis so people can enjoy many flavors. Be sure to serve with plenty of heavy cream and jam. Mix and match these recipes with some of your family favorites. Add roasted potatoes, a green salad, brewed coffee, fresh squeezed juice and mimosas and you can truly relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends.

Holiday French Toast
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 large baguette
3/4 cup half and half
3/4-cup eggnog
5 eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
1/4-teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, until smooth and pour into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Cut one-inch slices of the baguette and arrange baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, eggnog, vanilla, and salt until well combined and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, over night.
Preheat oven to 350 and bring bread to room temperature.
Bakes uncovered until puffed and edges are pale golden. 35 minutes.
Bacon And Cheddar Frittata
1-pound bacon
1 dozen eggs
1-cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1-teaspoon thyme
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

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

Carsten’s 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 it in plastic or big zip lock - but 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

Ginger Scones
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3-cup sugar
1-tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, grated and frozen for 15 minutes
1 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
1-cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones

In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder and mix on low. Add the lemon zest and butter, and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball. Pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inches thick. Using a three-inch cookie cutter (or smaller if doing minis) cut out rounds. Gather the scraps, pat and press the pieces back together, and cut out the remaining dough. Place the scones 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining cream. Bake in a pre heated 400-degree oven for 12 to 16 minutes, until they are pale browned. Let cool on a rack

Replace the ginger and the lemon zest with:
Cranberry orange scones- juice of one small orange, 2 teaspoons orange zest and one cup dried cranberries.
Rosemary garlic scones- 5 cloves garlic chopped fine and sauté until golden. Add with the flour with 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary.
Chocolate chip scones-add with the flour one and a half cups mini chocolate chips.

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