Aug 18, 2014

There's a First Time for Everything- Continental Breakfast

Since being on a certain TV show, I've been spending some time trying to figure out what to do next, and one of the biggest struggles has been balancing my current job while exploring some new possibilities. But, I gotta a real treat last week when my current boss asked if she could hire me as an independent caterer! How awesome and supportive is that?! I'm a lucky girl. 

She needed a breakfast for a dozen of our company's big-wigs, so that means, she needed something extra tasty to start them off on the right foot for a day long meeting, but nothing so elaborate that it would take too much day-of preparation, especially since I wouldn't be able to be in the office that morning to help set up. Continental breakfast to the rescue! I decided to bake a variety of pastries and breakfasts treats, plus a super tasty fruit salad. 

Here's a breakdown of what I prepared for the super fancy execs...

Spiced Carrot Muffin

For our health-nuts, I made some muffins based on a recipe I found on The Food Network website that used whole wheat flour, pineapple, and fresh shredded carrots. I also added a couple tablespoons of blueberry flax seeds instead of wheat germ, which was a pretty tasty addition, not to mention the toasted pecans on top. It's a tasty treat that you don't have to feel guilty eating! 

Blueberry Muffins with Almond Streusel

Here's my go too recipe for any kind of fruit-filled muffins. Get creative! I went with a classic blueberry for this order, but you can do strawberries, cherries, apples...

Muffins

2 c. flour

1 tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 c. sugar

4 tbs. unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

1 1/4 c. sour cream

1 1/2 c. fruit

1 tsp. vanilla or 1/4 tsp. almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and get your muffin tin prepped with liners and some non-stick spray. Then, get your dry ingredients together. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then, whisk together the egg, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla/almond extract. Next, slowly add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, then add the sour cream and stir until incorporated. Then, carefully fold in your fruit. Yum!

Almond Streusel

1/4 c. flour

 4 tbs. room temp butter

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 cup toasted almond slivers

Combine flour, butter and sugar until it forms little clumps. Then, mix in your toasted almonds! 

 Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, fill until 3/4 full, and then top with about a tbs. of streusel. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown! 

Goat Cheese and Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Pardon my language, but damn, y'all. These biscuits are good! The first time I had these biscuits was at Table Fifty Two here in Chicago several years ago, but this was my first time to try to recreate them. The first part of the recipe is how I make plain biscuits, but just like with the muffins, you can get creative with the flavor additions!

2 c. flour (plus more for dusting)

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. cold butter

1/4 c. cold shortening

1 c. buttermilk

2 oz. goat cheese

3 tbs. minced chives

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Then, cut in the cold butter and shortening with a pastry cutter until the flour looks like cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour in half of the buttermilk. Mix together slightly, then make another well, and pour in the rest of the buttermilk. Last, crumble the goat cheese into the dough and add in the minced chives. Mix and then roll out on a floured surface. If you have a biscuit cutter, got ahead and use that OR you can be like me, and just make them squares. They'll taste just as good! Brush the tops with melted salted butter and pop those babies in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Pumpkin and Parmesan Biscuits

I first made these a couple years ago for a dinner party and they were a hit. I found this recipe on The Food Network (twice in one post, I know!), and they're an awesome twist on the classic. Plus, baked crispy cheese on top! So good!

And, since man can't survive on just baked goods, as much as we try, you can't forget the fruit salad! I think fruit salad can get a bad rap, but honestly, I think it's because everyone assumes that it's just gonna be a lot of melon. Nothing against melon, but I'm usually the one rooting around to find the strawberries and pineapple. You know, the good stuff. So, why not make a fruit salad that is just the good stuff! Mango, pineapple, kiwi, pear, and blueberries with a lemon, ginger, and honey dressing. Super yummy! (I forgot to take a picture...sigh...bad blogger!)

Finally, the piece-de-resistance, the Honey Babies

This was the big reveal of a new signature dish for me. One with a name that I hope you'll be hearing more of later...

This is my take on the cinnamon roll with a few elevated ingredients. I'm still working on the recipe, but the filling is mascarpone with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pistachios. Then, when the rolls are still hot out of the oven, they're glazed with honey, lemon, and butter. So far, so good, right?! They're almost perfect, but not quite. I'll share the recipe soon once it's been tweaked, but I'll leave you with a little photo tease...

Beautiful, right?! I'm pretty excited about these babies, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you!