Weekend Fare: Brunch & A Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I’m late getting this post put together. My husband was home working on some paperwork today and the boys were busily cleaning their rooms. As the hours passed and we still really hadn’t eaten breakfast, I decided it was the perfect morning to make brunch. And thus this morning became a lovely morning of cooking for the men I love!

We enjoyed breakfast egg sandwiches and a fruited spinach salad. It was wonderful to spend time preparing for the day and feasting on the delicious, seasonal food.

The sandwich began with an inspiring loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. I decided to use parmesan as the cheese because I felt it would compliment the bread and not detract from it. The combination of flavors and textures proved fabulous.

Print These Recipes

1 egg
fresh grated parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
pepper to taste
2 slices bread (I used rosemary olive oil bread)
1 slice cooked bacon
a few leaves of baby spinach
2-3 slices of tomato

Fry the egg in a litte butter – breaking the yoke. When it is almost finished, sprinkle parmsan cheese and allow to melt. Sprinkle with a little pepper.

Toast the bread – I put it under the broiler to crisp one side, leaving the other side soft. Butter one side of each piece.

To Build:
Top first slice of bread with baby spinach, then bacon, then the egg, then the tomato and top with remaining slice of bread. Serve immediately.

The salad was a delightful combination of fresh. The granola was perhaps the most interesting and most surprising addition. It took the salad right over the top and solidified it as a brunch salad. Simple and delicious.


Baby spinach or mixed greens
Creamy Balsamic Dressing (or dressing of your choice – a sweet poppy seed would also be lovely)
Fresh berries (I used raspberries and sliced strawberries)

Toss the greens with the dressing and place on plate. Top with berries and granola. Serve.


It’s been a very  LONG time since we’ve had a giveaway! Things have been busy and quite frankly, I just haven’t gotten around to it! However, a very thoughtful and generous reader and friend offered us this delightul book to giveaway. Thank you!

Do you like to entertain and set a beautiful table? Do you wonder how to pull together things you may already have to create ambience? Do you just enjoy creativity and love looking at beautiful inspiring photos? Then this is the book for you! The gorgeous photos of table ideas for all occasions will definitely inspire you. You can keep it simple or dress a table the would make Martha Stewart proud. Table Inspirations by Emily Chalmers is a lovely addition to any home. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s the all important information on HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment on this post telling us 1 of your favorite summer dishes or a favorite summer recipe.
– Make sure we have a way to contact you!

For additional entries (just leave us a comment telling us which ones you have done!):
Subscribe via the link to the right or with google reader.
– Add us to your blog roll.
– Join our facebook group – The Cooks Next Door.
Facebook about this giveaway.
Tweet about this giveaway.
Blog about this giveaway.

There you go! You could earn as many as 7 entries. And if you already are in our group, subscribe etc, let us know and we will add in the extra entries!

This giveaway will be closed on Tuesday, June 7 and the winner announced on Wednesday, June 8!


Off The Shelf: Breakfasts & Brunches

On review this week is the Culinary Institute of America’s Breakfasts & Brunches. This 248-page book is filled with 175 recipes to inspire you to delicious breakfasts and brunches. There are nine chapters in the book:

1. Breakfast and Brunch: and introduction with essential information and helpful ideas on planning your event.

2. Breakfast and Brunch Drinks: everything from hot coffees and chocolate to lemonades, and alcoholic drinks appropriate for morning fare.

3. Muffins, Quick Breads, and Coffee Cakes: think raspberry muffins with pecan streusel, cheddar and thyme muffins, honey almond crumb cake, angel biscuits, soda bread, and cream scones.

4. Sweet and Savory Breads and Pastries: the many options include cinnamon rolls with apricot glaze, brioche loaf, cherry cheese baskets, cheese pockets, bear claws, and chocolate biscotti.

5. Pancakes, Waffles & Crepes: blueberry pancakes, buckwheat blinis with apple butter, corn and scallion pancakes, french toast with orange sauce and raised waffles are just some of the options in this chapter.

6. Eggs: It’s always fun to try something new with eggs and there are some terrific looking recipes such as huevos rancheros, eggs benedict, orange and cherry bread and butter pudding, and caramelized onion quiche.

7. Grains & Legumes: this includes garlic cheese grits, polenta with mushroom ragu, cream of wheat with orange and pistachios, kasha with spicy maple pecans, wild and brown rice with cranberries, couscous salad with curried vegetables, and granola parfait.

8. Meats, Fish & Potatoes: the book gets down to some serious breakfasts with ham steaks and redeye gravy, broiled sirloin with sauteed mushrooms, poached salmon with hollandaise sauce, and corned beef hash.

9. Soups, Salads, and Small Bites: cold strawberry soup, tropical fruit salad, mushrooms, beets, and baby greens, apple sandwiches with curry mayonnaise, and gougeres all sound tempting!

I decided to try something out of the ordinary — the Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Pizza. Although it sounded a bit strange to pour beaten eggs over a pizza crust, the results were delicious and an ingenious way to serve pizza for breakfast. I didn’t have any chorizo, but I did have ham and so adjusted the toppings to suit the tastes of my family and the availability in my refrigerator! You can do the same.

(adapted from the Culinary Institute of America’s Breakfast & Brunches)
Print this recipe

3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use part whole wheat)
1/2 cup semolina or durum flour (if you don’t have this, use more bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt

1/2 pound Mexican Chorizo
1/2 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese or sharp cheddar

To make the dough:

Combine the warm water, olive oil, salt and yeast in a bowl. Gradually add in the flour until you reach a good consistency for the dough. You may need more or less flour than called for. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Grease a bowl and lay the dough inside to rise. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled — about an hour.

If you want to make your dough ahead of time you can place it in the fridge after kneading and leave it overnight or for up to two days.

Once risen, punch dough down and spread on a greased baking sheet.

To make pizza:

Preheat the oven to 425F. If I have used whole wheat flour, I like to partially bake my pizza dough before adding the toppings. I bake it for about 8-10 minutes.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the chorizo, stirring frequently, until cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling. Sprinkle the chorizo over the pizza, followed by the black beans, red pepper and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix the eggs together with a fork and pour evenly over the pizza, being careful not to pour the eggs too near the edges. Top with the cheese. Bake the pizza until the edges are golden and the eggs are full cooked, 15-18 minutes. Cut into squares or wedges and serve hot or warm.