Category Archives: Sunday Brunch

Brick and Spoon

When Andy and I started making our travel plans for the Orange Beach weekend, I decided to do a little bit of recon on the local food scene. True to form, it was a mishmash of creaky old seafood joints, beach-y bars, and large scale chain fast food places. One place that really stood out to me was a brunch spot called Brick & Spoon. With the catch phrase “We’re allergic to boring breakfast” and a menu boasting such items as “Bananas in Pajamas” and “Café Beignets with Seasonal Marmalade”, I knew that this place I wanted to try. Andy and I went by ourselves on Saturday and liked it so much we talked our friends into going back again on Sunday.

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Since we went two days in a row, we got to sample a decent number of menu items (Café Beignets, Biscuit Plate w/Strawberry Marmalade, Shrimp & Grits, Oyster Bed, Breakfast Tacos, and Spinach Bacon Cheddar Omelet with Cheese Grits). Everything was awesome, and there wasn’t a single item we wouldn’t happily order again. Our friends had the Brioche French Toast, the Bananas Foster French Toast, Ham & 3 Cheese Omelet, and the Creole Omelet, and other than feeling like they needed stretchy pants, they liked the food too.

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I really do wish that this place was closer; I could see myself brunching there regularly. I guess it will have to remain one of those “special” vacation things for now. To commemorate the trip and indulge my inner tourist, I grabbed a coffee mug and a t-shirt on our way out. I regret nothing.


Best Muffins Ever…Well, Sort of

While our Easter Brunch wasn’t flawless, it was a lot of fun. Sorry there aren’t any pictures, I was running a little behind with the food and then everyone arrived and I didn’t give my camera a second thought.  Next time i’ll try to place my camera in a slightly more conspicuous location so I don’t forget.

I tried out a few new recipes, specifically quiche (which didn’t turn out half bad) and a recipe that claimed to produce the best muffins ever. I made a couple test batches and with some careful tweaking I ended up with some really great muffins. For flavor variations I chose to go with Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Chocolate Chip. Are they the best muffins I’ve ever had….probably not, but the are probably the tastiest oatmeal based muffins that I’ve ever made. Here’s the revised recipe.

One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins: Basic Recipe

Be sure to read the recipe all the way through before getting started. You will note that the oats soak in the milk 1 hour prior to assembling the rest of the ingredients, so take that into consideration before starting out.

Makes 12 medium muffins

  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
  • add-ins of your choosing (see above suggestions)

Combine buttermilk and oats in a large bowl and let stand one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a twelve-cup muffin tin and line with cupcake papers.

Crack the egg into the oat and milk mixture; add brown sugar and mix to combine. Stir in melted butter.

Sift remaining ingredients into the bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & spices. Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix.

Sprinkle add-in and flavorings of your choice and combine muffin batter gently.

Use a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake until light brown and tops spring back when gently touched, about 10-12 minutes. Note: Muffins will take slightly longer to bake if you are adding fresh fruit such as blueberries or rhubarb, closer to 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool in tins. To remove, run a sharp knife around the edges and pop muffins out. Enjoy!

*You may also substitute 1 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon white vinegar for buttermilk in the recipe.

Flavor Combinations:

  • 1 cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen & ½ cup Dark Chocolate, chunked or chips
  • ¾ cup Diced Apple (Granny Smith or Russet) and ½ cup toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup Dried Cranberries & ½ cup toasted Pecans, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup White Chocolate, chopped or chips & 1 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup toasted unsweetened Coconut & ¾ cup Peanut-Butter Chips
  • 1 cup diced Rhubarb, fresh or frozen & ½ teaspoon Green Cardamom, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup Dates, pitted and chopped & ½ cup Pistachios
  • ¾ cup Golden Raisins & ¾ cup grated Carrot
  • ¾ cup milk Chocolate Chips and an additional 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon

 

10 Tips to Making the Best Muffins Ever

  1. Start with ingredients at room temperature, eggs, milk, etc.
  2. Take care not to over mix the batter; use a flexible spatula to gently fold ingredients together.
  3. Batter should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if it seems runny, gently fold in a few extra tablespoons of flour.
  4. Use the freshest spices as possible when they are required.
  5. Grease the entire muffin tin, not just the holes. More often than not, the muffins expand over the sides, and if those sides have not been properly greased, you’re going to run into trouble when you try to remove the muffins.
  6. Fill muffin tins three-quarters full; the tops are the best part, so don’t be shy with the batter.
  7. Slide a baking sheet under the muffin tin to help prevent the bottoms from getting too dark in the oven. This also helps with cleanup in case there is overflow.
  8. Take care not to over-bake the muffins.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing them, especially if they contain soft fresh fruit.
  10. Enjoy them fresh. If you must, freeze them, although I prefer to freeze the batter (without add-ins), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake the muffins fresh in the morning.

 

Tips, images and original recipe without revisions from here.


Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch is one of the weekend activities I love best; it’s the perfect compliment to sleeping in and bumming around on the last day of freedom before a new work week starts.  Andy and I enjoy it so much that we are having a Sunday Brunch themed wedding.

Recently, Kool Beanz Cafe, one of the great restaurants only a few blocks from our apartment, started serving Sunday Brunch.  It is the perfect place to get delicious comfort food with a twist.  Yesterday, we dropped in on our way to meet our wedding planner. Andy got the most amazing pancakes with peach compote topped with marscapone and accompanied by candied bacon.  I ended up stealing some…okay almost all, of the bacon.

I went for a play on the southern classic chicken and waffles. Buttermilk tabasco fried chicken over a sweet potato pecan waffle with honey-chile syrup.   And all I can say is YUM!  We almost had to be rolled out of the restaurant, but it was so worth it.

*Pardon the photo quality we were having some technical difficulties, I’ll get some better shots next time