Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Easter Brunch

Coming in a close second behind Thanksgiving, Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays. And since all of my favorite holidays are defined basically by the food I get to cook and eat, Easter is one of my favorite food days of the year. 

I always seem to bite off more than I can chew on Easter for some reason, so this year I wanted to keep it really simple. Spent the entirety of the morning trail running and then came back to cook for 8 people, so I needed an easy and relatively fast menu.

Here's how it shook out:
  • Tropical Fruit Salad
  • Egg Bake (using chickie eggs but not pictured because not technically vegan - which is actually a shame because it was DELICIOUS and one of my favorite things that I've made in a while. Inspiration here!) 
  • Strawberry Coconut Scones
  • Mixed Potato + Kale Hash
  • Grilled Asparagus w/Caramelized Onions
  • Roasted Beet + Hazelnut Salad

So simple and yet so satisfying! Also got up early Easter morning to fresh squeeze a pitcher of orange and a pitcher of grapefruit juices to make mimosas! That was a highlight, for sure. There are few things I love more than fresh squeezed grapefruit mimosas.

For the scones, I had left over strawberries and always have coconut in the freezer, so I essentially just used ingredients I already had with a simple scone base, utilizing coconut oil as the fat. You could easily make these with blueberries or raspberries or even marion berries. So many berries. So many options. 

Strawberry-Coconut Scones
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut 
  • 1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, make sure coconut oil is softened (either in the microwave or stove if it's not a warm day) and whisk in the coconut milk and maple syrup.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in the shredded coconut and strawberries.

These scones have a moister batter than some, so they are more suited as a drop-scone (vs. forming and cutting them). That was fine by me since my whole goal was to keep em' easy. 

Drop a spoonful of scone batter onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-14 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. 

Moving on! Hash time! The thing that I love about hash is it is probably one of the easiest, most difficult to screw up dishes ever and I have yet to meet a person who doesn't like a good hash. Hash is traditionally made using left over ingredients (greens, potatoes) and re-vamped with onion, garlic and spices - but then again hash is also traditionally made using meat so I'm just getting crazy here with my rendition. 

I never use or follow a recipe to make hash because it's always different and I always just make it to taste.

Essentially, I boil the crap out of a bunch of potatoes (I used a combination of white and red fingerlings and sweet potatoes) that I don't even bother to peel (the skins are the healthiest part!!) and then, in a large sauté pan or skillet, combine onions, leeks, garlic, carrots and whatever other base-veggies are accessible and cook them together with some earth balance and half a can of tomato paste for a few minutes. Then throw in some chopped kale and let that cook down for a minute or so. Drain the potatoes (they should be on the verge of mushy so that you can easily mash everything together) and chop them coarsely. Throw them in the pan and add some fresh herbs (I used cilantro and basil) as well as garlic powder, turmeric, thyme, lots of salt, fresh ground pepper and a tsp or two of liquid smoke. 

Mix everything together over low heat and viola! Hash. 

(Note: you could also add any of the following: beans, peppers, broccoli, lentils, field roast, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado... The list goes on!)

Next on the simple but delicious docket was the asparagus. Caramelized some onions in the oven for a good 15 minutes, tossed the asparagus (out of our garden and a friend's garden!!!) in a light coating of oil, drizzled some fig-balsamic vinegar over the top and then salt and peppered the crap out of it. Roasted in the oven for 25 minutes or so (just keep an eye on it and sample every so often). 
You can roast the beets at the same time. Just peel and chop them, coat them in oil and throw them in the oven as well. Toast up some (local) hazelnuts and toss everything together with some fresh cilantro and a balsamic reduction. 

You can't go wrong, really. As long as you know how to roast vegetables and you can get the right combination of spices and herbs, you are golden.

Easter brunch. Simplified.

Also. This happened on easter:

Thanks, Easter inventory.

Live long and prosper, loves. And don't let holidays too complicated.