Last week, I decided to make brunch. Sunday brunch. Easter Brunch, to be exact. For eight people. By Sunday afternoon, brunch was over and I felt hungover. I was sore. My head hurt. My eyes were all squinty, as if I were stoned. I was tired, deep down in my bones. You know the feeling, I’m sure. The Sunday morning after a crazy Saturday night party. That’s how I know I had a good time.
I partied hard this weekend.
My version of partying, anyway. I stayed up way too late and awoke way too early.
I was cookin’, man. I was making brunch.
When creating the menu, I knew I wanted a good mix of breakfast and lunch items that would pair well, but I also needed some traditional Easter dishes to blend into the table, and more importantly, our mouths.
Most of what I wanted to prepare wasn’t an issue. Of course, we needed freshly-squeezed orange juice. If you’ve never drank juice fresh from the orange, do it immediately after reading this entire post. It’s not the easiest task to get a pitcher full, it took us 4 bags of oranges, but my 8-year-old did it, with very little help from me, so you can too. Warning: Store-bought OJ will never quite measure up afterwards.
True Belgium Waffles with Pearl Sugar, fresh whipped cream and strawberries, a Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Quiche with Hashbrown Crust, and Honey Baked Ham were musts for us. And Lemon Sugar Crêpes with Whipped Cream Cheese fit the menu too. Deviled eggs, while not super breakfasty, are an Easter staple. I figured we could squeeze them in on a plate somehow.
My problem came in the form of carrots. I already had a 4-Layer Sprinkle Funfetti Cake planned, so carrot cake wouldn’t work. And I wanted to make Cheddar and Chive Scones, for a savory bread to counterbalance all of the sweet on the table, so carrot muffins were out too. I didn’t want to just place a bowl of cooked carrots on the table either, because who wants carrots next to their waffles?
So, naturally I stated scrolling through carrot recipes on Pinterest, and, Lo and Behold!.. CARROT BACON.
I found a vegetarian recipe that described how to make thin strips of carrots look and taste like bacon. I decided this would be the perfect accompaniment to our brunch.
You guys, carrots are not bacon. They do not look like bacon. They do not taste like bacon. They are carrots. Vegetarians cannot be trusted when it comes to bacon. Do not be fooled. #neverforget
So, here it is. Our Easter family brunch. Definitely try the Quiche and the authentic Belgium Waffles. But, everything was delicious. Except for that fake bacon. 💋
Listed below are links to the recipes and the actual recipes I used:
True Belgian Waffles with Pearl Sugar & Yeast from Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke
Author: Kristen Duke
Prep time: 45 mins Cook time: 15 mins Total time: 1 hour
3.5 cups flour
1 T dry yeast
¾ cup lukewarm milk
8 oz softened butter (2 sticks)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz. Belgian pearl sugar
optional toppings: whipped cream, fruit, chocolate/caramel sauce, light syrup
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.Gradually add all ingredients to the flour, except the pearl sugar. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size (I like to put it by the window or on a warm stovetop). This can take around 30 minutes. After the dough rises, add the Belgian pearl sugar. Divide the dough into small balls 3-4 ounces each. Bake in a heated and greased waffle iron. The melted sugar crystals will be very hot, so use tongs when handling.
This batch served my family of 6 well with a little leftover.
• • • • • • • •
How to make whipped cream in 30 seconds from Gimme Some Oven
PREP TIME: 1 MINUTE TOTAL TIME: 1 MINUTE
YIELD: 2 CUPS WHIPPED CREAM
A simple way to make homemade whipped cream with a hand blender.
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Stir ingredients together in a medium bowl or container. Use an immersion blender to blend for 15-30 seconds, moving the blender up and down to be sure that all of the cream gets mixed, until soft peaks form. Serve immediately.
• • • • • • • •
Spinach and Gruyere Cheese Quiche with Hashbrown Crust modified from Happily Unprocessed
Hash Brown Crust:
1 pkg frozen hash browns, thawed and dry
2 T butter, melted
Onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasonings, salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 c. red pepper, diced
1/4 c. green pepper, diced
1/4 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 egg whites and 3 whole eggs
1/2 c. 2% milk
1 1/2 c. Gruyere cheese, grated
1 pkg baby spinach
3-4 slices Canadian bacon, diced
For the Hash Brown Crust:
Spray a 10 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, egg and spices in a bowl and press the mixture in the pan, pushing up the sides.
Cook in a preheated oven at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until the hash browns are crispy.
For the Quiche:
In a small pan, over low-medium heat, add a T. of olive oil and sauté the onions, pepper and garlic for 8-10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese and bacon. Add the cooled onions and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and pour into the hash brown crust.
Reduce the oven to 350 and bake for 45 minutes, until set.
• • • • • • • •
Lemon Sugar Crêpes with Whipped Cream Cheese from Half Baked Harvest
prep time 30 minutes
cook time 10 minutes
total time 40 minutes
servings makes 10 crepes
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour or regular flour
3 tablespoons butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
warm honey for serving
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 lemons
Whipped Cream Cheese:
8 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the crêpes, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until well combined. Place the crêpe batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crêpes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the whipped cream cheese. Add the cream cheese and heavy cream to a mixing bowl. Using and electric mixer, beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Beat in the honey and vanilla until just combined. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
To make the lemon sugar, add the ¾ cup sugar and the lemon zest to a high-powered blender or food process and pulse for about 30 seconds or until the sugar is very fine. Stir in the remaining sugar.
Now lets make the crêpes. Heat a 12-inch non-stick pan. Add butter or cooking spray (I like to use cooking spray) to coat. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. Makes about 10 crêpes.
To assemble, spread the whipped cream cheese inside a warm crêpe. Dust with the lemon sugar and drizzle with honey if desired. Serve with berries.
• • • • • • • •
Roasted Garlic and Bacon Deviled Eggs modified from How Sweet It Is
yield: makes 18 deviled eggs
total time: 2 hours (a lot of down time)
2 heads garlic
18 large eggs
10 slices thick-cut bacon
10 asparagus spears, woody stems removed
1 pinch each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat!)
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the top off the heads of garlic and drizzle them with olive oil. Wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and place it in the oven to roast for 45 to 60 minutes. You want the cloves to be caramely and golden. Remove the garlic and unwrap it, allowing it to cool until you can touch it. You can do this a day or two ahead of time if you’d like!
To boil the perfect egg, place the eggs in a large pot and fill it with cold water. Bring it to a boil and let bubble for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the pot sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, place the pot in the sink and fill it with cold water to cool the eggs down immediately. You want the eggs to sit in cold water for 30 minutes or so, so you will need to dump the water and refill with cold water a few times. You can add some ice cubes too!
While the eggs are cooling, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook the bacon until crisp and all the fat is rendered. Place the bacon on a paper towel to drain the grease. Keep 1 to 2 tablespoons of the grease in the skillet (reserve the rest!) and throw the asparagus in the skillet. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook for 5 minutes, just until slightly softened. Turn off the heat.
After 30 minutes, peel the eggs and place them on a paper towel. Slice off a TINY piece of the fat bottom of the egg so it can “stand up.” Slice off the upper 1/2 of the egg to reveal the yolk (occasionally you might have to slice off more or less, it just depends). Gently scoop the yolk out of each egg with a small spoon, fork or knife, trying not to destroy the white in the process. This can be difficult, so do it patiently and gently.
Add the bacon slices to a food processor and pulse until it is in crumbles. It may stick together and be paste-like, which is fine because it will stick to the eggs better! Remove the bacon and place it in a bowl. Do NOT clean out the food processor! Add the egg yolks, mayo, yogurt, mustard, salt, pepper, and roasted garlic cloves (squeeze them out of the bulb) to the food processor. Add in a drizzle of reserved bacon grease if you have it, like 1 to 2 teaspoons. Blend until smooth and creamy and mousse-like. Scoop out the mixture and spoon it (or pipe it with a pastry bag) into the open egg whites. Top the yolk mixture with a sprinkle of the crumbled bacon, pressing it gently to adhere. Add some blue cheese crumbs. Slice the asparagus in half if needed (you’ll need to cut it to get 18 pieces and I recommend doing it AFTER cooking) and stick it down in the eggs. Sprinkle on smoked paprika! Sprinkle on chives! Serve it. Eat it. Done.
*I omitted the bleu cheese and asparagus. I didn’t think those ingredients would mesh with brunch.
• • • • • • • •
Cheddar and Chive Savory Scones from Laughing Spatula
By: Kathi at LaughingSpatula.com
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter
3 large eggs 2 for scones and one for egg wash
2/3 cup buttermilk or 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2/3 cup milk-mix and sit for 5 min until thick
2/3 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions in a pinch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or food processor.
Whisk 2 eggs and combine with the buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
Stir in the cheddar and chives and mix lightly. The dough will be sticky.
Turn the sticky dough out onto a well floured board and knead lightly. Cut dough in half. Roll each half into a circle…about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each circle into 4 wedges.
Whisk remaining egg in a small dish and brush on top of the scones.
Let the scones rest for about 10 minutes before baking (you will get a higher, fluffier scone as the baking powder activates)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
• • • • • • • •
Psst… that cake was just two Pilsbury Funfetti cake mixes, with 4 cans of cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Sometimes I take the easy way out. Don’t tell anyone.
Text and images © Jennifer Crouch