Saturday, June 7, 2014

Strawberry-Almond Muffins + Father's Day Brunch Game Plan

Weekend breakfasts should be...what?  Laid back?  Slow?  Simple?  I'm not sure, but I do know they need to be delicious.  If you have someone to cook for, that's fine.  This would be lovely for Father's Day for family or friends.   If not, cook for yourself.  I often hear people say, "Oh, it's too much trouble to cook for just me."  (Or "us" if there are two.)  Au contraire.  It's simpler than cooking for a crowd and often more fun.  Hey, you get to cook things exactly as you'd like them.  And that's what breakfast is all about, right?  Everyone likes their eggs just so.  Yes!
Here's a basic brunch game plan for you or for you and a couple of favorite folks:

If it's possible, eat outside.  Set the table before you cook.

Menu:  Coffee, Breakfast cocktail, Eggs with Tomatoes, Bacon, Strawberry-Almond Muffins.
  Need more?  Add a big bowl of chopped fresh fruit or berries.  A pan of oven-roasted potatoes is another option for filling out the meal:

Begin here:  Make coffee.  Make mimosas or bloody marys.  

Next:  Get the muffins (scroll down for recipe) stirred together, into the pan, and into the oven.

 Get Cooking:   Make  a pan full of bacon.  You can have BLTs if you don't eat it all. (2 pieces per person.)

Egg Time:  5 minutes before the muffins are done, beat together some eggs with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and tip them into a large, heated skillet to cook thinly and quickly a la omelet.  (2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil per person)  (Or follow Gordon Ramsay's instructions here.)

Chop!  While they cook--fast like a bunny--chop up some tomatoes. (1 tomato for every 2 servings.)

With the eggs about half-way cooked, scoop in the tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Let them heat thorough for 30 seconds, and then...

Stir them together.  Taste and re-season, if necessary.  A little fresh basil might be a treat here. (I had none, but you might.) Don't overcook.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm if necessary.

When the muffins are done, bang the bottom of the muffin pan on the counter and turn it over so the muffins come out onto a rack.  Let cool a minute or two and...

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

    Enjoy your morning...      Here's the muffin recipe:

strawberry-almond muffins
makes 12      

Easy to cut recipe in half or just freeze extra muffins for weekday mornings.  Check out the stores or Good Will for 6-cup muffin tins.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack at center.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or canola oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced and toasted almonds, divided (half for batter-chopped, half for topping)
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Butter, for serving

In a small bowl, beat together the wet ingredients --milk, egg, extracts, melted butter -- until very well mixed. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, salt, baking powder. Stir in the mixed wet ingredients (milk mixture) and mix until just barely combined.  Gently stir in strawberries and the chopped/sliced almonds.

Using a greased large ice cream scoop or spoon, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.  Top each muffin with a few of the remaining sliced almond slices.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm and golden brown at the bottom and around the edges.  Holding pan at each side with both mitted  hands (or using potholders), bang the pan on the counter to loosen muffins and then tip pan over quickly onto rack.  If muffins don't come out easily, use a small sharp knife to go around the edge of each muffin.  After the muffins are cooled a bit, dust with powdered sugar, if desired.  Serve with butter.

Cook's Notes:  If you like the muffins sweeter, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup.  If you'd like more of an almond flavor, use 1 teaspoon almond extract and skip the vanilla.


Here's the proof copy of my new book --soon available on amazon!

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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