Today was the toast brunch I mentioned in my earlier posts. My best friend and her boyfriend came over, and I was happy to serve them a nice, homemade brunch before their trip back home to New York.
One of my favorite things to do is feed the people I love. It’s definitely my love language, and nothing makes me happier than putting a nice meal on the table for friends and family. The big challenge for me has just been finding friends to feed! I know this is a common experience for people as they age; it can be difficult to find and keep social connections. Everyone gets busy, and it’s just really hard to meet new people. I’m somewhat of an insular person as it is and having moved around a bit, I don’t feel like I have really strong roots down in Baltimore.
Regardless, I am very fortunate to have a close friend who is as passionate about cooking and food as I am. We’ve cooked often together and always have fun riffing ideas off each other. We’re even thinking about writing a self-published cookbook together.
We wanted to do the omelette au rhum, but mentally I just wasn’t there today. I have a pretty intense fear of fires, so I kept seeing my entire kitchen engulfed in flames all for an omelet, and I just couldn’t justify the risk. I WILL attempt it, but I think I’ll need to work up to it.
Why not have a champagne toast with your fancy toast brunch? I bought a nice bottle of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut. It’s definitely a splurge bottle for me, but I really like the flavor of it. It’s bright and citrusy. Shan brought a nice bottle of Muz Natural Vermouth that we mixed with the champagne. We added a spritz of juice from fresh satsuma mandarins. I loved the drink! Eventually, I passed on the vermouth and just drank the champagne bare because it really is delicious on its own and really needs no accompaniment.
The Savory Toast
I decided to make two toasts today. The first is a savory toast which was so beautiful in its simplicity.
To make it, I fried sliced cremini mushrooms first. I like to start them in a warm skillet and let them release all their water. This takes anywhere from 10–15 minutes. I also know when they’re done because as the water evaporates, the mushrooms become a bit squeaky in the skillet as you turn them. Once they dried out, I added a bit of olive oil and torn maitake mushrooms and continued frying until golden brown.
For the eggs, I just whisked together eight large eggs with a lot of heavy cream until smooth. I poured it into a warm skillet and let the bottom set up. Once it begins to bubble, I start to break up the eggs into large curds by using a rubber spatula and pulling the edges of the eggs in toward the center of the skillet. I try not to disturb them too much, just enough to gently break them up as they set up.
Right before the eggs finish cooking, I add black pepper and minced chives.
Now, I must admit something. I toasted my bread to hell and back. So, they were more like crackers. I offered just plain old, untoasted sourdough, and people alternated between the crispy crunchy bread and the soft untoasted bread. I opted for just the untoasted bread, and it was still delicious. I piled the eggs on top and arranged a few crispy mushrooms on the eggs. I finished with more minced chives. Aside from the chives, I only used salt and freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning. I don’t think it needed anything else either.
The Sweet Toast
I didn’t take a photo of this on the toast, so forgive me. I still want to tell you about this beautiful whipped ricotta and pecans.
The whipped ricotta is a simple mixture of ricotta, heavy cream, orange juice, orange zest, and olive oil. I did make a mistake by adding too much heavy cream and blending it in my Nutribullet. I should have used a whisk or hand mixer to get some air in the mixture. It was very thin, but my friend suggested adding powdered sugar and blending it with my hand mixer to help stiffen up the mixture. It’s not as thick as I would have liked, but the flavor was really fantastic. I loved the brightness of the olive oil in the whipped ricotta.
I really didn’t have much direction with the pecans. I thought a crunchy element would be nice on the creamy ricotta. I’ve made sweet pecan toppings before, and I thought a cardamom-vanilla pecan topping would be nice. Sadly, I didn’t have vanilla extract. I scavenged through my cupboard and found a tiny little jar of rose extract.
I toasted chopped pecans in a small pot for about thirty seconds, then I added a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of cardamom. After that, I added a dash of rose water, some brown sugar, a little honey, and a splash of water. I simmered it until the liquid thickened and the pecans became sticky. They were truly divine on the ricotta.
As I type this, my pot au feu is bubbling away on the stove, and I can’t wait to share my recipe with you. While I did use a slow cooker for the majority of the recipe, I am hungry now, and I am impatient, so into a big pot it went so I can get those potatoes tender, pronto!
Hope everyone has a wonderful week!