Grits, Eggs, Warm Bacon-Tomato Relish

I am your brunch, and I am Divine.

Hey you.

Are you an intuitive cook? Me too. Do you think measuring spoons are cute but often find them superfluous? Do your discerning eyes and tongue guide you smartly through your kitchen? Ok, this recipe is for you. This dish is in your future. Make it to taste. But surely, make it, because the combination is such a winner.

–See my previous post for a great grits recipe here.–

1. Start the plate with baked grits. (Hey, maybe you want to use my recipe for Cracked Pepper Cheddar Grits!
2. Top with an egg (poached, fried, heck-maybe even scrambled)
3. Finish with a generous spoonful or two of this Warm Bacon-Tomato Relish.

Warm Bacon-Tomato Relish
a recipe sans measurements
inspired by a dish I adored at the Redbud Café

chopped fresh tomato
chopped red onion
bit of olive oil
chopped cooked bacon or a bit of bacon grease
balsamic vinegar (to taste, a teaspoon or two)
minced garlic
bit of dried thyme

Put everything in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. The tomatoes should still have a bit of bite to them. Serve warm. The tang and acidity make this a great complement to cheesy, creamy grits.

Me and Mom, quite alike but differently adapted.

Quiche, Glorious Quiche!

With an extra hour of November-sunny morning, I’m excited about quiche today!

Quiche needs three components: a crust, an egg-dairy mixture, and delicious bits of veggies, meats, herbs, cheese…It’s supremely easy and customizable! That’s why it’s so glorious. Not to mention, it makes you feel a little French and fancy.

In France, however, this “tarte salée” (savory tart) isn’t so fancy at all–it’s available in bakeries everywhere, and it’s the Frenchy’s go-to for a potluck or party. So, make it your own go-to dish for brunch, lunch or dinner. But you don’t have to go to the store! Use whatever delicious bits you have around to make your own lovely quiche!

This morning (mmm, mid-morning) I made two delicious quiches. Sausage-Mushroom-Parmesan-Basil and Swiss-Onion-Roasted Pepper. Read on for ingredients and a brief process explanation!

~Here’s my Basic Crust Recipe per my mother:
(for a 9-inch pie pan)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
3-4 tbsp ice water

Stir the flour and salt together. Cut the shortening in (with a fork or pastry cutter) until the mixture seems crumbly. Add the water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Add more water or flour as necessary to achieve the correct texture. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and form into your pie pan.~

~Basic Egg Mixture
(for 1 quiche)

4-5 medium eggs
1/2 cup dairy (heavy cream, half and half, or 1/4 cup milk + 1/4 cup sour cream)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk it all together. Mine, when mixed together, was about 1 1/2 cups of liquid. To this mixture you can add spices, mustards or other condiments, or fresh or dried herbs.~

Today’s Quiche!!

~~Sausage-Mushroom-Parmesan-Basil Quiche

cooked crumbled sausage (about 3/4 cup)
sliced mushrooms (about 1/2 cup)
shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
egg mixture (added 2 tsp Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp coarsely-chopped fresh basil leaves)

Place the cooked sausage and mushrooms in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the filling. It will seep into all the cracks, surrounding the delicious bits! Sprinkle a bit more parmesan on top if desired, then bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until set and beginning to brown on top. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.~~

before the egg

ready to bake!

Another! Same process, different delicious bits!

~~Swiss-Onion-Roasted Pepper Quiche

coarsely chopped roasted peppers* (about 1 cup)
4 small green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
grated Swiss cheese (about 3/4 cup)
egg mixture (added 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence)

Place peppers and onions in bottom of crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. Pour egg mixture over. Sprinkle a bit more grated Swiss on top , then bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until set and beginning to brown on top. Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting.~~

*The roasted peppers: I had some fresh green bell peppers and jalapenos from the garden. I sprayed them with nonstick spray and roasted them in the oven at 375 degrees until they softened and began to get brown spots on them (about 10-15 minutes, watch them!). Let them cool a bit then cut the flesh away from the core and roughly chop. *Use any peppers you like!

Quiche. Quiche is good.

Poached Eggs with Creamy Spinach Sauce

At my house, no one had to work today…so, Brunch!

Toasted Bread

topped with

Poached Egg: Break an egg into a cup, being careful not to break the yolk. Fill a saucepan with at least 2 inches of water, and bring the water to a boil. Pour in a couple tablespoons of white vinegar (this will help the egg white coagulate). While stirring the boiling water gently, pour the egg from the cup into the whirlpool you’re creating (egg will look like a little floating ghost 🙂 ) Boil softly until desired doneness–4-5 minutes gives a soft yolk. (You might have to experiment with this, but I remember how excited I was when I poached my first egg!)

topped with

Creamy Spinach Sauce: Sauté onions (red, yellow, or white) in olive oil until translucent. Add fresh or (thawed) frozen spinach leaves and sauté until spinach wilts. Pour in enough heavy cream to make a sauce. Stir in some dijon mustard, grated parmesan cheese, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Salt to taste. Simmer until thickened.

served with

Green Salad w/ toasted pecans, chopped dried figs, and bacon with Balsamic Vinaigrette: 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, bit of honey, dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Fresh Tomato Bloody Mary

Conjuring up cocktail recipes is not always so intuitive to me. But a Bloody Mary, well that’s more like making a nice cocktail sauce, isn’t it? Or even salsa? Or pasta sauce?…These things I can whip up in minutes. Now add a fresh Bloody Mary to that list!

What a great way to use fresh tomatoes, 1) if they’re overflowing your kitchen counter, 2) if you want to fancy up your brunch, or 3) if you want a healthful snack-drink, tipsy in the sunshine. (All of these things fit my morning)


Fresh Tomato Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary Mix*:
4 cups ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 4 medium tomatoes)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
½ to 1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (your favorite)
¼ tsp horseradish
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Put all that jazz in a blender and liquefy. Taste as you go to adjust the spices to your liking. These proportions make the drink pleasantly spicy on the back of the throat, but not overly so. I chilled the mix for about an hour before preparing the cocktails. But, don’t let it sit too long, because the flavor of the spices tends to get too strong. These should be made and drunk fresh!

To make the cocktail, put 1 ½ oz. vodka and 4 ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Pour in a bit less than 1 cup of the Bloody Mary mix. Shake shake shake. Pour into an 8 oz. glass. Garnish with delightful savory things!

*This makes enough for about 3 8oz. cocktails.

Dad doesn't like olives...