Crème Brûlée French Toast – Happy National French Toast Day!

Crème Brûlée French Toast
HAPPY NATIONAL FRENCH TOAST DAY!!!

And what better way to celebrate this fun food day and the holiday season than with this decadent breakfast/brunch treat — Crème Brûlée French Toast!

Crème Brûlée French Toast
For this month, I worked with our friends over at Safest Choice® Eggs to up the ante on the traditional French Toast by mashing it up with one of my favorite desserts—-Crème Brûlée.

It all starts off with a rich custard base of eggs, cream, milk and then it’s flavored with warm spices, vanilla extract, Grand Marnier and fresh orange zest. Day old bread then soaks up the custard overnight so that it gets into every nook and cranny.

In the morning, you throw the dish into the oven until the bread becomes golden brown and puffed.  The final step is a generous sprinkle of sugar over the toast and then it’s quickly brûléed.

Crème Brûlée French Toast
The end result?

When you cut into the top layer of caramelized sugar, you get a wonderfully satisfying crunch and the center is rich and decadent. Personally, I think the brûléed sugar gives the right amount of sweetness but if you want to add a drizzle of maple syrup—go right ahead!

Scrumptious breakfast and a make-ahead wonder!

Head on over to Safest Choice® Eggs  to read my Crème Brûlée French Toast post this month and while you’re at it, click here for the recipe.

HAPPY NATIONAL FRENCH TOAST DAY!!!

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Kale, Bacon and Cheese Strata

Bacon and Kale Strata
Y’all hear that bell ringing?

That’s right– SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION!!!

It’s the time of year in many households where everyone is just wishing they had a few extra minutes in the morning before they dash out the door for the day.

So for this month, I worked with our friends over at Safest Choice® Eggs to create this deliciously satisfying “make the night before” dish that will fuel up your loved ones for an entire day of work, school, and any shenanigans they may find themselves in.

Bacon and Kale Strata

Breakfast Stratas are essentially a savory bread pudding. It’s the perfect way to use up all of your stale bread and any other fixings you may have tucked away in the corner of your fridge. And since the custard base needs time to soak up in all the nooks and crannies of the bread, it’s the ideal thing to prep the night before only to be thrown in the oven while you’re getting ready in the morning.

This time around, I chose to use sauteed kale and combination of cheeses to flavor the strata and of course– bacon. Because the smell of bacon is the sure fire trick to motivate people out of bed in the morning! I also tossed in some leftover diced potatoes because I like the texture and body it gives to the dish. But if you prefer to use bread only, feel free to leave it out.

Added bonus? This Kale, Bacon and Cheese Strata is such a stunner, you can definitely serve it up at a brunch gathering alongside fresh fruit, juices, coffee and mimosas. Guaranteed hit!

Head on over to Safest Choice® Eggs  to read my Strata post this month and while you’re at it, click here for the recipe.

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Crispy Polenta Cakes with Poached Eggs & Asparagus

Polenta3
Spring has most definitely sprung!

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, the flowers are in bloom (Aaaa-CHOO! My pollen allergies are terrible!) and everyone seems to be in a festive mood for celebrations and leisure meals. And why not? So many delicious items are coming back into season!

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Asparagus is one of those beautiful produces that are coming back and are popping up all over at our Farmers Markets and grocery stores. And in my opinion, nothing pairs more lovely with asparagus than eggs. Eggs and Asparagus….what could be more “Spring-like” than that winning combo?!

Safe Eggs
To celebrate the comeback of my favorite season, Spring, I’m partnering with the makers of Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs to create a quick and easy dish that would be perfect to make for breakfast or even a last minute brunch gathering and featured that winning pairing.

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Veggies? Check!

Bright and sunny egg/protein? Check!

But what about a starch?

I’m not a gal to shy away from bread or potatoes — I’m unabashedly carbo-holic like that. Though for this dish, I thought I’d bring a little Italian slant to it by pan frying up some crispy polenta cakes by using a pre-made polenta roll.

Now before you yell at me for using a pre-made polenta, let me justify it by the following:

  1. One of my favorite stores carries a wonderful organic polenta roll that is extremely tasty and affordable.
  2. If I made the polenta myself, I would have to wait for it to cool before frying them up into crispy cakes.
  3. It’s QUICK! And who doesn’t need some short cuts every now and then?

But hey-if you prefer to make your own, I’m all over it! In fact, it would be a great opportunity to use up any leftover polenta you may have lingering in your fridge.

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After roasting the fresh asparagus with simple S&P and lemon zest, I topped them with the crispy polenta cakes and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. And the pièce de résistance – a beautifully poached Safest Choice™ pasteurized egg. In my humble opinion, there are few other culinary beauties than seeing an unctuous egg yolk over a dish.

Perfection!

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And not only is a beautiful but it’s functional. The yolk becomes a rich sauce for both the crisp polenta cakes and asparagus. I know some folks are wary of under cooked eggs but rest assured. Davidson’s Safest Choice® uses an all-natural egg pasteurization process to eliminate the risk of salmonella–all without changing that farm fresh flavor or nutrition. Plus their wonderful chicks are Hormone free, Antibiotic free, and Vegetarian-fed. You can learn more over at SafeEggs.com

Polenta

As for the next few months, I’m looking forward to all that Spring has to offer as well as fixing up more dishes fitting of the season. But in the meanwhile, you can find this quick and delectable recipe for Crispy Polenta Cakes with Poached Eggs and Asparagus here.

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*DISCLOSURE: This recipe and post was created in partnership with Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg

Avocado Toast
Early last Sunday morning I found myself rummaging around my seestrah‘s fridge for some breakfast inspiration. I wasn’t in the mood for a laborious dish because I was on the brink of h’angry……

And quite frankly, that’s not a pretty sight.

I ended up pulling out eggs and some leftover smoked salmon and guacamole from the night before. Yup, it was Avocado Toast time! How absolutely trendy of me.

Now usually, when I fix up some Avocado Toast, I smash up some ripe avocado and add a bit of spice. But seeing how I had some delish guac at my disposal, I opted for that route.

Avocado Toast
As for the egg, I had initially wanted to fry it up—I love the crispy edges. But this gal is a sucker for an oozy-goozy poached egg that essentially makes a sauce from itself once you break into it. So wonderfully divine, so deliciously decadent.

And before I even had a chance to take a proper pic on a camera (instead of my phone), I had gobbled it all up.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to make it again to reshoot it.

Happy Saturday!❤

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Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg
Serves 1

Ingredients:

½ ripe medium sized avocado
½ teaspoon lemon juice
kosher salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes
1 slice bread, toasted
3 ounces smoked salmon
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg
chopped cilantro to garnish

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the lemon juice, 2-3 pinches salt, 1-2 pinches black pepper and 1-2 pinches red pepper flakes. Spread the avocado mash (or guacamole if you have it) over the toasted bread and place the smoked salmon slices on top.

Fill a pot ¾ full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack the egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the pot to make a whirlpool in the water. Slowly pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along. After about 2-3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg. Gently blot it dry with a paper towel and place on top of the toast.

Sprinkle the kosher salt and black pepper over the egg. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Huevos Rancheros …..Be EGGS-ellent

Huevos Rancheros

Brunch is my Spirit Animal.

In fact, if I had it my way, we would be allotted a few leisurely hours every day to create and enjoy brunch. Without a worry in the world….other than what delectable dishes we’d have and if there are enough mimosas….

Or Bloody Marys….

Who am I kidding–it’s your Brunch World…have both!

Huevos Rancheros

Sadly, with summer winding down, many of y’all with munchkins have either already sent them off to start a new school year or will be doing so shortly. And when that happens, daily brekkies become less elaborate and more about efficiency and time saving.

Heck–I totally get it.

I only have a fur-child and between getting her walked and my own act together before work, I can barely manage to guzzle down some coffee in the morning.

And thus, my brunch heart weeps.

Huevos Rancheros

So do yourself a favor….and your kiddos too!

Make them something a little special Monday morning to get them jumping out of bed….like Huevos Rancheros! Huevos Rancheros are easily one of my favorite dishes to have for brunch. Packed with flavor, various textures and all smothered with a beautiful runny fried egg.

Good lawd…I’m a sucker for eggs.

Wait–maybe runny eggs are my Spirit Animal?

Suddenly, EVERYTHING makes sense….

Huevos Rancheros

These Huevos Rancheros are the perfect addition to this month’s  Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen. Not only does it affirm my adoration for the remarkable egg but it is sure to have your loved ones waking up with a pep in their step.

The whole process from start to finish takes about 30 minutes since I use some short cuts like canned refried beans and store bought enchilada sauce for the Huevos Rancheros “sauce”. But if you precook the sausage and prep everything ahead of time, you can have these gorgeous Huevos Rancheros on the table in about 15 minutes. Not bad for breakfast “cooking” during the weekday.

Much thanks to our friends at Safest Choice™ and to learn more about them and their pasteurization process to eliminate salmonella, please click here.

Have an EGGS-ellent weekend!

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Huevos Rancheros
Serves 2

Ingredients:

½ cup sour cream
½ tablespoon Tapatío Hot Sauce or hot sauce of your choice
½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces breakfast sausage
vegetable oil, divided
4 small corn or flour tortillas
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
kosher salt
8 ounces refried beans, warmed
1 cup shredded Monterey jack or Mexican blend shredded cheese
8 ounces enchilada sauce, red or green, warmed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup thinly sliced radishes
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup pickled red onions, optional
½ small avocado, sliced
½ tablespoon gochugaru or other ground chili pepper
2 lime wedges

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, hot sauce, lime juice and garlic powder. Cover and refrigerate.

In a skillet, add the breakfast sausage and cook over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned — transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Take a paper towel to wipe out the grease left from the sausage. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry the tortillas in the oil until both sides are crispy and brown. Add more oil when needed. Drain the crispy tortillas on plates lined with paper towels. Set aside.

Take another paper towel to wipe out the majority of the oil left and place the skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. Crack 2 Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs in the skillet and fry until the center has set and the whites are opaque. Sprinkle each egg with salt. Transfer the fried eggs to a plate and keep warm.

Begin assembly. Place one crispy tortilla on a plate. Spread a thin layer of the warmed beans over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the beans and add a few spoons of the browned sausage over the top. Spoon some of the warmed enchilada sauce over the items and top with some tomato halves, radish slices and cilantro leaves. If you choose to, also add a few slices of pickled red onions.

Top the stack with another crispy tortillas and repeat the layering process. Once done, top the stack with a fried egg, avocado slices and drizzle some of the spiced sour cream over the mound. Top with cilantro and gochugaru (or other ground chili pepper) and serve with lime wedges.

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Purée

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

We’ve officially entered “shower” season. And by that, I don’t mean April Showers but Wedding Showers and Baby Showers!

My next two months will be weekends filled with shower games, presents galore, tea sandwiches, little bite sized desserts, and sparkling cocktails (I hope!).

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

What can I say? Love is in the air and my dear friends and loved ones have a lot to be celebrating over these next few months.

So for my latest contribution to Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I thought I would make something that would go well on a menu for both bridal and baby showers.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

I’ve always been a huge fan of choosing brunch to host parties and celebrations. It’s the perfect time of day where you can serve a variety of foods to please all palates. A few desserts, sandwiches. croissants, scones, preserves, charcuterie boards, and of course–there has to be eggs!

And these adorable coddled eggs served in mason jars will be an absolute hit at your showers.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

They start with a luscious, smooth layer of a potato-parsnip purée….which truthfully, are one of my faves these days. They’re a bit lighter than traditional mashed potatoes but are just as delectable.

Next, comes a layer of savory, herbaceous pesto. And c’mon now–who doesn’t love pesto? But for this particular dish, it really does add some much needed brightness to offset the rich, coddled egg and purée. You can also add some sauteed greens as well.

Finally, the whole thing is topped off with a beautiful egg. Heaven.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

Your guests will just love these little jars when served. The yolks are unctuous and runny — perfect to dunk toasted little soldiers into. And since Safest Choice™ uses an all-natural egg pasteurization process to eliminate the risk of salmonella, feel at ease when serving them to mamas-to-be.

Want to find out more about their pasteurization process? Click here

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

These little cuties can be assembled hours before your parties (even the night before!) to give you even more time to spend with your guests.

Adorable? Check! Easy to assemble? Check! Delicious? Check!

Sounds like a slam dunk dish to me. Happy Shower Season, Friends!❤

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Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Purée
Serves 4

Ingredients:

kosher salt
½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium sized parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
¼ cup heated heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder
black pepper
4 tablespoons pesto
4 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
sea salt flakes
chopped parsley
serve with soldiers or other bread of your choice

Prepare the potato-parsnip purée by bringing a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add ½ tablespoon salt, potatoes and parsnips. Boil until they are tender—about 20 minutes. Drain the root vegetables and either run them through a food mill or ricer. Stir the hot heavy cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and garlic powder into the potato-parsnip mixture. Season with additional salt and black pepper as needed. Set aside.

Take 4 small mason jars or ramekins and use the remaining butter to grease the inside of each jar. Divide and spoon the potato-parsnip purée into the bottom of each of the jars. You can also use a small piping bag to do this. Spread one tablespoon pesto on top of each potato-parsnip purée and then carefully top each with an egg.

Fill a large pot with about 2-3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place a steam rack inside of the pot of water and carefully place the filled jars/ramekins on top. Cover the pot and steam the eggs for 8-10 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft. Alternatively, if using mason jars, screw on the lids of each jar and place directly into the pot to simmer for about 10-12 minutes. If the jars/ramekins that I’m using aren’t very high, I prefer to place them on top of a steam rack.

Once done, top each coddled egg with sea salt flakes and chopped parsley. Serve with soldiers or other bread of your choice.

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Down and Dirty Breakfast Fries

Down & Dirty Breakfast Fries

Sometimes a gal has got to throw frou-frou out the door and just get down and dirty….. for breakfast that is.

I’m talking about turning to premade pantry items that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes to create a gritty, gut bomb breakfast. Something so darn good that you should actually feel a tinge bad about inhaling.

But don’t…. in fact, I’ll like you more for it.

Down & Dirty Breakfast Fries

C’mon now... we’re talking fries with a runny egg. It’s a no brainer.

If you’re aiming for extra credit, you could go the extra mile to fry up your own potatoes and pull together homemade salsa. Heck, I usually would but this dish is all about channeling your old 3am college days. And y’all know I’m not a morning person so the AM is my perfect “out” for taking shortcuts. No guilt here🙂

Happy Sunday FUN-Day everyone!

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Down and Dirty Breakfast Fries
Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked frozen french fries (or homemade if you want a gold start)
cooking spray
3-4 ounces breakfast sausage
1 egg
2-3 heaping tablespoons salsa
black pepper and kosher salt
chopped cilantro

Place a large piece of aluminum foil over a baking sheet. Spread the french fries in a single layer over the foil and lightly cover with cooking spray. Bake until crispy according to package decorations.

In a skillet, add the breakfast sausage and cook over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned and transfer to a plate. Take a paper towel to wipe out the majority of the grease left from the sausage. Return the skillet to the stove over medium low heat.

Crack the egg into the skillet and fry it until the yolk has just set. Plate the baked fries onto a dish and top with the browned sausage, salsa and then fried egg. Add a pinch or two of both pepper and salt over the egg. Sprinkle the plate with the chopped cilantro and enjoy warm.