Archive for Winter Egg Dishes and Brunch

Phyllis’ Mouth-watering Buttermilk Waffles

The batter for these waffles can be made the night before, an especially good thing for brunch entertaining!  I have included two fruit sauces that are delicious on waffles and we often add a few dollops of yogurt.  We also like using fresh fruit and some maple syrup.

DSC_7722 nx2Make the Waffles:

2 cups sifted unbleached flour**
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk, well shaken
½ cup butter, melted**

You can use 1/2  cup whole wheat flour & 1 1/2  cups unbleached flour.

Equipment:  A Belgian waffle maker

Preheat waffle maker.

Sift & measure the flour; sift again with baking powder, baking soda, salt & sugar. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light & lemon coloured. Slowly mix in the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Mix in the melted butter. Place ¼ of the batter on the waffle maker, close & bake until lightly browned & crisp. Remove and place on a large baking pan and put in a preheated 180 F oven to keep warm while finishing the rest of the waffles. Continue baking the rest of the batter in the same way.

NB:  the waffles freeze very well.  Just thaw, pop in the toaster on medium heat until they crisp up.

Here are two of my favourite fruit sauces that I try & make when the fruit is in season to serve with the waffles but you can use really good frozen berries.  Or…you can just throw some fresh, in season berries on top. I like to top off the berries with some plain Greek style yogurt. However, if I were making these for my Mom….nothing else will do but heaps of whipped cream with the berries.

Both sauces will keep, in the fridge for about 1 week.  Otherwise, freeze for using later.

Strawberry Sauce – can be made up to 4 days ahead & you can reduce the recipe by half.  Make sure to use in-season, local strawberries.  They simply cannot be beat for both taste & colour!

Makes 6 Cups

8 cups halved fresh or frozen strawberries
¼ cup water
1 tsp. orange peel, finely grated
1 cup sugar*
½ cup corn syrup*
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
* If you think this would be too sweet for your taste, reduce the sugar accordingly.

In a large saucepan, bring strawberries, water & orange rind to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to medium low & simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, corn syrup & orange juice, return to the boil, turn heat down a bit and continue to boil, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat; place in a bowl & chill until ready to use.

Blueberry Sauce – can be made 4 days ahead & you can reduce the recipe by half.

Makes 8 Cups

8 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 ½ cups apple juice
1 Tbsp. lemon rind, finely grated
1 ¼ cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
¼ cup lemon juice

In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, apple juice & lemon rind; cook over medium heat stirring & mashing berries a bit, leaving some whole, for about 15 minutes or until mixtures comes to a boil. Gradually stir in sugar and corn syrup and lemon juice. Return to a boil and turn heat down a bit and boil stirring often, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; place in a bowl and chill until ready to use.

** If the sauce is a little too thin for your liking, combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. cold water, then slowly stir into the boiling sauce for a minute before removing from the heat.

**If you think this would be two sweet for your taste, you can reduce the sugar accordingly.

To see how to melt butter in the microwave, click Melting Butter in the Microwave.

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Brunch Baked Eggs

Here’s another do ahead brunch dish for a stress free host, you can be enjoying your  Blood Orange Mimosa while brunch is baking!  I don’t know about you, but around the holidays when entertaining can get crazy, we need all the do-aheads we can get our hands on. This can be made vegetarian by leaving out the ham.  You can either bake in a 13×9″ pan or make 8 individual servings using ramekins.

DSC_2334 nx2Makes 12 Servings

6 cups shredded cheese, divided in half (a mixture of Monterey Jack, Old Cheddar, Gruyere)
¾ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ medium onion, chopped
¼ cup (approx.) red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup butter
8 oz. cooked ham, cut into julienne strips
8 beaten eggs
1 ¾ cups homogenized milk (do not use low fat)
1/8 tsp. Tabasco
½ cup unbleached flour
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives, basil, tarragon or thyme or a mixture of two herbs
1 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Sprinkle 3 cups cheese in the bottom of a well greased or sprayed 13 x 9 x 2” baking dish. In a large frying pan, cook the mushrooms, onion and red pepper in the butter until the vegetables are tender but not brown; drain well. Cool a bit, then place vegetables on top of cheese.

Arrange ham strips on top of vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 cups of cheese. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

An hour before baking, remove from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, herbs & parsley. Pour the mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Variations:  substitute 3 cups of aged Cheddar for 3 cups of Monterey Jack Cheese.

Blood Orange Mimosa:  freshly squeezed blood orange juice and bubbly wine!  So good!

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Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

Oh yum…it’s pumpkin time again! These pancakes will definitely fit the bill on Thanksgiving morning!  You can easily cut the recipe in half if you only want 8 pancakes.

DSC_5360 nx2Makes Approximately 16 Pancakes

2 cups unbleached flour (you can use 1/2 cup wholewheat flour)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground coriander seeds
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup tinned pumpkin, or homemade pumpkin puree**
½ cup melted butter
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Vegetable oil for brushing the griddle

Note:  sometimes I change up the spices using 1 tsp. ground allspice & 2 tsp. ground cinnamon instead of the coriander seeds and tablespoon cinnamon.

Either warmed or room temperature, pure maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt & coriander seeds. In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients, except the oil, until well combined. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Preheat the oven to 180 F. Place a platter in the oven when it reaches temperature.

Heat an electric griddle on medium heat; if yours goes over the stove burners, heat it over moderate heat. Heat  griddle until hot enough to make drops of water scatter over the surface, then lightly brush with some oil. Working in batches, pour scant ¼ cups of batter onto the griddle, forming 4” rounds & cook the pancakes until golden, 1 – 2 minutes, or slightly longer, per side. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to the platter & keep warm in the preheated oven. Serve the pancakes with the syrup.

If you would like to make your own pumpkin puree, click Making Pumpkin Puree.

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Huevos Rancheros (Mexican Eggs)

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One of our favourite breakfast or brunch plates! For sure, it gets you going! Perhaps for a weekend brunch, with or without guests, maybe a Caesar to kick things off?

Makes Approximately 4 Servings

DSC_6743 nx2 ver 2For the Beans:

1/2 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
4 Tbsp., approximately, EVOO
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ bay leaf
½ tsp. oregano (Mexican if you have it)
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced jalapeno pepper
1 small tomato, quartered
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Chicken broth & water to cover the beans

For the Huevos Rancheros:

1 large egg per person
2 small corn tortillas per person
1 250 gram container salsa, or homemade**
(opt.) 6 Tbsp. diced lightly fried smoked chorizo
6 – 8 Tbsp. Grated Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar
3 – 4 Tbsp. cilantro, coarsely chopped

Make the Beans:

Drain the soaked beans, rinse & drain; place the beans into a medium-sized deep pot, cover the beans with a mixture of chicken stock & water by 2”; add 1 Tbsp. EVOO, onion, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, jalapeno, tomato & cumin; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer; cover & let the beans cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring them occasionally. After 1 hour test the beans to see if they are almost done, if so, add 1 to 1 ½ tsp. salt, then continue cooking until the beans are softened but not mushy. Remove from the heat, remove the lid & allow them to cool in their liquid. If you are doing the beans ahead of time, store them in their liquid until ready to use.

Finish the Beans:

Preheat oven to 180 F.

Heat a small frying pan over medium low heat; add 1 – 2 Tbsp. EVOO & heat until warm; add the drained beans & heat until hot; keep warm in the preheated oven. If you like you can mash the beans a bit, adding some of the bean cooking liquid to make re-fried beans.

Meanwhile, place 4 dinner plates in the oven to warm.

Make the Huevos Rancheros:

Have heating a large frying pan over medium-high heat; add some of the EVOO to coat the pan & when hot but not smoking, fry each tortilla for about 1 – 2 minutes per side, adding more oil as necessary. As tortillas are fried, place 2 on each of the plates & keep warm in the oven.  Note:  you can use 2 frying pans to speed things up.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat; add some EVOO &  heat until hot; then fry the eggs the way you like them (yolk should still be runny).

Remove the plates from the oven; place an egg on top of the tortillas on each plate, scatter with the beans & chorizo; drizzle with some salsa & top with the grated cheese & cilantro, serve immediately.

Note:  You can use purchased cooked black beans or refried beans instead of cooking the beans from scratch.

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Dynamite Chinese Chicken Thighs

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My husband gives these his “two thumbs up.” You can absolutely substitute approximately 2 lbs. of chicken wings. The chicken can be cooked in the oven on a rack, or are perfect for the barbecue, just make sure when you barbecue them to use the “indirect” method or you’ll end up with burnt wings!  Wings would made  finger-licking good appetizers!

DSC_6561 nx26 – 8 large chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

Make The Marinade:

2/3 cup plum sauce (we like Lee Kum Kee brand)
¼ cup liquid honey
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder**
1 Tbsp. Chinese chili sauce (we use Maggi brand)
2 tsp. finely grated fresh orange rind
½ cup light soy sauce
½ cup dry sherry

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a medium sized bowl with a whisk. Place the chicken into a large glass dish & pour the marinade over top. Turn the chicken over a few times; cover with plastic wrap & place in the fridge overnight; turning the chicken over in the morning.

year of the horsePreheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare a broiler pan with a rack; oil the rack or spray with non-stick cooking spray. If cooking on the barbecue, place a drip pan in the middle of the barbecue with the charcoal on either side; place the chicken over the drip pan; cover with the lid; cook for 15 minutes, turn the chicken over & cook for approximately 12 minutes more or until the juices run clear.

Serving Note:  The chicken can be served with Chinese noodles or steamed rice & stir fried veggies.

**If you would like to make your own fragrant, delicious, home-made Chinese 5-Spice Powder, please see Chinese Five-Spice Powder.

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My Go To Quiche

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The very first time I made quiche was probably in the 1970’s! I had invited a bunch of my “girlfriends” over for Sunday brunch and wanted to make them something none of us had ever had before. I stumbled upon a recipe for “Quiche Lorraine” in one of my very first cookbooks. In my opinion, it had stood the test of time!  For a change, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup finely chopped ham instead of the bacon.

DSC_5834 nx2Makes 6 Servings

1 unbaked 9” pastry shell**
6 slices good quality bacon, thickly sliced, cut crosswise into ½” pieces
½ cup sliced onion
4 oz. (1/4 lb.) Vintage Gruyere cheese, cut into ¼” dice
4 large eggs
1 cup homogenized milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ tsp. salt (remembering that the bacon is salty)
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Prepare the pastry shell: roll out the dough to approximately 11” & fit into a glass pie plate, prick the shell all over with a fork. ( prefer to use glass as it gives a nice crisp crust). Place a piece of baking parchment into the pie shell & fill with pie weights if you have them. (I use dried beans that I save and reuse in case you don’t have pie weights). Bake the shell for 10 minutes; remove the pie weights & paper; if crust appears to be still wet, return to the oven for a few minutes to dry out. If the crust bubbles up, prick lightly with a fork. Remove to a cooling rack & cool completely.

Heat a skillet over medium heat & cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate & set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan, then sauté the onions until just transparent & softened. Remove from heat. Put the diced cheese, bacon pieces & onion in the pre-baked pastry shell.

Whisk the eggs together; add the milk, cream, salt, pepper & nutmeg & pour over the ingredients in the pastry shell. Carefully place in the 450 F oven & bake for 15 minutes; reduce the heat to 350 F & continue to bake 15 minutes longer (it will probably be longer), or until a thin-bladed knife inserted halfway between the centre & edge comes out clean. Let the quiche rest for 15 – 20 minutes before cutting.

**If you would like to make your own pie crust, please go to “Making Pie Dough”.

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Mushroom Crepes

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Crepes do make such a nice brunch. The beauty of crepes is that when you make a batch you use what you need and freeze the remainder between sheets of wax paper for another lovely meal.  The crepes can be made ahead and the filling can be made the day before too. So, all that is required is the assembly & baking. However, you may wish to purchase frozen crepes which is OK too! I think crepes make a nice light dinner too; all you need is a salad and for brunch a Mimosa! Although, I am kind of partial to those Bloody Mary’s too!

DSC_2339.jpg nx12Makes 4 Brunch Main Course Servings

For Crepes: (makes 16 crepes). You will need 8 crepes for this recipe

¾ cup unbleached flour
½ tsp. salt
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 ¼ cups homogenized milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Sift together flour, salt, nutmeg & pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk together milk, whole egg & egg yolk in a small bowl, then gradually whisk into flour mixture. Force batter through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Heat a dry 7 – 8” nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot, brush very lightly with some melted butter (or use a crumbled up piece of wax paper dipped in butter to grease pan). Place about 2 Tbsp. batter into the skillet, tilting skillet until coated with batter. If batter sets before skillet is coated, reduce heat slightly for next crepe). Cook until underside is lightly browned, 6 – 10 seconds, then loosen crepe with a spatula and flip over. (I usually lift the crepe up with a thin metal butter spreader until loosened, pick up with my fingers and turn over). Cook until cooked through, about 20 seconds, transfer to a plate. Placing pieces of paper towels between each crepe as they are cooked. Make the remaining crepes in the same manner.

Mushroom Filling:

4Tbsp. butter
2 lbs. assorted fresh wild mushrooms such as crimini, chanterelle, shitake (or use 1 lb. wild & 1 lb. brown mushrooms), sliced
4 Tbsp. dried Porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water 20 minutes, water squeezed out & chopped, soaking liquid strained through a small coffee filter & juice reserved
4 large shallots, minced
4 tsp. unbleached flour
1 1/3 cup homemade chicken stock or tinned no-salt chicken broth**
1 1/3 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
3 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or winter savory
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots & sauté approximately 1 minute or until soft. Add the sliced mushrooms, sauté until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add the chopped porcini & sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the flour & stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock & strained porcini liquid; reduce until most of the liquid evaporates, but not completely. Add the cream; simmer until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the Parmigiano & season to taste with salt & freshly ground black pepper.

Butter a 9 x 13” gratin dish or glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place 1 crepe on work surface & put approximately ¼ cup filling in the middle of the crepe & roll up to enclose the filling. Place in the prepared baking dish & continue with filling & rolling the remaining crepes. (If you would like to use individual crepe baking/serving dishes, place 2 crepes in each buttered dish). Top with the remaining mushroom filling & sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese. Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool for a 5 minutes, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

(opt.) You can substitute 2 cups cooked diced chicken for half the mushrooms or you could add blanched 1” pieces of asparagus to the mixture. Simply reduce the amounts of the chicken & mushrooms accordingly.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

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Noel’s Caramelized Onion Tart

This tart recipe comes from Noel Richardson one of my favourite food writers. This tart is a delicious,  full of the sweetness of onions. Of course, if you don’t want to make your own crust, feel free to use a purchased unbaked one. However, if you have a food processor, it takes only a few minutes, less time than shopping for one! These make great appetizers. Simply buy mini tart shells, bake them (no need for pie weights) & proceed with filling.

Makes 6 Servings (a 9” tart)

Pate Brisee:

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
4 oz. cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup or more, ice water

Combine flour & salt in processor with a few on/off turns. Add the butter and process, using on/off turns until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. With the machine running add water in a stream & process until the dough begins to clump together. If it seems dry add a bit more water, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms moist clumps. Remove the dough from the processor onto clean surface and bring together into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap, flatten to a disk then chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using. Or make the day before and let the dough warm up a bit until you are able to roll it out.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Roll out the dough to an 11” round. Fit into a 9” glass pie plate that has been sprinkled with a tiny bit of flour. Crimp the edges decoratively, prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Fit a piece of tin foil into the pie plate & fill with pie weights. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven & remove the foil & pie weights. Set crust aside. (You can use a metal, fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, if you wish).

Note:  I use dried beans instead of pie weights, they are much cheaper & can be reused.

Onion Jam:

2Tbsp. unsalted Butter
2 large onions, sliced thin
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry sherry

In a large skillet, heat butter until it turns light brown. Add the onions, thyme, salt & pepper; cover the skillet & cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle sugar over the onions & heat until the onions caramelize slightly. Reduce the heat to medium low, add wine, wine vinegar & sherry & let simmer until liquid becomes syrupy, stirring often to avoid sticking & burning. Add salt & pepper to taste. Remove & set aside.

Make The Custard & Fill The Tart:

Onion Jam
4 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup creamo (or ½ cup homo milk & ½ cup whipping cream)
¼ tsp. salt or more to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs to blend. Whisk in the creamo, nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste. Spread the onion jam on the bottom of the tart shell, top with the Gruyere cheese & rosemary. Pour the custard over & place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the tart comes out clean. Let tart rest for 15 – 20 minutes before cutting.

Harvest Pumpkin Waffles

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We all have our little touchstones. When the whiff of fall is in the air and Thanksgiving approaches, one of the things my mind (or stomach) turns to is pumpkin. OMG, here is a waffle recipe that is to die for!  The cinnamon, the pumpkin, yum!  I make them every Thanksgiving weekend (just gotta love those traditions). The recipe makes about 16 waffles, so we portion out the leftovers and freeze them for another delicious brunch or breakfast. I like to make the batter the day before and keep in the fridge until the next morning, just makes things a lot easier when I might be a little drowsy! Café 222 in San Diego is where this recipe originates from.  A little maple syrup and the best fall breakfast or brunch is all yours!

Makes approximately 6 Servings (2 per person)

Special Equipment: a Belgian waffle maker. Cuisinart has a good one, it’s non-stick.

DSC_2102 nx2Preheat the oven to 250 F.

2 ½ cups unbleached flour (I use ½ cup whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup packed golden sugar
2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 cup homogenized milk
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup tinned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until blended, then whisk in the milk, buttermilk, pumpkin and butter until smooth. Whisk in the dry ingredients just until smooth.
Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil & spoon batter (around 1 ½ cups) onto waffle iron, spreading quickly (I don’t bother spreading, as it seems once the lid is down it kind of happens on its own). Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer waffles to a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a rack to keep warm & crisp. Continue making waffles in the same manner. Warm serving plates. Place 2 waffles per person on plates & pass the maple syrup!

**If you want to make your own pumpkin puree, please go to Making Pumpkin Puree.

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Mushrooms On Toast

This dish makes a lovely, light supper dish served with a salad, or even a brunch dish. Although it may not leap off the page, it is very, very good & I cannot remember how many times I have made it. It’s a winner and it’s vegetarian too!  I prefer using the cheese instead of the butter but both are delicious!  Sometimes I rub the toast with a cut clove of garlic for a bit of zip.  A glass of white wine would not go amiss either!

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

1 cup thick Bechamel sauce**
2 ¼ cups brown mushrooms, chopped coarsely
8 slices French or Italian bread (not baguettes or ficelles), toasted
3 – 5 Tbsp. soft butter (I sometimes like to use the cheese instead)
¼ cup each finely grated Gruyere & Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, instead of the butter
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make The Bechamel Sauce:

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
Salt & freshly ground black or white pepper

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in the microware; add the flour; stir until blended. Whisk in the milk and microwave on medium-high heat until it boils & thickens.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Stir the chopped mushrooms into the béchamel sauce; season with salt & pepper to taste. Rub the toasted bread with garlic & place the toasted bread onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Divide the mushroom sauce between the slices. Sprinkle each with some of the Gruyere & Parmigiano Cheeses, or with the butter, if using. Place in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Serve piping hot.

Note:  If you wanted to, you could soak a small amount of dried Porcini mushrooms and add to the bechamel with the brown mushrooms for a more intense mushroomy flavour.

**The Easter eggs in this photo are not your everyday chocolate eggs.  They come from Beta 5 & they were amazing.  One had dark chocolate covered malt balls inside the hollow chocolate egg & the other had dark chocolate covered raisins, rolled in cocoa!  AWESOME!