Let’s Do Brunch

By Patrizia Cucca

Wow! What a weekend. After our action packed weekend last week, we vowed to do less this weekend and well, we massively failed. We seriously packed so much in and it’s hard to pick something we could have omitted. Between a reunion, a christening, a baby shower, and some house projects, time flew by and I can’t believe it is Monday already. How was your weekend? For the positives, we have another holiday coming up! I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t love a three-day weekend. In my opinion, they are the perfect length. One day for chores and two days spent relaxing. The next holiday, Easter will give me a four day weekend. This is perfect! I am planning on hosting a family brunch. Breakfast in Italy is a simple pastry and coffee, but bridging Canadian cravings with their commitment to Italian dining means creating brunch. Brunch is my favorite meal, it allows plenty of time to build up an appetite and it isn’t too late in the day for me to digest before bed. I love the luxury of a hearty meal that I can savour for hours and remember for the entire day. Let me share a few of my brunch ideas and recipes with you. I hope you try one, two or all three of them.
RICOTTA & GRILLED CHERRY TOMATO TOAST
They’re so good, they might not make it past the bbq! You can also use your oven and roast the tomatoes if you wish.
Ingredients
about 1 pound of cherry tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil or grape seed oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
about 10-12, 8″ bamboo skewers
Sliced crusty bread
1 cup of ricotta cheese, softened goat cheese or your favorite cheese. Or even pesto is great!
Directions
1. Soak and fully immerse bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes
2. In large bowl, combine oil, Worcestershire and garlic. Allow marinade to sit for about 15 minutes.
3. Wash and dry cherry tomatoes.
4. Add cherry tomatoes to marinade bowl and toss to combine and coat tomatoes.
5. Skewer about 4-5 tomatoes on each bamboo skewer. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on each tomato skewer.
6. Heat Grill to medium/high heat.
7. Reserve the leftover marinade and brush them on the sliced crusty bread. If you need more marinade, just add a little more oil to the bowl.
8. Grill tomato skewers on each side for about 3-4 minutes, or until they are cooked. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of your grill and size of your cherry tomatoes.
9. After tomatoes are cooked, grill both sides of the bread till crispy.
ANCHOVY, OLIVE AND PEPPERS
Anchovies, I used a small can in olive oil pitted green olives roasted sweet red peppers, sliced toothpicks sliced baguette or crusty bread, optional olive oil, optional. Thread the anchovies, olives and peppers through toothpicks. I found that serving the ingredients on small pieces of bread, rubbed with olive oil, helped make a nicer presentation and are able to stand up straight and are easier to grab.
RED PEPPER AND BAKED EGG GALETTES
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 large or 4 small red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 small onions, (red or white) halved and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
fresh sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
6 Tbsp olive oil
handful fresh parsley, chopped
handful cilantro, chopped
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten, for brushing the pastry
12 tsp sour cream
4 large fresh eggs
salt and fresh cracked pepper
Directions
1. Set oven to 400F
2. Mix together the pepper, onions, thyme and spics in a bowl. Add the olive oil and toss well so that everything is coated with the oil and spices.
3. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring and rearranging the veggies a few times so they don’t burn.
4. Sprinkle the veggies with half the fresh herbs and set aside.
5. Turn the oven up to 425. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it reaches a 12×12 inch square. Cut into four 6 inch squares. Transfer to two parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
6. Take a dul knife and score a little 1/4 inch frame around each square of pastry. Don’t cut all the way through. Prick the inside of the squares all over with the tines of a fork. Put back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush all over with a beaten egg. Spread the inside of each square with 3 tsp of sour cream.
8. Top each with some veggie mixture, spread it out evenly, leaving the borders free, leave a shallow depression in the center for the egg, which will go in later.
9. Bake for about 10 minutes until rising and starting to brown.
10. Remove and carefully crack in egg into the center of each galette.
11. Put back into the oven, about 10 minutes until the egg is set.
12. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining herbs. Drizzle with some good olive oil and eat right away.

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