Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday Brunch and Flour Cookbook Review

We've been on an at-home brunch kick for the last few weeks; last week I hosted wine club at my place for brunch and this week, A. and I made a nice brunch for the guys yesterday. Our friends from Boston had given us the Joanne Chang's "Flour" cookbook earlier in the week and I've been eager to try out her delicious looking (and fortunately, not too complicated) pastry recipes. I really like Joanne Chang's story; she is a Taiwanese American who graduated from Harvard with a degree in applied mathematics and econ, went into management consulting and left to pursue her culinary dreams instead, working her way up various Boston fine dining establishments and eventually finding pastry as her calling. She founded and owns three Flour Bakery & Cafes around Boston.

We made the raspberry rhubarb muffin from her cookbook to go along with Giada's Italian Sausage Egg Bake which was on a recent episode of Giada's foodnetwork show. We followed both recipes closely; the muffins took about 20 minutes to cook (rotating a few times) and we had enough batter to make 12 regular size and 12 mini size muffins. The only change to the sausage and egg dish was using chicken sausage as opposed to turkey sausage. Both dishes were delicious and I would definitely make both again; the rhubarb gave the muffin a lovely tart flavor and the texture and consistency of the muffin were perfect: light and fluffy on the inside with a beautiful smooth crust on the outside. I think the creme fraiche in the recipe made all the difference. It had just the right amount of sweetness too, often I find recipes to use too much sugar. In the future, orange zest might be a nice addition and I would probably use fresh raspberries so that they maintain their structure better. The savory dish:,the sausage and egg bake was delicious too; lots of bright contrasting flavors and textures: the sweet and chewy sundried tomatoes, tangy goat cheese, savory sausage, fresh spinach and basil, crunchy croutons, topped off by a soft runny egg.
Muffins "before"
Italian Sausage Egg Bake before the eggs
After the eggs
Done! We cooked it for about 19 minutes because we didn't want the eggs too runny
I've only made one recipe so far, but I look forward to trying many more!

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