'Tis the Season — for Brunch
Whether it's a family gathering, treating the kids, or a quiet breakfast in bed, this week's dishes are jolly ways to celebrate the holidays.
The 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are a blur of cookies, pumpkins, gravy, birds, nogs, stuffing, latkes, roasts, and pies. In between — when we're not eating leftovers by the light of the fridge — we probably try to start the day with a wee breakfast. These recipes are for those other times when you want to crack some eggs (or a box of tofu!) and celebrate the season with full-on brunch food. First up: a shortcut waffle with a bright cranberry topping. Next, a spin on green eggs and ham sure to please both kids and grown-ups. The tofu follows, cooked shakshuka-style in a curried tomato sauce. The budget brunch is a hearty whole-grain bread pudding with roasted winter squash. Each recipe includes lots of ideas for how to serve and substitute ingredients so you can eat them any way, any day.
Ironed Toast with Maple-Cranberry Compote
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Waffles make brunch feel special. Cooking French toast in a waffle iron is even more special, since you still get all the nooks and crannies but don't have to fuss with a batter. Some technical tips: The festive compote can be cooked up to a week ahead and stored in the refrigerator (ditto any that you don't eat right away). Choose whatever bread you like, keeping in mind that fluffier, rich slices like brioche or challah will cook up softer than hearty bread like those that include whole grains. English muffins are a nice option, too. I encourage you to cook extra; leftovers reheat and crisp beautifully in the toaster straight out of the freezer.
2 or 3 satsumas or other small oranges like tangerines or mandarins
12 ounces cranberries (1 bag; about 4 cups)
1/2 cup maple syrup, or more to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more as needed
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 slices bread, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick (see the headnote)
1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Fit a wire rack in a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Heat the waffle iron.
2. Peel the satsumas, separate them into sections, and seed them if necessary; chop into bits about the size of the cranberries. Put them (and any juices from the cutting board) in a medium saucepan with the berries, maple syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat so the compote gently bubbles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst, and the juices thicken, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add more syrup if you'd like; keep the compote warm over low heat.
3. Microwave the butter for a few seconds (or heat in a small pot) to soften it without fully melting. Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt in a shallow baking dish.
4. Brush both surfaces of the waffle iron with softened butter (or use towels). Dunk a piece of bread in the egg mixture until it's saturated without falling apart, then put it right onto the waffle iron. (Or if your iron is large, cover the bottom in a layer of slices.) Close the lid and cook until browned. (The time depends on your appliance.) Keep the finished toast warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining slices. Serve hot with the warm cranberry compote.
—Recipe adapted from Dinner for Everyone