Posted in - Pork, Breakfast

Birchwood Cafe’s Savory Waffle

Asparagus, Cheddar and Quinoa Savory Waffle with a Fried Egg, Lemon Pepita Butter, Rhubarb Jalapeño Marmalade, & Bacon Lardons

Photo credit: Plate Magazine

Recipe adapted from Chef Marshall – Minnesota’s Birchwood Cafe’

Yields: 6-8 servings

Waffle Ingredients:

  • 1/2Lb asparagus
  • rice bran oil, as needed
  • 1/2C quinoa, uncooked
  • 1C brown rice flour
  • 1C quinoa flour
  • 1/2C potato starch
  • 1/4C arrowroot starch flour
  • 1T xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1T baking powder
  • 3C buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, large, lightly beaten
  • 1/2C cheddar cheese, shredded

Waffle Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces and toss with just enough rice bran oil to coat. Spread out asparagus on a baking sheet and roast until nicely browned and crisp around edges, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast 1/4 cup quinoa, shaking pan occasionally, until light brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Cook remaining 1/4 cup quinoa in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain it.

In a large bowl, stir together rice flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, arrowroot, xanthan gum, toasted quinoa, salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons rice bran oil, buttermilk and eggs.

Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir until smooth. Batter will be thick. Stir in cooked quinoa, cheese and asparagus.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Heat up waffle iron and lightly brush cooking surface with rice bran oil.

When waffle iron is ready, pour in 1 cup batter. Cook until waffle is lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep it warm, uncovered, in oven until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter.

Lemon Pepita Butter

Yields: 1/2 pound

  • 1/2Lb butter, room temperature
  • 1/4C pepitas, toasted and chopped
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • salt, as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor and reserve refrigerated until needed.

Rhubarb Jalapeño Marmalade

Yields: 2 1/2 pints

  • 5C rhubarb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2C lime juice
  • 4 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • As needed salt
  • 6 1/2C sugar
  • 1 each pectin, box

Place rhubarb, lime juice and jalapeños in a large saucepan and set over high heat. Stir as it comes to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir in pinch of salt, sugar and pectin and bring to a fast boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam and pour into clean jars and seal. Process jars, following manufacturer’s directions, or reserve in refrigerator until needed.

Bacon Lardons

Yields: 8 servings

  • 1LB Slab or Thick Cut Bacon sliced into ½” strips and cut into batons

Preheat your heavy based frying pan until it sizzles when you add a drop of water

No need to season this meat as the cure will of done this for us.

Don’t overcrowd the cooking base, add the diced bacon and toss in the pan being careful.

Cook over high heat turning regularly until a rich, caramalization takes place then reduce heat to medium to continue cooking until golden and cooked through.

Note: The meat will become more firm as it cooks, gently press with your thumb, the more spring back you get the hotter the protein cells have expand which means the more well done your meat is.

Serve hot.

Sunny Side-Up Egg

  • 6-8 eggs
  • 1 T. olive oil (for 6-8 eggs)
  • large eggs
  • Toast, for serving, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat until slightly shimmering, about 5 minutes. Crack an egg into the skillet; repeat with the other eggs, adding it to the other side of the skillet. Cover with a tight lid and cook, uninterrupted, until the whites are completely set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the eggs out of the skillet onto the waffle.

Serve waffles with a dollop of pepita butter and marmalade, and a sunny-side up egg and bacon lardons.

Posted in - Pork, Breakfast

Savory Stuffed French Toast

Need a great Christmas Day brunch recipe?! This French Toast is perfect for that salty-sweet fix. The savory stuffed french toast is jam-packed with ham, swiss, scallions, and cooked in a slightly sweet custard.

Savory Stuffed French Toast

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 2-inch thick slices
  • 8 ounces ham
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, for cooking
  • Maple syrup, for serving


Chop ham into small cubes. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add ham and cook until it’s browned in spots, just a few minutes.

Let ham cool slightly and then stir together with grated cheese and scallions.

Whisk together milk, eggs, and cinnamon with a pinch of salt in a square baking dish.

Cut your French bread into large 2-inch slices. Using a serrated steak knife, cut each piece of bread down the middle, being careful not to cut entirely through the bread. Use the knife and your fingers to make a pocket in the bread.

Stuff each piece of bread with the ham and cheese mixture. Try to be careful not to tear through the bread, but you can also use a heavy hand on the stuffing. The bread can hold it.

After you’ve stuffed all the pieces, heat a griddle over medium heat.

Dunk the pieces of bread, one at a time, in the milk and egg mixture. Leave it in for a few seconds on each side so it absorbs the mixture. Don’t leave them in so long that they get soggy though.

Melt butter on griddle and add stuffed french toast pieces. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side until the toast is golden brown. Err on the side of cooking them for longer over lower heat. Also, be sure to stand the toast up on the two long ends for a few minutes also to really sear the French toast on all sides.

I like to cut each piece in half after it cooks to show off the stuffing and also make it easier to eat.

Serve stuffed french toast with syrup!

Posted in - Poultry

Sheet Pan Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli

This recipe is for those who love the crispy bits in their homemade macaroni & cheese. Baking macaroni and cheese on a sheet pan creates golden crispy bits. For even more crunch, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs tossed in melted butter just before baking.

Sheet Pan Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli

Serves 4-6

  • Butter, for the baking sheet
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 3 packed cups)
  • 12 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 2 large crowns broccoli (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into small florets (about 5 packed cups)
  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken (rotisserie chicken works well)
  • 4 oz. sliced Havarti (about 5 slices)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 450°F. 

Generously butter a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, vigorously whisk the milk, flour, mustard, thyme, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Stir in about two-thirds of the cheddar.

Cook the pasta for 5 minutes, then stir in the broccoli. Continue cooking until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Drain the pasta and broccoli, and return them to the pot. Add the chicken and the milk and cheddar mixture, and toss gently. 

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Tear the Havarti into pieces, and top the pasta with it. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheddar.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.