I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this a Wisconsin food blog? Why is there a blog post about grits?
Because with a few additions grits can be as Wisconsiny as a cheese curd! In this recipe the grits serve as the creamy but neutral base for your favorite Wisconsin flavors. Stir in a heavy handed portion of Wisconsin white cheddar, then top with a fried egg and Wisconsin-made applewood smoked bacon crumbles (as always, I recommend Nueske bacon!). You can even add some cooked spinach to get in your healthy greens.
This recipe was inspired by my all time favorite cheese grits, the gouda grits at Crema Cafe in Madison. See, I’m not the only Wisconsinite who enjoys grits! Try this recipe and I bet you will too!
I enjoyed a lovely trip out to brunch this weekend at the Bassett Street Brunch Club, and this trendy new spot made me reflect on all of the reasons why I love brunch. Here are the top 7!
- You get to enjoy breakfast foods without waking up early.
- Drinking in the middle of the day is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.
- Bloody Marys. Confession- I do not like bloody marys but I want to like them so badly. I get jealous when all of my friends have drinks with cheese sticks and bacon and pickles sticking out of them and all I have is a dinky mimosa. I’ve been known to order bloodys and eat all of the toppings out of them and leave the tomato juice. For the best bloody mary mixes and fixens around, check out Wisconsinmade.com.
- Since you’re eating two meals (breakfast AND lunch) you can eat twice as much. And the calories don’t count! Right?! Please tell me there is scientific evidence to back this up.
- Poached eggs! The only time I ever get poached eggs is at brunch because despite my love for cooking I can never get these right!
- BACON! I hope you aren’t thinking “bacon is way over” because I’ll never get tried of bacon. Bacon on the side, bacon in pancakes, bacon on the donuts, bacon in the Bloody Mary, bacon everywhere! For the best bacon around, try some Nueske bacon.
- Giant plates of sweet pancakes or french toast or crepes with whipped cream and chocolate are an acceptable meal! It’s a sweet tooth’s dream come true.
What’s your favorite thing about brunch? What are your favorite places to eat brunch in Wisconsin?
If you didn’t have your fill of fall flavors at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll love this fall breakfast hash recipe. I’ve enjoyed hash as weekend brunch at restaurants, but this recipe was my first attempt to make breakfast hash at home. I like how you can add in almost anything you want. In this case I was inspired by a recipe I found on Pinterest and I used a sweet potato, red onion and the always winning combination of bacon and brussels sprouts. The bacon makes the leaves of the brussels sprouts flavorful and crispy. If you think you don’t like brussels, you’ve probably never had them cooked in bacon with a fried egg on top!
If you think you can’t find Tex Mex in the Midwest, check out ElDorado Grill in Madison, Wisconsin. When you walk through the door of the unsuspecting building on Williamson Street, you are magically transported to a Western oasis. Exposed wooden beams and cowboy decor will make you feel like you’re in beef cattle country instead of the land of dairy cows. ElDorado Grill serves up dinner, happy hour tacos and tequila, and a sizzling weekend brunch.
I made my first ElDorado trip as part of the brunch crowd. Picking an entree from the list of tempting selections was difficult but I settled on the ElDorado Eggs. I follow the theory that if the restaurant puts their name on a dish it must be good. In this instance at least, my theory proved to be a good one – the perfectly cooked eggs sat on top of two blue corn pancakes. My favorite part of the meal was the potatoes. I’m generally not impressed by breakfast potatoes and I usually just pick out the crispy ones, but at ElDorado Grill ALL of the potatoes are crispy! I think that should be their new motto “ElDorado Grill- where all of the potatoes are crispy!” or “No Potato Left Behind!”.
Anyway, no matter how you like your potatoes, I highly recommend a trip to ElDorado Grill– fun atmosphere, attentive service and most importantly- awesome food! Enjoy dinner at ElDorado Grill on a budget during Madison Magazine’s restaurant week, July 21-26 and dine on Southwestern wonders like shrimp ceviche and jalapeno key lime pie! What are you waiting for? Hitch up your horse and gallup on over!
What’s your favorite brunch restaurant in Wisconsin?
Spring is almost here, but there’s still snow on the ground here in Madison, Wisconsin so it doesn’t feel much like spring. Since I won’t be frolicking in fields of wildflowers any time soon, I’m celebrating by finding fun ways to eat eggs, the symbol of spring and new life.
Pickled Eggs– Eggs in liquid in a jar aren’t for everyone, but since my grandma makes beet pickled eggs every Easter, I’ve grown up eating pickled eggs. If you’re a pickled egg lover who isn’t lucky enough to have an egg pickling grandma, you can get pickled eggs online at Wisconsinmade.com.
Huevos Rancheros – The first time I made huevos rancheros for breakfast, I couldn’t stop thinking about them all day, so I made some more at dinner. They are a common brunch menu item, and every restaurant prepares them a little bit differently, but most consist of tortillas, salsa, some kind of beans and a fried egg on top. The huevos rancheros in this photo are from Daisy Cafe in Madison. They add their own special twist by topping the tortilla with grilled local veggies.
Eggs In Tomato Sauce- I wasn’t sure about the idea of eggs and Italian-style tomato sauce, but the waitress at a brunch restaurant in Chicago encouraged me to try it and I’m glad I took her advice. Eggs and tomato sauce go surprisingly well together, and dipping the toasted bread in the sauce and runny egg yolk is a delicious way to start the day.
Marshmallow Eggs – Alright, these aren’t actual eggs but since we’re getting to the end of the blog post, let’s talk dessert! These marshmallow Easter eggs from Buddy Squirrel are a Wisconsin favorite. The giant chocolate eggs come in milk chocolate or dark chocolate, and ship nationwide from Wisconsinmade.com.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy eggs?
‘What’ve we got?’ I asked Dad as we drove the kids to Marley and Me.
“There’s some bacon, and a few eggs in the ‘fridge. I’ve got bagels in the freezer,” he said.
“And you’ve got orange juice,” I added.
“Yes, O.J. and coffee.”
“Then we’re set,” I confirmed. “We’ll just pick up more eggs after the movie.”
That’s how Dad and I planned the menu for a brunch party we were hosting the next morning.
Dad and I take partying in stride. We love parties. Wednesday we were both at New Year’s Eve parties. Thursday we recuperated. Friday Dad hosted a 40-people dinner party at his house; no sweat – it was pot-luck and my cousins did the dishes. After today’s movie we were on our way to dine with more cousins. That’s why we couldn’t accept the neighbor’s invitation for cocktails this evening. So we invited her for brunch tomorrow. And if we were to entertain the neighbor on one side why not invite the neighbors on the other side? So we did. They were coming at 11:30.
At 9:45 the next morning, I was wishing I’d thought to pick up a pie crust and cream; then I’d make some quiche and it would be baking in the oven while I talked with our friends. But, we’d stick to plan A: bacon, scrambled eggs, and toasted bagels. Remember, fancy is never an essential ingredient for a good party.
But I did have a secret ingredient. I had 1st-place World Championship, 2-year aged Wisconsin white cheddar cheese in the crisper. That’s how Dad and I turned ordinary into extraordinary.
Sometimes I advance in life by fits and spurts rather than sustained, steady progress. To be sure, when I set out on a path, I always intend diligent, scheduled progress toward the goal. But then, natural interruptions impose, and when I get back on track, I’m running to make-up lost ground. And this is exactly what happened with our family alphabet game.
In January, we decided to ready 5-year old Dave for kindergarten by having a weekly party for each letter of the alphabet. In our party game, Lauren (8) and Dave write the ‘Letter of the Week’ and post it on the door; they put items beginning with the letter in a special alphabet box, and I bake something that begins with the letter. We got up to ‘D’ by baking dog biscuits for the dog. But after the biscuits gave the kids tummy aches, the game stalled. However, kindergarten looms!
So, yesterday we had a re-do for ‘D’ and finished off ‘E’ and ‘F’! While the kids argued over who got to put Elmo in the box, I made Deviled Eggs and French Toast. (No, I’m not going to claim we covered ‘T’.)
I didn’t want to make ordinary deviled eggs, despite my kids’ preference for mayonnaise and yolks mixed together and slapped back into egg whites. Instead, I created deviled eggs that I would be proud to serve at an adult party. In a relative wink, I mixed up Lou’s Deviled Eggs.
The recipe comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Seasons in a Country Kitchen Cookbook. The book is Darlene Kronschnabel’s compilation of Wisconsin farm recipes and stories. Keep reading for this recipe and a wonderful recipe for Baked Orange French Toast from Donna Weihofen’s book: Mom’s Updated Recipe Box: 250 Family Favorites Made Quick and Healthy. The orange flavor makes Donna’s french toast recipe a twist on the standard favorite. Plus it can be partially prepared ahead of time and later baked in the oven, which makes it a contender for a festive adult brunch.