This week’s sunny Fall Monday was enjoyed in a deliciously relaxed manner, as though Sunday was on repeat. I’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving in a traditional way, it’s right around the rush of Jewish Holidays; Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, etc, and at that point the idea of hosting another big dinner that involves an all day cook fest is pretty much off the table. However, yesterday my roommate and I decided to take a lackadaisical approach and view the holiday Monday as an extension of the weekend, hosting an easy and scrumptious little brunch for four. It took less than an hour and a half (start to finish) to prep the dishes and was a pretty ideal brunch menu, both sweet and savory, with foods neither fitting strictly into the breakfast nor lunch categories. I decided to make a leek frittata, an Israeli inspired salad with cucumber, onion, tomato, mint, and pomegranate molasses, sweet cornmeal muffins with raisins and walnuts, and I put out the baked apples that I had made a few days prior to round out the meal. Cheese, vegan butter, coffee, and tea completed the meal, and we tucked in and ate until happily full and satisfied.
Cornmeal Muffins with Raisins & Walnuts
Preheat the oven to 300F and grease a 12 cup muffin pan
Whisk together :
6 tablespoons melted & cooled (vegan) butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup (non-dairy) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Now add and whisk until just combined:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coarse cornmeal (adds a better texture than its finely milled counterpart)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Bake for around 40 minutes
3 tablespoons (vegan) butter, divided
1 large leek, thinly sliced (make sure to wash it well since leeks can be very dirt-y)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
Place a non-stick medium pan over medium low heat and add 2 tablespoons of the (vegan) butter, the slices leek, chili flakes, and a good pinch of salt. Let cook, stirring occasionally for around 30-40 minutes, until the leeks have gone very soft and delicious.
Preheat the oven to 375 (or you can broil it on low if that’s easier)
Whisk together the eggs in a bowl and add the leeks. I’ll taste the leeks before adding them to the eggs, and if they’re nicely salted I won’t add anymore salt to the eggs, but if you think that the mix would benefit from some salt and pepper, go for it.
Place the pan on medium heat now, add the remaining tablespoon of (vegan) butter and the egg mix. Let it sit for a few minutes before using a spatula to push the sides of the set egg mixture gently towards the middle and tilting the pan in order to allow the runny egg mix to slide underneath and into contact with the pan’s bottom. Repeat this a few time, and then either bake at 375F for around 10 minutes until just set or broil on low for a similar amount of time.
Israeli Inspired Salad
1/2 onion, diced (as finely as possible)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sumac
2 tomatoes, diced (remove the seeds if they’re very juice)
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Squeeze of honey, if necessary
Mix together the onions, balsamic, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt, and sumac and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Doing so will allow the onions to soften and become mild and sweet as they are being broken down by the salt and acidity. Add the rest of the ingredients, and taste for salt, pepper, and if needed, a little bit of sugar or honey to balance the flavours.
To get this menu together ASAP :
- Get the muffins into the oven, then the leek cooking, then the onion macerating
- Clean up and set the table
- Assemble the Israeli salad and crack the eggs for the frittata
- Take the muffins out of the oven and crack the temp up to 375F
- Start the frittata on the stove top, boil the kettle for tea/coffee
- Put the frittata into the oven, make the tea/coffee
- Meanwhile, put the muffins onto a plate and set out any other bits you want to – baked apple sauce, cheese, (vegan) butter, honey, sliced melon, berries, coffee/tea fixings
- Eat with pleasure and happiness!