Friday, November 17, 2006

A Birthday Brunch

My sister, the party girl, celebrated her birthday all weekend long. Friday and Saturday nights lasted till morning, ending with a Sunday brunch I hosted.

Bloody Geisha
Cava Mimosa

(from Gourmet magazine, Dec. 1993)
Orange Sauce
Maple Flavored Syrup
Crisp Bacon

Crustless Potato Quiche
(from the Food Network's The Barefoot Contessa)

Sausages Stewed in Red Wine

Lemon Cupcakes

Bloody Geisha
adapted from Ming Tsai's Bloody Mary
Sake, a Japanese rice wine, is a wonderful alternative to vodka for those who dislike the strong alcoholic component of the usual Bloody Mary's. Choosing a premium sake is of utmost importance and definately worth the price in terms of flavor.

2 11-ounce cans V-8
11 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 cups Premium Sake
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon naturally brewed soy sauce
2 tablespoons wasabi paste
1 tablespoon horseradish


In a bottle or other container, add V-8, tomato juice, sake, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, and horseradish. Shake vigorously and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve in glasses filled with ice.

Cava Mimosa

semi-sec Cava or Champagne, chilled
fresh orange juice, chilled

Fill champagne glasses with half oj and half Cava.

These are the best pancakes ever.

3 large eggs, separated
1 stick butter, plus more for cooking pancakes
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients except egg whites, until mixture is smooth. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into flour mixture.

Heat a griddle or skillet on medium-high heat. Melt about half a teaspoon of butter and, using a small ladle, pour batter into pan and cook pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. A good way to tell when the bottom side is done is when top part is filled with bubbles, it then takes a few seconds for the flipped side to cook.

Serve with 2 kinds of syrup and a side of crisp bacon. Mmmmmmmm!

Crustless Potato Quiche
This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's TV show The Barefoot Contessa. It calls for basil leaves which I didn't have in hand so had to omit, it was delicious anyway. I used a 10-inch springform cakepan to mold the quiche. The recipe's original title is Potato Basil Frittata, I titled it differently because it seems more like a quiche than a frittata to me.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
2-3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch diced boiling potatoes
10 large eggs
15 ounces cottage cheese, drained
3/4 pound Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch ovenproof omelet pan over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and fry them until cooked through, turning often, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place potatoes in the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and spread evenly. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan or microwave.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, then stir in the ricotta, Gruyere, melted butter, salt, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and place the cakepan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour. It will be rounded and firm in the middle and a knife inserted in the frittata should come out clean. Serve hot on a round serving platter.