This past Sunday we had brunch at Bayou Bakery, a relatively new restaurant in our area.  I’d been for lunch and was totally won over by their pimento grilled cheese sandwich, so I was  fully anticipating their brunch to be a knockout.

Their beignets were amazing, a delightful powdered sugar mess.

Despite their focus on Southern food, their granola was some of the best I’ve ever had. Super sticky and crunchy, almost caramelized in nature.

They’re clearly capable of a mean latte- a crucial brunch skill.

And lastly, the biscuit breakfast sandwiches.  Their biscuits were everything you hope for- buttery and moist.  But the contents?  I was completely dismayed by their use of pre-cooked eggs.  Talk about a brunch faux pas.

When we were little, and we had one of those miserably hot and humid summer days, my mom would make what she called a “cold dinner.”  Cold dinners meant no hot dishes.  She couldn’t bear to turn on the oven when it felt like 100 degrees, so dinner consisted of things like cucumber salad, open faced sandwiches, melon wrapped in prosciutto, and deviled eggs.  I love deviled eggs.  I realize they may not be the most popular appetizer- there’s egg, there’s mayo- there’s really no getting beyond that.  So if you don’t like them and we happen to be at a BBQ or cookout together, you can leave them to me.  And if you do like them, I’m a firm believer that no matter what recipe you use, you should always include a hint of mustard, paprika, and finely chopped onion.

Today’s no scorcher but I’ll eat deviled eggs any day of the week.  These guys don’t require much prep, so they’re ideal for those lazy weeknight dinners when I’d much rather be watching TV than cooking.  Excuse me while I catch up on Brothers and Sisters.

Deviled Eggs
5 eggs
2 T mayo
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 T minced red onion
1/2 T parsley
paprika for topping
Place eggs in a medium size sauce pan,  and fill with water (enough to cover the eggs by one inch).  Set over high heat, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, turn off the heat, keep pot covered, and let sit for 12 minutes.  Once finished cooking, drain water and run eggs under cold water to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, peel eggs, rinse under cold water, and pat dry.
Next, cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Place cooked yolks in a bowl with remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.
Distribute yolk mixture evenly among egg white halves.  Sprinkle generously with paprika, and place in fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

I had every intention of cooking dinner for my guests this weekend, but my time in the kitchen didn’t go far beyond scrambled eggs and toast on Saturday morning.  We ended up eating out both nights, so the ingredients I purchased for the meal I intended to make weren’t put to use until this evening.

I am a religious lunch packer.  I eat out for lunch maybe 3 times per month?  It varies, but most weeknights I’m filling tupperware for the next day (a thrilling life I lead).  It helps that I have a stellar group of gal pals at work who all bring their lunch too, and we often eat as a group. We just moved into a new office last week and our kitchen is pretty swank. It’s no restaurant, but it’s still somewhat of an escape.  We even have a TV!  Though they can’t locate the remote, so lunch time viewings of the Food Network are on hold for now.

So this week I’ll be packing the meal I was supposed to make for my guests. I spotted some gorgeous basil at the grocery store recently and grabbed it to make pesto.  I added in white beans and tomatoes to make for a heartier meal. This salad can be served at room temp or slightly chilled, which makes it great for meals on the go or a casual dinner for company.

White Bean and Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves 4

1 lb small pasta (small shells, fusili, farfelle, or gemelli)

3 medium tomatoes diced

1 can Cannellini beans drained and rinsed

1/2 grated parm


Pesto Recipe- Ina’s recipe is my go to for proportions.  I find 3 cups of basil per pound of pasta works well.  Her recipe calls for 5, but I simply do roughly 2/3 of the remaining ingredients. I used all Walnuts instead of adding in pine nuts, as that’s what I had on had, but you could use all pine nuts, or even Cashews- all those types work well in pesto.

Cook pasta according to box instructions, just until al dente.  Drain, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and set aside in a large bowl.  While the pasta cools, make the pesto.  Once pasta has cooled slightly, toss with pesto.  Then toss in tomatoes, beans, and additional parm.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Today wasn’t the warmest spring day we’ve had thus far, but it was the first opportunity I had to get together with friends after work and enjoy happy hour outside.  I met up with two close college friends at Logan Tavern and enjoyed an array of goodies- crispy ginger calamari, parmesan stuffed bacon wrapped dates (swoon!), and  a spinach goat cheese salad. I also had my first rose in months.  The evening felt light and airy.  Quite possibley the best thing about Logan Tavern is its proximity to Pitango Gelato.  It was only natural to stop there after our meal before heading home. This evening also marked my first ice cream cone of the season.  I couldn’t be happier.

I have the absolute best visitors coming this weekend.  They love food just as much as I do, so there will be much eating.  Hope your weekend is just as wonderful.

One of the things I missed most during our vegan diet was yogurt.  Oh goodness, greek yogurt.  I yearned for it.  With dairy moving slowly back into my life, I decided to make a batch of granola to have with yogurt for breakfast this week.  The plan was to do the usual granola, nothing new.  But then I happened upon Madison’s recipe last week and was intrigued.  I love peanut butter.  I have a tendency to eat it in spoonfuls out of the jar.  I put away a lot of peanut butter when we were vegan.

Peanut butter granola doesn’t go well with greek yogurt, but I couldn’t resist the recipe.  My peanut butter addiction totally trumped my need for greek yogurt. I just had visions of all these tiny crunchy oats coated in a sweet peanut butter mixture, served with cold milk.  With 5 cups of that on hand now, I think I can forego the yogurt for a few more days.

Peanut Butter Granola adapted from Espresso and Cream/ All Recipes

Makes 5 cups

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 ground flax seed

1/2 c smooth peanut butter

1/3 c vegetable oil

1/3 c honey

1 T molasses

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  In a saucepan, combine the wet ingredients over medium low heat until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and toss well.  Spread the granola in a thin layer over two foil lined baking sheets.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring the granola every 15 minutes.  Let cool before serving.