Thursday, July 31, 2008

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Summer Inspiration

Potato, Sage and Pancetta Gratin with Fresh Garlic


Consider this post my own little TasteSpotting.

I've got several dishes- from breakfast to dinner and dessert-that I have been wanting to post about for a while, but because of time constraints they will never boast their own individual posts. So here they are in picture form with a few recipes to boot.

Perhaps you can glean a little inspiration for your lunch today, or maybe you'll just scroll through and say "Had it. Had it. Made it. Over it." Whatever you choose to do is fine with me, what do I care? Hey, I'm off to do some cooking over an open fire, have tickle fights in the family tent, build some sand castles and enjoy getting back to nature without a battery operated toy for miles around.
Ta Ta!

Breakfast: Blueberry Baked French Toast

I haven't showcased many berry recipes yet this summer, but that doesn't mean we haven't been scarfing them down by the bucket fulls. We've enjoyed them many ways like Mango-Blueberry Lassies and Chocolate-Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches (recipe coming soon!) I loved this breakfast dish because it is made up the night before and all you have to do in the morning is bake it off and whip some cream. Don't leave your mixer beating the cream and go check your email, like I did, or your whipped cream will more resemble butter than a creamy topping. Tisk-Tisk.

Baked Blueberry French Toast
Adapted from
Fabulous Fairholme: Breakfasts & Brunches Serves 2

4 slices day old Italian bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup fresh blueberries (or raspberries)

2 oz cream cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons maple syrup


The night before:
Grease two 8 oz ramekins. Line bottom half with bread cubes. Cover with blueberries and cream cheese cubes and top with remaining bread. Mix eggs, milk and syrup together and pour over bread. Cover and let soak overnight in refrigerator.

In the morning: Preheat oven to 350F. (Make your coffee and wake yourself up) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffy and golden. Remove from ramekins and serve with your topping of choice and plenty more of that coffee.


Lunch: Smoked salmon and fixings

If you are lucky enough to get to one of Montreal's fine bagel shops, those bagels are all you really need to enjoy your smoked salmon and cream cheese, but all the other fixings are pretty sweet to spoil yourself and your surprise lunch guests with, too.

Lunch Side Dish: Tempura Zucchini Blossoms

I know, I know, I couldn't let these beauties from my own garden go to waste, so I overcame my fear of ingesting bugs and slugs (happened to me IN a restaurant), gave the blossoms a good clean and was so happy I did. They were amazing, as was the sherry mayo I made to go with them. Heavenly.

Dinner Appetizer: Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Everyone's favorite snack, these ones are my Aunt Jenny's specialty: crusty rounds of baguette, oven-roasted, über-ripe sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with fresh herbs and drizzled with olive oil and salt. Serve warm and make lots.

Appy Number Two: Pancetta-Wrapped Grilled Asparagus

For the bacon-lovers in your family. Toss asparagus in olive oil and season, then wrap with panchetta. Group into rows of about 5 spears each and run a skewer through them to bunch together for easier grilling. Grill over a low flame and serve warm.


Dinner: Grilled Lamb Chops with Salmoriglio, Young Courgettes and Purple Carrots

Thanks to copious amounts of oregano in my garden, Salmoriglio is a fresh herb sauce I whip up all the time to accompany grilled meats, especially lamb. These chops benefited from an overnight marinade of olive oil, tons of oregano, a touch of rosemary, some lemon zest and plenty of black pepper. The vegetables are picked from my little kitchen garden.


Salmoriglio Oregano Sauce

Recipe comes from the fabulous River Cafe Cookbook

4 level tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

8 tablespoons olive oil

fresh pepper


In a
mortar and pestle pound the herb leaves and salt until completely crushed. Add the lemon juice. Pour the oil slowly into the mixture. Add a little pepper. Drizzle over grilled meats such as lamb or beef.
Variation: Marjoram, thyme or lemon-thyme can be substituted for oregano.




Dinner Side Dish: New Potato, Sage and Pancetta Gratin with Young Garlic


I'm enjoying immensely the crop of garlic I planted last fall. If you've never tried growing garlic, you are missing out on one of the easiest and rewarding gardening experiences to be had. I forget exactly which month I planted the little cloves (guessing late October) but they were the first thing to poke up out of the ground this spring and now there are hardly any left because I can't stop pulling them up and adding them to everything! You can see the tight, juicy bulb sliced in half in the photo above. It's hard to buy garlic this fresh.

OK, this potato dish really deserves it's own post, but lucky you are getting it now.
Seriously, don't you feel like this post is a virtual Christmas stocking of great recipe ideas?? And there's still more to come!

Every once in a while I come across a potato recipe that stops me in my tracks--the last one being Tartiflette--and this dish is a favorite in my repertoire. I've been making it for ages and meaning to share it...but you know how it goes, it usually gets gobbled up before I can snap a photo.
Oh, and would you believe it? This recipe is also from the River Cafe Cookbook. If you don't own it already, put it on your Christmas List. The garlic and fresh sage is from my garden, the potatoes are not as I am patiently waiting for the plants to flower before I drop on all fours and furrow into the earth to collect my bounty.

Potato and Pancetta Gratin
The recipe suggests Roseval or similar yellow waxy potatoes, but I have made it with pretty much every kind of potato. Of course, new potatoes are ideal.

Serves 6


100g pancetta, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

20 sage leaves

850 g Roseval potatoes

225 ml double cream

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Parmesan, freshly grated


Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the pancetta over a medium heat. Stir in the garlic, add the sage, cook for a minute and remove from heat. Slice each potato lengthwise (or in 1/2 inch wedges if you are using large potatoes). Place in a large bowl and add the pancetta and oil mixture and the cream. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Put in a baking dish, making sure that the potato, pancetta and sage are evenly distributed, cover with foil and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil so that the surface of the potatoes become brown.
Add a little Parmesan 5 minutes before the end. Enjoy!

Dessert:Vanilla-Bean Panacotta with Quebec Strawberries

We haven't been eating a lot of sweets around here (shocking, I know) but I am showcasing two of my favorite summer desserts from previous posts.
Picking a favorite recipe is like asking which of your children you love more, but these two recipes sprang to mind when I was thinking about fresh summer flavors in desserts. The best part is that they are both minimal effort as well as gorgeous!

So the first dessert is this pretty panacotta with strawberry coulis and fresh strawberries. In the original post I didn't gush overly about my love of panacotta, but it's a love affair that hasn't wavered in many, many years. Originally created by the pastry chefs at Restaurant Toque! many years ago, this cute cone-shaped panacotta was my dinner party dessert of choice for some time. The tops bow and jiggle when you bring them to the table in a comical and inviting way. So cute! Of course any fresh berries would be lovely with this dish and I remember a cherry compote I once made that was a hit, too.



Dessert Number 2: Rustic Peach Galette

It is nice to have options and here is the second dessert that sums up the lazy days of summer. I created this peach galette to round out a fabulous dessert table for a party my siblings and I threw for my parents last summer. (Read all about it, see the sweet table and get the galette recipe) This rustic dessert was up against some big names in dessert show-biz like Dark Chocolate and Wild Strawberry Cupcakes and Citrus and Cointreau Cheesecake, but at the end of the evening was declared the favorite by many.
Of course, the accompanying whipped cream was in perfect peaks, so that helped!

So there you have it. Now go get cooking and if your tummy isn't rumbling yet, you need help!

16 comments:

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Wow, what a cornucopia of deliciousness. I think I like blueberry French toast and the potato gratin the best.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Everything you posted looked AMAZING...that was complete torture!

Hit Pay Dirt said...

oh good god, it all looks sooooo good! I'll have enough inspiration to last me quite awhile. Thanks Aimee!!

Jenn said...

Everything looks soooo good!

LyB said...

Aimée, you are on fire! I can't decide which dish I like the best! The Blueberry French Toast is definitely going on my to try list for next weekend and that potato gratin is going to drive me nuts until I try it out! Hope you have fun camping! :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

If I could only have one, I'd have to go with that perky panna cotta... or the peach tart. Or the French toast. Oh, don't make me choose...

RecipeGirl said...

That post was like Christmas come early. What a treat!

The blueberry French toast looks amazing as I've been on quite the blueberry kick lately. And I've been meaning to try squash blossoms.

Great job :)

mlindley said...

I am going to have to try the french toast, as both french toast and blueberries are two things my son doesn't chuck under his high chair:)

I must also add that I made the sour dough donuts this morning and they were a huge success. I love how simple the recipe is, and the flavour was amazing!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Oh my gosh, it all looks amazing! I'm definitely putting that blueberry French toast (or is it Italian if you use Italian bread?) in my "to make" pile.

Hope you're having a great break!

Culinarywannabe said...

This looks incredible! My mouth is watering! I can't wait to make the french toast -- might have to do a "breakfast for dinner" night! :)

Aimée said...

Hi js- Comfort food all the way, eh? I hear you!

Hi Melody- Thanks. And the tables are turned for once!

Hi Gillian- Great!

Hi Jenn- Thank so much.

Hi Lyb- It is sure to be a hit with the kids--unless they don't like blueberries, like Noah.

Hi Lydia- Too hard to choose, I know. Why not make them all? :)

Hi Recipe Girl- Thanks! I'll try anything blueberry,too. Yum!

Hi Michelle- Oh, thanks for the reminder. I haven't had those in a while.

Hi Lynn- It's a great family meal. I think I'll be using it over the Christmas holidays.

Hi Culinarywannabe- Wow, another score for the french toast. To think I almost didn't include it!

Emiline said...

It really is like Christmas! That's the most packed post I've ever read from you. You had enough material to post, for sbout a month.

Everything really looks spectacular. The potatoes in particular are calling to me. I love sage!
I'm going to have to try growing my own garlic. I've been disappointed with garlic from the store...green and growing shoots...

kimberleyblue said...

!!! Awesome post - that potato dish is especially drool-worthy.

andrew said...

Wow, that was one hell of a post! I love the sound of the Salmoriglio - I've never heard of it, and the oregano is currently terrorizing our herb garden, so I think I know what's going to happen next.

squirrelbread said...

you eat like a queen! if only...


cheers,

*heather8

Paula Massie said...

Going to make the blueberry french toast and pancetta wrapped asparagus for Easter Brunch.
My family are a bunch of foodies and we all love to try new recipes. Washing it all down with Aperol Spritzers.
Thanks for the ideas!

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