Wednesday, November 2, 2011

a better brunch

Friends in town for the weekend usually equals brunch. For cooler folks, I guess it equals drinks and maybe dancing on tables, but for various reasons, Dan and I are brunch people. The thing is, I don't like going out for brunch. I don't like paying $10 for eggs. I don't like waiting in line. I don't like being rushed through my meal. And I really don't like those cheap, "bottomless" mimosas.

Recently, Dan and I went out for brunch at a place run by a former Top Chef contestant whom I will not name. Dan ordered a glass of orange juice, thinking it would be fresh-squeezed. This restaurant is not a diner, it's a pretty respectable-looking place. The kind of place where the word "artisanal" is thrown around a lot. And we watched the bartender pour a glass of Tropicana straight from the plastic bottle. We looked at each other like, damn. Can't you at least put that in a carafe and attempt to fool us? We have that juice at home...where we don't have to pay $4 a glass for it.

Brunch at home, however, is a different story.
Last Saturday was a freaky day because it snowed. In October. One day there was cool, crisp fall weather and the next day the sidewalk was covered in a layer of slush. We stood at the window, our mouths agape. Our out-of-towner friends were on their way over. On foot. A really, really good brunch was in order. Poor people.

My favorite thing to make for brunch is a Dutch baby, a puffy pancake you bake in a skillet. I've written about them before--they are far easier than pancakes but people are usually impressed by them because they are unusual. Sometimes I put fruit in them, sometimes nuts, sometimes both. On Saturday it was sliced red pears.
Brunch usually means eggs and people who travel to brunch in the snow deserve more than something simply poached or fried. So I whisked a dozen eggs together and scrambled them with bits of smoked salmon, goat cheese and a handful of chopped dill.
And fried some bacon. (Duh.)

Our friends arrived and removed their shoes and wet socks, which Mabel promptly tried to steal. (We're working on that.) You can't take off your socks at a restaurant, so that's automatically better, right? By the time everyone had had their coffee and tea and eggs, the awful weather was forgotten. It seemed almost cozy to watch the snow fall from inside the apartment.

Was this brunch worth the trek? They said it was, but then again, they left our house to walk thirty minutes in the sleet to a museum. So maybe it wasn't the brunch, maybe they're made of tougher stock than me. I'd like to think it was the eggs, though.

Saturday brunch with Nancy and Jason
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, goat cheese and dill
Pear Dutch baby
Raisin toast
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, goat cheese and dill
(Serves 4 people)

9 eggs
1 Tbsp. butter
2 oz. soft goat cheese, plus a little extra
1/2 cup smoked salmon, sliced into thin strips
3 Tbsp. chopped dill
Salt and pepper

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are fully combined. In a medium-sized skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add your eggs and lower the heat to medium-low. When the eggs just start to set, add the goat cheese, salmon and dill and stir. Stir frequently, so large curds form. Remove the eggs from the heat when they are set and no longer liquid. Top with a little extra goat cheese. Serve immediately.


Margaret Pinard said...

I am not a brunch joiner either, thank heavens there are more of us! And I have been wanting to make a Dutch baby for a long time (ooh that sounds bad), so it's getting kicked up to the top of the list for when our DC weather looks snowy again. Great post!

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Having to catch a ridiculously early train to meet people in the city for 11:30 brunch has made me a brunch-hater too... there's a perfectly awesome bagel place down the street, and I can make my own bloodies here, thankyouverymuch!

Julie said...

I'm not a big fan of brunch, either, for all the reasons you mention. So crowded and expensive for food that's usually pretty mediocre.

That pear dutch baby looks fantastic!

Daniel said...

$10 for eggs? $4 for juice? I say no more! Let's stage a Sunday brunch boycott. We are the 99%!

Nancy said...

A testimonial: These eggs are worth crossing Brooklyn for. The combination of salmon, egg, cheese and dill works perfectly. And I definitely recommend your combination of bacon and bread, not to mention the Dutch baby (who knew there was such a thing?). Thank you for a delicious Saturday morning!

Lisa said...

Nancy: You are too kind. Thanks again for making the trek out to see us! Can't wait to do it again.

Michele said...

I've seen so many recipes for dutch baby pancakes and I've been dying to try them. I have to figure out if I hae the right type of pan. What do you use?

Lisa said...

Hi Michele! I use a cast iron skillet but any pan that can go on the stovetop and in the oven will work.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin