A few weeks ago I got an email about a brunch workshop, presented by Starbucks new line of naturally flavored coffee. Normally at 10 AM on a Monday morning, I’m timing my kids running laps, but thanks to summer break, I was free to go learn about the wonders of popovers and making edible artwork bowls out of chocolate. Being a teacher and a food blogger definitely has perks!
For those who have cable and love food, you might remember Paul McCollough from Season 3 of Next Food Network Star. Since I only fit half that description (the loving food part), I didn’t know who he was, but I can say now that I’m definitely a fan! The two other bloggers were Lisa and Shauna, who were both incredibly sweet and lots of fun.
I was obviously thrilled to see a GIANT tray of organic berries front and center in the kitchen.
We made edible chocolate bowls for them by spraying balloons with PAM, dipping them in melted chocolate, then letting them set in the fridge.
Once the chocolate is hard, you pop the balloon and have a pretty chocolate bowl to fill with berries! I’d seen this done before, but I’d never seen them with white chocolate too. All you do is drizzle some melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate before you dip, and it makes a really cool design.
Obviously I don’t eat bacon, but for a lot of people it’s a brunch essential. We made maple-coffee bacon by making a paste of brown sugar and maple syrup and brushing it over strips of bacon.
Then we sprinkled them with some of the ground coffee and baked them (on a rack over a sheet pan) in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Next, we made popovers, which are incredibly simple but look SO impressive! 5 eggs, 1 2/3 cup half and half, 1 2/3 cup flour, and 1 t salt, whisked together then baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. Paul said you can also make them in a mini muffin pan if you don’t have a popover pan, so they’re not quite as big and filling.
Obviously popovers are pretty much a vehicle for butter… so we made two different compound butters.
Bacon butter. Seriously. Kind of a heart attack waiting to happen, but Paula Deen would be proud. You just finely chop some of that maple-coffee bacon and stir it into some softened butter.
Unpictured, but amazing: Marmalade butter. Marmalade is one of my favorite things (my grandpa used to make ridiculously good marmalade and I fell in love at a very young age), so I loved this butter. You just stir some marmalade, orange zest, and lemon zest (to taste) into softened butter. It was insanely good on those popovers!
Eggs are pretty much a requirement when it comes to brunch. We made a scramble (way lower maintenance and easier to serve a crowd than omelets) with spinach (sauteed in butter first), sundried tomatoes, crumbled veggie sausage patties, and sauteed mushrooms. Once all the ingredients are prepped, you just gently heat some beaten eggs, let them firm up a little, and then stir in the other ingredients.
The mix was seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion. You can obviously use fresh garlic and onion, but Paul said the flavors of the dried stuff were mellower and a little easier to take at breakfast time. The last thing I want is to have my face knocked off by too much garlic bright and early in the morning, so I loved this idea.
After about an hour of cooking, we sat down to eat! (And yes, that’s pasta on my plate. If you’d rather make this a more lunch-friendly dish, you can sub cooked pasta for the eggs).
So now the best part… I mentioned that this was presented by Starubucks new Natural Fusion coffees. This is not that old-school artificially flavored coffee – Starbucks grinds the beans with cinnamon or vanilla or a mix of spices that magically tastes like caramel. And they want you to try it!
Two winners will get to try a variety of Natural Fusions coffees – all you need to do is comment telling me your favorite breakfast or brunch food. You have until Thursday, June 30th at 10 PM PST, when I’ll pick two comments at random, and your coffee will be on its way. Good luck!
FTC disclaimer: Starbucks is providing the coffee and the workshop was presented at no cost to me.