Chile-Spiced Brunch Ideas for Mother’s Day

What would May be without Mother’s Day? According to Wikipedia, the holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one’s mother (hence the name). Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea did not take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. It is now the busiest holiday of the year for long-distance calling.

A fabulous, fiery brunch (that she doesn’t have to prepare) is the perfect way to show Mom you appreciate all the hell you put her through growing up. If you read this blog, odds are that you come from a family that appreciates spice…so try some of these brunch ideas and feel the burn…and the love!

Southwestern Chile-Corn Quiche

Southwestern Chile-Corn Quiche
The interesting cheese crust with minced chiles sets the scene for the filling of this Southwestern-style quiche. Serve it with fresh fruit and yogurt for a wonderful breakfast.

2 cups fine cheese-cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 serrano chile, stem and seeds removed, minced
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup diced green New Mexican chiles
1 cup diced zucchini
2 cups cooked fresh corn, or 1 (17-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a bowl, mix the cracker crumbs with 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, and the serrano chile. Set aside 1/2 cup for the topping. Press the remaining crumbs firmly into a 9-inch glass pie pan.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter, with the remaining canola oil over low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the onion. Add the salt, celery seed, and white pepper and stir until the mixture is blended, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add the milk and stir with a wire whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.
4. Add 1/4 cup of the milk mixture to the beaten eggs and whisk together. Add this mixture to the milk mixture in the saucepan in a steady, slow drizzle, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
5. Stir in the green chiles, zucchini, and corn. Slowly and carefully pour this mixture into the prepared pie shell. Sprinkle the top with the reserved cheese crumbs.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the quiche from the oven and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
7. Cut the quiche into 6 pieces and serve.

Yield: 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Huevos Uxmal
(Uxmal-Style Eggs)
All the flavors of Yucatán are present in this dish. The cilantro, habanero chiles, and epazote (available from Mexgrocer.com) all come together here, and the diner has a choice of green or red sauce or both over the poached eggs. Cook the sauces first, so that they are ready when the eggs are done.

For the Green Sauce:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 epazote leaves, chopped
10 tomatillos or 8 green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3/4 –1 cup water
1 habanero chile, stems and seeds removed, halved
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 green bell pepper, roasted, peeled, stem and seeds removed, quartered
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped epazote

1. Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the epazote and tomatillos and sauté for 1 minute or until the tomatillos are softened. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then place it in a blender with the water, habanero, cilantro, salt, bell pepper, and chopped epazote and purée. Return this mixture to the skillet and keep it warm.

For the Red Sauce:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
8 tomatoes, roasted, peeled, and quartered
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 habanero chile, stem and seeds removed, halved
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, salt, and chile and sauté for 1 minute. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then pour it into a blender and purée. Return this mixture to the saucepan, add the chopped cilantro, and keep the sauce warm.

For the Eggs:
12 fresh eggs, poached in molds or in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons vinegar added to the water

1. Place 2 poached eggs on a warm plate and serve with the red and or green sauce (or both) over them.

Yield: 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Papas con Chile Colorado. Photo by Wes Naman

Papas con Chile Colorado
(Breakfast Potatoes with Red Chile)
1. Although the word colorado here refers to the red color of the chile rather than the state of the same name, this dish is commonly prepared there—and all over the Southwest. Serve these red chile potatoes in place of hash browned potatoes for a terrific Southwestern breakfast.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons crushed red New Mexican chile, seeds included
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Saute the onions and garlic in the butter until soft, then add the chile. Add the potatoes and toss.
3. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow pan. Add a little water and bake until the potatoes are done, about 45 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Blue Corn Piñon Pancakes with Orange-Spiced Honey
The blue corn gives these pancakes are a refreshing change from the ordinary, and habanero in the honey will warm Mom’s heart.

For the Orange-Spiced Honey:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon habanero powder (or other hot chile powder)
1. Place the honey in a saucepan and heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and keep warm.

For the Pancakes:
1 cup blue corn flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
13/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons roasted piñon nuts

1. Sift together the flours, sugar, and baking powder into a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter and beat well. Quickly mix the liquids and nuts into the dry batter, being careful not to over-beat the mixture—lumps are okay.
2. Cook the pancakes on a hot griddle, turning only once, until they are browned and done.
3. Drizzle the pancakes with the warm honey and serve.

Yield: 12 (4-inch) pancakes
Heat Scale: Medium

Avocado-Feta Frittata
If Mom’s an avocado fan, she’ll love this dish.

1/2 large ripe avocado, cut into 1-inch dice
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
Pinch of salt
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
4 black olives, minced
4 fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
3 eggs (or the equivalent amount of egg substitute)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
11/2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Combine the avocado, tomato, lime juice, and salt. Add the feta, rosemary, olives, and mushrooms and stir gently. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and ground cayenne.
3. In an oven-safe skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is bubbling but not smoking, add the eggs. Cook the eggs briefly, stirring once, until the bottom is set and the top is still runny. Remove the skillet from the heat and spread the feta-avocado mixture evenly over the eggs. Place the skillet under the broiler until the frittata is set and the edges are golden brown.

Yield: 2 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Banana-Pasilla Macadamia Nut Muffins
Believe it or not, the macadamia nut tree was first grown only for ornamental purposes. Thankfully, someone experimented with the nuts and discovered their butter-like, slightly sweet nature. This bread is so rich you won’t need to butter it.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons pasilla chile powder or paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup chopped unsalted, toasted macadamia nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350°degrees.
Grease two 6-cup muffin pans.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and ginger into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, lemon peel, pasilla powder or paste, both sugars, butter, milk, and eggs. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients. Fold in half the nuts.
3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the remaining macadamia nuts. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 12 muffins
Heat Scale: Medium


About Lois Manno

Lois is the Editorial Director of the Burn! Blog and the Fiery Foods & BBQ SuperSite.
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