Brunch recipes to ‘chai’ out: Potatoes, quiche, muffins, tea

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Frigid January mornings are the perfect time for a home-cooked brunch. Whether you invite people over to enjoy or just share with your family, these recipes will please. Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes with a delicious horseradish dipping sauce make a tasty brunch appetizer. I love Denver omelets, so I created a quiche with those ingredients. Fruity Cranberry Orange Muffins make the perfect accompaniment to the savory quiche. And Chai Tea, a sweet, spiced Indian beverage, rounds out this lovely brunch. Add a fruit salad and juice, and enjoy the morning.

Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes

Makes 5-6 servings.

Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Potatoes:

  • 1 (1.5-pound) bag baby gold potatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 pound applewood-smoked bacon (regular, not thick-cut)

For sauce: In a small bowl, stir all ingredients together until well-combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours — or even a day — in advance until time to serve.

For potatoes: Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until barely fork-tender, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To par-cook bacon, place half the slices on a paper-towels-lined plate; top with paper towels (do not overlap bacon). Microwave for 90 seconds. Set aside, and repeat with remaining bacon.

Heat oven to 425.

When bacon and potatoes are cool enough to handle, wrap each potato in bacon. (Most potatoes only need half a slice of bacon, but keep a few whole slices back for larger ones.) Secure with toothpicks.

Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cook 15-18 minutes, until bacon is done, turning potatoes halfway through. Serve with sauce.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Makes 18-20 standard muffins.

  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350. Grease muffin tins, and set aside.

Allow dried cranberries to soak in orange juice for a few minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a separate medium bowl, combine dried cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, oil, eggs, sour cream and orange extract. Make a well in center of flour mixture, add wet mixture, stirring by hand until combined. Stir in nuts. The mixture may be lumpy, and that is fine; do not overmix.

Using a 1/4-cup measure, pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.

Denver Quiche

Makes 6 big slices.

  • 1 premade pie crust
  • 1 1/3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 2/3 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups ham, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 350.

Place pie crust in shallow pie pan. Sprinkle half the cheese on crust. Sprinkle onion, green pepper and ham over cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper until frothy. Pour over ham. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Chai Tea

Makes 3 servings.

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 7 peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods (see note)
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup milk

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add brown sugar, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, and cook for 2 minutes. Add tea bags; reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Strain out spices and tea bags. Add milk, and reheat mixture. Adjust sugar as desired before serving.

Note: If you cannot find cardamom pods, substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

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