Tag Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

On the Table: Fragrant Peach Butter Recipe

This recipe is the result of On the Road: The Farm Stands of Salem, N.J.

Fragrant Peach Butter
This All-American favorite is given a mildly exotic flavor with the addition of lemongrass, ginger and star anise. Feel free to skip these additions and make plain peach butter. It’s simple to make. The key is ripe peaches. If your peaches are not ripe, place them in a brown paper bag and leave out on your counter until ripe — usually no more than a day or two. In this recipe a syrup is infused with aromatics and the solids strained out. This syrup is combined with fruit.  Use peach butter on toast or a scone, mix into fresh ricotta or use it as a glaze on grilled chicken breasts – brushing the breasts just before removing from grill.

Do ahead Peach butter may be stored in refrigerator for four weeks.

3 pounds ripe peaches, flesh cut from pits
1/3 cup tender lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, thin sliced and bruised
1 ounce ginger cut into thin slices
4 star anise pods
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

1. Combine sugar, water, lemongrass, ginger and star anise in small pot, bring to simmer and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. While doing this, make sure you do not boil away liquid. Off heat and strain out solids, reserving liquid. Measure liquid and add water to bring to 1 cup if it is less than I cup. If you have more than 1 cup, don’ t worry about it. It will cook away in Step 2.
2. In a heavy bottom pot large enough to hold peaches, combine peaches and liquid. Cover and bring to simmer for about 10 minutes to soften peaches and render liquid. Remove cover and continue cooking over moderate heat to thicken. As mixture thickens and peaches begin to disintegrate, reduce heat and stir to make sure peaches do not stick to bottom. When mixture is very thick, remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Transfer to work bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth. If butter seems too thin, you can return it to your pot to continue cooking, but be very careful not to scorch bottom. Place in storage container and refrigerate.

Yield 2 1/2 cups

Note: A fruit butter is a smooth, very thick puree – usually sweetened with sugar. This same process can be used to make other fruit butters.

Fragrant peach butter uses ripe Jersey peaches, lemongrass, ginger, sugar and water.

Early Jersey peaches are “cling,” meaning that the peach flesh clings to the pit. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the flesh away. Some flesh will be left on the pit.

Cutting up peaches into smaller pieces enables them to cook more quickly and evenly.

Trim away the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass stalks and then cut thin slices.

Bruising lemongrass with a meat pounder enables the lemongrass to more readily give up its flavor. You could use the bottom of a heavy pot or even a hammer.

After lemongrass, ginger and star anise are cooked in syrup to release their flavors, the solids are strained from syrup and discarded.

Transfer peaches and infused syrup into a thick-bottomed pot.

Cover and cook over moderate-high heat for about 10 minutes until peaches render their liquid.

It will now be more “watery” than before peaches rendered liquid. This hastens the process of removing liquid, leaving you with a thick fruit butter.

While there is still lots of liquid, you can cook over moderate heat to begin process of boiling away liquid. Take care to occasionally stir to prevent peaches from sticking to bottom and scorching.

As it thickens, reduce heat and stir more frequently.

As the peaches cook, your butter will require more attention and frequent stirring. You will have a sense that it is thick enough when you run a rubber spatula across the bottom and a bare strip of pot remains visible for a moment before filling back in. My peach butter took about an hour to cook down, but cooking times will vary based on the size of your pot — a wider pot will enable quicker evaporation of liquid — and your cooking temperature. If after you process your butter in a food processor it still seems to thin, you can return to pot to thicken it further.

Here’s the finished Fragrant Peach Butter.

Additional Peach Recipes from At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining
Crispy Peach Crumble P.404
Champagne with Peach Nectar P.34
Peach Shortcake P.447
Wine-Poached Peach Sorbet P.419

See the At Home blog for this recipe and more than eighty recipes published on the blog.

Next week: On the Road: The Trenton Farmers Market and the Farm Stands of Mercer County, N.J.

This Saturday’s Chestnut Hill Book Festival
This Saturday, July 10th at 2 PM I will be at Laurel Hill Gardens as part of the Second Annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival. I will discuss the At Home Project and its mission to increase home entertaining. My focus will be working with fresh herbs and will include an “herb tasting,” talk about planting a backyard herb garden, working with fresh herbs as well as a recipe demonstration of fresh salsa, chermoula — a sort of Egyptian “pesto” we are currently featuring at Cleo’s Portico at The Franklin Institute and a simple herb marinade for grilling. Lots of things to taste. Of course, I will be happy to sell and sign books. Please help spread the word. Hope to see you there.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Fragrant Peach Butter Recipe

This All-American favorite is given a mildly exotic flavor with the addition of lemongrass, ginger and star anise. Feel free to skip these additions and make plain peach butter. It’s simple to make. The key is ripe peaches. If your peaches are not ripe, place them in a brown paper bag and leave out on your counter until ripe — usually no more than a day or two. In this recipe a syrup is infused with aromatics and the solids strained out. This syrup is combined with fruit.  Use peach butter on toast or a scone, mix into fresh ricotta or use it as a glaze on grilled chicken breasts – brushing the breasts just before removing from grill.

Do ahead Peach butter may be stored in refrigerator for four weeks.

3 pounds ripe peaches, flesh cut from pits
1/3 cup tender lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, thin sliced and bruised
1 ounce ginger cut into thin slices
4 star anise pods
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

1. Combine sugar, water, lemongrass, ginger and star anise in small pot, bring to simmer and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. While doing this, make sure you do not boil away liquid. Off heat and strain out solids, reserving liquid. Measure liquid and add water to bring to 1 cup if it is less than I cup. If you have more than 1 cup, don’ t worry about it. It will cook away in Step 2.
2. In a heavy bottom pot large enough to hold peaches, combine peaches and liquid. Cover and bring to simmer for about 10 minutes to soften peaches and render liquid. Remove cover and continue cooking over moderate heat to thicken. As mixture thickens and peaches begin to disintegrate, reduce heat and stir to make sure peaches do not stick to bottom. When mixture is very thick, remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Transfer to work bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth. If butter seems too thin, you can return it to your pot to continue cooking, but be very careful not to scorch bottom. Place in storage container and refrigerate.

Yield 2 1/2 cups

Note: A fruit butter is a smooth, very thick puree – usually sweetened with sugar. This same process can be used to make other fruit butters.

Fragrant peach butter uses ripe Jersey peaches, lemongrass, ginger, sugar and water.

Early Jersey peaches are “cling,” meaning that the peach flesh clings to the pit. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the flesh away. Some flesh will be left on the pit.

Cutting up peaches into smaller pieces enables them to cook more quickly and evenly.

Trim away the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass stalks and then cut thin slices.

Bruising lemongrass with a meat pounder enables the lemongrass to more readily give up its flavor. You could use the bottom of a heavy pot or even a hammer.

After lemongrass, ginger and star anise are cooked in syrup to release their flavors, the solids are strained from syrup and discarded.

Transfer peaches and infused syrup into a thick-bottomed pot.

Cover and cook over moderate-high heat for about 10 minutes until peaches render their liquid.

It will now be more “watery” than before peaches rendered liquid. This hastens the process of removing liquid, leaving you with a thick fruit butter.

While there is still lots of liquid, you can cook over moderate heat to begin process of boiling away liquid. Take care to occasionally stir to prevent peaches from sticking to bottom and scorching.

As it thickens, reduce heat and stir more frequently.

As the peaches cook, your butter will require more attention and frequent stirring. You will have a sense that it is thick enough when you run a rubber spatula across the bottom and a bare strip of pot remains visible for a moment before filling back in. My peach butter took about an hour to cook down, but cooking times will vary based on the size of your pot — a wider pot will enable quicker evaporation of liquid — and your cooking temperature. If after you process your butter in a food processor it still seems to thin, you can return to pot to thicken it further.

Here’s the finished Fragrant Peach Butter.

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Matzo Brei Recipe

Think of matzo brei as Jewish French toast in which matzo – substituting for bread — gets soaked in an egg custard and cooked in butter. Passover, which officially lasts seven days, forbids observant Jews from eating leavened products such as bread. Even less observant Jews frequently abstain from eating bread during Passover. Matzo Brei (rhymes with bye) is the classic Passover breakfast. It’s too bad matzo brei does not appear beyond Passover as it is great any time of the year – whether or not you’re Jewish.

Matzo Brei
Here, the matzo pancake’s custard is sweetened and flavored with cinnamon and sugar that is also sprinkled on top. Serve with optional warmed maple syrup on the side. This recipe calls for making a large pancake and cutting into quarters – two quarters per person. You can certainly make smaller individual pancakes. Your goal is to have a crisp and brown exterior with a softer, custardy interior.

Do Ahead You can make Matzo Brei up to 30 minutes in advance and hold, lightly covered, in a 225 degree oven until ready to serve. Make sure you do not fully cover and seal as pancake will steam and you will lose its crisp pancake exterior.

2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
½ cup milk, whole preferred
¼ teaspoon salt
3 matzo sheets, plain and unsalted
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 ounces maple syrup, optional

1 In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Reserve.
2 To make custard mixture In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon and sugar mix. Whisk well to combine.
3 Tempering and soaking matzo Run tap water until hot. Run water over matzo sheet until damp but not really wet. Your goal is to soften matzo and begin breaking it down, but not get it dripping wet. You want the matzo to absorb the milk-egg mixture and the wetter it is with water, the less custard will be absorbed. But you need the initial wetting to get the process of absorption started. Repeat with balance of matzo sheets. Crumble matzo into egg-milk mix and push down to absorb custard. You want matzo pieces to be of variable and not homogeneous in size. Absorbing custard could take 10 to 15 minutes. Push matzo down into custard as needed. Don’t be concerned if matzo is not evenly moist as that unevenness makes for a pleasing texture to pancake.
4 Cooking Matzo Brei Using approximately 10-inch sauté or omelet pan with gently slopping sides, heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat until foam subsides.  Pour soaked matzo with any residual custard into pan and with a broad spatula, push down to form a pancake. Cook until bottom is browned and bottom of pancake is set and firm. You may need to lower heat if bottom browns too quickly before pancake sets. Using spatula around and under pancake, loosen pancake from pan so that it can slide around. Using a dinner plate, flip pancake on to plate so the browned bottom side is now facing up. Don’t worry if pancake creases a little, just try to straighten it. Add additional 1 tablespoon butter to pan and when foam subsides, slide pancake back into pan and cook until bottom browned and pancake firm and fully set.  If you are timid about flipping, you can pre-heat your broiler and finish cooking by holding pan under broiler until top is browned and set. If making more than one pancake, transfer to cookie sheet and hold in 225 degree oven until ready to serve.
5 To serve Cut pancake into quarters and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix. If using optional maple syrup, place in pitcher and warm in microwave before serving.

Each pancake serves 2

Matzo soaks in custard until nearly all the custard is absorbed. Push matzo down into custard as needed. Don’t worry if there is still some residual custard remaining. Just pour it all into the pan.

Once butter’s foam has subsided, pour soaked matzo into pan and push down to form a pancake. The key is to brown the outside and get it crispy while just having the custardy interior set while staying moist. Matzo Brie should not be dry inside. If it seems to be cooking too quickly — by which I mean the bottom is browning before the pancake is setting — reduce heat.  If you reduce the heat too much it will be difficult to brown and crisp the outside while maintaining a moist inside.

Here’s a simple way to “flip” the pancake. Once the bottom is browned and set, use spatula to loosen pancake so that it slides around. Flip pancake on to waiting plate. Don’t worry if it gets a little creased. Just try to straighten pancakes as best you can. As my mother used to say, “It all gets mixed up in your stomach!” Next…

Add butter to pan again and when foam subsides, slide pancake back into pan with cooked side facing up. Continue cooking until bottom is browned and the custard and matzo are set, but not fully dry.

Once again, use your spatula to loosen pancake and slide off on to waiting plate or cutting board. You can cut it into quarters with two quarters being a serving. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar mix and/or serve with warmed maple syrup.


If you are making several, slide on to cookie sheet and hold in 225 degree oven until you have made all of your Matzo Brei.

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Matzo Brei

Note: Some last minute Passover advice follows the recipe. So, if you are not interested in the recipe, skip ahead.

Think of matzo brei as Jewish French toast in which matzo – substituting for bread — gets soaked in an egg custard and cooked in butter. Passover, which officially lasts seven days, forbids observant Jews from eating leavened products such as bread. Even less observant Jews frequently abstain from eating bread during Passover. Matzo Brei (rhymes with bye) is the classic Passover breakfast. It’s too bad matzo brei does not appear beyond Passover as it is great any time of the year – whether or not you’re Jewish.

Matzo Brei
Here, the matzo pancake’s custard is sweetened and flavored with cinnamon and sugar that is also sprinkled on top. Serve with optional warmed maple syrup on the side. This recipe calls for making a large pancake and cutting into quarters – two quarters per person. You can certainly make smaller individual pancakes. Your goal is to have a crisp and brown exterior with a softer, custardy interior.

Do Ahead You can make Matzo Brei up to 30 minutes in advance and hold, lightly covered, in a 225 degree oven until ready to serve. Make sure you do not fully cover and seal as pancake will steam and you will lose its crisp pancake exterior.

2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
½ cup milk, whole preferred
¼ teaspoon salt
3 matzo sheets, plain and unsalted
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 ounces maple syrup, optional

1 In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Reserve.
2 To make custard mixture In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon and sugar mix. Whisk well to combine.
3 Tempering and soaking matzo Run tap water until hot. Run water over matzo sheet until damp but not really wet. Your goal is to soften matzo and begin breaking it down, but not get it dripping wet. You want the matzo to absorb the milk-egg mixture and the wetter it is with water, the less custard will be absorbed. But you need the initial wetting to get the process of absorption started. Repeat with balance of matzo sheets. Crumble matzo into egg-milk mix and push down to absorb custard. You want matzo pieces to be of variable and not homogeneous in size. Absorbing custard could take 10 to 15 minutes. Push matzo down into custard as needed. Don’t be concerned if matzo is not evenly moist as that unevenness makes for a pleasing texture to pancake.
4 Cooking Matzo Brei Using approximately 10-inch sauté or omelet pan with gently slopping sides, heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat until foam subsides.  Pour soaked matzo with any residual custard into pan and with a broad spatula, push down to form a pancake. Cook until bottom is browned and bottom of pancake is set and firm. You may need to lower heat if bottom browns too quickly before pancake sets. Using spatula around and under pancake, loosen pancake from pan so that it can slide around. Using a dinner plate, flip pancake on to plate so the browned bottom side is now facing up. Don’t worry if pancake creases a little, just try to straighten it. Add additional 1 tablespoon butter to pan and when foam subsides, slide pancake back into pan and cook until bottom browned and pancake firm and fully set.  If you are timid about flipping, you can pre-heat your broiler and finish cooking by holding pan under broiler until top is browned and set. If making more than one pancake, transfer to cookie sheet and hold in 225 degree oven until ready to serve.
5 To serve Cut pancake into quarters and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix. If using optional maple syrup, place in pitcher and warm in microwave before serving.

Each pancake serves 2

Matzo soaks in custard until nearly all the custard is absorbed. Push matzo down into custard as needed. Don’t worry if there is still some residual custard remaining. Just pour it all into the pan.

Once butter’s foam has subsided, pour soaked matzo into pan and push down to form a pancake. The key is to brown the outside and get it crispy while just having the custardy interior set while staying moist. Matzo Brie should not be dry inside. If it seems to be cooking too quickly — by which I mean the bottom is browning before the pancake is setting — reduce heat.  If you reduce the heat too much it will be difficult to brown and crisp the outside while maintaining a moist inside.

Here’s a simple way to “flip” the pancake. Once the bottom is browned and set, use spatula to loosen pancake so that it slides around. Flip pancake on to waiting plate. Don’t worry if it gets a little creased. Just try to straighten pancakes as best you can. As my mother used to say, “It all gets mixed up in your stomach!” Next…

Add butter to pan again and when foam subsides, slide pancake back into pan with cooked side facing up. Continue cooking until bottom is browned and the custard and matzo are set, but not fully dry.

Once again, use your spatula to loosen pancake and slide off on to waiting plate or cutting board. You can cut it into quarters with two quarters being a serving. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar mix and/or serve with warmed maple syrup.


If you are making several, slide on to cookie sheet and hold in 225 degree oven until you have made all of your Matzo Brei.

Last Minute Passover Advice
Hopefully you have followed the advice featured in Part 1 of At Home regarding how to organize your home entertaining. Here’s some highlights:

Your goal is one relaxed hour prior to your guest’s arrival. If you are working today and today is your seder, that might be difficult, but aim for some relaxed time — maybe fifteen minutes. Also, remember that home entertaining is a team sport so make sure the team helps out. Run and empty your dishwasher and wash and put away as many dirty pots, pans, bowls, etc. as you can. You want to start with clear and empty counters. Stash away things like toaster ovens and food processors that may be on your counter but not used for your meal. Post your menu on a kitchen cabinet so you have a “cheat sheet” for your meal. Ideally, pull and label all of your platters and bowls so you know what goes in what. Pre-platter everything you can in advance. Review At Home’s Page 22 as to how best to organize your “Back of House.” Here’s a key: Do not pile dirty things into your sink, rather on the counter adjacent to your sink. That’s because once your sink is full your sunk. Keep the sink available to rinse and wash — not stack.

Some advice for guests: The kitchen is not for chatting. Very important things occur in the kitchen and if you are not there to help make those things happen, stay out of the kitchen. If you are bringing flowers, bring them in a vase already arranged. The last thing you host needs is to stop and arrange flowers.

When it’s all over and guests are gone, make sure to take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well-done. By entertaining at home you have made an important connection to friends and family that will sustain you and your guests long after memories of the food served.

Best wishes for a Happy Passover.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Nutty Maple Granola Recipe

No store-bought granola is this good. Honey tends to overwhelm everything else, so in this honey-less version, maple syrup serves as the glue. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients—that’s just shopping.

do ahead Granola may be made up to six months ahead and stored in the freezer or up to two weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container.

2 cups rolled oats
1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios
3⁄4 cup slivered almonds
1⁄4 cup hulled sesame seeds
1⁄4 cup flax seeds
1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil (any except olive oil)
1⁄2 cup dried apples, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar and salt. Mix well. Add maple syrup and mix well. Pour oil in a separate bowl. Add granola mixture to oil and toss well. Spread mixture on 2 parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. When granola is nicely tanned, remove from oven and cool. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in apples, apricots and cranberries.
yields 61⁄2 cups

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The Best Granola I Ever Ate: A Delicious Holiday Gift from At Home

What to give as a gift? People already have so many things. Past blogs have made suggestions for Twelve Days of Stocking Stuffers and my Top 5 Serious Gifts for Home Entertainers. But what about the more casual and less cook-focused gift? A gift for your office Pollyanna, a next door neighbor or the legion of family members gathered at the tree? My suggestion? The gift of made-at-home food. Homemade food — like entertaining at home — is a gift from the heart. It can be savored and remembered.

A year ago this week I was testing At Home’s recipe for granola. My goal was the best granola I ever ate. Something wildly extravagant — for granola.

I imagined my Nutty Maple Granola – loaded with toasted nuts (almonds and pistachios) and seeds (sesame, flax, sunflower and pumpkin) and dried fruit (apples, apricots and cranberries), nestled in rolled oats and lightly sweetened (brown sugar and maple syrup). An irresistible snack, ice cream or yogurt topping or Christmas morning cereal treat.

Recipe development begins with an idea. From there, I sit at my computer, think through and type and print a recipe draft. The draft includes the ordered ingredient list, with my best guess as to the quantity of each ingredient, followed by the numbered steps in the procedures as I imagine them. This part all occurs in my head.

After shopping, I go into my kitchen with my recipe draft for my first and carefully measured run-through. I must say that the “carefully measured” part is always a challenge for me. I am a cook. I love the spontaneity of cooking –“measuring” ingredients by how they feel in my fingers. Careful measuring takes every ounce of discipline I can muster. Occasionally I have to go back to the beginning to re-think and re-test a recipe. Usually I come pretty close with my draft and testing notes such that when I taste the tested result, I can make modest “on paper” adjustments to the specified ingredients and certify a tested recipe ready for editing.

Here’s a side note along with two great Pascal Lemaitre illustrations about the difference between Cooks and Bakers from At Home:

Technique
Cooks and Bakers
There are cooks and there are bakers, and they are fundamentally different. Cooks are by nature impatient and improvisational. Bakers are patient, and although great ones learn to improvise, baking generally requires a steadiness, consistency and a willingness to let things happen slowly and on their own. With cooks, measuring is optional. Bakers must measure. Cooking is alchemy; baking is chemistry. This characterization may not be entirely fair to bakers—but I am most assuredly a cook.

I loved my Nutty Maple Granola. With little time to holiday shop and in need of holiday gifts last year, I couldn’t think of a more delicious gift for my holiday list. I made three very big batches, packed my Nutty Maple Granola into clear bags, wrapped with ribbon. This granola is not like any granola someone could buy in a store because the ingredients would be too expensive and drive the retail price too high. But as a make at home gift, $50 worth of ingredients will go a very long way. So, this weekend, think about making my Nutty Maple Granola and cross off a bunch of gifts from you list. Tripling the recipe will yield nearly 4 quarts or four to six generous gift bags. Bake in batches rather than crowding your rimmed cookie sheets. You’ll get into a rhythm and before you know it you’ll be done.

Nutty Maple Granola

No store-bought granola is this good. Honey tends to overwhelm everything else, so in this honey-less version, maple syrup serves as the glue. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients—that’s just shopping.

do ahead Granola may be made up to six months ahead and stored in the freezer or up to two weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container.

2 cups rolled oats
1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios
3⁄4 cup slivered almonds
1⁄4 cup hulled sesame seeds
1⁄4 cup flax seeds
1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil (any except olive oil)
1⁄2 cup dried apples, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar and salt. Mix well. Add maple syrup and mix well. Pour oil in a separate bowl. Add granola mixture to oil and toss well. Spread mixture on 2 parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. When granola is nicely tanned, remove from oven and cool. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in apples, apricots and cranberries.
yields 61⁄2 cups

Buy At Home

If you enjoy my At Home blog, but are not yet a book owner, you have a sense of my approach to cooking and entertaining at home. I am suggesting that you buy the book, first and foremost for yourself. I promise you will immediately consider it one of your most cherished books — cooking or otherwise. Honest! Next, it is the perfect gift for everyone on your list who enjoys reading about food, cooking and entertaining. The book is available online at athomebysteveposes.com.


Upcoming Book Signings

The Reading Terminal Market to include next Tuesday and Wednesday
I will be at Reading Terminal Market lots between now and the end of the year. This Saturday two elves will be manning the table while I travel to Weaver’s Way. I will be at Reading Terminal after 3 PM, but books will be there all day. Look for At Home’s table in Center Court across from Meze on Saturday’s and near Spataro’s Cheesesteaks — across from the pig — on Sundays. I will also be at Reading Terminal Market on Tuesday, December 22nd and Wednesday, December 23rd across from Meze. Buy a book or stop by to say hello.

Saturday, December 19th at Weaver’s Way
I will be at Weaver’s Way in Mt. Airy this Saturday, December 19th from 11 AM to 2 PM. Weaver’s Way’s Mt. Airy is located on 559 Carpenter Lane.

Plus Two Retail Locations
You may also buy At Home at Beth Cooper’s Coopermarket at 307 Levering Mill Road in Bala Cynwyd where you can also buy wonderful prepared food. In addition, books are now at the Joseph Fox Bookshop at 1724 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. (Note: In the past I have said that At Home would not be available in bookstores. Joseph Fox is no ordinary bookstore. It is one of the great independent bookstore and for nearly twenty years my Commissary restaurant was a Sansom Street neighbor. You may buy signed copies of At Home at the Joseph Fox Bookshop.

Thanks for visiting.

Steve

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Chapter 17: Light Meals — Breakfast & Brunch

At Home ships to me tomorrow from the Worldcolor printing plant in Kentucky. I planned this 19 chapter countdown to finish with the last chapter on the day the books shipped. I seem to have gotten my math wrong by one day. As a result, tomorrow I will preview the second to last chapter with the wrap-up on Saturday.

Today I finish with Section 6’s preview. Chapter 17: Light Meals — Breakfast & Brunch features twenty-one recipes that range from a layered Eggplant, Tomato & Goat Cheese Strata — a sort of savory bread pudding — to Coconut Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas — to Ida Newman’s Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze. (Ida is a friend of my mother’s.)

The chapter begins with a pair of brunch hors d’oeuvres, although as you will read, the hors d’oeuvres featured in this preview began life at a special dinner.

Screen shot 2009-09-22 at 9.12.59 PM

Savory Parmigiano-Reggiano “Ice Cream”
We learned this sinfully delicious and simple-to-make hors d’oeuvre from Marta Pulini, a Modena, Italy–based chef. Marta was brought to The Franklin Institute by Panerai, the Italian watchmaker who sponsored the Galileo exhibit, and we assisted her in creating a wonderful press preview dinner. The success of this two-ingredient “ice cream” depends on the Parmesan produced in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Accept no substitutes. Marta served it with a drop of 35-year-old aged balsamic vinegar that she brought from her home. If you have access to such a product, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, the ice cream is wonderful served naked.

do ahead “Ice cream” and crostini can be made three days ahead. Store ice cream in refrigerator. Assemble just before serving.

4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated sliced raisin walnut bread or other nut-based bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups heavy cream

1 Set a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water. Add heavy cream. When the cream is very hot, about 5 minutes, add Parmigiano. Whisking occasionally, cook until cheese breaks down and melts into the cream, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and chill until cold, thick and scoopable, at least 4 hours.
2 Adjust an oven rack to the middle shelf and preheat oven to 325°. To make crostini, cut walnut bread into 24 small circles, squares or triangles. Lightly brush with butter. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly crisp but still pliable. Remove and cool.
3 To serve, spread ice cream on walnut bread or form a small scoop with a melon baller.

yields 24 pieces

Technique
Mimosas

A mimosa is a festive brunch drink that melds sparkling wine with orange juice. Use only fresh juice. On the other hand, inexpensive champagne or another sparkling wine such as an Italian prosecco or a Spanish cava is fine. More special still is a blood orange mimosa. Blood oranges are available late winter into early spring. Fresh tangerine juice also makes for a lovely variation. Both the juice and sparkling wine should be chilled. To make a mimosa, add about 11⁄2 ounces of fresh juice to a champagne glass. Slowly add about 5 ounces sparkling wine. It will foam up as you add. Allow to settle and add more. Gently stir.

A little editorial illustration from Pascal with regard to Ida’s muffins!

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Tomorrow: The final section of At Home is Sweet Endings. It is the last of our seven sections. There are two chapters within Sweet Endings…and for god reason. I am not a baker. I just don’t have the temperament. So…in deference to me I have included Chapter 18: Desserts for Non-Bakers. But I certainly could not offer “all the recipes you need” without a final Chapter 19: Baking Required. More about this special chapter on Saturday.

Less than two weeks left to buy the book — and companion website — and receive a signed, numbered first edition.

Note: I will be speaking all about At Home — book and companion website — at the Free Library on Thursday, October 15 beginning at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there.

Steve

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