Brunch Casserole

This recipe is a fun way to mix it up for breakfast. It is also an amazing way to serve breakfast to a crowd. It can actually be made the night before and refrigerated. I did this for the holidays to save some time and mess on Christmas Day. This recipe will easily serve 8 people as prepared. I would recommend dividing it in half and baking half in an 8 inch square pan. I like to take the other half and freeze it in a disposable foil dish. Then you have breakfast ready to go in the freezer next time you have guests visiting or just can’t bear to make a mess of your kitchen.

There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. I think you can just fry the chopped bacon in the skillet and do a one dish kind of thing, you could also use breakfast sausage. You could also make this vegetarian and amp up the veggies – extra bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms. The possibilities are endless! I am now cooking bacon in my oven for easy cleanup and because the bacon just gets done perfectly every time, you cannot mess it up. And I just cheat and make a whole pound of bacon and then there is plenty for a whole weekend or for one hungry husband who constantly asks (re bacon sitting on the counter in the afternoon) “Is this snack bacon?”

As far as brunch wines go… you probably already know what I am going to suggest. Sparkling wine, duh. If your fridge doesn’t have at least two different sparkling wines in it at all times, you are living your life wrong. If you really like the people you’re serving brunch to… then pour some Mumm or Chandon. If the people you’re serving brunch to drink a lot… pour Friexenet or Jaume Serra and make mimosas. This spring I will be serving one thing and one thing only, grapefruit mimosas. My second favorite mimosa mixer is cider. I love the unfiltered cider from Trader Joe’s but any hard cider added to your mimosa will really kickstart your weekend. Add in a quick pour of Laird’s Applejack and get ready to ruin your Saturday. This brunch casserole plus Apple Cider Mimosas are basically the perfect meal for a group on vacation, skiing, beaching, or if you are just going to any of the fabulous parades and festivals in the KC area.

Brunch Casserole

6 slices thick bacon
1 large onion, peeled, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt
8 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups hash browns (frozen or reconstituted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Plae the bacon on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes, until it is crispy. Crumble the cooked bacon.

In a large skillet, heat the bacon grease (or olive oil or butter). Saute the onion and bell pepper for about 7 minutes until it is soft. Add in the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and cook for 2 more minutes.

In a metal bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the milk and black pepper. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese, the potatoes, the bacon, and the cooked onion mixture. Pour this into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges are firm.

Apple Cider Mimosas

2 oz sparkling wine
3 oz cider
1/2 oz Laird’s Applejack
Lemon and apple slices for garnish

If everything is cold in the fridge, just pour all ingredients into a champagne flute and serve. If not cold, shake up the applejack and the cider in a cocktail shaker and pour into a champagne flute, finish with sparkling wine. You can also serve the applejack and cider over ice and fill the glass to the top with sparkling wine.

These are Bubbly Kitchen original recipes.

Pepperoni Rolls

I could not think of a better way to get back into blogging and start the new year than with these amazing pepperoni rolls. These fabulous rolls are apparently the official food of West Virginia. They were first served at a bakery in 1927 as a lunch option for coal miners. The first time I ate these rolls was on the beach in Wilmington at my bff’s bachelorette party. Her mom is an expert pepperoni roll maker from WV. I was instantly addicted. They really are the perfect on the go food. So this story should kind of explain my absence from blogging… We took a lot of trips this year. WV, Mexico, Austin, Houston, Wilmington, Durham. We also built a house and made a human who will arrive sometime in March. Excuses,  excuses. But I have a number of amazing new cookbooks that I am beyond excited to dive into and share on the blog. Now that we are moved into our new home with our incredible kitchen I’ve made a long to-do list from Vivian Howard’s new book, the Poole’s diner cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies, ad hoc at home, just to name a few.

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There are some arguments about what makes the best pepperoni roll. Most west Virginians seem to prefer the chopped up stick pepperoni. But I kind of like layering the sliced pepperoni with shredded mozzarella cheese, as in the recipe below. You can obviously use whatever pepperoni and cheese you have on hand. Some people believe these should be made with Colby jack, and I’m sure you could substitute this or cheddar or whatever cheese you have in your fridge. There are also some recipes out there that use cubes cut from blocks of cheese. So, make this basic roll dough and stuff whatever delicious meats and cheeses you have in your fridge inside, and I think it will probably be good. Not to mention, you can throw them in a big ziplock and take them to the beach, the park, skiing, wine tasting, tailgating, float tripping. The possibilities are endless!

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I have tried some Italian bread recipes for these rolls and I just really prefer my basic soft dinner roll. This roll recipe is simple and nearly fool proof. Unless it’s Christmas, you’re hosting 14 people, and you forget to put the salt in your bread dough. Everyone still seemed to like the dinner rolls but for me they were a mega failure. You can use your stand mixer to knead the dough and save yourself frustration/time/mess. The dough will seem really sticky when you set it aside to rise, don’t worry. Do use plenty of flour when you go to form your rolls. This recipe should make 24 pepperoni rolls. So just divide your dough into 4 pieces, divide those in half, and divide the 8 pieces you have now into thirds. This video will give you some idea of how to form your rolls. I admit that this batch during the video really had a bit too much flour. The dough should really be stickier and you will be patting it out more than rolling it in your hands.

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As far as wine pairings go, there are a number of options here. If you are eating these in the winter or at a football tailgate, serve them with sangiovese or pinot noir. But if you are eating these on the beach or during a day out on a boat… three words: Rosé all day. You really cannot go wrong with most rosé wines if you spend about $12. Justin makes a fabulous blush wine for about $20 if you want to spend a little more. You can also impress your wine loving friends and go for a côtes du rhône rosé such as E. Guigal. I would hazard to say that any rosé sparkling wine will pair excellently with these pepperoni rolls on a hot day.

Pepperoni rolls:

1 1/2 cups milk (can sub 1/2 cup cream and 1 cup water)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups ( 820 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for forming the rolls
Olive oil for the bowl and brushing
6 oz package sliced pepperoni
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Italian seasoning and Kraft grated Parmesan cheese for the tops (optional)

Make the bread dough:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and mix in the butter salt, and sugar. Allow this to cool for 10 min while you measure the rest of your ingredients. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, making sure it foams up.

Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook and pour the milk/butter/sugar/salt into the bowl of the mixer. Pour in the 3 eggs, yeast dissolved in water, and about half the flour. Beat on low speed until this is all incorporated.

Add in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of bowl. Knead with the dough hook, on low to medium speed, for 5 minutes.

Oil a large bowl with olive oil and dump the dough from the mixer into this, turning to coat the dough. Lightly cover with a towel or Saran Wrap. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for at least 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

Make the pepperoni rolls:

Line a 9 x 13 inch metal pan with parchment (or foil/release paper) or butter/flour the pan.

On a well floured surface, dump the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into fourths. Divide these pieces in half. Divide each of these pieces into three. You should get 24 pepperoni rolls.

Flatten each piece of dough with your hands and press 4-5 pepperoni slices and pinch of mozzarella cheese into the dough. (I try to jam in as much pepperonis and cheese as I can.) See the above picture for reference. Pull the bottom dough around the pepperonis and cheese, pinching together. Flip it over and mold into a ball as best you can. Place into the pan with the pinched side down.

Allow the rolls to rise for 30-40 minutes until they are poofed up. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack so it is in the center of the oven.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and Italian seasoning if you desire. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until they are golden brown.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Apple Slab Pie

I have been changing my mind constantly lately about where we should move when we land in Kansas City this summer. My most current dream is to get a little more space/land in the country, maybe on a lake. And we can raise mini pigs, mini horses, chickens… endless possibilities. And of course plant an insane garden – and apple trees! Because I have a love affair with apples right now. There are my constant classics that I have made time and time again – Apple Crisp  and Apple Oatmeal Cookies. And now my new favorite dessert, apple slab pie.

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There is something so rewarding and therapeutic about making your own pie crust. The funny thing is when people say, “You made this yourself?” Yes! And you can make it too! 1 out of every 20 recipes on this blog gets a “wow” response from my husband. This recipe is wow approved by him. This pie crust is so so so good and there is so much of it which makes this special. This slab pie is also easily served in squares making it ideal for pot-lucks, parties, and no-fuss Thanksgiving dessert.

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It may be apple overload to serve this apple pie with apple cider. But if you have not had Foggy Ridge Cider, you need to find it, immediately. Foggy Ridge is bringing back old style cider from the colonial days. It is not super sweet like most of the ciders you find in the grocery store today. It is closer to sparkling wine than hard cider. I have had a few varieties from Foggy Ridge and they are all excellent. A perfect alternative to wine for Thanksgiving.

Apple Slab Pie

Crust
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
3/4 cup very cold water
1 egg for egg wash

Filling
4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
Squeeze of lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice1/8 tsp table salt

Make the Crust

In the bowl of a food processor, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and place in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse the mixture until the butter is mostly in pea sized pieces. Add the water and pulse for 15 seconds – until you have a loose mass of dough. Do not over mix.

Divide the dough in half, pat into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour minimum. You can make the dough a day ahead. You can freeze the dough for 1 month.

Make the Pie

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10x15x1 inch pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the chopped apples with lemon juice. Mix in the remaining filling ingredients.

Lightly flour a countertop surface. Roll out one of the dough halves into 18×13 inch rectangle. You can roll this out between sheets of floured parchment to make transfer easier. Roll the dough out quickly, do not let it warm up much. Transfer to the prepared pan and gently drape the dough into the corners. Trim the overhang of dough to 3/4 inch. (It is ok if it doesn’t reach the edges and you end up with a more freeform edge, don’t worry!)

Pour the apple mixture over the rolled out dough in the pan. Roll out the second half of dough into 16 x 11 inch rectangle. Drape this over the filling and fold the bottom dough over the edges, pinching to seal. Cut slits all over the top crust. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Balsamic Stuffed Mushrooms

My husband rarely picks things out at the store. Mostly he just walks around pushing the cart and looking at sports news on his phone. But one day at the store, he reached out for portobellos and said “Let’s get these.” I do not care for mushrooms, but for him I will cook whatever he wants. Especially when he chose something at the grocery store for once in 2 years. I actually ate one of these mushrooms, and it was pretty good. But he should really be the one who writes this post because he absolutely loved them. This recipe was inspired by my current obsession for all things balsamic vinaigrette. Which actually stems from all the amazing fresh strawberries that I am putting on salads lately. The blog has really been all over the place this summer. Mostly because at home I have just been grilling simple things and the rest of the time I am eating the most amazing salads ever (with the leftovers from the grill).

 

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You can buy pretty great balsamic vinaigrette from the refrigerated dressing section at the store. But if you have an extra few minutes, you should definitely make your own. Below is the vinaigrette recipe I have been make. Soon I will post a perfected creamy balsamic vinaigrette that will make you want to eat a salad immediately. Whether you like mushrooms or not, this recipe will impress all your friends at your next barbecue. In case you don’t know anything about mushrooms, here is an article about how to select and prepare portobellos.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a screw top mason jar (or whatever container you have on hand) and shake until combined.

Balsamic Stuffed Mushrooms

6 large-ish portobellos
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp italian seasoning blend
1 tsp chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter, melted

Use a spoon to scrape out the gills of the mushrooms (they can be eaten but will turn everything a murky brown color). Paint the mushrooms inside and out with vinaigrette. Arrange hollow side up and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to medium heat or prepare a medium heat fire in your charcoal grill. Mix together the panko, mozzarella, parmesan, italian seasoning, chopped garlic cloves. Pour melted butter over the dry mixture and toss together. Stuff the mushrooms with the panko mixture.

Place mushrooms with the stuffing side up onto the grill. Cook until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 7 minutes. Shift them around occasionally so that they cook evenly.

French Onion Tart

Vidalia onions made their appearance in Fresh Market a couple weeks ago and I was so excited! I buy them two bags at a time. When I am not making tarts, french onion soup, caramelized onions pizza, we are grilling these onions. I cut them whole into fairly thin slices, pop out the middle rings of the onions, and shove butter in there. Then I just wrap them in foil and grill the little foil onion bundles. You really cannot overcook these onions, just keep them at the edge of the grill while you cook all the rest of your dinner. Prepare to have a spiritual experience when you taste these extremely simple but insanely delicious grilled onions. It seems wrong that the grilled onion recipe is actually just a bonus recipe because I make them at least once a week in the summer. Savory tarts have been on my to do list forever! I love the beautiful presentation of a tart and the possibilities are endless! I am anxiously awaiting for my beefsteak and cherry tomatoes to grow up for the tomato tart I have planned. This french onion tart has a sort of custard base. It is super simple and a total crowd pleaser. The flavors are very rich and I think it may be even better served in the fall. But since vidalia onions are in season right now, I could not resist working on this recipe.

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I actually cooked some bacon thinking I would put that in this tart, but I left it out! I know, super uncharacteristic of me. Honestly, the flavor here is so fabulous, it does not need to be tainted by bacon. (Blasphemy!) I did chop up the bacon and make a BLT salad though. If you have not made tart or pie crust before, give it a shot! This recipe is so easy. You can make this dough ahead of time and store it in the freezer. Just let it thaw in the fridge before attempting to roll it out. If the idea of making the dough is just too much, the pie dough in the freezer section these days is pretty good. If you do not have a tart pan, you can use a 9 inch pie pan or even a disposable foil pan. But you should probably buy this Wilton Nonstick Tart Pan because, it is one kitchen accessory that will not be collecting dust. So please, please, please let nothing stop you and go get some Vidalia onions. You should definitely serve this tart for brunch or lunch with a salad and a glass of Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. This wine will cut through the rich flavors of this tart. It has bright citrus flavor with summery floral notes.

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French Onion Tart

Pâte brisée 
250 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp ice water

Filling
1 1/2lb yellow onions (~4), halved and sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
1 cup beaf broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated gruyere, comte, or swiss cheese (~2 oz)
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
Make the crust
In the large bowl of a food processor, mix together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes and pulse in short bursts until the flour/butter resembles bread crumbs. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse just a few more times. It will appear very clumpy. Take the dough out and knead it gently into a ball.

Lightly butter a 9 inch tart pan. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment until it is 11 inches in diameter. Peel the top layer off and flip the dough into the prepared tart pan (uncovered side down). Drape the dough into the edges of the pain, do not press or stretch. Trim the edges, leaving enough to fold over the hanging edge, creating a double thick tart edge (prevents shrinkage or breakage).

Press foil against the surface of the shell and freeze for 1 hour.

Make the filling
In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and toss to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove the lid. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Saute without the lid for 30 minutes until the onions are fully caramelized. They should be a deep golden color.

Pour in the beef stock and turn the heat up to medium-high. Simmer until the broth is nearly completely evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let the onions cool for 20-30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Stir the lukewarm onions into the egg/cream. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Assembly
Fill the prepared and frozen tart shell with onion-egg mixture. The filling will be about a quarter inch from the top. If you used a pie dish or a larger size tart pan and the filling level looks low, beat another egg with a little cream and add this in. Sprinkle the cheese over the custard and bake for 25-30 minutes. The tart is done when you pierce it with a sharp knife and no wet egg mixture is released.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.