Tag Archive for brunch

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Ahhhhh brunch.

Remember when every weekend meant meeting up with friends for coffee and eggs? Boy I miss that. Since March, I think I’ve been out for brunch exactly twice, and I’m certainly not hosting any.

Brunch is a big part of my social life, and I miss it.

lemon ricotta pancakes

 

Once place I love to go for brunch (in the before times, anyway, I haven’t been there in a long time) is Lift Breakfast Bakery in Lower Lonsdale. They make a really great croissant, but they are also known for their lemon ricotta pancakes.

I know it seems weird to put cheese in pancakes. Like, in theory, it seems like a bad idea; wouldn’t it weigh them down, make them heavier? That’s never the goal with pancakes, you always want them to be light and fluffy.

Well, there’s something about this combination that just works. It gives the pancakes a rich, almost cheesecake-y texture. And that feels just right to this girl who has been watching The Golden Girls since it recently appeared on Prime.

Hey–we gotta steal these moments of joy and lightness and happiness wherever we can these days. There’s a lot of heaviness in the world right now. Eat some pancakes. Have brunch with your bubble. Celebrate the little things.

lemon ricotta pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

(note: this is a fairly small recipe, serves about 2)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 lemon, zested and then juiced
  • ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup ricotta, drained if watery
  • 2 tbsp oil or melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

  1. Place the milk in a small bowl and add the lemon juice to it. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you put together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt, and mix to combine.
  3. Separate the egg and toss the yolk in with the milk/lemon juice mixture. Place the white in a separate bowl and beat until stiff peaks form (I did this step in my stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, a hand mixer will do. Doing this manually with a whisk will take a long time, but it’s doable).
  4. Add the ricotta, vanilla and oil or butter to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet to it, then mix to combine. Finally, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  6. Drop by ¼ cupfulls onto a hot, greased griddle, and allow to cook until the bottom is set and there are bubbles forming on the top. Flip and allow to cook on the other side.
  7. Serve with maple syrup, blueberries or blueberry syrup/compote/jam and lemon curd if you have it.

Lentil Cassoulet with Baked Egg

One of the reasons I love trying new restaurants is because I love being challenged. I regularly go into a place I’ve never been before and ask “what is the most daring thing on the menu?” and order that. I’ve yet to have the hot chocolate with crickets at Mink, but I’ve made some delightfully surprising discoveries this way, like the Chicken Fried Gator at Chewies, or the Octopus Chips at the now-defunct Bonita.

A couple weeks back, I had a dish similar to this one at Left Bank for brunch. Lentils are not often thought of as a breakfast or brunch food, and this dish really would be good any time of the day. But it does have an egg, so for me, that puts it in the breakfast/brunch category.

IMG_6084

 

There are two components to this dish. The first is the lentil cassoulet. It’s simple, but flavourful. The main challenge of this component is time: the lentils need to braise for a while to become soft enough, and to pick up all the yummy savouriness of the mirepoix and the herbs.

The second challenge of this dish is the timing of the eggs. Now, it’s not super hard to make a runny egg if you’re doing sunny-side up. It gets exponentially harder when the egg is in its shell, or if you are poaching it, because the yolk is hidden under the white, and it becomes more challenging to tell when it’s the right doneness. You want the yolk to still be runny, because it creates a kind of built-in sauce when you cut into the cassoulet.

But if you can get it all right, the end result is both rustic and sophisticated, in a French country kind of way. No matter how you slice it, it’s comfort food through and through.

I specifically set out to make this vegetarian, but I think it would be delicious if you fried chopped bacon in the pan instead of using oil and butter to cook the vegetables in before adding the lentils. The bacon would give the lentils a lovely, smokey flavour, and really, what goes better with eggs than some bacon?

lentil cassoulet with baked egg

Lentil Cassoulet with Baked Egg

(gluten free, vegetarian)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup dried lentils, either french or beluga (as I used here)
  • 2 cups (plus more) good quality vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 medium carrot, diced fine
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced fine
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • eggs

Method: 

  1. Wash the lentils and strain them.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter and olive oil together, and then add the onion, carrot and celery. Season, and then sweat the vegetables out for about 5-10 minutes, until they are fragrant, and starting to soften. Add the garlic and stir well, just a minute or two. Now add the lentils, stir and coat them well in the vegetables and oil. Drop in the bay leaf and thyme.
  3. Add the wine and tomato paste, and stir well. Now add vegetable stock, a few ladlefuls at a time, until the lentils are covered in stock. Allow it to come up to a simmer, and then cover loosely and allow to braise. All together, this step will probably take about an hour. Stir them occasionally, and check to see that they have not boiled dry. When they start to look dry, add some more stock. Cook until the lentils are soft, and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Remove bay leaf and thyme twigs, and allow to cool.
  5. Place a large spoonful of cassoulet in a ramekin. Push the lentils up the side to make a kind of nest for the egg. Break and egg in the middle of the nest, and then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the whites are set, but the yolk is still runny.
  6. If desired, garnish with chopped scallions, then finish with smoked salt or truffle salt, and serve.
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