Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although it was Mother’s Day (just wait for Georgene’s comment on here shortly…) I in fact did not spend it with mommy dearest. Instead I was in Houston with Gabe’s family, spending the weekend at his godmother’s house.
So of course, I had to find a way to go overboard with brunch — and not without some… hiccups, because it wouldn’t be a day in the kitchen without them, right?
In full disclosure let’s just get the dirty laundry out of the way quickly.
1) Only one oven of the double oven was working. And to make matters more complicated, the one oven that is working is a broiler oven, unbeknownst to me.
2) I made it to the grocery store at 11:30, when they closed at midnight, the night before brunch. We were able to get what we needed, but of course, I was up at 6:30 to go and get a bag-full of items I forgot, oops.
3) Being in a stranger’s kitchen, I had to improvise some kitchen tools, of course, later to find them hiding somewhere.
So problem #1 considered, we went for more of a …. 6-ish hour, spread out “brunch tapas” event. Yeah, that’s what we’re calling it.
So to start, I went with some breakfast pastries to pass because little is better than waking up nice and early to the aroma of freshly baked delicacies wafting throughout the house. In all of my recipes, I wanted to push the envelope a bit with some new things that some of the folks in attendance may not have tried before, we were in Texas refinery country after all.
Joy the Baker’s Orange/ Dark Chocolate scones were my first go-around and man were they simple! Scones always seem to amaze me. You can buy one at a coffee shop and its grossly hard and crumbly, and really not all that enjoyable. Or you can make them and they are flaky and soft and mind-blowing. I’m pretty sure we got close to mind blowing.
My other early pastry was also courtesy of Joy and her baking with the oatmeal cookie, peanut butter sandwiches. Um, these things are incredible. I had to shoo a few people away from the kitchen as they tried to eat them up before I even got them filled!
I also found a rather simple pecan sticky bun recipe from Martha Stewart. Now, you all know that I’ve had my problems with Martha and her recipes. But this one was incredibly simple. I mean, for starters you can cheat and use refrigerated pizza dough, instead of making your own.
They are nice and easy, where you basically just stretch out the dough, coat it in butter, add the brown sugar and pecans, then roll it up, slice and bake away. As you’ll see, we got a little bit browner on top than would have been ideal due to the oven mishap, but the taste and underside were just right.
Now that we were just about at a sugar overload, it was time for something a bit more savory. And what could be better, but kale-feta pie. Now look, I have made some variation of spinach pie for years. It’s one of those recipes that I can throw together in a few minutes and it’s always delicious. But a top-burning oven sorta makes that a bit more difficult. So slow and steady definitely wins the race here. And by that, I mean an oven at 200 degrees, and checking it every few minutes. Yeah, it was a chore, but was necessary for the perfect flaky crust.
Here’s my kale-feta pie recipe.
Along with the kale pie, I brought out some delicious biscuits and gravy. For the biscuits, I used this recipe. They came out nice and flaky, but a little denser than would have been ideal, but obla di, obla da.
Gravy wise, I got a little selfish and used vegetarian sausage. Sure I wanted to be able to dig into biscuits and gravy, but I also figured with all the carbs and sugars, a little less fat wouldn’t hurt anybody!
For my gravy, I sauteed some onions, throw in the sausage, add some flour, the milk, a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper then simmer it to thickness.
Mmm, it doesn’t get much better than biscuits and gravy.
It’s about time for some eggs, don’t you think?
As much as I try to break out of a box when brunching, there are a few natural fallbacks that I have a hard time escaping from. One of them is a tomato-basil quiche. Maybe I just love the tomato-basil-cheese combo, but it’s always a big hit. Pie crust + swiss cheese + sautéed tomatoes coated in flour + basil + milk + egg beaters. I had to be extra cautious here, again, with the oven, but I somehow got it to work.
Ok, look, just reading this far along, I’m already full. But we already had the ingredients, and nothing else to do, so let’s keep it coming.
While I had some things baking away, I boiled a bag of redskin potatoes, just until they are soft. After that, I diced them, then whipped up some potatoes O’Brien with bell peppers and onions.
Also to make these Texans content I busted out the bacon. Instead of just serving it as is, I went for a fun toast, egg and bacon cup. These were pretty fun, and came from Martha. They were definitely a hit too! It was a bit strange, bread in the bottom of a muffin tin, then a strip of bacon in it, and an egg cracked on top of it all.
I even made a little friend with all of my leftover bacon. He wouldn’t stay out of the kitchen once he smelled it. Then he tried to snatch my iphone, but that’s another story.
And in honor of mother’s day, I had to use one of my mother’s specialties: cinnamon-apple baked french toast. It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s oh so perfect.
We were all basically in a food coma at this point, but it had to be dessert time. For a nice sweet and spicy ending, I called on Martha (hey look, my new friend) for her Carrot Tea Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It sounded like a simple carrot cake, but it had much more of a mature taste. A little spicier, a little drier, but all around, wonderful!
What. a. brunch. The two hour nap following was definitely needed.