Tag Archives: Brunch

Crispy Seltzer Waffles

Crispy Seltzer Waffles

If you are hosting Easter brunch this Sunday and are struggling with the menu, consider these waffles.  It’s true that waffles can be kind of a pain because you need to make them individually and they are best hot off the iron, but these waffles are worth it.  

A Winning Morning Combo - The Beginning of Waffle Batter and a Hot Waffle Iron

 

They are great for two reasons.  First, as far as Belgian waffles go, they are very easy to prepare (one bowl, plus something to melt the butter in), no egg whites to whip separately.  Second, they are absolutely perfectly crispy outside.  It can be difficult to get waffles that are light and fluffy but with a crisp outer shell.  This recipe manages to do both of those things.  Seltzer water provides moisture, lightness, and a crispness that rivals deep frying.  While the original recipe calls for plain seltzer, it would be delicious to use lemon flavored seltzer and toss in some lemon zest.  Then you could top your waffle with a squeeze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Or use raspberry seltzer and top with fresh raspberries.  The possibilities are delicious. 

Time to Make the Waffles

 

Crispy Seltzer Waffles 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tbls sugar 

2 tsp baking powder 

slightly rounded 1/2 tsp salt 

4 tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

2 large eggs 

1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz) seltzer or club soda (from a new bottle) 

cooking oil for brushing waffle iron 

To Make: 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, eggs, and seltzer and whisk until smooth.  Lightly brush a very hot (preheated) Belgian waffle iron with cooking oil.  Pour in enough of the mix so that the batter just barely fills the bottom grid (the amount will vary based upon the size of your waffle iron, we used about 2/3 cup of batter).  Cook according to your manufacturer’s instructions.  You can use a regular waffle iron if that is what you have. 

To Serve: 

Serve warm topped with pure maple syrup or whatever else you desire.  Makes about 6 waffles (this will depend on the size of your waffle iron).

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Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

When do you find yourself reaching for comfort food?  Is it when you are tired or stressed, when the weather is cold and gray, when you aren’t feeling well?  For us, it is really all of the above.  This past week has been a little stressful and rather tiring.  The weather hasn’t been the greatest and I have been fighting a cold.  Luckily, when all of those unfortunate things converge in the space of one week, there is this casserole to make things seem much brighter.

Simple but good quality ingredients

There is nothing fancy about this dish.  It doesn’t use any fancy ingredients, nothing special in the prep, and it doesn’t really even look all that pretty.  However, it tastes really, really good.  It is warm and hearty fare that is great for any time of day.  It makes a nice brunch dish, since much of it can be prepared ahead of time, great as left overs for lunch, and of course, the best comfort food ever for dinner.

Bake sans parmesan and panko layers

To really make this dish stand out, make sure to use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on.  Choose really good ham, flavorful cheese, and potatoes as fresh as you can get them.  When the casserole comes out of the oven all brown and crunchy on top, loaded with ham, and dripping with melted cheese, you won’t be sorry.

Golden brown and delicious

Mashed Potato, Ham, and Cheese Bake

Recipe adapted from Marc’s Italian neighbor growing up, Maria Paolucci

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb all purpose potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

1 tbls bacon fat (or butter or cooking oil)

8 oz smoked ham steak

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 small sweet onion, finely diced

8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

4 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

To Make:

Scrub potatoes and quarter them (if you have potatoes with tender skins, leave them on, otherwise peel them).  Place potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover by about an inch and bring to a boil.  Boil until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and melt the bacon fat.  Add the ham steak and heat until cooked through.  Remove the ham steak from the pan and transfer to a cutting board to cut into bite size pieces.  Add the onions to the juices left in the pan and cook on low until lightly browned (or turn off the heat in the pan and let the onion brown from the residual heat).

Preheat the oven to 450F.  When the potatoes are ready, strain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter and mash until very smooth.  Fold in the Monterey Jack and Gruyère cheeses, along with the ham, onion, and eggs.  Grease a 2-qt baking dish (lard works well) and spread the mixture evenly in the dish.  Top with bread crumbs in one layer and then parmesan in a second layer.  Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese bubbles up on the sides. 

To Serve:

Serve hot and enjoy.  Serves 3-4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Recipes, Side Dish

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Breakfast for dinner.  My husband likes to tell me stories about how in his fraternity house, they would have the cook prepare breakfast for lunch every Wednesday.  From my perspective, this is about the only of his college traditions that is worth keeping alive. 

Egg Mixture

Strata Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

While we often whip up pancakes or omlettes for a quick meal, occasionally we want something a little different.  If you have never had strata before, you are missing out.  A good strata is like the best parts of an omlet and bread pudding, mixed together into one savory dish.  You can put just about anything in it (we used ham, swiss cheese, and green onions in this incarnation), it uses bread that probably wouldn’t get eaten otherwise, and best of all, it has to be made in advance.  This makes it a very versatile dish that works equally well for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Layer 1 of the Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ingredients:

4-5 cups bread (preferably bread that is slightly stale), cubed into bite size pieces

5 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

4 oz swiss cheese, shredded

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 smoked ham steak, cooked and diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls fresh parsley, chopped

To Make:

Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.  Spread about 1/2 of the bread into the dish.  Sprinkle the bread with the diced ham steak, the scallions and 3/4 of the shredded cheese.  Add the other half of the bread cubes.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Add in the milk, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night.  Once or twice while the strata is chilling, gently push down on the bread cubes to make sure they of them soak up the egg mixture.

When you are ready to bake, place the strata in a preheated 325 degree oven.  Cook until the eggs are just set and the top is golden brown and slightly puffed, about 60-65 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional fresh chopped parsley if desired.

To Serve:

Serve this either warm or room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Recipes