22 February 2009

Breakfast hors d'oeuvres, anyone?

I threw a brunch party and was surprised, when creating the menu, at the lack of breakfast hors d'oeuvres out there. In addition to serving french toast fingers and silver dollar pancakes, I invented a couple bagel-based treats that were pretty easy & tasty. Next time, I want to experiment with mini quiches.

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Tapas

everything bagels
salmon cream cheese
smoked salmon
red onion, minced/food processed
fresh dill, chopped
lemon juice

Toast an everything bagel, spread cream cheese on both sides, then assemble all the rest of the ingredients like a sandwich. I like to layer it by first putting the capers, red onion, & dill, then covering that with the smoked salmon and sprinkling the lemon juice on top of that. Cut into fourths with a serrated knife and serve.

Sweet Breakfast Tapas

plain bagels
honey nut cream cheese
dried cranberries
crushed walnuts

Mix up your cranberries & walnuts together so you can just grab handfuls. Toast a plain bagel, spread the cream cheese on both halves, top one half with the cranberries & walnuts & drizzle a little honey on top. Top with the other bagel half & cut into fourths with a serrated knife.

(Silver Dollar) Pancakes

We also had silver dollar pancakes & french toast sticks. My french toast recipe's already on this blog, here, but here's a good pancake recipe, adapted from the mother of American cooking, Betty Crocker:

1 c flour
1 egg
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c half and half or milk
1/4 c water (once you've mixed it up, add more milk/water as needed to reach your preferred consistency - I like it, say, medium runny)

Get all the ingredients & your baking equipment out, starting with the egg so it can get closer to room temperature. Crack the egg in a small bowl and whisk it til it's light yellow & foamy. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and make a little well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well & whisk it up just til mixed. Add the milk & water & mix just til it's mostly smooth - you don't want to overmix.

For silver dollar pancakes, use a quarter-cup measure and a light hand; it's really more like an eighth of a cup per pancake. I like to make pancakes on a cast iron griddle over medium heat.

18 February 2009

Man, some people!! ; )

My dear friend Pam has been after me to update this blog for some time. I admit, I hadn't realized a full six weeks had flitted by - probably because I mentally write this blog all the time, since I am obsessed with good food.

SO, dearest Pammie, and other foodie friends, here's a new post for you. I'm thinking seafood is always a good topic. Actually, Pam and I made some crabcakes and this absolutely divine sauce last week, so let's talk about that.

For my crabcakes recipe, click here. There are also other sauce recipes on this post.

For the sauce, I was fortunate to have on hand some gorgeous, organic, local, vine-ripened yellow and red tomatoes. You can pretty much do anything if you have plenty of butter and dill on hand, and we basically added various produce from the fridge. Hopefully I'm not forgetting anything... I think the actual conglomeration went something like this:

Ann & Pam's Fabulous Sauce

1 to 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2-3 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
2-3 Tbs dill seeds
~1 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

2-3 each small yellow & red tomatoes, sliced, then quarter the slices
1/2 jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 large scallion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Prep all your veggies, and put the tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn the heat down a bit and add the dill seed, scallion, garlic, paprika, cayenne and crushed red pepper. Saute for just a minute or two, stirring often, then add the fresh dill and saute another minute or two. Remove from heat and pour the sauce over the veggies so that they marinate in it while you're frying the crabcakes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve in a ramekin next to the crabcakes, or else use a slotted spoon when you're topping the crabcakes with it.