Lawyer-turned-Baker Shares His Breakfast Treats
"But even though my bones and joints often ache and my mind becomes dizzyingly tired at the end of each day, baking lifts my spirits and rewards me in many ways." This may not sound anything like any of the lawyers you and I know personally, but they are the sentiments of Washington, D.C. baker Warren Brown who left a career in law, 10 years ago, to open CakeLove Bakery (www.cakelove.com). Brown, who now owns seven stores, has also written three cookbooks, the latest being "CakeLove in the Morning: Recipes for Muffins, Scones, Pancakes, Waffles, Biscuits, Frittatas and Other Breakfast Treats," which follows 2008's "CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch" and "United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State, profiled in this column in 2010, in honor of the Fourth of July. This time around, Brown's newest cookbook, all 208 pages of them (with 100 color photographs), comes in time for the May 13 celebration of Mother's Day, a day when more than a few Moms will be treated to a special breakfast, maybe even one served in bed. For Brown, the most important meal of the day, including those brought to his Mom on Mother's Day, evokes happy memories. Says Brown, "Whether it was my Dad and his pancake breakfasts, French toast prepared by my Mom, or Mother's Day breakfast-in-bed served to my mother by my sisters and me, breakfast has been the basis for many memories that I treasured long after the meal was over." For creating breakfast memories of their own, Moms who are breakfast eaters and those who are breakfast makers, would equally enjoy owning a copy of "CakeLove in the Morning." For information on how to purchase this, and other cookbooks by Warren Brown, visit the Abrams Books website at www.abramsbooks.com/Books/CakeLove_in_the_Morning-9781584798941.html, or find them wherever fine cookbooks are sold.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recipes Courtesy “CakeLove in the Morning,” by Warren Brown; Stewart, Tabori & Chang Publishers, www.abramsbooks.com;
"Frittatas are great for combining lots of different flavors and, in this version, I've borrowed a little bit from the Creole traditions of New Orleans and the African influence of the Carolina Low Country.
This is a hearty centerpiece to any brunch." -- Warren Brown
4 to 5 medium white potatoes
3 to 4 medium yams (sweet potatoes)
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
About 6 broad leaves fresh sage, minced
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for the dish
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 sausage links
3 yellow onions, finely sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh cremini mushrooms, slices
10 large eggs
8 ounces fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
3 to 4 ounces chevre cheese, crumbled
Pinch cumin seeds
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Peel and dice the potatoes and yams into 1/4-inch cubes; briefly soak them in water to remove the excess starch and drain thoroughly. Toss the cubes with the rosemary, sage, 3 tablespoons of the butter, oil and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast, uncovered, until tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. While the potatoes are roasting, roast the sausage links in the oven in a separate dish for 20 minutes.
Remove and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large skillet, place the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add the onions, cover and cook until thoroughly softened. Add the celery and 'shrooms and raise to medium heat. Continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes, or until soft to the fork. Remove from the heat and set aside. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and whisk with a balloon whisk until lightly foamy. Fold the shrimp and chevre into the eggs, followed by the potatoes, vegetables and sausage. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with oil and lightly sprinkle with the remaining salt.
Pour in the frittata mixture and sprinkle the top with the paprika, cumin seeds and pepper. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, until the edges brown and the center doesn't jiggle or appear wet.
Test with a meat thermometer -- the internal temperature should read 160 degrees. Remove the frittata from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Leftovers reheat well if warmed in the microwave for 20 to 25 seconds.
Makes 12 servings.
Blueberry Bundt Cake
"This one is easy and delicious. Don't pass it up! The amount of cream and milk really makes for a moist crumb. Stir in the berries after the batter is in the Bundt pan if you want to keep some of the berries mixed throughout the cake. Otherwise, just fold them in after the final mix." -- Warren Brown
12 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon potato starch*
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 ounces (2 3/4 cups) superfine sugar
7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks), unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place a rack in the middle. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, potato starch, salt and baking soda and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, cream and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the superfine sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry and liquid ingredients in 3 batches. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl and run for 20 seconds on low speed to fully combine. Thoroughly coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with non-stick spray. Scoop the batter into the pan; it will nearly come to the top. Using a spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack. Serve immediately. Store under a cake dome to retain moisture.
Makes 1 Bundt cake.
What Warren Brown Says About Potato Starch
Potato starch is gluten-free and lightens up the texture of baked goods while delivering just a hint of flavor. Potato starch is readily available in major grocery stores. Check the specialty baking or wheat –free product aisle; you may also find it in the kosher foods section. If all else fails, purchase a two-pound bag online. It will last a long time. Kitchen Ade Note: Potato starch keeps best stored in the refrigerator or freezer.