Brunch…And A Little Bubbly

By Holly Leitner

What better way to celebrate spring than to treat family and friends to a sumptuous brunch. Spring brings with it a whole host of special occasions, whether it’s to honor Mom or merely to welcome the first robins. Usher in springtime with delightful dishes certain to cause those at your table to linger with talk of nature’s awakening and the promise of another summer at the lake.

Recipes courtesy of Chef David Ross, Frontier Restaurant, Lake Lawn Resort

CHOCOHOLIC BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or chunks (or more if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons grated chocolate whipped cream, aerosol pan spray

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Blend with a wire whisk to combine evenly.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or fork, blend the ingredients until just blended. Do not over mix.

On a lightly-oiled, heated non-stick griddle set at 350 degrees or medium-high heat, pour or spoon approx. ½ cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle.

Add desired amount of chocolate chips to each pancake. Allow to brown evenly before flipping.

Cook through on second side. Between batches of pancakes wipe residual chocolate off the griddle, lightly re-oil if needed and proceed.

To serve, place warm pancakes on a plate top with whipped cream and the grated chocolate. Serve immediately. Serve with local maple syrup if desired. Makes about a dozen 5-inch pancakes.

STRAWBERRY BANANA BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

  • 8 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 14 strawberries
  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ

Wash, de-stem and slice the strawberries, reserve 2 or more whole strawberries for garnish.

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process the ingredients on high until smooth and consistent. Portion into 2-4 serving glasses. Garnish glass rim with 1 whole strawberry.

BREAKFAST BURRITO WITH FLAME GRILLED VEGETABLE SALSA

  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup diced green pepper
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chorizo sausage, cooked and drained
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 slices jalapeno jack cheese, sliced in half on an angle (4 pieces)
  • 1 recipe Flame Grilled Vegetable Salsa (See below)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Sauté green peppers and onions over medium high heat until onions are translucent.

Beat eggs in a separate mixing bowl. Add eggs and chorizo to the sautéed vegetables and cook eggs using a rubber spatula until desired consistency and eggs are cooked through.

Warm the fl our tortillas in a pan slightly to make pliable. Divide egg mixture between the tortillas and roll burrito style ending with the flap on the bottom so they won’t unwrap. Place burritos on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Top each burrito with a triangle of jalapeno jack cheese. Melt cheese under the broiler or in the oven. Top with Flame Grilled Vegetable Salsa and cilantro. Serve with sour cream if desired. Makes four burritos.

FIRE GRILLED VEGETABLE SALSA

  • 7 Roma tomatoes
  • 7 tomatoes
  • 6 jalapenos
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thick (½ inch or so.)
  • 2 red bell peppers kosher salt (to taste)
  • black pepper, fresh ground (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
  • juice of 1 lime, fresh sugar (to taste)

Grill all of the vegetables until charred on a grill or over an open flame. Place tomatoes, jalapeno, bell pepper, onion, salt, garlic, cilantro, lime juice into a food processor. Pulse on high until chopped evenly but still somewhat chunky.

Do not puree. Season with the salt and pepper.

Mix in sugar. Use immediately or pour into pan to cool. Transfer to a plastic, glass or stainless steel container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

BANANAS FOSTER FRENCH TOAST

  • 12 slices French bread, sliced approx. 1-inch thick
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • ½ cup butter, sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon imitation rum flavoring (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon aerosol whipped cream (As desired) pan spray or oil (to coat griddle or pan)

Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and lightly beat with a whisk to blend. Add the milk and whisk until completely blended in. Whisk in the vanilla and ¼ cup brown sugar. Reserve cold until ready to use.

Bananas Foster Sauce:

Place ½ cup of the brown sugar and the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Melt the butter and sugar over medium heat. Stir as it melts until the mixture is of sauce consistency. Turn off the heat. Add the imitation rum flavoring and sliced bananas. Return to medium heat and stir to cover and combine the ingredients. Add the cinnamon. Allow to cook until the bananas are warmed through, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve warm.

Cooking the French Toast:

Heat griddle to 350 degrees or large nonstick pan over medium high flame. Spray griddle or pan with pan spray or place some cooking oil in it and wipe around it with a paper towel to achieve a thin coating. Dip one slice of bread at a time in the batter allowing the batter to be absorbed making sure to dip both sides of the bread. Remove bread from the batter and allow excess batter to drain off. Place onto hot griddle. Repeat process with remaining bread slices that will fit on the griddle. Griddle until the bottom is golden brown approx. 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook on the back side until cooked through approx. 2 more minutes. When done, place 3 slices on a plate overlapping each slice. Spoon some of the Bananas Foster sauce and bananas onto the French toast. Finish with whipped cream as desired. Serve immediately.

A special brunch deserves a special wine.

David Biegemann of Pop More Corks suggests:

Elio Perrone Bigaro, a sparkling blend of Brachetto d’Aqui and Moscato d’Asti from Piemonte, Italy. This slightly sweet crowd-pleaser hold hints of strawberries and peaches. To pair with the burritos, try the Sileni Sauvignon Blanc, from Marlborough, New Zealand — a bright wine with crisp and refreshing grapefruit favors.

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