I take breakfast very seriously. My kitchen is equipped to whip up some yeasted waffles or eggs and soldiers any time of the day. It’s stacked with trays of muffin tins and popover pans, even though I only have one oven. And coffee? Good god, where do I start. Fancy a latte? Turkish coffee? French press? Single cup pour over? Here are some of my must-haves for brunch entertaining– hover over the image and click through for product info!
It feels good to be back. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. The last month has been a freeze on all things fun, relaxing and normal as I was studying for the bar exam. With the endless days of stressful study, I thought the finish line would never come, but last week I finally took that [expletive] 3-day test. It still doesn’t feel real and sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize: wow, I’m really really done with law school! So now that I’ve got my life back, I made a dish for my favorite meal of the day– breakfast. I know what you’re thinking: savory bacon granola doesn’t make any sense! But breakfast is one of those places you can really do some bold sweet-savory mixing. I’m generally a savory breakfast person (except when it comes to Todd’s blueberry muffins). Basically, give me anything with a runny egg on it and I will probably love it. A savory breakfast lends itself so well to some added sweetness, like from fruit or maple syrup. This granola is that perfect balance of sweet and salty. There’s a bit of maple syrup and tiny bits of bacon studded throughout. I also added flaxseed (which not only has a lovely nutty aroma but is a good source of omega 3 fat), sunflower seeds and dried apple. The granola is great as a snack, but crumbled over a runny egg . . . this may just change the way I have eggs forever.
Make sure the granola is cooled entirely before storing it in an airtight container. The granola will be good for up to 5 days. Feel free to play around with different combinations. I’m thinking of adding sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and cranberries next time!
I know what you’re thinking . . . “What the heck is Todd doing making food?!! Isn’t he the drink guy? Does he even own an oven?” Yes, I confess, I’m more adept at handling a penguin shaker than a chef’s knife. However, spending so much time with Karen and Erica has its perks. In addition to expanding my social life, I’ve started to learn my way around the kitchen a bit. Also, as I’ve mentioned, my wife is a serious baker. In a dream life, we’d move to a small California coastal town and open a bakery together. I’ll drip coffee in the front, and she’ll bake cakes, cookies and fresh pastries in the back. I’ll toss flour all over myself to feel productive, sip cup after cup of coffee, and chat with customers. Every once in a while I’ll grab a blueberry muffin or two and sneak down to the ocean to catch a few waves. Sounds like a plan . . .
I Instagrammed a photo of these a while back and everyone seemed to love them. And as it turned out, these were the tastiest blueberry muffins EVER, as they have whole fresh blueberries and a thick blueberry sauce mixed into the center. The recipe is adapted from the one and only, A Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, which is kind of amazing to say the least.
Can you believe it’s already August?!! I feel like this summer is in fast forward. I guess that’s what happens when you eat this much ice cream. Speaking of sweets, check out this exquisite berries and cream cake by Carey Nershi. Carey took a mini-break from her site Reclaiming Provincial for a few months, but is now back in full force, cake and all! I’m such a fan of Carey’s work, and I know you will be too. Oh, and if you give this cake a try this weekend, save some of those blueberries – I have more berry goodness coming your way soon! In the meantime, here’s what I’m loving this week . . .
It’s been a while since I made us a classic cocktail. I know, completely unacceptable! Thankfully I received a bottle of Caorunn gin (hooray for booze mail!) and immediately thought of the Aviation. This delightfully sophisticated cocktail is just too pretty (and tasty) to overlook. In fact, there may even be an embarrassing old video of me making an Aviation floating somewhere around the internet, but no need to discuss that at the moment! Please enjoy . . .
I decided to garnish with a couple edible violets because, well, edible flowers duh!
I don’t like dried fruit. I don’t even really like most all store bought fruit leathers. But lavashak? Addicted is the only way to describe the way I feel about this Persian version of fruit leather. It’s the inherent tart and sour qualities that I love so much – not too sweet, super fragrant and deliciously chewy. I was first introduced to lavashak by my friend’s mother, who makes sheets of it with fruit from her orchard, summer after summer. The traditional method is to pick lots of fresh stone fruit, like plums, pluots, sour cherries, apricots or peaches, cook them down into a thick sauce, spread them over ceramic plates and allow them to dry naturally in the sun over a period of days. It’s a great way to preserve summer’s best fruit. And kids love it too!
Stone fruit will really give you that wonderful tart quality that I personally like. But you can use just about any fruit here. I intentionally omit sugar – as long as you’re using ripe fruit, it doesn’t need it! Sour cherries, plums and pluots will make for tart and tangy lavashak. Peaches, nectarines and apricots will obviously be sweeter. For this recipe, I’m using two varieties of pluots: Flavor Kings and Dapple Jacks.