April 4, 2011

Beautiful Brunch Ideas!

The Maine House woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning yesterday. When the sun is shining and the weather permits, i.e. no snow and no rain, we put on our coats, gloves and hats and motor off to wherever the drive takes us. Yesterday, we were treated to a fabulous Sunday brunch of our Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes, Egg and Bacon Toast Cups, creamy grits and oh my gosh, the most tasty brunch pie with the cornbread crust! We topped it off with fresh, mind you, fresh orange juice! Boy!!! Did we plan this day well. It was a good thing we had decided to include long walks along the Cape Elizabeth coastline ! The beauty is incredible on days like this. The Casco Bay water was sapphire blue with small white caps lapping over the rocks. The seagulls were soaring under the sunlight and families were flying kites, walking their pooches and taking time to sit on a coastal bench and savor their quiet thoughts! A most delightful and blessed day!

A Maine House Mosaic

Blueberry Compote
18 ounces fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

To make the blueberry compote: Combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. (Don't let the berries cook too long or they will become mushy and lose their beautiful shape.) Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the chopped mint if using. Keep warm.

To make the hotcakes: Whisk the ricotta and the egg yolks together in a large bowl; then whisk in the buttermilk. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the ricotta mixture. Stir with a whisk until just combined. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites through the batter in 2 batches. Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter. Melt some butter on a hot griddle pan over medium-low heat. Ladle the batter onto the griddle (you should be able to fit 3 hotcakes at a time) and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until the hotcakes puff, become golden brown, and are just cooked through.Transfer the hotcakes to plates. Spoon the warm blueberry compote over the hotcakes, and then top with a dollop of butter. Serve immediately.

Brunch Pie with Fresh Corn Muffin Crust
3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
2 envelopes Lawry's Chicken Taco Spices and Seasoning Mixes
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes and juice
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese or pepper jack, grated
1 can diced green chili's, undrained
1 fresh corn muffin crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, toss the chicken cubes in the taco seasoning mix. Add the tomatoes and juice along with 1 cup of the grated cheese. Spread the chicken and tomato mixture into a 13x9" baking dish, top with the chili's and layer the remaining cheese over that. Prepare the muffin crust and place it on top. Drop small spoonfuls of the cheese evenly across the top of the pie, making sure they are close together. Bake for 1 hour, until crust is golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Fresh Corn Muffin Crust
1 (8 ounce) package of corn muffin mix (Estelle's uses Jiffy)
1 1.2 cups corn kernels, canned or frozen (if canned be sure to drain)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream

In medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the sour cream. Combine the egg mixture with the muffin mix and corn, not mixing for more than 30 seconds. Batter will be somewhat lumpy.

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
6 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
6 eggs
6 slices bacon
Shredded cheese Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is warming, fry bacon slices in a pan until partially cooked, but not crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Meanwhile, butter the insides of 6 ramekins and cut crusts from 6 slices of bread. Gently press the bread slices into the ramekins. Place the bacon slice around the edge of the bread, tucking it between the ramekin and the bread. Sprinkle a small amount of shredded cheese in the center of each bread cup. Crack an egg into the center of each bread cup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 10-15, to your desired level of doneness. Pop toast cups out of ramekins to serve.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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