Viewing entries in


Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

I love breakfast.  Have I mentioned that before?  Not only is it increasingly evident that it truly is a "most important" meal, but it highlights two of my favorite foods - eggs and bacon!  Funny thing... this sandwich has both.

The composition is really simple, so the key is choosing the very best ingredients.  My sandwich started out with Marczyk's ciabatta, which is hand-made using local, organic flour and is incredibly delicious.  I also used Niman Ranch bacon, farm-fresh Penny's Eggs from Nunn, Colorado, and a peppery, flavorful, savory mix of microgreens.  What in the heck are these microgreens I am speaking of, you ask?  For those that don't know - they're the baby-est of the baby lettuces.  They start as the seeds of various herbs and vegetables (such as cilantro or beet) and are harvested when the leaf is about two inches tall.  They are often intense in flavor and are also highly nutritious, not to mention cute-as-a-button and a fun way to make just about any dish prettier.  If microgreens are difficult to find, arugula is a good substitute and is pretty widely available.

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich
makes one

1 small (8" or so) loaf Ciabatta, or other good-quality fresh bread
1/4 of a ripe avocado
3 strips bacon, fried crisp and fat reserved
1 egg
1/4 cup microgreens (or baby lettuce greens)
salt and pepper, to taste

Slice bread in half, lengthwise.  Mash the avocado with a fork and spread on one side of the bread.

In a small pan, add about 2 tsp of the reserved bacon fat and heat over medium-high.  When fat is hot, add egg and fry until the white's edges are crispy and golden, about 5 minutes.  Layer bacon, fried egg, and microgreens on your bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Slice in half and enjoy.



Buttermilk Scones, trial 1 (aka the Quest for the Perfect Buttermilk Scone)

I'm guessing most people resolve to bake less when the year is new, but not this gal!  I've decided that 2013 is the year I perfect my buttermilk scones.  Why, you ask?  Because scones are really delicious and I drink a lot of coffee and tea!  And because why not?

So this is trial 1.  This recipe was adapted from Beth Dunn's Proper British Scones.  While it is apparently more English to make your scones by rolling out the dough and cutting them like biscuits, I still prefer molding my dough into disks and cutting the scones into wedges.  Good scones can only come from dough that is handled properly and I find myself far less likely to over-handle the dough if I form it rather than roll it out.  I also have the compulsive need to sprinkle raw demerara sugar on my scones and that's probably not properly English, either.  But no matter!  The goal is not to make authentic English scones, but to make my best version of a buttermilk scone.  I will insist, however, that  you serve these with clotted cream, which can be found at Marczyk's for all you Denver-Dwellers, or even crème fraîche if you can't find the clotted stuff (I know that might sound weird to all you Americans out there that are used to buttering your scones... but trust me on this!).  Lemon curd is always a delicious choice when talking about scone accoutrements.  Also, serve these scones with the best-quality jam that you can get your hands on!  Preferably some made by a local artisan, like Dagstani & Sons, or perhaps just the adorable little old lady down the street.  

Buttermilk Scones, trial 1
makes 12 small scones

2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 lb. butter, diced and chilled
2/3 cup 2% buttermilk (cream top, if available)
1 egg
demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add butter and work with your fingers until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together (just a few swift motions should do it - be sure not to over-work your dough).

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface.  Divide into two and gently knead the first batch until the dough becomes just-smooth.  Form into a disk.  Repeat with second batch and place disks on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet.  Using a knife or dough scraper, cut disks into 6 wedges.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg with a splash of buttermilk.  Brush disks with your egg wash and sprinkle generously with the demerara sugar.  Place in the 425 degree oven and bake until just golden, about 15 minutes.


1 Comment

Aged Cheddar Scones

A good scone can be hard to come by, these days.  I am rarely satisfied by the over-sweet, cakey varieties that are available in supermarkets and don't even get me started on the frosted abominations they sell at most coffee shops.  To me, a good scone should be light, crumbly, and not the least bit cakey in texture.  It should be moist enough to have a tender bite but dry enough to crumble.  No frosting allowed!

These scones are of the savory variety and make a wonderful accompaniment to soups and stews.  I also tried mine with a little Sicilian Lemon Marmalade (available at Marczyk's and WELL worth the high price tag!) for a hint of tangy sweetness and it was just delicious.  The cheese I used was Nakhu Cheddar from Windsor Dairy, where they produce old world cheeses from raw, grass fed milk.  Any dry, sharp aged cheddar will do here but if you live in Colorado, give the Windsor Dairy cheese a try!

I assembled these scones like drop biscuits, gently forming the dough into balls and pressing it into little disks.  This enables you to form scones without handling the dough very much, which results in a wonderful, crumbly texture.  Make sure to monitor your moisture levels with this dough - I used a very thick sour cream, so if using a runnier cream you may not need the extra water.  As long as there's just enough liquid to help the dough barely hold together, the end result will turn out just right!

Cheese Scones
makes about a dozen

1 1/2 cups grated sharp aged cheddar
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
6 T butter, diced and chilled well
6 T sour cream
3 T water
1 tsp salt
3 eggs

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together.  Add butter and cut with a pastry blender (or blend with your fingers, working quickly) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add cheese, sour cream and 2 of the eggs, lightly beaten, and mix until just combined.  If dough doesn't come together, add extra water one tablespoon at a time.

Make an egg wash by whisking the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water or milk.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half and set one half aside.  Press the dough into a disk about 2 inches thick and repeat with the remaining dough.  Place the disks on a large baking sheet.  Score each disk into six wedges and brush with egg wash. Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately and store at room temperature for up to three days.

For drop-biscuit style scones, simply form dough into 12 small balls and gently pat down to form a disk.  Brush with egg wash and bake according to above instructions.

1 Comment


Martha's Apple Scones, Colorado-Style

I love Fall.  Have I mentioned that before?  (I know I've mentioned it before).  I love the cool, crisp weather, the vibrant, colorful leaves on all the Aspens, and most of all... the produce!  So, in celebration of the beginning of my favorite season, here's a recipe that features one of my favorite fall fruits - apples.

While apples are really wonderful in their natural state, when you have a lot of them it's nice to incorporate them into recipes!  I had so many apples on hand from my Grant Family Farms CSA fruit share that I decided to track down this wonderful recipe from Martha Stewart.  These scones are moist but still crumbly and just sweet enough to feel like a treat.  The oats lend a little chewy texture and add a heartiness to the scones.  I tripled this recipe, brought 2 batches to Marczyk's to share with my co-workers, and the third batch I threw in a plastic bag and stuck in the freezer.  Pretty good way to get through almost a dozen apples, am I right?

Martha's Apple Scones, Colorado-Style
makes 12 scones

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups diced apple (3 small apples, peeled)
2/3 cup cold buttermilk, plus more for brushing
Raw turbinado sugar (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter apart until a crumbly texture results and no butter pieces are larger than the size of a pea.  Add apples and buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.  Divide the dough into two equal portions and sprinkle with flour so that the dough won't stick.  Flatten each portion into circles about 1 1/2 inches thick (about the diameter of a salad plate).  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and, using a knife or a dough scraper, score each circle of dough into six equal wedges.  Brush the tops of the scones with a little buttermilk and generously sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake until just golden, about 25 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature with jam and clotted cream.



Apricot-Almond Flaugnarde with Brown-Butter Apricot Glaze

Growing up in the central valley of California, almost everybody we knew had a fruit-bearing tree at their house.  My parents grew pomegranates, plums and citrus (not to mention a garden lush with tomatoes, garlic, squash and a lot more) but I always looked forward to the days when we'd swap something out for a big bag of apricots.  Those sweet little gems were and still are among my favorite things to eat with their peach-like sweetness, soft texture and fuzzy skin.

We've been getting apricots by the bagful from our CSA and they are delectably ripe and sweet.  I save the firmer ones for eating by themselves.  The softer ones are better for cooking - anything from jams and chutneys to meat marinades or desserts.  Apricot adds a bright, summer sweetness to a huge diversity of recipes.

Lately I have been experimenting with different ways to make Flaugnarde.  Some of you may be more familiar with the dessert called Clafoutis, which is traditionally made with cherries (if you really want to make it authentic, un-pitted cherries).  The same method applied to any other fruit is Flaugnarde and if you are a fan of fruit-forward and only slightly sweet desserts, this recipe is definitely for you.  The egg batter puffs up like a souffle as it bakes and then sinks down again as it cools to create a firm, almost custard-like texture.  By itself, it's lightly sweet and eggy with lots of crunchy almond.  With the rich and fruity glaze it becomes a rather elegant dessert.  Have the leftovers without the glaze for breakfast the next morning, as this dish will only keep for a day or so.  But let's face it, we probably would have finished the leftovers in one day, anyway! 

Apricot-Almond Flaugnarde with Brown Butter Apricot Glaze
serves 6

3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 T butter
2 1/2 cups ripe apricots, sliced into small wedges
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp almond extract

3 T salted butter
1 cup ripe apricot halves
agave or honey, to taste

Heat the oven to 375.  Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Keep the oven on and set almonds aside.

Butter a 9" pie pan or square baking dish and arrange apricot slices on the bottom of the dish.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar with a whisk.  Beat in the eggs, then gradually add the half and half and almond extract, whisking until smooth.

Pour the batter over the apricots and sprinkle the almonds over the top.  Bake in the 375-degree oven for about 45 minutes.  Allow to cool at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Add the butter to a small pan over medium-high heat.  Cook the butter, stirring often, until foam subsides and the butter solids get toasted and brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Add apricots and cook, mashing the fruit with a wooden spoon, until they gently caramelize on the outside, about 5 minutes.  Add a splash of agave or honey and puree mixture with an immersion blender (if your apricots aren't super-ripe you may need to add a little water to thin the glaze).  Taste and add more sweetener if necessary.  If you like it on the less-sweet side it will amount to about 3 T of sweetener.