Tag Archives: brunch

herb-parmesan dutch baby recipe

herb-parmesan-dutch-baby-slice

Brunch on Sunday is my favorite meal of the week. Unless someone is craving dim sum, we rarely go out. Instead, I scour the fridge for anything edible and create a gleeful explosion of pots and pans in our own kitchen.

This morning, I was inspired by my Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which features a recipe for a gingerbread dutch baby. That was an adventure in itself. We’re not really sweet-breakfast people. Sometimes we eat pancakes, but mostly our brunches are eggs and bacon and toast. But I pulled out my cookbook, which hasn’t yet failed to impress us, and 25 minutes later my oven gave birth to a gingerbread dutch baby.

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

As promised, it was tasty. We loved the texture – a little crispy, a little custardy – and it was a perfect cross between a pancake and crepe. Not bad. But I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I took that sweet little baby and made it savory. There are so many options because it’s spring. Just last night while walking my dog, I swiped a few branches of rosemary from a neighbor’s giant front-yard bush. Fresh herbs would be the perfect addition to the dutch baby. Parmesan would help it grow up a little.

So I riffed on the book recipe. I omitted the molasses, brown sugar, and spices. Instead, I used herbs and grated Parmesan cheese. And during the butter-melting stage, during which the pan and its sides are coated in the stuff, I sauteed a little minced shallot for flavor and texture. The pancake came out of the oven puffy, with high crispy edges.

puffy_herb_parmesan_dutch_baby

Almost immediately, though, it sank into submission on the plate. I sprinkled it with a little bit of grated cheese and minced herb.

whole_herb_parmesan_dutch_baby

Then we dug in. It was everything that I’d dreamed of. That perfect crunchy-custardy texture was enhanced by little nuggets of crispy shallot. And the flavor was everything I’d hoped it would be: bright from the herbs, deep from the cheese. I will absolutely be making this again and I hope you give it a shot, too.

herb_parmesan_dutch_baby_bite

Herb-Parmesan Dutch Baby

(adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman)

2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup milk
40 grams flour
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc) or 1 tablespoon dried herbs
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat your oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the salt, pepper, Parmesan, milk, and flour. Whisk until well-combined, then stir in the herbs. (Alternatively, you can do this in a blender).

In a 9-inch sauté pan, melt the butter over high heat. While it’s melting, add the shallot. Be sure to brush the sides of the pan with melted butter. When the butter is fully liquid and the shallot is beginning to sizzle, add the batter.

Pop the whole thing in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with fresh herb and a little more Parmesan. I thought the pancake was custardy enough that it didn’t need sauce, but you could also serve it with a little bit of whipped cream cheese or creme fraiche.

thai temple: Tampa’s most unique brunch?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Tampa, Florida. It’s a beautiful city with lots of wonderful memories for me. After all, my best friend lives there and whenever I visit it’s a great time. I met Xavier in Tampa – while visiting said best friend, actually – and lived with him there for four months before we made the move to Atlanta. I was job-hunting the entire time, but unemployment left lots of time to explore the city. I guess what I’m saying is, I know Tampa fairly well. But I’d never heard of Thai Temple before our most recent trip.

I am so glad that changed.

So, what I’m referring to as Thai Temple is actually called Wat Tampa. For whatever reasons, my friends in Tampa call it Thai Temple and I’m sticking to that for sentimental reasons. Basically, it’s a Buddhist temple that opens itself up into a marketplace every Sunday. A variety of vendors set up shop, and for nominal donations to the temple, you can enjoy anything from soup to curry to orchids to a watermelon-carving class.

You leave Tampa proper, drive around the bay, and go through what seems to be a residential neighborhood. After you park, this is what you see:

The first building you see after parking

The first building you see after parking

If you care to meditate after stuffing yourself stupid with delicious food, this is where it happens. I didn’t check out the action this visit due to time restraints, but one of these days I will.

So there are a couple of buildings next door, and vendors set up their wares all around. The cooking happens out in the open. If you want fried bananas, you can follow those bananas from the peel to the oil to your dish.

IMG_3143

Fried banana vendor

We opted to get some spring rolls first. Maybe they’re not the most authentic of fares, but I can’t resist spring rolls. Perfect ones have a flaky crunchy exterior that yields to tender filling. Maybe it was because we were incredibly hungry and eating them in line, but these fit the bill.

Spring rolls, waiting to be demolished

After the fires of hunger had been tampered by delicious spring rolls, we moved into line for the most popular item: noodle soup. Everyone got the same broth and fish balls, but you could customize the toppings and noodles in your bowl. We stuck to roast pork and medium noodles for a standard experience. Garnished with chile sauce and washed down with Thai tea, it was a perfect brunch. One item I might not have enjoyed – fish balls were surprisingly tasty. They were the texture of fluffy matzoh balls with a faint taste of the sea. The soup was closer to pho than any Thai soup we’ve tried previously. I’m not complaining.

Before we sat down to eat, we put in an order for a special dessert. More on that later, because we were informed that it would be a 45-minute wait! Aly labeled a styrofoam box with her name. The vendors placed it in the long pile of boxes to be filled.

Noodle soup and Thai tea.. perfect brunch

Noodle soup and Thai tea.. perfect brunch

As nice as it was to sit and eat overlooking water and palm trees, we got up to explore a little more.

A meal with a view

A meal with a view

There was lots to see. We sampled a new fruit: the longan nut. Here it is whole.

longan_nut_whole

Then you peel it…

longan_nut_peeled

Then take a bite, but watch out for the seed inside!

longan_nut_seed

Texture-wise, it’s like a cross between a soft grape and a lychee. It’s sweet but not overwhelmingly so. The longan nut vendor also offered watermelon carving classes. While I did not partake, here’s some of her work.

carved_melons

Finally it was time to pick up our dessert! I was very intrigued about this coconut-scallion concoction, especially since there was a 45-minute wait to get some. When we arrived at the stand, there were still a few people ahead of us in line, so I spent some time watching the vendors make the dessert.

They started with a big iron tray, full of wells. This contraption rested atop a flame.

thai_dessert_pot

The vendors poured a blend of fermented coconut milk and sliced green onions into the wells. One lady led the way with a teapot, followed by her partner who ladled batter to complete each portion.

thai_dessert_ladling

After the pan was filled, they covered them with heavy domed lids. After the treats browned on the bottom, they were flipped and covered again.

thai_dessert_pots

A few minutes later, the vendors plucked fully formed cakes from the tray. They filled our labeled tray and we brought the goodies back to the table.

Dessert served

Dessert served

These were tasty morsels indeed. The skins were crispy but inside, the batter had cooked into a scallion-studded custard. Surprisingly, the sweet coconut went perfectly with green onion. It was impossible to stop with just one bite. Now I know why we waited so long for these!

Thai Temple is definitely on my list for favorite brunch spots in Tampa. Although it gets a little crowded, the food, prices, and variety were worth the minimal jostling.

shrimp and grits with smoked sausage recipe

This photo makes me hungry…

Now, y’all know that I live in Atlanta. I’m still a Northerner at heart – you’d be hard-pressed to find a Southerner who loves hockey as much as me. But after more than two years here, I’ve adapted quite well to my new home. Let’s just say I recently attended a country concert in cowboy boots, and it felt completely natural.

One thing that the South is known for is a down-home dish called shrimp and grits. You can find it on the brunch menu of many restaurants down here. I’m not the biggest fan of grits, as a rule, but shrimp are one of my favorite things. And for some reason, when I was out to brunch a few weeks ago, shrimp and grits kept calling to me from the menu. Its voice was louder than that of the crabcake benedict, so I acquiesced. Man, was it good. The shrimp were perfectly tender and flavorful, but the grits almost stole the show. Studded with bacon and cheddar cheese, they were so much more than a foundation for seafood.

When I came across some yummy Georgia shrimp at the butcher shop, the idea to make my own shrimp and grits popped into my head. But instead of bacon, I wanted to use sausage. Some of y’all (yeah, I said y’all! This is a Southern post, after all) know about 37 Cooks, a fun group I was lucky enough to join a few months ago. Well, that group was recently sponsored by Teet’s Food Store down in Louisiana. They sent us a whole bunch of delicious sausage. My family has enjoyed it so much that was a no-brainer to incorporate that. And while many recipes call for cheddar cheese in the grits and green onions on the shrimp, I used Emmenthaler and chives. It worked so well that I just have to recommend that combination.

Grits are incredibly fast and easy to prepare, and so are shrimp. Be sure to cook them quickly over high heat; that’ll keep them tender. This brunch comes together so fast that you’ll want to have the mise en place set up before you even turn on the stove.

Shrimp and Grits with Smoked Sausage
serves two
Ingredients
1/2 cup grits
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Emmenthaler cheese, shredded
4 ounces smoked pork sausage, sliced into coins (Teet’s is very good)
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about eight big ones)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Salt to taste
Method
In a small saucepan, prepare 1/2 cup of grits as directed on package.
Meanwhile, in a small saute pan over medium heat, cook sausage slices until crisp and fat has rendered. Remove and reserve, keeping as much fat as possible in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp. Be careful to cook until just done – a couple of minutes per side until they curl and are opaque. When the shrimp are finished, add all at once the parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Stir a couple of times to coat the shrimp, then take the pan off the heat.
When the grits are finished, stir in the butter, cheese, and sausage.
Serve by plating the grits and arranging shrimp on top.