We are in the midst of the Caronovirus pandemic, also known as the COVID-19 virus. People are asked to self isolate and many are in quarantine. Fear and stir craziness is slowly setting in as I write this post. I keep myself busy with varied make work projects to preserve my sanity. I have been busy posting on FaceBook as well. I re-posted my Sunshine Muffin Recipe, which prompted my friend Dee to request the recipe for the biscuits I made for my big b'day brunch 4 years ago :) At that time, I asked some of my closest friends, some from across Western Canada, to join me in Niagara-On-The-Lake to stay in the Vineyard Estate House in Beamsville. We did some incredible wine tasting tours too. It was so much fun and a wonderful lasting memory. Obviously, because Denyse remembers those buttery biscuits!
During this 2020 challenging time, don't you think it would be a fun idea to have a virtual dinner together with those buddies who came to celebrate with me in 2016? Keep posted my dear friends for a fun group chat reunion. In the meantime, outside of eating out, this was the brunch menu for a yummy eat in with the recipes. The gluten free scones were the most favoured. I think because of all that butter. So worth it! Stay safe and be well.
Fruit platter with pineapple, watermelon, and strawberries
Cardamom Drop Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or to taste 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 1 cup buttermilk
course sugar for sprinkling
Heat oven to 400° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Using your fingertips, add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until crumbly. Add buttermilk. Gently stir until combined.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet.
Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Gluten-free Strawberry Scones
Makes twelve 2-inch scones
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1 cup quinoa flakes, plus more for topping (you can use gluten free oatmeal)
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for topping
Place the butter in the freezer at least 30 minutes before beginning.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix the coconut milk and lemon juice in a bowl and chill for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the superfine brown rice flour, quinoa flakes, quinoa flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.
Take the butter out of the freezer and grate it using the large holes in a box grater. Gently toss the butter into the flour mixture, but try not to touch it too much, as the warmth from your hands can melt it.
Whisk 1 egg into the coconut milk mixture.
Add this mixture to the flour-and-butter base and fold with a wooden spatula until it comes together.
Fold in the chopped strawberries.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead it a few times until it comes together. Form a disk, pat it down, and roll it out to a 3/4-inch thickness.
Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter dipped in superfine brown rice flour, cut out the scones and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Re-roll scraps once and cut again.
Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.
Sprinkle demerara sugar and quinoa flakes on top of each scone.
Bake the scones until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes and then cool them completely on a wire rack. They keep well at room temperature for 2 days, or they can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Bacon, Potato & Egg Breakfast Casserole
serves 6 as a main dish
4 slices thick bacon, cut into strips about 1/2-inch wide
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, cleaned out and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons salt, divided
8 large eggs
1 cup milk, any kind will work
1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups frozen diced potatoes, unthawed
Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9" baking dish with baking spray or olive oil.
Put the bacon slices in a large skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp.
Add the onion, yellow bell pepper, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are fragrant and soft — about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly and whisk in the milk.
Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper.
Stir in the cheese, frozen potatoes, and the bacon and vegetables from the skillet.
Pour the whole mixture into the prepared baking dish.
When you are ready to bake the casserole, bake for 40 minutes, or until the eggs are firm and the top is slightly golden. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
Serve immediately with fruit and rolls or toast.
• This recipe calls for frozen potatoes for the sake of convenience. But if you don't have frozen potatoes and would prefer to use fresh potatoes, substitute one medium potato for each cup of frozen potatoes. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork, then place in the microwave on a paper towel. Cook on HIGH for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just barely tender. Dice and proceed with the recipe.