A Florida Inspired Brunch

Today is National Florida Day, so let’s talk about the 27th state to join the Union. The Sunshine State is also home to the oldest established city in the country. Founded by Spanish Explorers in 1556, St. Augustine’s streets invite visitors to walk in the footsteps of 16th-century Bishops, ponder the escapades of the Pirates of the Caribbean and dream of hidden treasures.

Both refrigeration and air conditioning were brought to the world by Floridian John Gorrie in 1851. That should come as no surprise since Florida’s average high in 79.5 degrees. Florida also boasts more than half the days of the year are either partly cloudy to sunny days. Anyone who has spent time outdoors knows that even on cloudy days, the sun can still burn. Maybe that’s why in 1944 a Hungarian born Florida pharmacist, Benjamin Green, invented a sunscreen. His lotion became a tanning lotion known as Coppertone.

We are all too familiar with Florida and her Oranges. It is with this in mind that I was inspired to create a beautiful brunch. I ask you, what better way to celebrate National Florida Day?

Before we get started, let’s talk about the menu for a moment. The coffee I’ve chosen is a French Press Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. While any French Press Coffee is divine, there is really something special about the Jamaican Blue. Besides, Jamaica is just a hop, skip and a jump from Florida, so their Blue Mountain Coffee seemed fitting.

The Alligator Pear Scrambled Egg sandwich seemed equally fitting for Florida as well. Have no fear, it’s not an actual alligator but an Avocado. Avocados were once know an Alligator Pears, so it fit right into the whole Florida Brunch Theme.

Finally, I’ve decided to go in another direction with the Brunch Cocktail. I know, it’s usually some form of a Mimosa, but we’ve all been there, done that. So why not try something with a bit more punch?

Sunshine Menu
Florida Cranberry Orange Scones
Bacon and Alligator Pear Scrambled Egg Croissants
Smoked Salmon Hash with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
Overnight French Toast Casserole

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Florida Lobster Cocktail
Jamaican Blue Coffee

Florida Cranberry Orange Scones
The Scones
1 cup Whole Cranberries, frozen
1/2 cup Butter, frozen
1 tablespoon Orange Zest
3 cups Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 cup Buttermilk

Thaw cranberries, pat dry once thawed. While the berries thaw, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place butter into the freezer for at least 30 minutes to get very cold. Leave butter in the freezer until the last possible moment. While the butter freezes, zest the orange, set zest aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, and orange zest. Toss in the cranberries and stir gently to coat berries with the flour.

Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Working with fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbles form around the berries.

Pour in the buttermilk. Gently incorporate the buttermilk using a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Take care not to over-work the dough.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it out to about 3/4-inch thickness. Form the scones into a rectangle, cut it into 2-inch strips, and then cut each strip into triangles.

Egg Wash
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Water

Lightly beat together the egg and water and then brush the tops of the scones.

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake in the heated oven for about 12 minutes or until golden.

Orange Glaze
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon Milk
1 tablespoon Orange Juice

To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and orange juice until smooth.

Place the scones on a wire rack over a baking pan to catch the drippings. Drizzle the glaze over each scone and let sit until no longer sticky. Transfer the scones to a serving tray.

Bacon and Alligator Pear Scrambled Egg Croissants
6 slices Bacon
8 Eggs
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
6 Croissants
1 Avocado

Fry bacon until crisp. Break each strip in half. Drain on paper towels and set aside until ready to use.

Drain all but enough bacon drippings to coat the pan.

Whisk eggs, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until light and well blended.

Scramble eggs in bacon drippings until almost set. Cover and remove from heat. The eggs will continue to cook while the sandwiches are prepared.

Split croissants open like a bun, set aside. Peel and thinly slice avocado, set aside.

Assemble sandwiches by spreading the scrambled egg salad onto one half of croissant, topping with bacon and avocado slices. Top with remaining half of croissant.

Note: If not serving immediately, wrap the sandwiches in foil and hold in a warm (not hot) oven.

Smoked Salmon Hash with Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
The Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons Italian Parsley
1 medium Garlic Clove
1 Lemon, zest and juice
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Finely chop the parsley, place in a medium size non-reactive bowl.

Peel and mince the garlic, add to the parsley.

Zest lemon over the parsley mixture, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice.

Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk in the olive oil. Once well combined, set aside.

The Salmon Hash
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon water
Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper
2 medium Shallots
6 oz sliced Smoked Salmon

Peel potatoes, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add potatoes and water. The pan will sizzle and spew some steam, so stand back.

Generously season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the potatoes in oil.

Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.

While the potatoes cook, peel and finely dice the shallots. Set aside.

Once the potatoes are just cooked through, and beginning to develop a nice brown color, add the shallots to the pan.

Continue to cook uncovered until the potatoes are golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Avoid stirring the potatoes as they brown.

While the potatoes continue to cook, cut the salmon into bite-size pieces and set aside.

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.

Remove from heat. Scatter salmon over the potatoes, gently stir. Cover and let the residual heat from the potatoes warm the salmon, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle just a small amount of the vinaigrette over the hash for a splash of color. Place the remaining vinaigrette in a small bowl to use as desired.

Overnight French Toast Casserole
1 loaf Texas Toast
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Butter as needed
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Maple Syrup as desired

Trim the crusts from the loaf of bread. Set aside.
In a small pan, melt butter. Add brown sugar, stir and let sugar dissolve completely over very low heat.

Pour butter and brown sugar mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inc casserole dish.

Add a layer of Texas toast, trimmed as needed to fit snuggle in the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.

Pour half of egg mixture over the Texas toast. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle half the brown sugar-cinnamon on top of the first layer of Texas Toast.

Add another layer of Texas Toast. Spread a thin layer of butter over bread. Top with the remaining egg mixture, then remaining brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove casserole from the refrigerator and let rest on counter. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the heated over for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Fresh Squeezed Orange juice
Using a Hand Juicer
10 whole Oranges
Ice Cubes as needed
Pink Himalayan Salt to taste

Using a hand juicer:
To prepare orange juice, first, roll each orange on the table using your palms, then tightly squeeze it using both hands until it becomes soft. Cut the orange into two halves and remove the seeds, if any.

Put one half of an orange on the hand juicer and squeeze it until all the juice is out. Repeat this step until the juice from all the oranges is squeezed.

Note: For less pulp, strain the collected juice using a strainer. For more pulp, add some pulp from the oranges to the juice.

Pour fresh-squeezed juice in a glass filled with ice cubes, add a pinch of pink salt, stir well, and enjoy!

Using a blender
10 whole Oranges
1 cup Water
Pink Himalayan Salt to taste

Using a blender
Peel the oranges and cut them into small pieces of about an inch each. Remove all the seeds, if any. Put all the orange pieces into the blender and blend until pureed.

Add a cup of water and blend it again to remove all the juice completely. Strain the juice using a strainer and add a pinch of salt to it.

Refrigerate or pour over ice cubes and serve chilled.

Florida Lobster Cocktail
1-1/2 oz Whiskey
1/2 ounce Amaretto
5 oz Cranberry juice

Fill a highball or Collins Glass with ice.

Pour the whiskey, amaretto and cranberry juice over the ice in the glass. Gently stir and serve.

The measurements below is for my 42-oz French Press. Estimate for 24-26 ounces of water; use 5 heaping scoops of ground coffee; for 40-42 ounces; use 7 heaping scoops of coffee. This will make a moderately strong cup of coffee. Adjust for personal tastes.

French Pressed Jamaican Blue
1 French Press Coffee Urn
40 oz Boiling Water, enough for pot size
7 scoops Coarsely Ground Jamaican Blue Coffee, enough for pot size

Fill French Press with enough water to brew a full pot. Pour measured water into a kettle and heat just to a boil.

As water comes to a boil in the kettle, fill French Press with HOT tap water. This will prepare the press for making coffee. Allow hot water to sit in press for several minutes to warm the press. Pour the tap water out, then add enough coarsely ground coffee to make 1 pot.

When water in the kettle just comes to a boil, remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. Pour boiled water into press. Stir with a long-handled wooden spoon (metal spoons will damage glass urns). Place plunger fitted with filter over coffee, press SLIGHTLY – just enough to touch mixture. Let steep for 4 minutes, then press plunger SLOWLY down, forcing the grounds to remain at the bottom of the pot.

Pour into coffee cups or demi-cups and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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