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The Cocktail Carafe
When winter turns cold, our first instinct is to hibernate. While we occasionally hunker down with delivery food and a six-pack on a snowy Sunday, other times we like to motivate our friends to bundle up and come over for brunch. Really, what's a better definition of friendship than trekking through snow and sleet to hang out?
Regardless of the effort involved, Sunday brunch is a perfect way to brighten up grey winter days. There's nothing like sharing warm platters of biscuits with country ham, creamy eggs and bracing mugs of hot buttered rum. We especially love it when brunch goes on all day, maybe even stretching into a casual dinner party (or an even more casual delivery-with-some-six-packs hangout).
Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter and Country Ham
Makes 15 to 20 small biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 heaping tablespoons solid shortening, chilled
- 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 12 very thin slices country ham, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the shortening until the mixture looks grainy, like fine cornmeal. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the dough just hold together (you can add more buttermilk if the dough is too dry).
- Shape the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 15 to 20 rounds. Bake the biscuits on an unlined baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops just turn golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the softened butter and honey and stir. When the biscuits are done, transfer them to a serving board or platter; serve alongside the honey butter and ham slices for guests to create their own ham biscuits.
Slow-Cooked Eggs with Aged Cheddar and Spicy Greens
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 12 large eggs
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated aged cheddar
- 2 cups spicy greens (like arugula or mizuna)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and whisk them together with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until they start to thicken, about 15 minutes (they should still look runny).
- Add the grated cheese and greens and continue to cook, stirring until the eggs are cooked through but still soft, about 5 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat; transfer the eggs to a serving platter or bowl and garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.
Maple Hot-Buttered Rum
Makes 1 cocktail
- 1 1/2 ounces aged rum
- 3/4 ounce dark maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 pinch of freshly grated cinnamon
- Boiling water
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick, for garnish
- In a mug, combine the rum, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon. Top off with boiling water, stirring to incorporate the ingredients and melt the butter. Garnish with the nutmeg and cinnamon stick and serve.