On Sunday we hosted brunch at our house for a few close friends. On the menu were: orange juice - freshly squeezed by Jimmy (aka my husband James), champagne, fresh fruit salad, "Doughnut Muffins," Niman Ranch Bacon, and Huevos Rancheros. I left the bacon off the chalkboard, but James thoughtfully added it.
The muffin recipe came from Orangette, Molly's excellent and entertaining Seattle-based blog. The only variation I made was to use granulated sugar with a little cinnamon to coat the muffins instead of powdered, because I like the crunch it gives. I have seen these called "Morning Muffins" in the Bay Area, so that is what I put on my menu. Molly recommends making them same day. They are quick and easy to bake, but the brushing with butter and rolling process is a little time consuming, not to mention messy. I baked them and sugared them the night before. By morning the exteriors had softened a bit, so I just reheated them in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes. It worked perfectly - they crisped up nicely. Make sure you don't use paper liners with these, because you want that crispy "muffin top" crust all the way around.
The recipe for the eggs came from an excellent cookbook put out by the local Junior League. The book is called California Sol Food, and has won a number of awards. It is available in many local bookstores, but if you would like to buy a copy I would encourage you to buy it directly from the League, as more of profits go to the organization. You can order it here. The current mission of the San Diego Chapter of the Junior League is to improve health and nutrition education for kids in San Diego County, so the cookbook is a fitting tie-in.
The table all set for guests
You can never have too much bacon!
Huevos Rancheros a la Junior League
adapted from California Sol Food
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped (I used orange, but the recipe calls for green)
3 garlic cloves, crushed (I like the frozen garlic in the little pods from Trader Joes for cooking)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp powdered chipotle chile
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 dried New Mexico chile, trimmed, halved and seeded
(or substitute 2 Tbsp of good quality fresh chile powder for the four ingredients above)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
fresh ground pepper
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes (I used yellow and red cherry tomatoes and chopped them in the chopper attachment to my hand blender)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 dozen eggs
8 oz of shredded Mexican Blend cheese, or a combination of cheddar and jack cheese
chopped fresh cilantro
For the Sauce:
In a large saute pan, cook the onion, pepper, garlic and salt in the olive oil until soft, stirring frequently. Add the flour and dry seasonings and stir to coat. Add the sugar, tomatoes, tomato paste and water, and the chile pepper, if using. Simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove chile pepper and discard.
For the Eggs:
If you are baking right away, preheat oven to 350.
Place the first dozen eggs in a large bowl and whisk until blended. Lightly scramble the eggs in a large skillet over medium/high heat, just until they hold together. Spoon the cooked eggs into a lightly greased 9x13 inch glass or porcelain baking pan. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Repeat with the second dozen eggs, and spoon them on top of the cheese. Pour the sauce over the eggs (you might not need all of it)and cover with cheese. At this point, the whole pan can be covered with foil and refrigerated overnight to be baked the following morning.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes if putting directly into the oven, or add an additional 15 minutes if cooking from cold. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro, and serve with warm corn tortillas.
Cheers and special thanks again to guest photographer Brian!