Tag Archives: breakfast

Butterscotch Apple Pie


Nothing says “holiday classic” like old-fashioned apple pie. I must admit, this was my second attempt ever at baking apple pie from scratch. Although it may seem intimidating, baking a pie is easy if you follow the instructions exactly. That’s the most important part of baking — so you can never skip a step.

This recipe, adapted from Gourmet Holiday, is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner party.  The best part: it only takes 45 minutes of active time, so you can spend the majority of your evening entertaining and relaxing. Also, don’t forget to wear a cute apron (mine came all the way from Sardinia) so that flour doesn’t end up on your new holiday dress.

Butterscotch Apple Pie

Serves 8

You will need:

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 1/2 lb mixed tart and sweet apples (about 7), peeled, cut into 6 wedges and cored

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Double recipe All-Butter Pastry Dough

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Extra equipment:

small pumpkin or leaf-shape cookie cutters (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425° with a baking sheet placed on middle rack.

2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then whisk in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Gently toss apples with sugar mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla and let stand 5 to 15 minutes to macerate fruit.

3. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining dough into a 13-inch round.

3. Transfer filling to shell. Dot with butter, then cover with pastry round. Trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang (reserve scraps). Press edges together to seal, then fold under. Lightly brush top crust with some of egg wash, then cut 3 (1-inch-long) vents.

4. Roll out dough scraps about 1/8 inch thick and cut out pumpkin or leaf shapes. Arrange decoratively on top of pie, pressing gently to help adhere. Lightly brush top crust and cutouts with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes more. Cool to warm, 2 to 3 hours.





Gingery Green Smoothie

Smoothies are the perfect breakfast or anytime snack. Loaded with nutrition, smoothies can be totally customized and prepared with little effort.

This smoothie, in particular, is one of my favorites because if its gingery zing and refreshing flavor. I also added spinach for extra nutrients (and I love the fresh green color!)

I like to use a mixture of frozen bananas with other fresh ingredients, so crushed ice is not needed (it makes smoothies watery). By using freshly frozen chopped bananas, I never waste fresh fruit and always have a great smoothie base on hand.

Gingery Green Smoothie

1 frozen chopped banana (buy fresh banana, chop, and put in the freezer)

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1 heaping tbsp chopped ginger

1 medium gala or fuji apple, cored and chopped (I like to leave the skin for flavor)

1 cup of almond milk (depends on your consistency preference; add more if needed)

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Using a blender, combine all ingredients until completely smooth. Enjoy!


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Sweet Potato Hash Tostada

This recipe came to me while grocery shopping, as I  planned out my Sunday brunch menu. I had zero plan in mind, but I must say…this one left a positive impression.

Sometime I just visualize recipes and they happen, miraculously. I was inspired by some Japanese sweet potatoes, and decided they would be perfect for a breakfast hash. The end result was a breakfast tostada topped off with a fried egg. It’s everything you want in your breakfast fare: hearty, healthy, and full of yummy textures that make this dish stand above the rest. I can’t wait to make it again next weekend. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash Tostada with Leeks, Ham and a Fried Egg

serves 4

You will need:

1 package organic corn tortillas

4 eggs

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes; peeled and chopped into small chunks (you could do this the night before to save on prep time; just seal in a large zip lock bag and store in the fridge)

2 large leeks; cleaned, trimmed and sliced into thin half moons

1 cipollini onion; diced (I still had some left from the farmers market; so delicious as they are sweet and mild)

1 cup grated Gouda cheese (more or less…depending on your health preference/love for cheese)

6 sage leaves; minced

2 ripe avocados; sliced into chunks

4 slices black forest ham; diced

3 tbsp chives; minced

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place peeled, chopped potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil to your liking. Add sage, sea salt and freshly ground pepper and toss. Place seasoned potatoes on lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. You will cook them a second time in the saute pan, so make sure not to overcook.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle olive oil. Add leeks and onion and stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until translucent and slightly brown. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Add ham and stir. Cook another 5 minutes, and add roasted potatoes. Cook potato hash another 15 minutes; and then transfer to an oven-proof baking dish. Turn oven down to 250° and place potatoes in oven to keep warm.

4. The last step is the most important, especially if you are hosting guests for brunch. This is where you fry the eggs perfectly and grill the tortillas over an open flame. Sound easy? It’s actually pretty simple once you try it out – and it will help your multitasking skills.

5. Build tostadas and serve. Start with flame grilled tortilla (just cook it over an open flame on the stove, turning a few times and making sure it doesn’t burn), and next add some of the potato hash. Then top with avocado, and add the fried egg (I like my eggs over-medium). Garnish with chives. Voila, breakfast is served!



Mediterranean Supper Club: Vegan Pistachio Tea Cakes

One of the many I reasons I love food is that it brings people together. I recently joined miss delightfulcrab‘s monthly supper club, which occurs on Sunday evenings. Different people take turns hosting the event, and the host chooses the theme: last weekend’s theme was Mediterranean (they have had other awesome themes like “favorite childhood meal” and “colors of the rainbow” and “thai feast”…the creativity goes on and on.)

Mediterranean basically means ANYTHING goes; as long as you can find it somewhere along the Mediterranean sea, you’re good to go! I decided to make Vegan Pistachio Tea Cakes from my favorite new cookbook (also featured in this recipe).

I knew it was a huge risk making something brand new for a group of people, but that didn’t stop me. As usual, it was a scramble to the finish (I felt like I was competing on Top Chef), but I made it on time and the cakes turned out pret-ty good. I bet you can’t tell they’re vegan. I totally recommend this for your next picnic/brunch/anytime. Snack away!

Vegan Pistachio Olive Oil Tea Cakes

You will need a mini-muffin or tea cake pan (makes cute mini bundt cakes), although a 9-inch cake pan works too.

For the cake:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

2/3 cup shelled pistachios (3 oz), toasted

1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy yogurt

6 oz soft silken tofu

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 orange

1 lemon

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

1/4 cup shelled pistachios (1 1/4 oz), toasted and chopped



1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Oil the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan, then line with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan and oil the parchment paper (or use baking spray with flour).

2. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground. But don’t over do it, or they’ll turn into nut butter.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yogurt, tofu, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until well combined.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Add to the tofu mixture and beat until well combined. Add the ground pistachios and beat again until incorporated.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester, bamboo skewer, or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool briefly, then invert into a wire rack ,remove the pan, and let cool completely.


1. Slice the orange and lemon in half, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Remove the seeds. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange, lemon, water, sugar, and Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat, cover and simmer until the fruit is soft and pliable and starting to break down, about 1 hour.

2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse repeatedly until thick and chunky. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cake. Garnish with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional – I couldn’t find them at the store) before serving.





Not Just Any Waffles

One of my favorite things about weekends growing up was the smell of Sunday morning breakfast. My parents, who are responsible for what I like to call my “food crazy”, were kind enough to make waffles or pancakes on Sundays and it was something my sister and I always anticipated with so much excitement.

This past Sunday was just one of those mornings that warranted a special homemade breakfast. For no reason in particular, I got the urge to make some waffles; but not just any waffles. I decided to turn up the heat on my child hood favorite and make this recipe: Pancetta and Cinnamon Waffles. I topped off my super delicious Sunday waffles with maple syrup and organic fresh peach slices. The combination of textures from the toasted walnuts, savory pancetta, and sweet peaches knocked this one out of the park. Sunday could turn into a very dangerous day of the week. ‘Til next weekend!




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Weeknight Frittata with Swiss Chard, Leeks and Roasted Fava Beans

I like to start my week with momentum. I feel like if you have a productive Monday, then the rest of your week can only get better. This past Monday, I finished off a long day with an evening run, and barely had the energy to cook. Somehow, I whipped up an impromptu dinner frittata, which took no more than 20 minutes, using ingredients purchased at the farmer’s market. I was really impressed with the results, since the effort was so minimal. This frittata is great because you can make it with any ingredients you like — and it’s pretty hard to mess it up. Yum!

Frittata with Swiss Chard, Leeks and Roasted Fava Beans

You will need:

6 eggs (that’s all I had; traditionally the recipe calls for 10 eggs, which yields a thicker frittata)

2 cups of sliced swiss chard (cut into big, lettuce sized pieces)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 small leeks, diced

1 large shallot, diced

1 cup roasted fava beans

2 tbsp thyme leaves

sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. Crack all 6 eggs in a bowl. Add thyme, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined. Set aside.

3. Drizzle olive oil in an ovven-proof, heavy-bottomed saute pan. Turn up heat to medium, and add shallots. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 – 5 minutes.

4. Add garlic and swiss chard; cook until chard is wilted, another 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside

5. Using the same pan, drizzle more olive oil, and add leeks. Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add cooked swiss chard, shallots and garlic, and cook another couple minutes.

6. Add eggs. Make sure to spread out completely in pan, and then add the fava beans. Every minute or so, lift up the sides of the eggs (like an omelette) with a flat spatula and tilt the pan so uncooked egg slides under the cooked eggs. This method ensures the eggs are cooked and the bottom of the frittata is crispy.Cook for about 10 minutes, or until just set on the bottom.

7. Finish off in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and fluffy. Serve with your favorite condiments. Easy dinner (or breakfast) is served!

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