Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
- Baked Eggs in Croissant ‘Nests’ with Balsamic Sauce
- Roasted Asparagus and Maple Bacon Batons
- Berries and Orange on Yogurt Pound Cake
- Champagne, Cava or Prosecco
It’s a rare person who can resist a crunchy butter strewn croissant-especially if it envelopes a rich pastured baked egg. Maybe it’s the season to forego the frenzied restaurant rush for this popular holiday and treat mom to a homemade and local speciality. Brunch, made with local eggs, maple syrup, asparagus, berries and possibly a nearby bakery created croissant. Why not save that big restaurant mark up and get more lush flowers and plants for mom from you-know-who! (Those hanging baskets are an incredible price.)
From the food side at Homestead Gardens- ‘fresh from the Eastern shore produce’ abounds. Asparagus, strawberries and tomatos are the big news. Samples of tasty items focus on outdoor entertaining for the entire month of May-yehaw!
Baked Eggs in Croissant ‘Nests’
What a tasty idea for a special event. Inspired by The Kate Shepard House Bed & Breakfast, I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it visually special for MaMa. Also, calories are saved while flavor is highlighted with the Balsamic Caper Sauce.
- ramekins/small souffle cupsor a standard-size muffin tin
- Natural nonstick vegetable spray
- large eggs (1 egg per muffin cup—according to the number of guests you are serving)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Balsamic Caper Sauce
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoon capers, drained
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut croissants lengthwise in half. Overlap the halves as necessary to fit inside ramekin and create a firm cup. Crack eggs into a small cup first (so you don’t get egg shell in your croissant cups) and then pour into the center of each croissant-lined cup. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each egg in croissant.
Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 16-20 minutes. Jiggle the ramekin or pan to see how loose the eggs are to check for doneness. You want them jiggly in the center as they will continue to cook after removing from oven.
When done, remove ramekins from oven and carefully run a knife around the edges of egg nest in order to release the croissant from the ramekin for ease in eating.
Place the ramekin on serving plate and pass Balsamic Caper Sauce on the side.
Make Balsamic Caper Sauce
Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil and reduce to 1/4 cup. After about 4 minutes add the onion and capers and continue to cook until reduced and thick. Remove from heat and add any salt and pepper desired. Place in a small serving pitcher or bowl.
- 12 slices thick natural bacon (about 12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 12 ounces fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
- Natural non-stick vegetable spray
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place each slice of bacon on a flat sheet pan and roast for about 20 minutes or until bacon just begins to brown. Remove the pan and carefully pour off the bacon grease and discard.
Brush the bacon with maple syrup on each side. Spray the asparagus with vegetable oil and group in 4 equal bundles and place on same baking pan. Wrap each bundle with one or two slices of maple bacon. Secure the bacon ends underneath the asparagus. Return to oven and continue roasting for 5-8 minutes-until bacon is crisp and asparagus are roasted. Serve immediately.
Berries and Orange on Yogurt Pound Cake
We used to make this cake at my Annapolis School of Cooking as the quick, never-fail base for fresh fruit or a gooey sauce. This little bit of healthy cake goes a long way! Change the character of the cake by trading out the vanilla (or add to) with lemon or orange zest, maple syrup or even a liqueur.
For the Yogurt Pound Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain regular or nonfat yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup canola oil, plus more for oiling the pan
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Berries in Orange
- 2 cups fresh mixed berries; strawberries sliced
- 1 tablespoon orange zest and tablespoon juice
- Fresh mint for garnish
For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil 2 small loaf pans or a 9-inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Move this mixture to one side of the bowl. On the other side of the bottom of the bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Gently whisk flour mixture into yogurt mixture just until blended and smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes for smaller pans and 45 minutes for 9-inch pan, or until cake is golden brown and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should have a little “give” in the center when done.
Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and continue cooling on a rack.
For the Berries in Orange: In a small bowl, mix the strawberries with the orange zest and juice. Let steep for 30 minutes and then add the other berries. Slice the cake and serve with berries and juice spooned over the top. Garnish with mint.