Archives for March 2011

Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday y’all,
I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday because I sure am. I just love Sundays! To me, its the day of the week that allows me to unwind and relax and really reflect on the past week as well as prepare for the week ahead. On Sundays I usually wake up, eat breakfast, go to church, grab some coffee at my favorite local cafe, and then spend the rest of the day lost in the aisles of Whole Foods, gathering groceries to prepare food for the week. My Sundays are all-around wonderful, but I believe I have left out an important detail that is vital to making my Sundays spectacular: Sunday Brunch. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved Sunday Brunch. As a child, brunch usually consisted of going to Kelly’s or McDonald’s with family members (I just love me a Mickey D’s plain flaky biscuit, served piping hot with grape jelly). Then those brunches turned into pasta lunches at my grandmother’s house, then unfortunately, brunch seemed to disappear and become one of those special occasion meals, only celebrated on Easter or Mother’s Day. Luckily for me, I have kept brunch alive…it might just be my most favorite meal of the week. Fortunately, I live in Austin, Tx, where I have discovered that Sunday brunch is a celebratory event, and who wouldn’t want to celebrate brunch? Especially when you have mimosas! I have definitely made my rounds around the city to all the local diners and dives to have brunch, my favorite being a frittata stuffed with goat cheese, basil, and bursting with cherry tomatoes, served with a side of whole-wheat toast, strawberry preserves, and fresh fruit. I am telling you this frittata fills up my entire plate, and not to mention, is satisfyingly delicious. Anyway, instead of going out this Sunday I decided to make myself a little at home brunch! It’s pretty cold outside and I figured that I could sip my coffee from the inside of my cozy apartment and slowly prepare my brunch. Of course, I had to prepare my fave, a frittata loaded with fresh veggies (I did this using my awesome frittata pan that I suggest you all invest in: it will change your life), and to be extra extravagant, I decided to create a homemade basil-arugula pesto made with cashews. Might I take this moment to say that I am so proud of my pesto I could just cry…luckily I have leftover pesto which would pair great spread on some toasted french bread with a dab of ricotta cheese, but I’m just throwing that idea out there. I would pair this meal with a nice light side arugula salad and fresh fruit. Don’t forget the mimosas!!! O.J. and champagne, what a great combination! Anyhow, don’t let me take any more time from your Sunday. I hope that you take each Sunday and spend it with your loved ones! My advice: make them some brunch (possibly this meal, for example, but no pressure) and start a family tradition, or if you aren’t much of a cook, take them out to a brunch joint. All I have to say is Sunday Brunch: just do it!!!
P.S. Here are some brunch spots in Austin to get you started, whether you are a local or just visiting:
For the Vegetable Frittata:
extra virgin olive oil (I used a garlic-infused olive oil I found at Whole Foods)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 c. red onion, finely diced
1 10 oz. bag sliced baby portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
dash of italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
For the Basil-Arugula Cashew Pesto:
2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. fresh arugula leaves
2 cloves of whole garlic
1/4 c. raw cashews
1 Tbs. black pepper
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the Vegetable Frittata:
1. Heat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the garlic, onions, mushrooms, and basil and cook, allowing the vegetables to “sweat” down in the pan.
3. Once the vegetables are caramelized (lightly browned), add the italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
4. Whisk the eggs and egg whites together in a small mixing bowl and pour over the entire skillet.
5. Allow the frittata to cook on it’s own, this usually takes about 10-15 minutes, occasionally run a spatula around the sides of the pan to keep the frittata from sticking.
For the Basil-Arugula Cashew Pesto:
1. Place basil, arugula, garlic, cashews, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.
2. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.
3. Stir in the cheese using a spatula.
4. Spread over the frittata and serve.

Bibitty-Bobbity-Baba Ganoush! (Wordless Wednesday)

3 eggplants (I used two baby eggplants, and one large eggplant, you need about 1.5 pounds
4 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 whole lemon
1 Tbs. tahini
1/4 c. chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
dash of cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Using a fork, punch a bunch of holes in the eggplant and place them on the baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the eggplant looks “sunken” in or is very tender to the touch.
5. Remove the eggplant from the oven and allow to cool completely.
6. Using your hands peel the skin from the eggplant and scoop out the “mush” inside using a spoon.
7. Place the eggplant mush in a blender or food processor along with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and tahini.
8. Process until smooth.
9. Add salt and pepper, checking for taste and adjusting to your likening.
10. Pour the Baba Ganoush in a bowl and sprinkle with cumin.

Serve alongside a platter of fresh raw veggies or warm pita bread!