April 2021 Brunch Menu

In honor of the 75th Annual Edgar Awards, we read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. 
 

Almond Flour Brownies


Ingredients:
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-process or natural)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8" square pan or 9" round pan; either should be at least 2" deep.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa, and eggs.

3. Stir in almond flour and baking powder.

4. Scoop batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges.

5. Bake brownies for 33 to 38 minutes, until the top is set; and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or nearly so, with perhaps a few wet crumbs, or a tiny touch of chocolate at the tip of the tester.

6. Remove brownies from the oven and cool them for about 15 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Cheeky Mint Tea 

Add 1oz peppermint schnapps and a tsp honey to a steaming mug of your favorite green tea. Milk of your choice is optional.

March 2021 Brunch Menu

Masala Omelette

All amounts in this recipe are to taste.

Ghee or butter or oil
Cumin
Onion, chopped
1 egg
Cilantro
Salt
Chili Powder
Turmeric
Garam Masala
Chilis - optional
Cheese of your choice
  • Start by melting ghee in pan over medium heat.
  • Add in cumin and cook for a minute, then add onion.
  • Let this cook for a couple minutes.
  • While onion cooks, beat egg with salt, cilantro, chili powder, turmeric, and masala.
  • Add chili to pan if using.
  • Add egg mixture and allow to cook for a minute.
  • Add in cheese.
  • Once cheese starts to melt, fold omelette.
  • Allow to cook for another minute, then serve and enjoy!

Bombay Sunrise

3/4oz coconut rum
3/4oz Bombay Sapphire or other gin
2oz moscato
1 1/2oz mango nectar 
1/4oz lemon juice
1/2oz chai syrup*
1dash angostura
1 egg white

Shake ingredients vigorously. Add ice and shake some more! Stain into a glass of your choice. Garnish with cinnamon and lemon peel. Bonus points for edible flowers!

*Chai Syrup recipe.
Brew a chai of your choice. Brew is strong.
Mix 1/2cup string chai with 1/2cup sugar. Optionally add a cinnamon stick, a couple allspice berries and a couple whole cloves. Simmer for about 5 minutes ensuring the sugar is all dissolved. There’s your chai syrup! It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Feb. 2021 Brunch Menu

Breakfast at Celie's

A full breakfast of Pancakes, Biscuits, Grits, Eggs, and Bacon! It's hard to improve on classics.

Pancakes
(This is the recipe for the tapas pancakes from another book club meeting so they don’t have to be small. They’ll yield a couple bigger pancakes.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
  • cinnamon to taste

Recipe: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. Once well combined, fold in dry ingredients. Grease a skillet. Working in batches, drop batter by tablespoonfuls into the skillet and cook on medium heat. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and a few have popped then flip to finish cooking. Clean skillet and re-grease between batches.

Grits

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Stone ground grits
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2-4 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream (if you want them extra creamy)
  • Salt to taste

Recipe:
Add half and half and water to a large pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Add some salt to liquid. Once liquid starts boiling, briskly stir in grits and bring heat down to low and cover with lid. Cook according to instructions on back of package (about 20 for stone ground) stirring twice during this time to maintain smoothness. They should be completely tender and thick. Once ready, stir in butter, heavy cream (if using/ this will make them super creamy but check notes for tips) and season with salt to taste. Notes: Regarding the heavy cream, this makes the grits even creamier. If your grits are super creamy already after adding the butter then omit this however add 1 tablespoon at a time until you have reached your desired consistency for the grits and desired creaminess. These can also be done with Quick grits in a pinch. It takes about 5 minutes to make.

Buttermilk Biscuits:

Ingredients:
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for hands and work surface
  • 2 Tablespoons aluminum free baking powder (yes, Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold (see note)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) cold buttermilk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • optional honey butter topping: 2 Tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Cut/pulse until coarse crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk and drizzle honey on top. Fold everything together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy and crumbly with some wet spots. See photo above for a visual.
  • Pour the dough and any dough crumbles onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. The dough will become sticky as you bring it together. Have extra flour nearby and use it often to flour your hands and work surface in this step. Using floured hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle as best you can. Fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough horizontally. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle again. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough horizontally one more time. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Repeat the folding one last time. Flatten into the final 3/4 inch thick rectangle.
  • Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll scraps until all the dough is used. You should have about 8-10 biscuits. Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (see note) or close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching.
  • Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, brush warm tops with optional honey butter, and enjoy warm.
  • Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Fry up some bacon and eggs to your preference!
 

The Color Purple Cocktail

Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 oz London Dry or Old Tom Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz real Cranberry Juice
  • 3/4 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Sparkling Prosecco or Ginger Beer to top
Instructions: Add ingredients (except topper) to shaker. Add ice a shake until chilled. Strain into a coup or champagne glass. Top with 1/2 - 1 oz of either the Prosecco or the Ginger Beer.

Jan. 2021 Brunch Menu

Dark Matter Galaxy Glazed Donuts

Ingredients:
  • 6 Tbsp (90 ml) water
  • 5 oz buttermilk (150 ml) at room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature
  • 2 oz (57 g) butter, melted
  • 16 oz (454 g) all-purpose or bread flour*
  • 2 oz (57 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (5 g) regular or quick-rise yeast (one and a 1/2 teaspoons)
  • oil for frying
*use a scale for best results

Instructions:

Place dry ingredients in a bowl. Put 6 Tbsp of lukewarm water in a cup and sprinkle the yeast on top, set aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to react (you can add a pinch of sugar to help it). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk, egg, melted butter and yeast mixture.

Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or use a stand mixer with a dough hook until a dough forms then continue for about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside until at least doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Once  dough has doubled in size, place it on a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough into 16 equal amounts (best to weigh).

Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and place on parchment or waxed paper pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Put the tray in the oven (turn it on for 1 minute, SET A TIMER, then turn it off again, just to make it barely warm).

Next, boil some water and pour it into a measuring jug. Place the jug of water in the oven with the tray of doughnuts (this will create steam will keep a skin from forming). Let these rise in the over while you do the next step, about 30 min.

Heat oil to about 350ºF (180º). If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil with a doughnut hole: if it doesn’t start frying immediately, the oil is too cold, if the hole turns brown right away, the oil is too hot. Adjust the heat accordingly.

Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil using the paper to carefully lower them into the oil. Turn them over as soon as they become golden brown on the underside, and remove them and place on a paper towel lined platter once they are ready.

Glaze Ingredients:
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 squeeze vanilla bean paste
  • 4 (0.65-ounce) bottles high pigment food coloring in purple, electric pink, navy blue, super black
     
Glaze Instructions: 

To make the glaze, combine icing sugar, milk, vanilla bean paste in a mixing bowl. Stir well and check the consistency. The glaze should flow in ribbons. Add a little more milk if glaze is too dry or more icing sugar if glaze is too wet.

Divide the glaze mixture into 5 ramekins. Add a food coloring of your choice in each ramekin. Stir well to distribute the colors.

Scoop a little glaze from each ramekin into a flat-bottom bowl. Create colorful streaks by roughly mixing the glaze with a wooden skewer.

Dip the donut into the glaze presentation-side down and gently glide the donut up.

Place glazed donuts onto a wire rack to drip off excess glaze and enjoy!


Dark Matter Coffee Donut Filling Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cream whole/whipping 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons strong coffee 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Donut Filling Instructions:
Heat the milk, cream and coffee until hot but do not boil, let cool to warm.
In a medium pot add egg yolks and sugar whisk to combine, whisk in flour, place over low heat add warm milk mixture and continue whisking (don't stop until very thick). Pour into a clean bowl cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once cool, use a pastry bag with a filling tip to fill the donuts, or cut the donuts in half to make "donut sandwiches" with the filling. 

Morning "Cup 'o Jason"

Ingredients: 
  • 2oz Blended Scotch Whiskey
  • .5oz liqueur of your choice (Roderick suggests orange)
  • 3tbsp brown sugar
  • 6oz strong black coffee
  • Whipped cream
Instructions: Mix ingredients together and top with whipped cream (optional).

Dec. 2020 Brunch Menu

Holidaze Cheese Blintzes 

Photo from The Spruce Eats; Recipe by Barbara Rolek
Ingredients:
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature, beaten)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter (for frying)

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ricotta (room temperature, or dry curd or farmer's cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • Garnish: sour cream (optional)
  • Garnish: fruit toppings and/or applesauce (fresh or canned)

Instructions:

1. In a medium bowl, beat together 4 eggs, water, milk, salt, and flour until well-mixed. Don't over-beat since small particles of flour will be absorbed during the resting period.

2. Let the batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat a small skillet and add a pat of butter.

4. Return to batter after resting period to whisk until smooth.

5. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the pan and swirl it around, pouring off excess. Make sure not to let it brown. Flip and cook other side for a few seconds.

6. Once cooked, remove blintz from pan and set aside on a towel.

7. Repeat with remaining batter and butter, staggering the crepes one on top of the other. 

8. To make the filling, mix together cheese, melted butter, 1 egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar into a large bowl until well-incorporated

9. To assemble, place one blintz on a work surface and place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in a line close to the edge nearest to you. Fold envelope-style.

10. Roll up, and continue with remaining blintzes and filling. 

11. Fry the filled blintzes in butter until golden brown.

12. Serve with optional sour cream and/or fresh or canned fruit toppings. Enjoy!

Ricky's "Bad Decision" Eggnog 

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg, white & yolk
  • 3/4oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Rum
  • 3/4oz simple syrup
  • 1oz heavy cream
  • Fresh ground nutmeg to taste
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • A few drops vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2oz milk, depending on how diluted you like it!

Instructions: Dry shake ingredients, except milk, hard for 45 seconds. Add a single small cube of ice. Shake until ice is melted. This helps whip the cream and provides the right amount of dilution.

Pour milk into glass and chill. Pour shaken mixture into glass with milk. If too strong for you, add more milk. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

NON-DAIRY SUBSTITUTE: You can replace the heavy cream with unsweetened full-fat coconut cream and the milk with any type of non-dairy milk.


Vegan Version:'Coquito'
  • 2oz coconut cream
  • 2oz coconut milk
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • 1 1/2oz rum
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:Put ingredients in blender with a couple ice cubes. Blend until ice melts. Pour into glass and top with more cinnamon.

Nov. 2020 Brunch Menu

In recognition of Non-Fiction November and Native American Heritage Month, Brunch with Books read Killers of the Flower Moon:The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. As moonshine was a mainstay in Osage County, our brunch menu featured moonshine cocktails, Native American frybread with hominy salsa, and cream puffs that pay homage to the decadence of the 1920s.

Osage County Moonshine Cocktail

There are two ways to make this cocktail depending on what you can get your hands on...

Option 1:
1oz apple pie or plain moonshine
5oz hot apple cider
1/2oz Chai syrup or concentrate (can buy pre-made)
Cinnamon stick or lemon peel for garnish 

Option 2:
1oz apple pie or plain moonshine
5oz hot apple cider
1 chai tea bag
1/2oz cinnamon syrup

Steep chai in hot cider for 10 min. Add other ingredients. Garnish with lemon peel or cinnamon stick

Savory Option:
Osage Fry Bread with Hominy Salsa

Hominy salsa served on fry bread is a favorite recipe on the menu at Tocabe restaurant in Denver. Tocabeis owned by Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs, members of the Osage Nation. Books with Brunch members are encouraged to research the controversial history of frybread and decide for themselves whether they would like to make it or not. Melinda suggests blue corn tortilla chips as a substitute for those who wish to skip making frybread.

More information on the history of frybread: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/frybread-79191/

Hominy Salsa Ingredients:
  • 2 cups hominy drained and rinsed
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 Serrano chile (seeds removed) finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions:
Add all ingredients and stir until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Frybread Ingredients:
  • 3 cups vegetable oil (or enough for 1-inch depth, for frying; or shortening)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
Instructions:
  • In a deep, 10-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy saucepan, heat about 1 inch of oil to 350 F. If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer to attach to the pan, dip the handle end of a wooden spoon in the oil. The oil should bubble around it fairly steadily when it's ready. The popcorn method is another option: Place a kernel of popcorn in the oil, and it will pop when the oil reaches 350 to 360 F.
     
  • Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix well to blend.
     
  • Add the milk and stir until the dough holds together.
     
  • Knead 3 or 4 times on a floured surface.
     
  • Divide the dough into 4 uniform pieces and shape each into a ball. 
     
  • Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a circle that's about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Make a depression in the center of each round of dough (it will puff up while frying).
     
  • Carefully slide 1 or 2 pieces of dough into the hot oil. Fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
     
  • Remove the fried dough to paper towels to drain.

Frybread Tips:
  • Be careful not to knead the dough too much because the bread will be hard and tough.
     
  • The dough is sticky but easy to work with; keep your hands and work surface well-floured.
     
  • Adjust the thickness of the dough for your use. For instance, when making tacos, start with a very thin dough (less than 1/4 inch). Press a deep indentation into the center to prevent it from turning into a ball.
     
  • Use your favorite type of oil for frying. Vegetable oil and shortening are popular options, canola oil is considered a little healthier, and lard is traditionally used by many Native Americans.
     
  • The key to using different oils is to ensure whichever you choose has a high smoke point. Some, such as extra-virgin olive oil, will smoke before it reaches the desired temperature, and the bread will taste burnt, and your kitchen will fill with smoke.
     
  • If using lard to fry the bread, make sure that you use about 2 1/2 cups of lard instead of the 3 cups of vegetable oil.
     
  • If using shortening instead of vegetable oil, you will need about 2 1/4 cups for frying.
     
  • When cooking a larger batch, keep finished fry bread warm in the oven. Set the drained fry bread on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack so it doesn't get soggy.

Sweet Option: Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs are a rich dessert that originated in France in the 1500s and made their way to the United States in the 1880s. They were created for a king, making them the perfect homage to the decadence of the 1920s during which the book takes place. Specifically, we’re using the original recipe from the 1924 Wisconsin State Fair.

Cream Puffs Ingredients

Choux Pastry:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
Cream Filling:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional confectioners' sugar

Cream Puffs Instructions
  • In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat.
     
  • Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
     
  • Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. 
     
  • Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Combine milk and egg yolk; brush over puffs.
     
  • Bake at 400° until golden brown, 30-35 minutes.
     
  • Remove to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape; cool. 
     
  • In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until almost stiff.
     
  • Split cream puffs; discard soft dough from inside. Fill the cream puffs just before serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Refrigerate leftovers.

Oct. 2020 Brunch Menu

In celebration of the spooky season and VIctober (Victorian Reading Month), we read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde!
In honor of this month's book and all things "proper," we are going all out with our recipes and serving a real English afternoon tea! Our menu includes three courses of treats along with some boozy tea. Of course, feel free to pick and choose what you want to make, or treat yourself and make it all!
An Apéritif before you start eating...


Just like Lord Henry, have a bit of Vermouth (red or white) with Orange bitters. serve chilled and add soda if desired!

Selby Royal Tea

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 oz strong black English tea
  • 1 1/2 oz  Cognac
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz Champagne (room temp)
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh nutmeg for garnish

Make tea strong. Add other liquids, except champagne, to a pan and heat on low until just steaming. Don't over heat and cook off all that delicious alcohol! squeeze lemon to taste into a mug, then add tea and the other warmed liquids. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon slice and grated nutmeg.

Tip: double or quadruple this recipe for a group or for continuous enjoyment throughout your tea service!

Course 1

Course 2

Couse 3

A Digestif to settle the stomach...


Try a nice Amaro, like Averna or Montenegro. You'll feel real fancy. Ooo lala.

Sept. 2020 Brunch Menu

In honor of Banned Book Week in September, we read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut!

German Pancakes with Champagne Honey Syrup

“Somebody had stoppered it again. “Drink me,” it seemed to say. So Billy uncorked it with his thumbs. It didn’t make a pop. The champagne was dead. So it goes.” pg. 93

“The syrup tasted like thin honey laced with hickory smoke, and everybody who worked in the factory secretly spooned it all day long.”pg. 203

Ingredients

  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¾ cup milk, warm
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • powdered sugar, for serving
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C)
     
  • Combine the eggs, granulated sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, flour and melted butter in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
     
  • Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Melt the butter in the skillet. Pour the batter into the heated skillet and then immediately, and carefully, move the skillet to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. The pancake is done when it is a rich amber color and the sides have risen considerably.
     
  • Carefully remove the pancake from the skillet and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Great served with a side of German breakfast sausage!
     
Champagne Honey Syrup
  • 1 cup Bubbles (flat)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Combine Bubbles, sugar, and honey in a saucepan over a very low heat. Stir constantly until the until sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can store this in the fridge for a few weeks!

 

Sloe it goes.

This is a brunchy twist on a classic, the Sloe Gin Fizz. Fruity and not too boozy, this is a great cocktail to enjoy early in the day.

  • 2oz Sloe Gin
  • 1oz fresh squeeze orange juice
  • 1/4oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4oz simple syrup
  • 3oz Prosecco

Shake ingredients (except Prosecco) with ice. Strain into glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lemon slice, orange slice, and cocktail cherry. So it goes.

Aug. 2020 Brunch Menu

In August we read The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons for Romance Awareness Month!

 

No Regrets Cherry Pop Tarts 

“When he showed up at my door, his electrical eyes crackling, he was carrying a big fat cherry pie bursting with soft cherry parts, emitting a warm yeasty smell. It was so sensual it was almost pornographic. We both blushed and grew embarrassed when he held the pie between us” (The Regrets,p. 103).
 

Ingredients

Crust (feeling lazy? use store bought pie crust instead! we won't judge):

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • Cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Filling (you can also substitute store bought cherry preserves, if you prefer):

  • 2 cups fresh cherries pitted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water

Icing:

  • 2 tablespoons cherry filling
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions
  1. On a lightly floured surface, prepare to roll out the dough. Lightly sprinkle the dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Use a ruler and pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into 3×4 inch rectangles. Gather the scraps of dough and re-roll to cut more rectangles. You should have about 12 rectangles. Place 6 rectangles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet(s).
     
  2. Whisk the egg and water together, then lightly brush the edges of the dough on the 6 rectangles. Place 2 tablespoons of cherry filling in the center of each rectangle (be sure to reserve some filling to make the pink icing). Lay another rectangle on top, pressing the edges with your fingers, and crimping by pressing together with a fork. Continue with the remaining pop tarts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, along with the egg wash.
     
  3. While the pop tarts chill, preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
     
  4. When the pop tarts are ready to bake, lightly brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Use a fork or skewer to poke small holes on the top of the dough to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a little before glazing.
     
  5. To make the icing, use a fork or emulsion blender to mash the cherry filling until smooth, and stir in the water. Whisk in the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until smooth and you achieve your desired consistency, using a little more or less as necessary. Pass through a sieve, then spread the glaze on your pop tarts, and top with sugar crystals and sprinkles (optional). Let it cool on a wire rack (it takes about 40 minutes for the glaze to harden) or enjoy immediately.


Yields 6 pop tarts 

  

Breakfast in Brooklyn

A cross between a Manhattan, a Whiskey Sour, and a jam cocktail. You won’t regret this in the morning!

Ingredients
  • 2oz Bourbon
  • 1/2oz sweet red vermouth
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cherry preserves
  • 1 dash orange or cherry bitters
  • Egg white (optional)
Directions
Dry shake all ingredients if using egg white. Add ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain and garnish with cocktail cherries and lemon. 

July 2020 Brunch Menu

In honor of the Black Lives Matter movement, July's book selection is Assata: An Autobiographyby Assata Shakur.

Plantain Hash

Original recipe from African Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 large ripe plantains
  • 2 cups black beans or sausage
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • paprika to taste (smoked if you have it)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes 
  • 1 small bell pepper diced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons bouillon powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • 3-4 Large Eggs
  • avocado (optional)


Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees F
  2. Using a sharp knife cut both ends off the plantain. This will make it easy to grab the skin of the plantains.
  3. Slit a shallow line down the long seam of the plantain; peel only as deep as the peel.
  4. Remove plantain peel by pulling it back. Dice plantains (medium to large dice or cut according to preference)
  5. Heat up a large skillet or cast iron with oil up to ¼ inch- medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  6. Fry the plantain in batches, turning once, until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan!
  7. Use a slotted spoon, transfer the fried plantains and drain on paper towels.
  8. Spray a baking sheet and place plantains on them in a single layer; spray lightly over the plantains using cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees F, turning plantains frequently – for about 12 -20 minutes or until plantains turn slightly brown.
  9. Add ¼ cup or more oil in a skillet with onions, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Allow to sweat for about a minute.
  10. Add bell pepper and diced tomatoes to the skillet and  bring to a simmer. 
  11. Add in beans or sausage, and bouillon powder. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add more seasoning if needed and sprinkle with parsley (optional)
  12. Crack 3-4 eggs over the top of the hash in different spots. Add a little extra salt and pepper to the eggs if you wish. Place the skillet in the preheated oven on the top rack and bake at 400 degrees F or until the eggs are cooked to preference.
  13. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate and serve with avocados and/or Cuban Toast. 

    How to make Cuban Toast: Cut a large loaf of Cuban bread bread horizontally and butter the inside. Then close the halfs and butter the outside on both sides. Put into a hot sandwich press or a hot griddle with a heavy weight to press on top of the toast, such as a cast iron pan. Toast until golden on each side.
  

Assatarata Cocktail

The "Canchanchara" is considered the first truly Cuban cocktail. Guerrilla soldiers during the war for independence would drink a mixture of rum, citrus, and honey in the mornings to ward off the cold. This drink become the predecessor to the daiquiri.

Although it’s typically served over ice today, it’s believed that the original mixture was served hot, similar to a Hot Toddy. It's perfect for soothing a scratchy throat and lubricating those vocal cords!
 

Ingredients

  • 1.5oz rum or cachaça (preferably Havana Club white or aged rum)
  • 1oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz honey (try making a honey syrup to make this easier to measure)
  • ~2oz boiling water
  • 3-5 fresh mint leaves

Pour boiling water over mint leaves then add other ingredients.
Stir and enjoy. This is sure to wake you up in the morning!

June 2020 Brunch Menu

Tapas Sangria Pancakes

"Our last night together in Barcelona, Esther and I went out for dinner. We ordered tapas and giggled every time she said 'sangrita,' even though she already knew it was called 'sangria' ... Holding hands across the table, we took turns letting the words pour out of us ... Our mothers are why we are here" (How We Fight for Our Lives p. 189).

Pancake Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup brandy or rum infused whole milk
  • 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
  • cinnamon to taste
 

How to make the pancakes:

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. Once well combined, fold in dry ingredients.
  3. Grease a skillet. Working in batches, drop batter by tablespoonfuls into the skillet and cook on medium heat. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and a few have popped then flip to finish cooking. Clean skillet and re-grease between batches. 

Sangria syrup ingredients:

  • 1 cup red wine (Tempranillo recommended)
  • 1 cup brandy or rum
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-inch slice of fresh ginger
  • 2 navel oranges (peeled, halved)
  • 1 lime (peeled, halved)
  • 1 granny smith apple (cored, diced large)
  • 1 peach (sliced, pit removed)
  • berries to taste (optional)

How to make the syrup:

Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced until about 1/3 of the original amount and thick and syrupy. About 15 minutes. Let cool and then strain.

Espresso Martini

"My coffee maker had its own alarm clock, clicking itself awake fifteen minutes before me, and three hours before first period. Moving, but still not awake exactly, I'd walk across my studio apartment, the smell of coffee wafting around me, and pour myself the first of two cups." (How We Fight for Our Lives p. 147).
 

Cocktail ingredients:

  • 1oz espresso or coffee liqueur (like Kaluha)
  • 1oz vodka
  • 1oz fresh espresso or coffee concentrate
     

Directions: Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled and serve.

May 2020 Brunch Menu

Melinda McGinley of Proper Endings and our resident bartender Roderick Deerr created a custom brunch menu inspired by The One by John Marrs.

The One Egg Souffle

"...he stood over her body, lifted his foot and slammed it down on her face. Her nose crumbled like a souffle" (The One, p.97).

Ingredients
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • flour for dusting ramekins
  • any other spices you might like
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Melinda's Recommendations
  • Use a clean and cool stainless steel bowl to whisk.
  • Hand whisking tends to work better because you have more control and are less likely to over-whisk.
  • Egg whites are perfect when they're stiff and JUST losing their sheen.
  • Cream of tartar is an optional add to stabilize the whites.
  • Optional: Serve with a cheese sauce and roasted veggies.
     
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Use softened butter to grease your baking dish and lightly dust with flour
  3. Separate eggs carefully
  4. Whisk yolks until creamy and add seasonings
  5. Whisk whites until stiff peaks appear
  6. Fold egg whites gently -- but quickly so air doesn't leak out -- into the yolk mixture.
  7. Transfer the mixture slowly into your baking dish
  8. Bake at 375F for about six minutes or until you have a good rise and the top is golden.

Sunday Roast Bloody Mary

Ingredients
  • 1oz vodka
  • 1.5oz dry red wine (Roderick uses Shiraz)
  • 2oz tomato juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • Hot sauce to taste

Optional: line rim with Everything Bagel Seasoning or a combination of sea salt, fresh ground pepper and celery seed. 

April 2020 Brunch Menu

Fellow book club members Melinda McGinley of Proper Endings and our resident bartender Roderick Deerr created a custom quanratine-style brunch menu based on Moonglow by Michael Chabon. 

Moonglow Tarte Tatin

"'Why aren’t you eating?’ my grandfather said. Having only lately consumed an entire tarte tatin was another secret I felt that my grandmother would prefer I didn’t betray. I didn’t answer” (Moonglow, p. 377).
 

What you will need:

· 7 medium apples (dessert apples or a blend of sweet and tart apples)
· 1 cup white sugar
· 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
· shortcrust pastry OR ready-made puff pastry
· pinch of salt
· 3 tablespoons of water
· 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice


Melinda's recommendation: Shortcrust holds up better to all the liquid that is created by the apples and caramel. Puff pastry is delicious and used almost as often, but can get a bit soggy. Pre-made puff pastry is easiest since you can usually get it from a grocer. If you decide to go the shortcrust route, use your favorite recipe, make it the day before, and store it in the fridge. Bake in a cast iron skillet for best results.

How to make it: 

1. Peel, halve, or quarter (quarter seems to cook through better) and core the apples, then put in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

2. Put the sugar into a heavy-based, non-stick ovenproof frying pan (about 8 inches long) with water and leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then cook over a medium heat (low heat if using electric stove) until golden and fudgy.

3. Take off the heat and stir in the butter one tablespoon at a time, and salt, until well combined. Carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round-side down (bearing in mind the caramel will be very hot) and put back on the heat. Note: You may need to cut some of the apples into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Cook for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool completely.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 390F. Roll out the shortcrust to 5mm thick (pretty damn thin), and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. If using puff pastry, lay one sheet flat and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan.

5. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Watch your pastry closely so it doesn’t burn. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing a plate (use a plate that's slightly larger than the pan) on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm.

Moonglow Cocktail

Inspired by traditional Rosh Hashanah cocktails, the pomegranate represents hope for a fruitful year, while the honey signifies a wish for sweet days in the coming months. And what else could you wish for during a pandemic?

1.5oz gin

1.5oz pomegranate juice

3/4oz honey syrup

1 dash of bitters

1/4oz lemon juice

Optional: Top with champagne

Brunch with Books