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Colorado Cuisine

Brunch is one of my favorite meals and why not? Its the perfect treat after a long week of work, or a late night out. Pull the shades, sleep in late and wake to a leisurely meal in the garden with a mimosa or two sounds like heaven, doesnt it?A springtime brunch is a wonderful event for friends and family, but dont stop there; a sumptuous meal in the morning air is also the ideal format for business meetings, icebreakers and team-building efforts. Brunchs fresh atmosphere of casual elegance delivers rested and relaxed guests with good attitudes and open minds just what the boss ordered!Hosting a brunch can be a snap classic offerings include ham, quiche, fruit and cheese, pastries, coffee and sparkling wine. Much of the work can be done ahead, and many items can be purchased, keeping the event relaxing for you as well. The day before, make a quiche, cut the fruit, buy the pastries and prepare the side dishes come morning all youve got to do is a little re-warming, display your foods, make coffee, and uncork the champagne.This week I offer you an easy and elegant set of dishes for a fabulous spring brunch. Why not bring the gang together and savor a lovely spring meal out in the garden. Buon Appetito Salte! Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsChef Michael Angelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods and Tony Rosaccis Fine Catering in Littleton and Centennial. More recipes at http://www.TonysMarket.comGlazed Ham with Dried Cherry Caramelized Onions3-pound cooked, boneless ham2 TBS honey1 TBS stone-ground mustard1 tsp. cider vinegar5 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)3 TBS butter1⁄2 cup dried tart cherries1⁄3 cup cider vinegar2 TBS honey1⁄2 tsp. ground cardamom1⁄4 cup almonds, sliced or slivered and toastedHeat oven to 325 degrees F. Place ham on rack in shallow baking pan. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F. (about 15 to 18 minutes per pound).Meanwhile, combine 2 TBS honey, 1 tsp. cider vinegar and 1 TBS mustard in a small bowl to make a glaze, brushing it over ham during the last 5 minutes of heating.Soften onions in a covered Dutch with butter over medium heat until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1⁄2 cup dried cherries, 1⁄3 cup cider vinegar, 2 TBS honey and 1⁄2 tsp. cardamom. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in toasted almonds. Slice ham and serve with onion mixture. Serves 10. Courtesy of the National Pork BoardQuick Crustless Crab QuicheA quick bake in the morning, or can be prepared ahead and re-heated.1⁄2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced2 TBS butter4 eggs1 cup sour cream1 cup cottage cheese1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan4 TBS flour1 tsp. onion powder1⁄4 tsp. salt4 drops Tabasco sauce2 cup Shredded Monterey Jack (1⁄2 pound)6-7 ounces crabmeat, well drainedPreheat oven to 350 F. In a medium skillet, saut mushrooms in butter until tender. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and drain. In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan, flour, onion powder, salt and Tabasco. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Stir in sauted mushrooms, Jack cheese and crabmeat. Pour into a 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Quiche should be puffed and golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. Makes 8 servings.Chocolate Almond CroissantsEasy and elegant, these are a welcome treat any time of day!Almond Cream:7-8 ounces almond paste8 ounces mascarponescant 1 tsp. almond extract1⁄2 cup powdered sugar4 TBS amaretto, approximatelyFresh croissantsHigh quality chocolateSliced, toasted almondsCombine almond paste, mascarpone, almond extract, powdered sugar, and half of amaretto in a food processor and process until smooth, adding remaining amaretto as needed.Toast almonds in oven or a pan until fragrant. Carefully and slowly melt milk, dark or a combination of chocolate (Belgian Callebaut highly recommended) in a double boiler do not heat above body temperature!Split fresh croissants and slather 1-2 TBS almond cream into each. Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with toasted almonds.Berry-Honey ButterPerfect with breads, pancakes and all manners of pastry.1 pound butter, slightly softened 1 pint ripe berries of your choice1⁄4 cup honey (to taste)Place ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Place in a ramekin, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with warm tortillas, scones, croissants or grilled corn muffins.Easy Potato Pancakes1 medium potato1 cup instant pancake batter1 egg, beaten lightly1 TBS minced onion1 TBS minced parsley1⁄4 tsp. saltmilk (as needed)Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Wash and grate potato, rinse well and boil for five minutes in 1 quart water. Drain and rinse, then squeeze out excess moisture.Prepare pancake batter in a bowl according to directions on the box, taking care not to overmix. Add egg, minced onion, parsley, salt and 1 cup of shredded potato and mix gently, adding a little milk if batter is too thick.Pre-heat a stick-free pan over a medium high flame. Mist with cooking oil and add scoops of batter to pan, flattening to approximately 1⁄4-inch thick. Cook first side until bottom is brown and edges are dry, flip over and cook second side until brown. Place on a plate in warm oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve as is or with honey, preserves, syrup, or powdered sugar.Breakfast Crepes PlatterThese can be made in advance, or share the fun prepare them al fresco on a butane stove outdoors serve with whipped cream, strawberry coulis, Glaced Blueberries and grated chocolate. 2 eggs11⁄2 cups milk1 TBS canola oil1-2 tsp. sugar1⁄4 tsp. salt1 cup flourIn a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well with a whisk. Whisk in milk and remaining ingredients briskly to make a smooth, thin batter.Spoon just enough of the batter onto a hot, tipped crepe or omelet pan, swirling around the pan quickly to coat. (Adjust batter with more milk or flour if too thin or thick.) Cook 20-30 seconds on the first side to brown lightly. Lift the edge of a crepe with a fork and flip over, cooking an additional 15-20 seconds on the second side.Arrange a serving platter with crepes, whipped cream, grated chocolate, Glaced Blueberries and Strawberry Coulis recipes follow.Strawberry Coulis3 pints strawberriessqueeze of lemonmaple syrup or honey to taste1 TBS butter, meltedClean strawberries and puree in blender or food processor. Transfer to a sauce pan to warm. Add lemon juice and maple syrup judiciously, tasting for a balance of acidity and sweetness. Stir in melted butter and serve.Glaced Blueberries1⁄2 cup red-currant jelly11⁄2 TBS crme de cassis2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drainedHeat jelly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until liquefied. Stir in crme de cassis. Gently toss with berries in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 2 cups.Fruit Kabobs with Margarita Dip 1⁄2 cup sour cream3 ounces cream cheese, cut up and softened1⁄4 cup sifted powdered sugar1 TBS tequila1 TBS orange juice concentrate1 TBS lime juice 1⁄2 cup whipping creamAngel and/or pound cake cubesAssorted fresh fruitPlace sour cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, tequila, orange juice concentrate, and lime juice in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover; blend or process until combined. Add whipping cream. Cover, blend or process until fluffy. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Assemble small skewers of cake and fruit on a serving platter. Serve with dip. Makes 13⁄4 cups dip.


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