[From the archives: Easter bunny bao! One of the most successful recipes on JustHungry, these little light savory steamed buns are perfect for Easter. Originally published in April 2007.]
For a planned Easter lunch, I wanted to do something in the brunch realm, but with an Easter theme. Brunch purists may insist on eggs and pancakes and croissants and champagne for brunch, but for me ‘brunch’ means an early lunch feast after little or no breakfast, and so dim sum is my favorite kind of brunch.
Putting Easter and dim sum together, I devised these bunny shaped bao, or steamed buns. (The inspiration for the shape came from a pair of fluffy white bunny slippers I saw at a flea market last summer.) They are quite simple really: tender steamed bun dough is filled and formed into an oval, and the ears are cut with scissors. The faces are optional - for a minimalist bunny, you could just leave them blank and unadorned. Or, you could go all-out and add whiskers with slivered green onion, or whatever strikes your fancy.
The bunny bao could be stuffed with any kind of steamed bun filling (see my roast pork filled steamed buns), but keeping with the brunch theme, I’ve filled these with an egg, bacon and chive mixture. It all makes sense - eggs, and ham, and bunnies, plus spring chives. So very Easter.
You could of course omit the bunny-shaping part if you want to avoid the cuteness.
A recipe that’s almost too easy to write about.
Full fruity smoothies are a summer indulgence.
Recently, a reader asked in the comments about what I have for breakfast. It is definitely not as elaborate as this one.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has an article about how to make yogurt (or as they spell it in the UK, yoghurt) in the Guardian. I did not want to go to the trouble of making yogurt from scratch, but I had a big pot of plain yogurt that needed to be used up so I made a sort of variation on the yogurt cheese balls further down on the page.
Yogurt cheese, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is just plain yogurt that has been drained of much of its liquid. To make it, just line a sieve with some porous cloth like cheesecloth, muslin, a coffee filter or even a couple of paper towels, spoon the yogurt in, and put the sieve with a bowl underneath in the refrigerator for at least a few hours. The more you let it sit, the drier it will become.
I strained about 2 1/2 cups of yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon of sea salt from Friday evening to Sunday morning, by which time it had become the consistency of whipped cream cheese. I put this into a bowl, grated one garlic clove over it and drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil and mixed it up. It was the perfect spread for freshly baked hot savory scones.
I’ve never been a big fan of very sweet yogurt, so this savory yogurt spread may make more breakfast appearances.
The first of several essays about my recent trip to England.
The rather large lady sat down with a sigh at the table next to ours with a sigh. Laying down her walking stick, she looked around appreciatively at the sunlit room, decorated tastefully in pale yellows to match the vaguely Edwardian architecture of the hotel. Beyond the large windows, we could see the waters of the Channel sparkling in the morning sun.
This is the other thing served at at our Oscar-watching party. Since the show went on from 2 am to about 6:30 we were quite silly, so the food had to be low-stress, no utensils, and tasty. Both this bread and the soup (in the previous entry) were a hit.
One of the strangest habits of the Brits is the Fry-up. A fry-up is consumed for breakfast, is supposed to be a great hangover cure, and is a big greasy mess. Here is a rather sedate version. I've seen ones with fried kidneys, blood sausage, and more too.
I sort of wonder how the British got into the habit of consuming this lethal mixture of fat, protein, and more for breakfast while throughout the rest of Europe people settled happily for bread and coffee.