Saturday, June 5, 2010

Brunch!


Last Saturday the "Ladies Who Brunch" and I got together here at the Little Pink House and had  grand ol' time.  Mrs. Chrissie was here and it was a neat experience having her (an U.K. brunch lady) along with my U.S. brunch ladies.   

The menu:

Toffee Nut Coffee
Creamy Crab and Spinach Casserole
Melon Mozzarella Salad w/ Herbs
Chilled Mexican Sweet Pepper and Cucumber Soup
Frozen White Chocolate & Pecan Cheesecake w/ Chocolate Sauce



As previously mentioned, the Ladies Who Brunch have a plus or minus system for recipes and everything got a plus except for the soup which was a plus/minus, and life is too short for plus/minus food.

All of the dishes could be made partially ahead of time and were very simple.

Here are the recipes:

Creamy Crab & Spinach Casserole
(from 1980 Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbook)

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen spinach
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. dry sherry
1/4 c. half-and-half
3-4 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Dash of pepper
1 (6 1/2oz.) can crabmeat, drained & flaked
1/2 c. soft breadcrumbs
2 tsp. melted butter
Paprika

Cook spinach according to package directions, omitting salt; drain well.
Combine soup, sherry, half-and-half, Worchestershire sauce, 1 cup cheese, and pepper in medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts.
Combine spinach & 1/3 soup mixture, mixing well; spread half in a buttered 10x6x2 baking dish.  Spread with half of crabmeat.  Repeat layers; pour remaining soup mixture over top.
Combine breadcrumbs & butter, mixing well; sprinkle over soup mixture.  Top with 1 cup cheese, and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

Melon Mozzarella Salad w/Herbs
(from Brunch & Lunch an Ikea cookbook from England)

1 container mozzarella balls
1 red pepper
1 lime
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. Chinese chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh thyme
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 sweet melon
2 Tbs. basil, shredded

Drain the mozzarella balls, halve them and allow to further dry on kitchen paper.
Remove the seeds from the pepper and chop it finely.
Zest the lime and squeeze out the juice.
In a bowl, mix the lime juice & olive oil to a dressing.
Stir in the pepper, chives, and thyme and season to taste with salt & pepper. 
Stir in mozzarella balls and allow to marinate for approximately 1 hour.  Toss occasionally.
Halve the melon and scoop out the seeds.  With a melon baller, scoop out balls.
Toss melon balls and shredded basil with the mozzarella.  Allow the salad to marinate a further 30 minutes. 
Serves 4.

Chilled Mexican Sweet Pepper and Cucumber Soup
(from Brunch & Lunch an Ikea cookbook from England)

1 jar grilled sweet peppers
1 cucumber
2 Tbs. lime juice or wine vinegar
1 Tbs. hot pepper or jalapeno sauce
Salt & pepper
1 ripe avocado, cubed
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Sour cream

Drain the peppers in a colander.  Remove seeds and any pieces of charred skin. 
Peel the cucumber.  Halve the cucumber lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.  Coarsely chop1/4 the cucumber and set aside.
In a food processor puree the peppers & cucumber with 1/2 liter of water to a smooth soup.  Pour soup in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, & hot sauce.  Chill the soup thoroughly for an hour.
Just before serving ladle the soup into bowls and divide the diced cucumber, avocado, and onion onto the surface.  Add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl.  Serves 4-6.

Frozen White Chocolate & Pecan Cheesecake w/ Chocolate Sauce
(adapted from the Southern Living Little Book of Cheesecakes cookbook)

1/2 c. pecans (was supposed to be pistachios but I don't like 'em)
1 c. Hobnobs (an English oat cookie but you could use any crunchy oatmeal cookie)
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar (I used less)
1/4 c. butter (I used unsalted), melted
1/2 c. whipping cream
6 oz. white chocolate (I used Lindt white chocolate truffles), chopped
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. softened butter
1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar (I don't do sifting)
1 tsp. vanilla
 
Chop the pecans in a food processor.  Add cookies and blitz.  Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until mixed.  Put crumb mixture in the bottom of a 7" springform pan (I used a 10".)  Bake at 350F for 12 minutes and cool completely. (I completely eliminated this step.)
Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add white chocolate.  Let stand 2-3 minutes then stir gently with a rubber spatula until smooth.
Beat cream cheese and softened butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla; beat 3 minutes and until very smooth.  Pour batter into prepared crust.  cover and freeze at least 8 hours. or up to 1 month.
Let stand at room temperature and 30 minutes before serving.  Gently run a knife around the edge of cheesecake to release sides of pan; carefully remove pan.
I poured Hershey's syrup over the tops to give it a little color and let's face it - everything is better with Hershey's syrup on it.

This is part of Full Plate Thursday.

6 comments:

  1. I agree, everything is better with chocolate on top! Have you tried putting Hershey's in your coffee? LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ms. Cricket, now really, do you even need to ask? :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipes with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations!
    Your Brunch is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a fabulous week and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete

Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.

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