Brunch is one of the weekend's best assets, but people often think they must rely on the same old recipes, or else eat out, to enjoy it. Pastry chef and restaurateur Gand (Short and Sweet Dessert Deck) shows that plenty of brunch dishes, many of them even better than what is served at restaurants, are within reach. Gand, writing with Matheson (coauthor of Wine Mondays) starts with an enticing assortment of drinks (e.g., white hot chocolate and a three-alarm Bloody Mary), then a chapter on brunch's eggy foundations-omelets, stratas, frittatas, quiches and crêpes, each with appetizing variations-that will please any brunch crowd. In subsequent chapters, Gand hits the sweet and savory high points, from pancakes and doughnuts to onion tarts and cheddar grits. She amps up classics like French toast by using sliced almonds and ciabatta bread and transforms others, so that a bacon-scallion scone, for instance, comes out light and flavorful rather than resembling the usual floury hockey puck. She also mixes things up with less common items such as pretzels, pot stickers and a lemony wheat berry salad. Accessible instructions, basic preparation tips and make-ahead hints ensure that both beginners and those who think cooking brunch is too bothersome will find this volume to be inspiring. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Mealby Gale Gand, Ben Fink (Photographer), Christie Matheson
Every weekend is worth celebrating when you can relax over a good brunch. Food Network host, cookbook author, celebrated chef, and mother of three, Gale Gand has long made brunch a part of her life because it’s the easiest way to gather around the table with family and friends. Now, in Gale Gand’s Brunch! she shares 100 recipes for scrumptious brunch fare, all destined to become household favorites.
Traditional breakfast treats become inspired dishes when Gale shares how to effortlessly enliven the basics, like Iced Coffee with Cinnamon-Coffee Ice Cubes, Baked Eggs in Ham Cups, and Almond Ciabatta French Toast. In five mini-classes, she teaches how to master easy but impressive classic egg dishes–omelets, quiches, strata, frittata, and crêpes–with numerous variations on each. Finally, no cookbook by Gale would be complete without recipes for the wonderful baked goods she’s famous for, such as Ginger Scones with Peaches and Cream, Moist Orange-Date Muffins, Glazed Crullers, and Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake.
Special occasion or not, brunch is a cinch with Gale’s irresistible recipes. Start off the day with zesty Breakfast Burritos for the kids, or wow visiting in-laws with Poached Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt. Anyone will find Gale’s salads, soups, and sides delicious and simple, and with 60 color photographs, you’ll be enticed to try a new recipe every weekend. Wake up to a great weekend with Gale Gand’s Brunch!
Gand, pastry chef and co-owner of Chicago's acclaimed Tru restaurant, is also the host of Food Network's Sweet Dreams and author of several cookbooks. Here, she provides savory recipes as well as some sweet ones, including Bacon Waffles and Cheesy Cheddar Grits. Her style is engaging and the recipes mouthwatering. Highly recommended.
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Baked Eggs in Ham Cups
This dish is simple to make but very attractive—the pastry chef in me loves that. Lining muffin tins with ham serves two purposes: It creates an edible container for the eggs, and it adds flavor. You can replace the mozzarella with another kind of cheese if you want a stronger cheese flavor; using fresh mozzarella makes this an authentic Italian dish, but its flavor is quite mild. When you’re eating with guests, these are probably going to be knife-and-fork food—but when I was testing the recipe, I ate them with my hands, and that works too.
• 1 teaspoon unsalted butter for the tins
• Four 1/16-inch think round ham slices (the largest you can find at the deli)
• 1 teaspoon pesto, homemade or store-bought
• 8 large eggs
• Eight 1/4-inch cubes fresh mozzarella
• 4 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter 4 compartments of a metal muffin tin. Fold each ham slice into quarters, insert the point end in a buttered muffin cup, and let it open—it will have a ruffled look. Place ¼ teaspoon pesto in the bottom of each ham cup, then carefully crack 2 eggs into each cup. (Sometimes I crack my eggs into a pitcher with a pour spout or into a small paper cup and pour them into the ham cup from there.) Tuck 2 mozzarella cubes and two cherry tomato halves into each cup on top of the eggs, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember that the ham and pesto both lend saltiness to the dish.)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the egg white looks set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Remove the ham cups from the muffin tin and serve them in small bowls or lined up on a platter.
Meet the Author
GALE GAND is a James Beard Award—winning pastry chef and executive pastry chef and co-owner of the world-renowned Chicago restaurant Tru. She also is consulting pastry chef and partner of Cenitare Restaurants, LLC, which encompasses Osteria di Tramonto, Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood, and RT Lounge, all in the Chicago area. The host of Sweet Dreams, Food Network’s first daily show devoted to baking, she is the author of six previous cookbooks, including Gale Gand’s Just a Bite and Chocolate and Vanilla.
CHRISTIE MATHESON is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Glamour, Cooking Light, and the Boston Globe Magazine. She is the coauthor of Confetti Cakes and Tea Party.
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