We just love a good brunch. We got hooked on weekend brunches at this cute little restaurant near where we lived in Florida, but when we moved to Vermont we had a hard time finding a place close to home and started making it ourselves. Planning our wedding was a great excuse to have a weekly brunch to eat great food and sip mimosas while we worked on some project or another (we were an very DIY bride and groom and made just about everything from the invitations to the bouquets, boutonnières, centerpieces, and programs, and even wrote the ceremony ourselves).
Now we still like to make a big deal of brunch every weekend. It’s such a fun meal to play with because the possibilities are endless. The main dishes can be sweet, savory, fancy, or a big pile of just about anything. This recipe is my attempt to recreate an awesome brunch we had at restaurant called Kismet in Montpelier, VT. It’s not health food but it’s a decadent way to kick off a relaxed Saturday. The feta, cream, and egg melt together to form a smooth and rich combination that is perfect for dipping toast or crusty bread with one hand and washing down the creamy goodness with fresh juice or a cold mimosa in the other.
For each serving (make as many or as little as you’d like)
What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons heavy cream (calories don’t count at brunch)
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons feta
4 basil leaves
¼ cup diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter to grease the ramekin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat the ramekin with butter. Carefully crack one egg into the ramekin (try cracking into a small bowl first and then pouring into the ramekin to avoid shell pieces). Pour half of the cream, lemon zest, feta, basil, and tomatoes over the egg and salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the feta adds saltiness so you’ll likely use less salt than you usually would on eggs. Repeat this process again by layering another egg and the rest of the ingredients. Place the ramekins into a baking dish filled about half an inch high with water and put into the oven for approximately 20 minutes if you enjoy runny egg yolks and 25 minutes if you prefer your yolks to be set. Garnish with a little extra basil if you’d like and serve with toast or pieces of baguette to scoop up every last bit of sauce.
This recipe is the one that, to me, proves even something as delicious as shrimp scampi can make a quick and easy weeknight meal. It’s fancy enough to serve at a dinner party but fast enough to whip up any time you find yourself with a craving for some buttery garlic decadence. I loved ordering garlic shrimp whenever I was by the coast in Ecuador and this is very similar to camarones al ajillo, although you’d be more likely to see cilantro in place of the parsley I use here.
What You’ll Need:
1 pound large peeled, deveined, tail-off shrimp
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons garlic
¼ white wine (we like the brightness of pinot grigio for this dish)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry. If you’re using frozen shrimp, make sure they are completely thawed; usually just a few minutes under running water does the trick. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until just turning opaque, approximately two minutes each side. Set shrimp on a plate to the side and add the remaining four ounces of butter and the garlic to the pan and cook for about one minute until the garlic turns golden brown. Add the white wine allow to simmer about three minutes. At this point, taste the sauce to make sure the alcohol taste has cooked out and to adjust salt and pepper to taste. Then add the shrimp back to the pan and toss with the fresh garlic for about one minute.
This can be served over pasta or rice, but we like to serve it alongside Spanish or Italian style tomato bread. We just halve a baguette or piece of Italian bread, drizzle with olive oil, and top with garlic, salt and pepper before bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes until toasted. Once baked, we halve tomatoes and rub the cut side over the bread before cutting into one inch slices. The tomato bread compliments the scampi nicely and soaks up every last bit of that wonderful, garlicky, buttery sauce.
Parsley (curly or flat-leaf Italian) is a great way to add splash of brightness to a dish. As with most fresh herbs, it’s best to add it in the last minute or two of cooking or to sprinkle on top after the dish is plated. Though it’s usually associated with Italian dishes, I use it a lot in Latin American cooking as a replacement for cilantro. I’m not a big fan of cilantro but parsley makes a great substitute for the touch of herbal freshness without the bite of cilantro. This is another herb that grows well indoors or outdoors with lots of light and weekly watering, the main difference is that it’s best to harvest this herb from the bottom of the stem rather than the top like most other herbs.