Thursday, February 28, 2013

IN THE MIX: Jazz Brunch with Poached Eggs & Cheddar Grits

Every Sunday we make a big brunch for our family.  It's the one time of the week we all sit down together for a *relaxing* meal (we eat dinner every night together too, but that is NOT relaxing).  And, as a benefit, the kids always eat their entire brunch, so there is no arguing about 'how many more bites.'  It's really fantastic.  

While we are making and eating brunch, we generally listen to a jazz mix.  It gives us the 'feeling' of going out to brunch without having to pay a check at the end.  

This past Sunday, we made some delicious Poached Eggs over Grits with a side of Wild Boar sausage (thanks Springfield Butcher!) while listening to some awesome jazz tunes.  I thought I would share it with you all so you can recreate your own jazz brunch magic!

Poached Eggs Over Cheddar Grits with Wild Boar Sausage   

4 links of wild boar sausage (or regular sausage)
2 cups of water
1 cup of chicken broth
3/4 cup of half and half
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of quick grits
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
3 eggs
Hot Sauce   

1.  In a cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, cook the sausage links for about 20 minutes until cooked all way through.

2.  Combine the water, chicken broth, half and half, and 2 tbl of butter in a saucepanBring to a boil. 

3.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Whisk the grits into the saucepan.  Allow to simmer about 10 minutes until thickened.   Remove from heat.

4.  Add the cheddar cheese and remaining 1 tbl of butter to the grits.  Cover with a lid to keep warm.

5.  Boil water over high heat in a deep skillet.  Before it comes to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium-high and add vinegar.

6.  Crack individual eggs into a small bowl and gently slide into the water.  

7.  Cook eggs in the pan for about 3 minutes (until whites form)... be careful that your eggs don't stick to the bottom of the pan.  (if they do, gently detach with a spoon).

8.  Once cooked, remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place over a pile of grits with the sausage.

9.  Sprinkle generously with hot sauce (or don't - it's up to you!)

10.  Now for the important part... break the yolk!  And enjoy with your jazz playlist below.

Jazz Brunch Playlist
This playlist was created by my husband.  Need to give credit where credit is due.  You can get this full playlist on Spotify.

Move - Rudy Van Gelder
Moving Out
Back at the Chicken Shack
Dat Dere
Cat Walk
I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face
The Core
Take Five
Soul Station
Blue Train
Root Down and Get It
St. Thomas
Blue Monk
I'll Close My Eyes
Nobody Else
Ruby My Dear
Blue 7
Come Rain or Come Shine - Take 2
Blue Rondo a la Turk   


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Butterscotch Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is a warm, delicious comfort-food type dessert.  Perfect for cold, winter evenings.  And it's a fantastic desert to serve if you are hosting a dinner party because you can make it the night before and cook it while you are eating.

This version of bread pudding features pecan and butterscotch which adds to the sweetness and gives the dessert a crunchy, candied texture.  Double yum.

1/2 lb of french bread
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of sugar + 1 tablespoon of sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons of bourbon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon of bourbon

1.  Cut up the french bread into cubes or tear bread apart into small pieces.

2.  Melt the butter in a small bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar.

3.  Drizzle the butter/sugar mixture over the bread pieces.

4.  Beat eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar with a blender on medium speed for about 3 minutes until fluffy.  

5.  Add vanilla, cream and bourbon to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk together until blended.

6.  Chop the pecans into smaller pieces.

7.  Add the bread pieces and pecans to the bowl with the eggs/sugar/vanilla/cream/bourbon.  Stir to mix ingredients together with a spoon until all the bread pieces are mixed in.

8.  Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish, cover with foil and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to soak bread.

9.  The next day, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes until golden brown.  While the pudding is cooking, make the butterscotch sauce.

10.  Butterscotch Sauce:  Bring brown sugar, syrup, and butter to a boil over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and until it becomes 'caramelized' - about 3 minutes.

11.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in cream and bourbon.  

12.  Let cool.  If necessary, cover and refrigerate, warming again prior to serving.  

13.  Cut a piece of the bread pudding, drizzle with butterscotch sauce.  Serve!