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Food

Leche de Tigre Michelada

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leche-de-tigre-michelada-3There are few things I enjoy more than knowing that a big bowl of ceviche is waiting for me in the fridge when I get peckish. Rick Bayless, bless him, makes some of the best ceviche I’ve ever had, so when I get a hankering for some lime-cured seafood, I slice and dice my way to his classic Frontera Grill recipe. But each time I polish off a serving of ceviche, I peer down at the marinating juices still left in my bowl and wish that I had a way to repurpose all that limey, briny goodness.

In Peru, a shot of leche de tigre—that is, the juice leftover from marinating ceviche—is often served along with the ceviche or before your meal as a sort of amuse bouche. The notion of drinking the juice gave me the idea to pair it with beer and a few other savory flavors to create a fresh take on the michelada. Fair warning: there’s a definite salinity to this cocktail, so fresh fish lovers probably won’t be lining up to get a taste. But if you love a good ceviche tostada on a warm fall afternoon, do yourself a favor and tip off that leche de tigre, add a splash of seasoning and top with some Negro Modelo—or good ol’ Shiner Bock if you’re in Texas.

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Frontera Grill Ceviche
Ingredients:
• 1 lb sashimi-grade skinless white fish (halibut, snapper and bass all work well)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice, preferably from key limes
• 1 small white onion
• 2 or 3 serranos, depending on your preference
• 1/4 manzanillo olives
• 1 large ripe tomato
• 1/4 cup loosely packed cilanro
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• salt
• 1 tsp sugar

Directions:
1. Cut fish into 1/2″ cubes. Try to be careful about this, as larger chunks will take much longer to “cook” in the lime juice. Chop onion and tomato in 1/4″ pieces and roughly chop and de-stem cilantro. Finely chop serranos and olives—a food processor works well for this, so you don’t have to get your fingers all spicy.

2. Combine fish, lime juice and onion in a large bowl. The fish should float freely in the juice; if not, add more. Cover and refrigerate for three to four hours, until the fish appears completely opaque.

3. Add serranos, olives, tomato, cilantro and olive oil to the fish. Stir well, then season with salt to taste (about a teaspoon) and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve—preferably within a few hours.

4. To harvest the leche de tigre, simply strain some of the marinade liquid into a resealable container and refrigerate.

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Leche de Tigre Michelada
Ingredients:

• 2 oz. leche de tigre
• dash of worchestershire sauce
• dash of soy sauce
• dash (or three!) of hot sauce
• dark beer like Negro Modelo or Shiner Bock
• lime and serrano for garnish

Directions:
1. Fill glass with crushed ice, top with leche de tigre.
2. Add one dash of worchestershire sauce, one dash of soy sauce and hot sauce to taste. Stir.
3. Top with beer and garnish with a lime wheel and slice of serrano pepper.

*Add an ounce or two of tequila or mezcal if you want to go hard. The strong flavor of the leche de trigre can easily stand up to a bit more booze. leche-de-tigre-michelada-1leche-de-tigre-michelada-4

Food

Pretty Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-2multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-6For the past month or so, I’ve been stalking the fresh herb aisle of the grocery store for the packs of edible flowers that appear the with the start of the growing season. After seeing a beautiful flower-topped pancake stack on Instagram from the Aussie restaurant The Kettle Black, I was determined to try my hand at this beautiful breakfast dish.

This is one of those meals that looks infinitely more impressive than it actually is. I’m all about sleeping in on the weekends, so I start with my favorite Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake mix plus a healthy scoop of ricotta so the pancakes get extra fluffy. I whip those up in no time, coffee in hand, and top them with layers of pretty and delicious accoutrements. A generous dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream perfectly balances the slightly peppery flowers, while a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pepitas add lovely crunch to the dish. Fresh, seasonal berries play wonderfully against the nutty whole grain pancakes for a dish that’s as lovely to eat as it is to look it.

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Ingredients:
• your favorite whole wheat pancake mix
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus dash more for whipped cream
• fresh fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
• edible flowers—you can usually find these in the fresh herb aisle of gourmet grocery stores or at your local farmers’ market)
• sunflower seeds
• pepitas
• whipping cream
• syrup

Directions:
1. Mix pancake batter with eggs, milk, ricotta and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Cook in butter in a pan or skillet.
2. Dress with seeds, fruit and flowers; top with a generous dollop of vanilla whipped cream.
3. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

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Food

Iowa City’s Best Brunch Spots

In San Francisco, brunching is a sport. Here? Not so much. Luckily, Iowa City has managed to assuage my fears of living life without truly delicious breakfast food thanks to a small group of great restaurants scattered around town. Just in case you’re looking for a place to snag some bacon or sip some mimosas this Sunday, I’ve rounded up and illustrated my favorite spots for mid-morning feasting. Enjoy!

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Pullman Bar & Diner // This place is pretty new in town, but always seems to be bustling. At brunch, it’s all about the bacon. It’s cured in-house and cut really thick, so it almost tastes like a piece of smokey pork belly. And the best part? It comes standard in the Bloody Mary.

Bluebird Diner // I love eating hash browns for breakfast, and I especially love the Krakatoa hash browns at Bluebird. They’re made with pecan-smoked bacon, jalapeños, garlic and red onions and then covered in pepper jack cheese. I also love that if you order a cup of coffee with brunch, they’ll offer you a fresh to-go cup for the road.

Leaf Kitchen // I’m not going to lie, my favorite thing about Leaf is the atmosphere. The fact that it doubles as a tea house in the afternoon is aesthetically apparent as soon as you walk in the door. Vintage coffee mugs, colorful chairs, brick walls and a comfy window seat booth create a cozy vibe.

The Mill // The Mill is where you go when you don’t feel like waiting for a table and you just want a good ol’ classic Farmer’s Breakfast (that’s three eggs, breakfast potatoes and three strips of bacon) for five bucks. It’s worth noting that the breakfast potatoes are pretty darn good, and the full bar is helpful in hair-of-the-dog situations.

Ride // Another new place in town, Ride has become one of our go-to spots lately. Everything I’ve tried has been delicious, and they have one of the best Moscow mules I’ve ever tasted. They also offer some unique (and delicious) brunch dishes like the old English favorite, bubble and squeak.

Salt Fork Kitchen // Sure, it’s not technically in Iowa City, but Salt Fork is definitely worth the 10-minute drive to Solon. Everything on the menu is super fresh and locally sourced—including the eggs, which come from the owners’ own farm. I also especially love the griddled and buttered biscuits served with homemade jam.