Brunch for a Friend

Brunch for a Friend
2011 has gotten off to a seriously slow start for me. This is my first post! I admit, I have been feeling really uninspired because it's winter, and that always means craving warm hearty foods that aren't the best for you. I thought I would kick things off with a delicious, and pretty healthy brunch I made for one of my closest and oldest friends.

The tricky thing about brunch or breakfast meal gatherings is that they happen so early! I didn't prepare much of this brunch in advance, so got up with about 1 1/2 hours to get everything on the table.

Here was our menu:
mushroom, shallot, spinach quiche with
a herbes de provence crust
sweet and yukon potato home fries
double smoked maple bacon
grilled tomato with herbes de provence

Brunch Preparation
The only thing I made in advance was the quiche crust. I made it the night before and refrigerated until morning. The very first thing I did when I got up was take it out of the fridge, so it would start to warm and soften for rolling out. To make the crust see an earlier post. This is my trusted ration between flour and fat.

For a herbes de provence crust, just mix 2 tsps of herbes de provence and a pinch of salt and pepper into the flour before you begin to combine the ingredients. Herbes de provence is a mixture of savory, fennel, basil and thyme that adds a warm and earthy aromatic flavour to any dish. And it's a bit more interesting than adding just one herb! I find people enjoy it and can't quite place exactly what it is. Thyme is the dominant flavour, so it can be paired well with any meat, egg, or tomato dish and in soups and stews.

I used two small ceramic dishes for the quiche, for something a bit different.

For the filling:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 c spinach (well packed)
1/2 c sliced button mushrooms
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
5-6 eggs
pinch of salt & pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil, for greasing the dishes

Add the shallot and garlic to warmed oil. Add the spinach and mushrooms when the shallot begins to soften. When the spinach begins to wilt, remove from heat and set aside.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche Filling
Break the eggs into a deep bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Use 6 eggs if you are using a traditional pie dish. For the dishes I used, only 5 eggs was necessary. You may add a splash of water (or up to 1/3 c milk) to the eggs. This will loosen them up and encourage air bubbles when whipping. The more air bubbles the lighter and fluffier your quiche will be! Whip the eggs together with a fork until they begin to froth.

Mix the spinach, mushroom and shallots to the eggs and give it another whip or two with a fork.

Grease your dishes with coconut oil. Roll out your quiche dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Lay the dough over the dish and press it into the corners and along the inner edge. Cut away excess dough and pinch around the top.

Pour your filling into your crust and bake at 350°F for about 30 to 40 min or until the filling begins to rise and the top begins to lightly brown.
Next, the bacon: I got double smoked maple bacon from Sanagan's Meat Locker in the Kensington Market. They always have delicious bacon. For this brunch, I put the bacon on a baking sheet and into the oven at 350°F for about 40 min, with the quiche. This meant I didn't have to keep an eye on it, on the stove top.

Sweet and Yukon Homefries
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 c onion
2 cloves garlic
1 sweet potato
2 yukon gold potato
salt and pepper

While the quiche is baking the next thing I had to start on was the potatoes. They usually take the longest to cook, and I'm always nervous about them being underdone when the rest of a meal is ready to go! For brunch I boiled them first. Cut them into bite sized cubes or wedges, skin on. Boil until they are just soft enough to poke through.

Sweet and Yukon Potato Home Fries
While the potatoes are boiling, soften the onion and garlic in oil in a cast iron skillet. Strain the potatoes and add them to the onion and garlic. Turn the potatoes occasionally in the skillet to brown and crisp them up as evenly as possible.

Tomatoes for Ready for Grilling
And last, but certainly not least, the grilled tomatoes! I first had grilled tomato with breakfast in Australia. I'm not sure where it came from otherwise, but it's an easy, delicious, and colourful way to spice up brunch.

Brunch for a Friend
All you you have to do is cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of
herbes de provence. Them place them inside down in a hot skillet, and grill for 3-5 min or until they are nice and brown.

Brunch for a Friend
The only thing left is to enjoy with friends!