Over the years, two people from our group have passed away, two moved to Florida, but Nancy, Jane and I remain here in NJ. We continue the tradition of gathering, but now it’s become just once a year; instead of cooking, we eat out. However, this time, I had the girls to my home for brunch so we could sit and relax.
The menu consisted of Creamy Baked Eggs with Leeks and Spinach, Home Fries with Onions and Chives, Salad with Basil Buttermilk Dressing and Buttery Apple-Almond Cake. Starting with the egg recipe, from Southern Living Magazine May 2022, you’ll need butter, a leek, fresh spinach, heavy cream, kosher salt, eggs, feta cheese, freshly ground black pepper, freshly chopped chives and toasted English muffins. This was a wonderful recipe and easy to prepare. I was able to get the casserole set up ahead of time so that I could enjoy my guests. The base of the casserole consists of sautéed leeks and spinach enriched with a touch of heavy cream. You make little wells in the spinach in which a raw egg is placed. The eggs get a sprinkling of feta cheese and pepper then baked in the oven until the egg whites are set. This dish was delicious; everyone went back for seconds. The eggs were cooked just right and the spinach and leeks were a light addition to the casserole.
As a side dish, I served a Gourmet Magazine (November 2001), recipe of Home Fries with Onions and Chives. For this recipe you’ll need russet potatoes (also known as baking potatoes), onions, salt, freshly ground black pepper, unsalted butter, olive oil and finely chopped fresh chives. Whole, peeled russet potatoes are cooked ahead of time, which can be up to two days. The chilled potatoes are quartered and cut crosswise into 1/2” pieces. To prepare the potatoes, I used a non-stick pan to cook the onions until they were golden brown. Once done, they were removed and in two batches, I cooked the potatoes until lightly golden, then added half the onions per the recipe. A little more butter and the chopped chives completed the dish. Cooking the potatoes ahead of sautéing allowed for the potatoes to remain firm and allowed for a golden-brown finish. These were scrumptious with the egg casserole, only a small dish remained after we were done.
In case that wasn’t enough food, I also added some breakfast sausage and a salad with my recently found recipe for Basil-Buttermilk Dressing. The dressing was a hit as it was a bit out of the ordinary.
Our group always loved dessert and my Buttery Apple—Almond Cake came from my September 2022 issue of Southern Living Magazine; it didn’t disappoint. This recipe caught my eye as it uses 1/4 cup of almond flour, which I still had from a previous recipe. Also needed is baking spray with flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, ground ginger, eggs, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, Honeycrisp apples and powdered sugar for garnishing. Another item that’ll you need for this cake is parchment paper. After the pan is sprayed, a parchment circle is placed on the bottom of the pan.
What a delightful cake! The cake was moist, not too sweet and had a lovely apple flavor from the sliced apples in the cake. I love Honeycrisp apples as they are crisp, juicy and hold up well in baking. It’s an easy cake to prepare for your family or company. The girls loved it, as did my husband, who although didn’t sit with us, did partake in eating all of the food served. His presence allowed me to enjoy my company while he so graciously cleaned and cleared the table for me.
Home Fries with Onions and Chives
Gourmet Magazine November 2021
Active time: 1 hour
Start to finish: 9-1/2 hours (includes chilling)
“The potatoes in this recipe are chilled after boiling to get them very firm so they won’t fall apart when slice and sauté them. Some of our editors thinks chilling also helps the potatoes develop a better-browned crust when sautéing.”
2 lb. russet (baking) potatoes
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch in a large pot, then boil until just tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool completely, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 8 hours.
Quarter potatoes lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
Cook onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté half of potatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Add half of onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered. Cook remaining potatoes and onions in same manner.
Return all vegetables to skillet and gently toss with remaining tablespoon butter and chives until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
• Cooked whole potatoes can be chilled up to 2 days.
• Onions may be cooked, separately, 1 day ahead and chilled, covered
Creamy Baked Eggs with Leeks and Spinach
Southern Living Magazine May 2022
Active Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
1 (10-oz.) pkg. fresh spinach
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 large eggs
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
Toasted English muffins, for serving
Buttery Apple-Almond Cake
By Anna Theoktisto, Southern Living Magazine September 2022
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Baking spray with flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 medium-size Honeycrisp apples (about 1 1/4 lb. total), cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices (4 cups sliced)
Powdered sugar, for garnish
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.