Easy, Breezy Brunch
It’s summer and the cooking is easy. At least if you follow veteran B-and-B owner Dana Moos’ advice for easy entertaining. Herew
Excerpted from The Art of Breakfast by Dana Moos. Down East Books. Camden, Maine; hardcover; 160 pages; $28.95. DownEast.com
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Berries
This is a basic recipe that can be flavored a variety of ways. My twist is the addition of cream cheese. I used to serve this vanilla-flavored version with raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries, and blueberries on the Fourth of July at the inn. I used mini Bundt tins so that when turned out onto a plate they had a nice decorative look. You could also use individual ramekins. Serves 8
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1½ cups heavy cream
¾ cup half and half
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
raspberries and blueberries, for garnish
1. Mix the gelatin and water in a small saucepan and let soften for 2 minutes. Heat over low until the gelatin is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the cream, half and half, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once just boiling, remove the pan from the heat and add the cream cheese, vanilla, and melted gelatin mixture. Split and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Mix well. Cool to room temperature.
3. Coat a ½ cup muffin tin (or any standard-size muffin tin or even 6 oz individual ramekins) with vegetable oil and fill eight of them evenly with the cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
4. Run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the suction. Carefully pop out onto plates drizzled with raspberry coulis and garnish with fresh raspberries and blueberries.
Maine Blueberry Malted Belgian Waffles with Maple Syrup and Fresh Whipped Cream
There’s just something about the flavor of a blueberry waffle served with buttery, pure maple syrup. Simple and delicious!
Makes 12 waffles
2¼ cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
1½ cups 2 percent milk
¼ cup malted milk powder
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup Maine blueberries (thaw and drain well if you use frozen berries)
fresh whipped cream, for garnish
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, oil, milk, egg, malted milk powder, and baking powder and mix with a whisk until well combined. Do not over mix — it’s okay if the batter is slightly lumpy. Gently fold in the blueberries, using caution not to break them.
2. Heat a waffle iron and liberally coat it with cooking spray.
3. Ladle the batter onto waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. To keep the waffles warm and crisp, keep them covered in a 250-degree oven and then just before serving uncover to expose waffles to the dry heat for a few minutes, then plate.
Malted milk powder can be purchased at specialty baking stores or online. Ovaltine is not the equivalent, as it has added ingredients. I like The Baker’s Catalog for a variety of baking supplies. Also, invest in a good quality Belgian waffle iron — the highest wattage you can find. It makes a big difference in how quickly the waffles cook and how well they crisp up. I think the malt powder might have something to do with the crisp factor, too.
Egg Roulade Filled with Sautéed Leeks and Parmesan, Topped with Lobster, Sherry, and Melted Butter
Roulade simply means “rolled.” This is constructed just like a jelly roll on a sheet pan, but with egg; it’s basically a rolled and baked omelet. The results are worth the extra steps. This version was our signature savory dish at the inn, a particular favorite for the chunks of fresh Maine lobster on top. This is one of the most indulgent entrées we served, but it was worth every calorie and penny. We even received a recipe request from Gourmet magazine, but unfortunately, our recipe didn't make it into the magazine before we sadly had to say farewell to the publication. So here it is! Serves 4 to 6
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large leeks, washed and thinly sliced
one (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
juice from ¼ lemon
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter
1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup dry sherry
16 ounces fresh, cooked lobster meat, cut into small chunks
one (10-ounce) package baby spinach, washed and dried
fresh chopped chives, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a rimmed heavy-duty half sheet pan with butter or vegetable oil, then line with parchment paper, and then grease the parchment, making sure to press it flat to the surface of the pan, leaving at least an inch overhang.
3. In a blender, mix the eggs, 2 cups of cream, and ½ teaspoon salt on high speed for 4 to 5 seconds. Pour the mixture into the lined baking sheet. Bake until you begin to see the surface of the egg just start to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
4. While cooling, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the leeks, covered, until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. When soft, add the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream, lemon juice, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and stir. When the cream cheese is thoroughly incorporated, add three tablespoons of butter, mix in, and remove from heat. Let cool for about 3 minutes.
5. Dollop small amounts of the leek filling onto the egg. Using an offset spatula, carefully spread the mixture over the entire egg sponge, trying not to tear the egg as it is very delicate. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the filling.
6. Here’s the fun part: the rolling. With the short edge of the pan closest to you, using the parchment as a guide, roll the egg up onto itself (like a Hostess Ho-Hos!) until you end up with the egg seam on the underside of the roll. Keep the egg covered with the parchment left after rolling as it will help keep the egg moist. Cover the entire roll with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
7. While baking, melt the remaining stick of butter in a pan with the sherry and cook for about 5 minutes, allowing much of the alcohol to burn off. Then add the lobster, lower the heat, and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes.
8. To serve, place a pile of fresh baby spinach on a plate. Slice the roulade into 4 to 6 slices, layer onto the spinach, and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the lobster butter. Garnish with fresh chives.
Smoked Salmon, Caviar, Horseradish Crème Fraiche, Zucchini Rounds
This is a beautiful garnish, almost too pretty to eat! It also makes an elegant hors d’oeuvre to enjoy with some bubbly.
1 medium or large cucumber or zucchini
½ cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish
2 sprigs fresh dill
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces smoked salmon
1 ounce caviar
1. Cut the zucchini or cucumber into ¾ inch rounds. Using a small melon-baller, scoop out the very center, creating shallow cavities for the sour cream to sit in.
2. Mix together the crème fraiche, horseradish, ½ of a sprig of dill, chopped, and salt.
3. Place about ½ teaspoon of the sour cream onto a vegetable round, then roll up a 2-inch piece of salmon and place it on top, add a ½ teaspoon caviar, and a fresh sprig of dill to garnish.
Serve these as soon as you put them together, as the natural juice from the caviar after a short time will start to seep onto the sour cream and the plate.