Spring Brunch


One of our favorite meals of the year was an undeniable success.

Since our Easter plans were rearranged last weekend (Robert was tied up with a celebrity photoshoot, so I decided to drive home for some family time), we had a belated-Easter brunch with a handful of Philly friends and Robert's parents. We had tons of food, lots of wine and ended with a Frank Sinatra dance party. I think brunch should end with a Sinatra dance party more often. It's also worth mentioning our little victory with Miss Daisy. She can't quite handle a crowd yet, and is generally incredibly nervous around strangers. That being said, I didn't expect her to set foot near anyone voluntarily. But by the end of the afternoon she was quietly making her rounds and plopped down on the couch. I was so proud of our little rescue pup.

Now for the recipes. We kept the menu fresh and springy, with lots of small plates to get everyone started.  Our friend Lindsey made those adorable little rose cupcakes you see up there, and I've included a handful of recipes below. Happy Spring! 

Roasted Tomato Quiche
1 9-inch flaky tart crust, recipe below
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, divided
1 tbs fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. In a small bowl, toss tomatoes with olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes on an oiled baking sheet for approximately 15 minutes, or until well browned. Set aside.

Lower oven to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk to combine eggs and milk, Season with salt and pepper. Scatter half of roasted tomatoes and gruyere cheese onto bottom of quiche crust. Pour in the eggs and top with remaining cheese and roasted tomatoes. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until center has set.

Flaky Tart Crust
recipe from Martha Stewart

1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup ice water
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup, plus 5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

In a small bowl, mix together salt and water. Place flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs. Add the salt water mixture and continue pulsing until a dough has just formed but is not smooth.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Form each ball of dough into a round disk about 1" thick. Wrap each one with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, or overnight. Each half with accomodate a 9" pie plate.

When ready to use the dough, preheat the oven to 350°. Roll the dough out and cover the pie dish. Do not trim the sides past the edge of the pie dish, as they will shrink up when baking. To pre-bake the crust, cover the dough with parchment and place dried rice or beans on top. Bake for about 20 minutes and remove from oven. 


Radish Carpacchio with Broken Vinaigrette
1 large bunch radishes, cleaned
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Using a mandoline slicer or very sharp knife, slice radishes into thin rounds and place in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small nonreactive bowl, lightly whisk together olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper - whisking gently until dressing begins to mix but not emulsify. Pour dressing over radishes and toss to coat.

To serve, place a layer of radishes on a serving platter and top with avocado.

Warm Barley Salad with Sautéed Asparagus and Wilted Spinach

3 cups pearled barley, cooked
1 medium bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
2 cups fresh spinach
1 shallot, minced
2 tbs olive oil, divided
salt and pepper

In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil until shimmering. As skillet is heating, coarsely chop asparagus. Add to heated skillet with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add shallot and cook for about 1 minute more. Add barley, additional 1 tbs of olive oil and toss to combine. Reduce heat to low, add spinach and toss to combine again. Let spinach wilt, remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Herb Chicken Thighs
adapted from Martha Stewart

8 skin-on chicken thighs
8 chicken drumsticks
3 tbs olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Let chicken marinate for at least one hour, up to six hours.

Preheat oven to 400°. Divided between two rimmed baking sheets, roast chicken for 15 minutes. Rotate position of baking sheets in oven and top chicken with herbs. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165° when inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh.

Chive Waffle Tartine with Oyster Mushrooms and Leeks

My Favorite Waffles recipe- with chopped chives added
1 large bunch oyster mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped 
6 oz creme fraiche
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper 

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, warm olive oil until shimmering. Add leeks and mushrooms, season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms have softened and leeks become semi-translucent, about 5 minutes. Divide waffles into sections, let cool slightly. 

To serve, top waffle with a dollop of creme fraiche and a generous portion of leek and mushroom mixture.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake
recipe from Cooking Light

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs 
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided 
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3 tablespoons grated lemon rind, about 2 lemons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a bundt pan with cooking spray, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar evenly along the surface. To begin, combine grated lemon with lemon juice in a small dish and set aside. Combine baking powder, salt, baking soda and flour.

Place butter in stand mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, rind mixture, and lemon extract, beating until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture and 1 cup buttermilk alternately until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes until baked through. Cool on a wire rack. 

Lemon Buttermilk Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 

Whisk all ingredients until completely smooth. Pour glaze over lemon cake and serve. 

Blackberry Rosé Punch

1 bottle sparkling rosé wine
16 oz vodka
8 oz lime juice (from about 12 limes)
1 pint blackberries
4 oz St-Germain
6 oz simple syrup, chilled
Sparkling water

Using approximately 3/4 the pint of blackberries, add to simple syrup and muddle until the berries are crushed thoroughly. In a punchbowl, large pitcher, or two small pitchers, combine wine, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Mix gently to combine. Top with club soda, adjusting to desired taste (and booziness!). Serve over ice with additional blackberries.