Tag Archives: Brunch

Hello Breakfast Tickle

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Today was the last day of eating at my used-to-be-favorite brunch establishment in Grand Rapids.  After nearly a year of blissful eats, one dish more satisfying than another…today I suffered my last disappointment in a string of weeks of less than savory breakfast experiences.  Today, I drank my last cup of lukewarm, yet burnt coffee and attempted to order my last item that is printed on the menu, but “we are out of that item at the moment” (how in the eff are you out of PANCAKES?).  Today, I broke up with my weekly brunch joint.

As the events of my last brunch as a regular tumbled through my head, I was obsessed with three things:

1) How in the heck do I make lemon ricotta pancakes?

2) Will a breakfast tickle taste as good at home as it does here?

3) I must learn how to make a chipotle-jalapeno vinaigrette for Huevos Rancheros with scrambled cilantro eggs, pronto.

Here is my attempt at a Breakfast Tickle.  I actually think that my version is a little bit more fresh after not sitting under a heat lamp waiting to get delivered to me by an incompetent server not interested at all with my level of hunger.  I know it looks weird, but I promise this is like a breakfast party in your mouth.

Breakfast Tickle

as Interpreted by Veg BonVivant

Fire up the gas stove on high, place washed and dried pepper directly on flame (turn on the exhaust fan please, or face not being able to read the rest of the instructions here…the oil will consume you).  Wait for skin to get black and bubbly, remove from heat and place into a paper bag, roll over the top and wait 5 minutes to handle.  After cooling, use the bag, not your bare hand, to remove stem, seeds and skin of the pepper.  This should leave you with a super floppy, charred, yet delicious specimen of a roasted poblano pepper.  Save this gem for assembly.

Over medium heat in a lightly oiled skillet, “fry” your banana (cut in half length-wise) until caramely and delicious-at this point you can fry your egg too, over medium if you are funny like I am about the yolk or over easy if you like a gooey mess like Mr. Wonderful does.

While you are frying your banana and egg, in a 350 oven warm up naan bread until pliable, not hard.  Remove naan from oven, spread with the peanut butter.

To assemble the whole Tickle:  take the peanut butter coated naan put butter up on a plate, follow with poblano, banana, bacon, then egg.  Drizzle with maple syrup and then devour.  I use a fork and knife to avoid complete disaster, Mr. Wonderful goes rogue agent on it and crams it into his face in about four bites.  This my friends is the difference between girls and boys.

Celebration Sunday!

This is a two for one blog post today.  Last minute plans had Mr. Wonderful and I running to Lansing for the weekend to celebrate his kid sister FINALLY (as her father puts it) graduating from MSU, Mother’s Day, Mr. Wonderful’s mother’s birthday, and my new job.  Whew!  Nice to celebrate!

I’m going to air a little dirty laundry, The Wonderful Family is a little bit difficult to pin down in terms of actual PLANS, so late Friday night we decided on brunch at the Wonderful’s Farm (#walterthewonderdog loves it there).  My portion of brunch was relatively painless and I made it ahead.  Goat Cheese & Asparagus Strata and Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole.  Win-win.

Warning these are not healthy recipes!


  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

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Goat Cheese Asparagus Strata

Adapted from Epicurious.com’s Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Strata

  • 18 slices firm white bread (original recipe calls for English muffin bread crust free, I used French with crust)
  • 1 # asparagus tips, chopped
  • 8 ounces Dancing Goat, goat cheese from Dogwood Farms in Byron Center , crumbled
  • 4 ounces provolone, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 T thinly sliced fresh basil or 3 T dried
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced*
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 c half and half
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 T butter, melted

Line bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish completely with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of prosciutto evenly over bread. Sprinkle half of goat cheese and half of provolone over. Sprinkle with half of green onions and half of basil. Top with second layer of bread. Layer remaining prosciutto, goat cheese, provolone, green onions, and basil atop bread. Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle over top.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and salt in bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata; press down on bread with spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden, about 30 seconds. Cut into large squares and serve.

*for your meat-eating friends