Tag Archives: brunch

Spiced Prunes from The Manse Boutique Inn

28 May

Weekend getaways can be so restorative, especially in a place as magical and charming as Prince Edward County.

Neil and I fell in love with the County a few years ago when we first visited for the annual event Taste the County and then again for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Every time we’ve been back since we’ve fallen deeper and deeper for this exceptional region of Ontario.

There’s no shortage of things to do and see from visiting wineries, farms and local artisans, to antique hunting, beach-going, walking the main streets of the small towns, and of course, eating. You do not go hungry when you visit the County. 

With so many local farmers and food producers, there’s a real sense in the County that people truly care about good food and using the freshest local ingredients. 

On our most recent trip to PEC, we had the pleasure of staying at The Manse Boutique Inn in Picton only three weeks after its grand opening and it was absolutely spectacular. Aside from the stunning setting in the century old building, the food at The Manse is definitely a draw thanks to Chef Chris Wylie who runs the inn with his wife Kathleen.

Breakfast is included when you book one of their seven lovely rooms and it was a highlight of our weekend. Chef Wylie smokes his own bacon, cures his own salmon and takes a lot of pride in his food, which was apparent to Neil and I through chatting with him.

Chef Wylie’s delicate cured salmon on potato pancake

House-smoked bacon & the most amazing ‘Hoito pancakes’ at The Manse

He was kind enough to share his recipe for his delicious spiced prunes, which he serves at the breakfast buffet along with thick Greek yogurt and a homemade nutty granola – a perfect breakfast in my books.

Thanks to Chef Wylie for sharing this recipe with Communal Table readers!

Spiced Prunes

500 ml Earl Grey tea

150 ml Marsala wine

100 g brown sugar

Large zest of one orange

1 clove, whole

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

250 g prunes

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove zest and spices. Serve the spiced prunes with the syrup along with yogurt & granola.

Brie & Strawberry Jam Omelet with Strawberry Panzanella Salad

13 Apr

It’s been a little quieter than usual around here lately. We’ve been dealing with some career changes and general life shifts, not to mention unavoidable winter colds and flu bugs over the last few months. All of that has been keeping us more occupied in ‘real life’, which has meant less time for us to devote to our blogging life and cooking in general.

We’re slowly getting back into a groove, but the last few weeks we’ve been leaning towards cooking meals that are simple and fast while still being interesting.

Last week I reached into my ‘archives’ when we wanted to make a meatless dinner that was in line with the changing weather and freshness of spring.

I discovered the unexpected pleasure of the brie and strawberry jam omelet many years ago on a visit to Montreal. It stood out for me on the brunch menu at Orange Café in the NDG area of my hometown. I rarely use this adjective when describing food, but I have to say that this is one ‘sexy’ omelet. It’s the perfect combination of textures, flavors and even colors on the plate. I even made it for Neil when we first started dating in an attempt to impress his advanced palate.

Once I started making it at home for brunch and dinner, the very idea of it inspired other omelet combinations like cheddar and spicy mango chutney, or havarti and pear & ginger preserves.

But this one’s the ultimate. L’original.

This time around I used goat brie for a little more earthiness and Greaves Rhubarb Strawberry Jam, which I absolutely love. There’s not much to this simple omelet, but the key for me is using just the egg whites. With the egg whites providing a neutral base, the cheese and jam really shine and stand out. I also like the texture of an all-egg white omelet better than what you get when you include the yolks.

But we needed a side dish. Something that could stand up to the fabulousness of the omelet and complement it at the same time.

Somehow the idea of a fresh strawberry panzanella came to me. Panzanella is a rustic Italian bread salad that’s usually made with stale bread, tomatoes, onions and a simple vinaigrette. I always order it when I spot it on restaurant menus because it’s usually delicious, however simple.

Neil was the one who actually executed our take on the classic salad after we talked about some ideas, and it turned out even better than I had hoped. The sweetness of the fresh strawberries worked so well with the tartness of the balsamic and the shreds of basil. And we actually used fresh bread instead of day-old and found that it gave a really nice spongy consistency on the inside, and a toasty crunch on the outside. It was a great texture combination and the flavors of each ingredient came through. It really was a great complement to the omelet. We ooh’ed and ahh’ed with every fresh, tasty and flavorful bite.

What better way to welcome spring to our table?!

Brie & Strawberry Jam Omelet with Strawberry Panzanella Salad (serves 2)

For Strawberry Panzanella Salad:

Approx 8 fresh strawberries (3-4 per person)

Good quality balsamic vinegar

Pepper

Approx 3/4 to half a loaf of crusty bread (we used Brick Street Bakery‘s wheat bread)

Olive oil

Sea Salt

1 clove garlic, sliced into thin slices

1 handful of basil leaves, chopped

Cucumber, chopped

Arugula

For Omelet:

Approx 6-7 thick slices of brie (we used goat brie)

Good quality strawberry jam (we used rhubarb strawberry)

Approx 6-8 egg whites (I actually used egg whites from a carton – so much easier!)

Cooking spray

To Assemble Salad:

Slice the strawberries and add them to a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar and a grind of pepper. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cut the bread into cubes and toss with a few drizzles of olive oil and a few grinds of sea salt.

Slice the garlic into thin slices that will be easy to remove later from the pan.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan on medium heat and cook garlic for a few minutes. Lower the heat to medium low, add bread cubes into pan and cook for a good 7-10 minutes until nice and brown on the outside.

Remove the bread cubes from the pan, leaving the garlic behind, and set aside to cool.

When ready to assemble, add the cooled bread cubes to a bowl. Add in a little bit of arugula. You don’t want to add as much as you would in a regular salad, the bread and strawberries are the main ingredients here. Add the chopped cucumber and basil. Drizzle in some good quality olive oil and toss into the salad with a little bit of sea salt.

Spoon the balsamic strawberries into the salad, reserving some of the liquid. Mix the salad and taste. Add more of the balsamic to taste. Toss everything together well and serve.

To Assemble Omelet:

Spray an omelet pan with a little bit of cooking spray and heat the pan over medium low heat.

Add in the egg whites and leave them for a few minutes to firm up. Slide a thin spatula around the edges to lift and separate from the pan.

Layer the slices of brie down the middle of the omelet or just off to one side, depending on how you like to fold your omelet. I decided to fold the two sides in so I layered my ingredients into the middle but you can also attempt to flip one side onto the other. Spoon a generous amount of jam onto the brie.

Fold in the sides and slide the spatula underneath to loosen the omelet from the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for a few minutes to let the cheese melt and jam warm through. If you’re feeling daring, you can flip the omelet over and let it cook on the other side for a few seconds so the brie melts on both ends and the jam gets sticky and cooks as it oozes out of the edges.

Cut the omelet in half to serve two and plate with some Strawberry Panzanella salad.

The Best Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon & Horseradish Cream

26 Dec

Eggs are one of those things that everyone has their own method of cooking. And scrambled eggs, though they seem so simple, can be made a million different ways.

Well, if you’ve got 30 minutes to spare and you want to try the creamiest, most delicious scrambled eggs you’ve ever had, read on.

Yes, I realize that scrambled eggs can be cooked in a matter of minutes so I know it may seem like an unnecessary ordeal to spend 30 minutes on such an easy dish. But cooking these eggs slowly on a low heat is what makes them so perfect. It’s worth the wait.

A lot of people add milk or cream to their eggs to get that creamy consistency, but with this method, you don’t have to add a thing. When they’re done, the eggs are creamy, silky, dense and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. They also turn a darker color than your typical quick-cooked fluffy scrambled eggs, so they look more intense and rich.

The leek is essential because it cooks down to be soft and kind of melty and adds a lot of flavor and texture to the eggs. I love chopping and cooking leeks; they’re so beautiful and delicious.

You need to babysit the eggs as they cook and keep stirring them in the pan with a soft spatula. You may get to the point of annoyance thinking that they’re never going to start firming up, but whatever you do, stay strong, keep going and do not turn up the heat! They’ll cook in no time (aka: 20 minutes) and you’ll be glad you waited it out as you indulge in every bite.

The smoked salmon and horseradish cream just take the eggs over the top. We’ve served this to friends for brunch with some fresh crusty bread and they were very impressed. I decided not to tell them how incredibly easy it was to pull together.

All you need is a little patience…

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream

6 eggs (3 per person)

1 large leek, dark green tops removed

Olive oil

2 Tbsp sour cream (I used light sour cream, you can also use plain yogurt)

1 heaping tsp prepared white horseradish (or to taste)

Lemon zest (optional)

Smoked salmon (I used gravlax with dill)

Slice the leek in half lengthwise, run under cold water, separating the layers to clean out any dirt. Dry and slice into half-moon pieces.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream and horseradish. Add some freshly grated lemon zest and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend.

Add a good amount of olive oil to a large pan on medium heat and sauté the leeks for 10 minutes. You really want to cook them down to be soft and melty in consistency. You don’t want them to brown so watch the heat and keep them moving in the pan as you sauté.

Once the leeks are ready, lower the heat to a low setting and wait about a minute before adding the eggs, to bring down the temperature in the pan. Whisk the eggs one more time and then add them into the pan with the leeks.

The eggs now need to cook very slowly on that low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

You may get fed up but the final result is completely worth the effort, so keep on going… Don’t touch that knob!

Keep it on low and cook slow…

Using a soft spatula, keep moving the eggs around the pan in circular motions as they slowly cook. Let them sit undisturbed for a few seconds and then mix them around again. Repeat!

It takes a while before they start to transition from liquid form, but keep on cooking!

The eggs are ready once all the liquid cooks and the eggs are solid. You want them to be creamy so don’t overcook them to the point where they’re very firm and dry. You want them to be moist. Add salt and pepper just before you’re ready to plate.

Plate the eggs and top with pieces of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of horseradish cream and serve.

Tahini for Breakfast

8 Nov

I love the taste of sesame and have always been a big fan of tahini. For a long time though, I couldn’t figure out what else to do with it aside from slathering it onto falafel or other Middle Eastern dishes.

But after I experienced it for brunch at Edward Levesque’s Kitchen, my world was opened up to the possibilities.

They served it drizzled on top of fresh fruit and thick plain yogurt with date molasses and roasted granola. All I can say about that is YUM.  It was really tasty and it inspired me to try using tahini in different ways at home.

This past weekend I had a craving for waffles with yogurt and fruit (a weekend fave in our house) but I wanted something different than the sometimes overly sweet maple syrup we usually drizzle on top. So I whipped up a little maple cinnamon tahini sauce having no idea if it would work.

It was really delicious. And it made for a very filling and healthy breakfast. We usually buy Nature’s Path organic waffles and this time I used the ‘Maple Cinn’ flavor, which complemented the flavors in the sauce. I topped each waffle with a heaping spoonful of fat-free greek style yogurt, banana slices, fresh blueberries and a good amount of sauce.

Tahini is high in fat (just like nut butters) so you don’t want to use a ton, but it’s also a source of protein and iron so it’s a great breakfast addition.

Maple Cinnamon Tahini Sauce:

Tahini, about one heaping tablespoon

Maple Syrup (Real maple syrup! We love Canadian Heritage Organics Amber)

Cinnamon

Hot water

Add a heaping tablespoon of tahini into a small mixing bowl. Because tahini is very thick and pasty, you need to add some hot water to the bowl (a little bit at a time) and whisk well until you get a consistency that you like. It should be smooth but not watery.

Add maple syrup (as much or as little as you want) and a lot of cinnamon and whisk together to combine.

Anyone out there have any other unique ideas for delicious ways to use tahini?

 

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