May 17, 2010

Sunday Brunch

I love brunch. Don't most people? This was actually what I made for Mother's Day... and sorry for the delay. I think the wonderful pictures and easy yummy recipes should make up for it though right?

Simply Sweet Sandwiches

The surprise of the sweet fig jam is what makes these so irresistible. If you can't find fig jam or don't like it, you can use honey instead. Also, any kind of sweet chutney, apple or mango for example, would be fabulous as well.

1 Whole wheat baguette sliced down the center then cut in 3-4" pieces
1/2 lb Black forest ham (not too thin)
2+ cups of good cheddar (this was a wonderful English Farmhouse), either grated or sliced thin
Fig Jam

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Spread 1 tbs of jam on each piece of bread
-Layer on the ham, then cheese (either shredded or sliced)
-Bake until the cheese is melty, about 8 minutes
-Serve immediately

Spring Salad

This salad was a hit. The mushrooms come out just perfectly cooked this way and the additions of the nuts give a satisfying little crunch to the whole thing. The combination of Arugula and Watercress is both slightly peppery and refreshing.

1 box/bag Arugula
1 bunch Watercress, roughly chopped or ripped
1 pint crimini/baby bella mushrooms (you can use any mushroom you like!), sliced
1 tray portobello mushrooms (again, use any mushroom you like), sliced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup white wine
2 tbs butter (or butter substitute like Smart Balance)
1 bunch Parsley, chopped roughly
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper

-Start sauteing the mushrooms in a large pan with the butter
-Once all the mushrooms are coated, add the wine, let it all boil
-Lower the heat to a simmer and let it all cook away
-When the liquid has almost all been absorbed, add the parsley
-Add salt and pepper and let the mushrooms cook until the edges get brown and a little crispy
-Let sit in pan while you combine the lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk
-Slowly add the oil while whisking to create the vinaigrette. Adjust to your liking. You might want more oil, more acid or more seasoning at this point
-Put the arugula and watercress in the salad bowl and drizzle on some of the dressing, mix the greens
-Add the mushroom mixture on top, sprinkle on the toasted nuts, and drizzle on some more dressing
-Serve unmixed (its so nice looking that way). If there is extra dressing, put it on the table


I love Pavlovas. These may have been the last I'll make until Fall, too. Pavlovas do NOT like heat and humidity is the death knoll for these fluffy concoctions. In fact, I would say if its more than just slightly humid, don't even bother, the egg whites won't whip up enough to make a good meringue. If it's hot, but not humid, you can give it a go, but heat makes these delicate treats sticky and eventually sink into themselves. All that being said, if your in a well air conditioned space, they should work out just fine.

3 large egg whites
1.5 cups white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Zest of 1 large orange (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbs good quality vanilla extract
Berries of your choosing

-Preheat oven to 230 degrees (225 is fine too, but don't go higher or lower than that)
-Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment, set aside
-In a metal bowl (or stand mixer) add egg whites and whisk with electric beaters until just frothy
-Add cream of tartar and mix well
-Very very slowly, painfully slowly in fact, start adding the sugar - little bit at a time otherwise you deflate the egg whites
-Keep mixing until all the sugar has been added. Every once in a while, scrape down the sides gingerly with a rubber spatula
-Add 1 tbs of vanilla and keep mixing the whites until they form stiff peaks. Don't over mix though or you'll dry out the whites
-If using the zest, slowly and carefully mix it in with the spatula
-Place a nice dollop of whites on the baking sheet. They will expand slightly, so don't overcrowd
-Bake in the oven for exactly 1 hour. They should be all completely white still, make a hollow noise when you tap them, and still slightly gooey inside. If because of your altitude or the weather they are still too gooey and don't make that hollow noise, bake for another 20 minutes
-While baking, whip the cream with the remaining two tbs of vanilla to your desired texture
-Place meringues on a serving platter and put a dollop of whipped cream on each, followed by a berry or two
-Serve. This will make anywhere between 18-30 depending on size


  1. What a scrumptious brunch! :-) I love that you used fig jam on the sandwiches. Wow!! I will have to try that soon. :-)

    PS - I'm working on getting all the right features on my blog. :-)

  2. Fig Jam is wonderful. Ok good, can't wait 'till its all just perfect.