Posts Tagged ‘Eggs’

All Over BRUNCH!

A delightful chance meeting with Chef Gail Gand, left, at the launch of “Chef’s Move to Schools”, Washington, DC June 2009. Joy Rupe, right.

Chef Gail Gand is a lovely and gracious person. You may know of her as a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, Food Network star, restaurant owner or cookbook author. Her book, BRUNCH! was just released in 2009 when I happened across it while planning a Mother’s Day event that year. I couldn’t have imagined that I would ever meet Gail but in fact I did – at the launch of Chef’s Move to Schools initiative in June at the Whitehouse.

One thing that Gail and I share is a love of brunch. Hardly any other meal can swing with such finesse from sweet to savory and elevate the humble egg to such heights. A much loved institution, brunch is most notably egg-centric. Classic menus include eggs in various forms from quiche, omelets, frittatas and strata, poached eggs, eggs Benedict, and stuffed eggs to infinity and beyond. Accompaniments include seasonal fruit, smoked salmon and steak, ham, bacon and sausage, all forms of toast, muffins, crepes, scones, waffles, and pancakes. Brunch is a wonderful way to entertain on a weekend and can be as casual or elaborate as you wish. As a late morning meal, one of its finer qualities is ample time for preparation.

In BRUNCH! Gail takes traditional breakfast staples and makes simple enhancements that don’t require additional time or add complexity.  Immediately you see that she is a teacher as her instructions are clear and to the point. She includes simple techniques that are easy to master – a trait that all of my favorite chefs share.

Brunch is not complete without a specialty drink to set expectations. Iced Coffee with Cinnamon-Coffee Ice Cubes and Tangerine Pink Grapefruit with Mint are two of my favorites from BRUNCH!  I made Gail’s Torta Rustica (below), a multi-layered, pastry covered dish that includes mushrooms in garlic butter, sautéed creamed spinach, roasted red peppers, scrambled eggs, ham, and mozzarella. Click on the photo to see the layers. It was a delicious meal made complete with a side of fresh fruit and a glass of champagne.

Chef Gail Gand’s recipe for Torta Rustica from her book BRUNCH!

I often rely on a crustless quiche for my week day breakfasts. It takes about an hour and a half on Sunday to prepare then I just reheat a slice during the week for a delicious, protein-packed meal.  Without the traditional crust I’m free to choose from various whole grain breads with more fiber and higher quality nutrients than usually found in a pastry crust.

If you would like to learn how to make pastry crust, scones, turnovers, and doughnuts, Gail’s BRUNCH! book is a great primer.  Visit her website for information about her other books.  Also, I’ve posted decorating ideas for a brunch buffet on the Photos tab.  Need a brunch recipe? Just post a request.