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Breakfast and Brunch

Homemade Southern Sausage Gravy

Homemade Southern Sausage Gravy

Ever craved your grandmother’s southern cooking, but you never got her secret recipe? I remember as a child, my grandmother would cook us breakfast almost every morning before school. Sometimes it was cream of wheat, sometimes it was eggs, rice and bacon, and sometimes it was biscuits and gravy. Those homemade biscuits and gravy stuck with me because I considered it an art to make homemade southern sausage gravy. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother, breakfast was not usually one of those times (I mean a girl has to get her beauty rest). Therefore, I missed out on how she would make the homemade southern sausage gravy for the biscuits and gravy.
Gravy can be finicky, it can be too thin, too thick, too lumpy so it’s no wonder why I never really tried my hand at it. For many years, I relied on McCormicks gravy packets for my gravy. I won’t sit here and pretend that those McCormicks gravy packages aren’t lifesavers.
In life, there are certain foods that hold distinct and nostalgic memories, biscuits and gravy is one of those foods.

Learning to make biscuits and gravy

I remember the first time I learned how to make biscuits and gravy. My junior year in high school I chose a cooking class as one of my electives. I thoroughly enjoyed home economics in junior high school and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking so this class was my favorite. Our assignment must have been making breakfast because that only makes logical sense. Anyways, I distinctly remember our teacher telling us to make sure we scraped up all of the little sausage bits that were stuck to the pan. She informed us that is how you get the most flavor for your gravy. That little tip holds true to this day.
For some reason in my mind, this lesson coincides with 9/11. I was for sure in that classroom when 9/11 happened. I feel like it was in the midst of biscuits and gravy lesson when our classroom TVs came on to broadcast the towers falling; my teacher fell in sync as she collapsed into a chair overwhelmed by the tragic even unfolding before all of our eyes. Memories…sometimes food holds distinct memories.

Biscuits and Gravy was life

When I joined the military I was a whopping 117 pounds, by military BMI standards I was underweight. At first I took offense to being considered underweight but it definitely had it privileges. As part of their weight gaining program, I was allowed to be the first to go in, last to come out and I was able to eat whatever I wanted. My fellow vets know just how precious that time is. You literally get about 3-4 minutes to eat before you are yelled at to get up and move along.
I made a plan to ensure I got enough food to last me until my next meal. I mean it was the middle of summer in Texas, you really wanted to try and get as much food in you as possible. What did I do? I grabbed what I knew first…biscuits and gravy. In less than two minutes I would cut my biscuits and gravy into four sections and eat it in four bites. Next, I would move on to my sausage, pancakes, and whatever else I piled on my tray. Those biscuits and gravy got me through basic training (and I gained 8lbs). Memories…sometimes food holds nostalgic memories.

Gravy and Biscuits and more gravy.

There are countless times, that I have eaten biscuits and gravy throughout my life but I can probably count one hand the times, I’ve attempted to make it myself. The first two times, I used package gravy, you know because that’s safe and you can’t mess that up. Last time I made it from scratch and it was surprisingly good, but in typical fashion I didn’t bother to write down my recipe. And now here I am, typing this up as a fellow food blogger put out a call for a southern sausage gravy recipe. Her call turned into a craving that I was forced to act upon.

 
 
I whipped up my version of homemade southern sausage gravy and it was a hit with my family. It was a nice reminder that sometimes you need a good ol’ stick to your bones, warm your soul, finger licking good southern breakfast. My heart was warmed and it made me smile to see my toddlers with gravy all over their happy faces, asking for seconds. It had been a long time since my family has had one of those and I plan to create more memories, because well you know food holds memories. I hope you enjoy this recipe and it reminds you a little bit of grandma’s southern cooking.
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Categories
Breakfast and Brunch

5 Delicious Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

Mother’s Day

Thinking of making breakfast or brunch in bed for Mother’s Day but not sure what to make? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I know for many, Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and for some the tradition of going out to eat may not be an option this year. Did you know that Anna Jarvis, who is often referred to as the founder of Mother’s Day was against commercialization.  Celebrating with elaborate gifts isn’t the only way to go.
I can confidently say that sometimes moms (myself included) appreciate having not to cook and just relaxing.  So this Mother’s Day, grab the kids and get in the kitchen.  The act of a labor of love is truly a gift.  Don’t worry if you burn the pancakes a little, just blame it on the kids haha.  Seriously the kind gesture counts and will be appreciated.  To take the guesswork out of what to make I have compiled a list of 5 delicious Mother’s Day brunch ideas are sure to make her feel like royalty.

Banana’s Foster Pancakes

Banana Foster Pancakes

Sweet Potato and Sage Sausage Hash

Sweet Potato and Sage Sausage Hash

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

Slice of a Bagel Strata

Spinach and Feta FrittataSpinach and Feta Frittata

Chorizo Breakfast Scramble

Chorizo Scramble

Hand Squeezed Lemon and Blueberry Mimosa

Lemonade and Bluberry Mimosa

Mother’s Day in the USA was officially made a holiday in 1914. It was designated as the second Sunday in May by President Woodrow Wilson.

Helpful Hints

Here are a few tips for all 5 delicious mother’s day brunch ideas listed above.  First,  to ensure your breakfast or brunch gets off without a hitch, make sure you have enough eggs for the recipe.  I was shocked to learned that a frittata called for 8 eggs.  Secondly, make sure to buy your ingredients at the right time.  In the case of the Banana’s Foster you’ll want the bananas to be firm but ripe so they can withstand cooking in the foster syrup.  Next, when making the spinach and feta frittata, the cast iron skillet is your friend.  Additionally, cutting up the sweet potatoes for your hash into small bits helps it cook faster and more evenly.  Lastly, when making the chorizo skillet, try not to eat all the chorizo before you finish cooking it lol.

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

Irresistible Banana Foster Pancakes

Have you ever had a food that just screams nostalgia?  That is what happens every time these irresistible banana foster pancakes come to mind. The first time I was introduced to Banana foster pancakes was in the hospital after I delivered my second daughter Sicily.  Those banana foster pancakes were single handily the most amazing meal I had ever eaten (or at least that’s how it felt) and most certainly the best hospital food I’d ever tasted. That year in particular, my daughter was born 3 days before Mother’s Day.  When we returned home from the hospital, my husband along with my oldest daughter recreated those banana foster pancakes for a special Mother’s Day Brunch …[insert heart emoji]. Therefore not only are these banana foster pancakes irresistible and delicious, they pack a heavy dose of nostalgia for me personally.

This Mother’s day, I wanted to share the recipe so all the moms would have a chance to taste the same tantalizing breakfast (hopefully in bed) I did three years ago. If you are a mother who would love to have this, hint to your kids about having breakfast in bed and that you’d looove to have these amazing banana foster pancakes you saw.  If you happened to stumble across this recipe looking for ideas for breakfast in bed for Mother’s day… STOP and let’s get started..
The great thing about this recipe is that most of the items are probably already in the pantry. It is a two part recipe, but very simple to follow.  To start off you’ve got to make your pancakes from scratch.  Any ol’ pancakes won’t do, so don’t even think about grabbing a box of Bisquick or Aunt Jemima. Here is the recipe for my homemade pancakes.

Irresistible Banana Foster Pancakes

There is nothing short about this stack of pancakes and they are most definitely irresistible.  The building  block of the foster syrup is using real maple syrup, don’t short change yourself with the cheap stuff.  This isn’t just your everyday pancake recipe so your ingredients should enhance.  By the time you finish making the syrup, you’ll want to just lick the spoon. The cinnamon and nutmeg are definite stars in the recipe and compliment the maple syrup very well.  When I cook my banana foster pancakes, I prefer to save half of my bananas to add some fresh ones in addition to the fostered ones.  The fresh bananas give just a slight texture difference and enhances the actual banana flavor. If you prefer you can substitute the vanilla extract for rum extract.
Here is the recipe for the banana foster pancakes.  I hope you enjoy it, as you can see my kids could not wait to dig in.
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If you are just looking for a new recipe to spice up your Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast, I got you.
Are looking for a delicious recipe to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with breakfast? I got you.
Or you just like pancakes and are looking to try something different, I got you.
This recipe is a staple in my household and it’s kid approved.  I hope you enjoy the recipe!  If you decide to make these, swing back by and let me know how they taste.

Forks Up!

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch MettleFork Kitchen

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

You will often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Honestly, most people tend to be more inclined to believe that if their breakfast is boring.  If you suffer from boring breakfast or bland brunches, I’m here to help elevate your breakfast and/or brunch.  Let me assist you in taking it from just a thing to EVERYTHING with my Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata.

Breakfast and Brunch

I am a HUGE brunch fan.  What’s not to love about good food, endless mimosas (if you are lucky) and hopefully some good conversation.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning you will see that brunchin’ is my thang.  If you are just joining and you’d like an instant replay, check out this post for some awesome brunch spots. I must admit, it wasn’t until I joined the military that breakfast became a regular in my everyday diet.  There is just something about living meal to meal with only a few minutes to eat that changes how you look at breakfast.  In my opinion, breakfast isn’t just about sustenance it is about the experience… the food…how it tastes…how it looks.  Before the stay at home order for COVID-19, I was planning a brunch party for my friends and I.  Let’s face it, after this is over we will all need a mimosa, some good food and face to face conversation.  I started planning my brunch and since I have extra time on my hands, I started perfecting my menu.  My first attempt at my Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata was a success.  If you too are a brunch lover, this is a must have in your brunch bunch.

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

I am a huge fan of the everything bagel as I am sure most people are.  I mean even Trader Joe’s has an everything but the bagel seasoning.  If you are going to go all out with a bagel strata, my thoughts are why not include everything.  I love a good lox bagel and I wanted to capture the essence of that in this recipe.

A Lox bagel is a bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers

My husband is not a huge fan of any baked egg dishes, so basically breakfast casseroles are not his thing.  I will say however, he did enjoy it so that should speak volumes as to how deliciously yummy this is.  Moving on to my next group of taste testers…the kids.  They loved it too and ran into the kitchen over and over asking for more.  It officially receives the kid approved stamp.

The Recipe

When making this recipe, I only allowed my strata to chill for 30 minutes.  Remember that anytime you are baking a dish that has been chilled, allow the dish to return to as close to room temperature as possible.  This will prevent your baking dish from shattering in the oven.  Lastly, I sprinkled Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning on top.  If you do not have that in your pantry, give you bagel a gentle shake over a paper towel.  Everyone knows, that everything bagels get everywhere lol.  Use those loose toppings to sprinkle on top of your strata.
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I hope you enjoy this salmon and caper everything bagel strata. I know I’m looking forward to making this for my upcoming brunch party with my friends.
This dish is MFing good…MettleForkin’ Good

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch England

Brunch at the River Terrace Cafe

England is full of quaint towns and unless you happen to live in one of them chances are you’ll never have the pleasure of seeing them. The movie Joker just came out and my darling husband got us tickets for a Matinee. Yay for a day date without the kids. Our friends decided to join us and requested to have brunch before hand. This is how I was introduced to the darling review terrace café.

Nestled right up against the River Great Ouse, I drank my hazelnut latte that the barista had just finished brewing. I sat with my friends and husband engaging in small talk occasionally staring at the menu. Brunch decisions are always difficult for me. I am especially partial to Eggs Benedict as I have pretty much made that the standard by which I rate brunches. I ordered a fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam to hold me over. It had been calling my name from the moment I’d walked in. There was little evidence left behind with exception of the remnants of powdered sugar on my fingertips.

Fruit SconeFruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Clotted cream is a thick cream made from whole milk using a steam bath or steam then cooled slowly in a shallow pan. 

After much back and forth between the Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and Breakfast bowl; I settled on the latter. As if quinoa, tomato pesto, a poached egg, spinach, mushrooms and a blistered tomato weren’t enough; I upgraded it. Salmon and halloumi cheese took that breakfast bowl from an A to an A++. They key to eating th bowl is to cut up the mushroom and tomato, then pop the poached egg. Lastly take the tomato pesto and pour it all over the bowl making sure to cover the quinoa. Not only does it look good but it is well balanced too. It has almost every element of the food pyramid: grains, protein, vegetables, dairy and even some fats/oils.

 

 

 

If you are ever in the area of St. Ives, UK which is roughly 20 minutes from Cambridge stop by. Grab a latte, stay for brunch or if you’d prefer to dine a little later try their lunch.  It’s a favorite amongst the locals and I’m sure it will be a favorite for you too.

Forks Up!

Categories
Belgium Breakfast and Brunch Brussels

Peck 20 dominates brunch in Brussels

To peck at something means to slowly eat at it little by little. But Peck 20 will have you writing Webster’s dictionary to redefine the word.  While vacationing in Brussels with my family and friends, I looked up food in Brussels on Instagram and Peck 20 appeared.  Brunch all day?? Um hell yeah!  Up the hills and over the cobblestones we set off in search of greatness.  We planned our trip by looking at google maps and it was a mere 20 minute walk from our hotel. If you’ve ever been to Belgium you know the cobblestone streets present a challenge for adults at times. Yet here we were pushing a pram over cobblestone roads on a mission to get to Peck 20s…..I’m letting you know now, it was worth the trip.


We arrived shortly after breakfast which was a little disappointing because after reading the description on the menu their pancakes and smoothie bowls sounded delicious.  Next time we will get there before 11:30am for sure! 

Their menu offers gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options which is refreshing for those with dietary restrictions.  Additionally, they have indoor and outdoor seating available but parties bigger than four can be a bit of a challenge due to their demand.  Don’t be discouraged, we waited and were fortunate enough to sit our party of 6 by combining two tables.  Now on to the important stuff…..


WAFFLES

 

What do you get when you combine a Belgian waffle with breakfast?  Well for me it was a happy plate.  There are 5 different Peck Waffles to choose from and I almost ordered every single one.  What I love about their menu is that they included a waffle for the vegetarians.   I ordered the drunken sailor waffle which was a homemade leek waffle topped with two poached eggs with “groovy gravlax” salmon and their psycho sauce. 

Leeks are vegetables that belong to the same genus as garlic, onions, and chives.  

Surprisingly the waffle did not have an overwhelming leek taste. The consistency is the same that you would expect from a regular waffle.  The addition of the salmon and psycho sauce just took it over the top.

 

 

 

The real star is the Speachless Waffle which probably got it’s name from the fact that it will literally leave you speechless.  The only thing that could be heard were moans of complete and utter satisfaction.  Get this…the waffle is a chorizo waffle…topped with house fried chicken, two poached eggs, grilled cheddar AND bacon then topped off with a little psycho sauce as if this waffle wasn’t crazy enough. My husband ordered that and I only got a bite…Next Time I will order one for myself. 

 

Drinkz

 

What’s a proper brunch if there are no drinks involved.  Peck 20’s has something for everyone.  If you fancy coffee, they’ve got it.  Fresh pressed Juice more your thing??  They’ve got that too.  And if you just happen to need a pick me up from the night before.  Guess what?  They’ve got you covered.  I ordered a Bloody Mary made with jalapeno infused vodka. *insert your favorite comic strip fight sound*  Pow….Bam…Zing  it had it all.  The spicy kick on that drink was great.  I also ordered a fresh pressed apple and ginger juice and man o’ man was it great.

 

 

If you are looking for one of the best breakfast/brunch eateries around, then Peck 20’s is where it’s at.  Next time you are visiting Brussels, stop by Peck 20 for breakfast or brunch.  You won’t be disappointed and tell them Mettlefork sent you.

 

As always lovelies, 

Forks Up!

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch International

Two Good Eggs Cafe

Want to know the secret to getting over jetlag? An amazing breakfast! Nothing will get me up and moving faster than some delicious vittles.

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Best Benedict's in Tampa Bay

Eggs Benedict has to be the King of Brunch.  It is featured on almost every brunch menu and if it’s not then you should get up and leave.  I’ve been on a quest to try as many brunch spots as I can in Tampa.  These aren’t just your basic eggs Benedict, the chef’s at these places have spent time thinking of how to creatively craft together masterpieces.  This  is a list of the places in Tampa that have the BEST Eggs Benedict.

Boca Brandon

20170722_120210BBQ Pork on toast with perfectly poached eggs with a side of potatoes. It’s so rustic and southern comfort on a plate.

Noble Crust

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Smoked salmon, sautéed spinach and a perfect poach on a biscuit. Jaw dropping and mouthwatering.

Timpano Tampa

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Smoked Salmon and bacon that is served on top of Na’an bread. Everything about this is yes, yes, yes.

The Lodge

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Sautéed shrimp, Asparagus, Tomato topped with a little tempura asparagus served on a sourdough muffin.  This eggs benny means serious business.

 
If you have a place you would like to nominate then submit it to here.

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Noble Crust

Noble Crust – Wesley Chapel

28330 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel, FL

I follow several local restaurants on Instagram and with so many great options around the Tampa Bay area it’s hard to get to them all right away.  I had been putting off going to Noble Crust despite their relentless posts of delicious looking food trying to lure me in.  But when I saw that Noble Crust won best brunch earlier in the week, I had to go check them out I could procrastinate no longer.  Now, if you’ve been following me on any of my social media you would know that brunch has become a thing.  To get voted the “Best of the Bay” is a big accomplishment…there is a lot and I mean a LOT of good brunchery to be had.  I wanted to in the in crowd..the crowd that has experienced a Noble Crust brunch.


Fried Green Tomatoes

I’m a country girl and we fry green tomatoes in Oklahoma.   I have never had one like this! Pimento cheese, pork belly… yes you read that correctly pork belly and tabasco-honey glaze atop a perfectly fried green tomatoe. There were only two so I had one and my husband had the other.  These were easily some of the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had. This hit almost every tastebud. There was sweet from the honey,  salty from the pork belly,  spicy from the tabasco and savory from the pimento cheese and tomatoes.  If you’ve never had fried green tomatoes try them, if you have still try them.. or don’t that’s more for me.  The only disappointment you will have is that there are only two.


Chicken and Waffles

My husband ordered the chicken in waffles.  Turns out it is one of their most requested items.  Once you taste them you will see why.  The chicken and waffles is paired with the same honey-tabasco sauce as the fried green tomatoes and a maple syrup so you can choose which one you like most.  Let’s just say by the time I had finished stuffing myself with my food; I had to beg for a taste from my husband so I could have an honest review. The chicken was fried well and it had a nice crisp to it.  It didn’t get all soggy after you poured the syrup on it.  The waffles were nice and thick and browned to perfection.  If you’ve ever had a soft waffle you know what I mean.  The ratio was just right so by the time he finished he didn’t have more chicken left over than the waffle. Hat’s off to the chef for this one.. I wonder if his name is Roscoe?


Bronzed Salmon Benny

My oh my we’ve finally gotten to the main event.  My Benny my boo! As many of you know I rank my Benedict’s and this one is a top contender.  The bronzed salmon benny had poached eggs, salmon… nice thick chunks of salmon with sauteed garlic swiss chard a lemon-dill hollandaise sauce on a buttermilk biscuit.  I just love lemon and dill together; there is just something about it that says fresh.  Not to mention both lemon and dill go well with salmon.  This was the first time I had tasted swiss chard.  I’m usually a spinach and kale kinda gal.  I must say I was impressed and I will be adding swiss chard to my wheelhouse soon.
I also had a side of four cheese grits and let me tell you.. whew.  If you are a cheese grits lover then these are just for you.  The combination of cheeses was just right, even my 7 year old liked them.  I couldn’t keep her out my bowl.

 


Chocolate Chip Pancakes

My daughter ordered the chocolate chip pancakes and they were scrumptious.  I managed to sneak a piece away when I was cutting them up for her.  The portion size is large enough for an adult, but don’t order off the kiddie menu guys…there are some lemon, blueberry and ricotta pancakes waiting for you on the adult menu.
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Lastly, I would be amiss if I failed to mention the complimentary mimosa served with the order of a brunch plate.  So cheers!! And congrats to Noble Crust on winning the best of the bay brunch.   You definitely deserve it.
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Categories
Breakfast and Brunch U.S.A

Green Eggs Cafe -Philadelphia, PA

On my second trip to Philly, I stopped by the one breakfast/brunch restaurant that is a must – Green Eggs Cafe.  Before I started food blogging my friends brought me to Green Eggs Cafe and that experience was life changing, I’ve thought about it for over a year.  Quite frankly it should be on my top 5 breakfast places found here but since I wasn’t officially blogging I didn’t include it.  I had the red velvet pancakes which obviously must still be a hit because they are still on the menu.  This time I decided to try two items on their menu which proved to be difficult.  After all they had 6 Eggs Benedict options and ya’ll know how I am about my eggs benny. None the less here’s a review of what we had.


Pecan Pie French Toast

You know the part at the end of your prayer when you say Amen?  Say it twice because this french toast is a blessing. I have never..Ever..EVER had french toast this good.  It is the perfect balance between sweet and savory and good down to the last pecan.  Here’s the breakdown of this masterpiece.  First you start with two pieces of challah bread dipped in cream brûlée batter….wait what?  Cream brûlée batter..*insert drool*  then it is stuffed with pecan pie filling *screams hallelujah* and lastly it is topped with maple syrup, vanilla streusel, chantilly cream and pecans.  Go ahead and say it….AMEN!  I stopped eating this only to share with my daughter (who instantly fell in love) and to breathe. If this is on the menu when you visit…get it! Don’t hesitate, don’t think about something else, like Nike says Just Do It!


Eggs Benedict

You’ve heard of chicken and waffles I’m sure…but a chicken and waffle benny…that’s a whole new level.  I loved that my waffle was cooked fresh..I could literally taste the waffle iron on it.  The chicken was cooked well and the perfectly poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. MWAH!  The rosemary potatoes were great as well but the star of this dish was definitely the chicken and waffle benny.  This is a must try when you visit.


Steak and eggs

My husband ordered the steak and eggs…a more traditional breakfast staple but don’t let that fool you.  The steak was cooked perfectly and seasoned well. The grits were off the chain and the eggs well, they were eggs.  I think the secret was in the spinach that is was layered over.  It added a sophisticated element to the entire dish.

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Steak with Eggs and Cheese Grits

Hot Chocolate

Because no little girls meal is complete without a cup of Hot Chocolate.  She didn’t share but it looked amazing lol.

There are locations in Philly and Miami so find one ASAP and stop in for Brunch.