Salami, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash

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It is time to say good-bye to a dear friend, my wonderful bike Victoria. I bought her 2 years ago so I could get back into cycling after many years. She was a second-hand bike listed on Craigslist that was built from some very oddly matched components. Quite honestly, she is a Frankenbike!

Did I just say that?

The truth is, I have really enjoyed spending time with her riding the bike paths of our city. She has taught me that no matter how out of shape and tired you may feel, you can still get out and have fun. There is nothing like that feeling when you catch a breeze in your hair or when you coast down a hill feeling as though life is filled with laughter. It is a very childlike feeling. Victoria and I shared many days filled with fun and challenging rides, picnics and adventures.

So why am I saying so long to Victoria? I am ashamed to say that I have cheated on her by purchasing Victoria 2. I felt I had to move on. I needed more bells and whistles and speed. I was enticed by a newer model. Oh My!

Thankfully, my oldest daughter has offered to give Victoria a loving home. She is also hoping to get back into cycling and was looking for a nice bike. Now when she and I go for brunch in the neighbourhood we can ride our bikes and meet up at a local bistro.

If there is one meal that I love, it is Brunch! Our neighbourhood hosts a number of quaint bistros and cafes that specialize in all day breakfast or wonderful weekend brunch. Some of these cafes are so popular, they are lined up all day on Sunday.

Often, I will make something delicious for brunch at home. I recently saw Giada De Laurentis make this Sausage, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash on TV and decided it looked good enough to try. It turns out to be a hearty recipe that works well for a group of 3-4.

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Salami, Bacon and Spinach Breakfast Hash

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

8 oz. bacon (5 to 6 slices), cut into ½-inch pieces
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
3 cups baby spinach leaves
5 oz. dry salami, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
zest of ½ medium orange
4 large eggs, at room temperature

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Directions

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan juices. Cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the oil, onion, bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, salami, nutmeg, orange zest, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bacon and potatoes.

Make 4 indentations in the hash and break an egg into each. Cook until the eggs are cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentis

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Sausage and Broccolini Frittata

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What is it about the cooler weather that makes us crave comfort food? I have worked so hard to get in shape for the past 2 years but this last month I have been craving all of the foods that are bad for me. I find myself dreaming of pumpkin pie smothered in whipped cream and heavy foods like burgers and fries. I am trying very hard to ignore my cravings and get back on track.

This weekend I plan to go ice skating in order to train for skating the Rideau Canal again this year. Being outdoors and having fun makes the long, cold winter much easier to live with.

When I am not out exercising I try to take some time to relax on weekends. Usually, I am cooking, reading, photographing, writing and spending time with my close friends and family.

I also love having Sunday Brunch. I love getting up out of bed a little later than usual and going out for eggs and lattes. I also love making brunch at home. It is a great way of entertaining friends without too much fuss.

Frittatas are always a hit at brunch and they are relatively easy to make. This one is light and fluffy yet still packed with the rich flavour of the sausage and cheese.

Sausage and Broccolini Frittata

Ingredients:

12 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup grated cheddar, divided
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ medium onion, chopped
½ lbs. fresh Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 bunch broccolini, coarsely chopped

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Directions:

Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Mix in ½ cup cheddar; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Add onion and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and sausage is brown, 6–8 minutes. Add broccolini; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8–10 minutes longer.

Reduce heat to low and pour reserved egg mixture over vegetables. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until edges are just set, 10–12 minutes. Top frittata with remaining ¼ cup cheddar; broil until top is golden brown and center is set, about 4 minutes longer.

Cut frittata into wedges and serve warm or room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine-October 2013

Cauliflower, Leek and Sausage Soup

We have been having an unusually warm winter this year. So far, we have had a few very mild days that felt more like April than February. Last night a cold front blew into town and we are expected to get some snow. I guess we will have to wait a few more months for spring.

On cold days like this, it is nice to cook up a hearty soup. This recipe of Cauliflower, Leek and Sausage Soup can be made with spicy sausage for a little kick or a mild sausage if you prefer milder flavours. Either way, it is sure to make you feel warm and satisfied.

Cauliflower, Leek and Sausage Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

 
4 oz sausage, chopped and casing removed
2 cups chopped leek
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup peeled diced potato
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2 tsp vegetable oil

Directions

Spray a small non-stick skillet with cooking oil and sauté the sausage over medium heat just until browned and cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. Drain off the fat and set aside.

Spray a non-stick saucepan with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Add the garlic and leek and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add the stock, cauliflower and potato and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the potato is tender.

Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth. Add the sausage and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman