OK…I am spoiled. Blessed even. I live in Central Virginia in a beautiful rural setting. I have lived in sunny Florida, the Canadian Rocky Mountains, small towns and busy Washington DC / Northern Virginia. By far, this is my favorite place and I’m glad to call it home.
My philosophy on food is simple. Use the best ingredients you can afford, share it with those you love, and savor the time you have together in preparing and eating your creations.
We raise chicken for eggs and meat, which allows me to cross these items off my regular grocery list, but that also means we make regular trips to the feed store instead. It’s a tradeoff for sure, but if you have not tasted a fresh from the hen, naturally produced egg – vibrant golden yolk – you are really missing out on a treat.
I give you pure morning comfort food. The foundation is sliced Cheddar Beer Bread topped with Spinach Artichoke Spread and a baked egg. Warm, gooey, cheesy, toasty and utter delight. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to make all this in the morning. A little forethought yields you bragging rights around the watercooler, no matter what day of the week it is. Make the bread one night for dinner, saving some for breakfast, and make the Spinach Artichoke Spread as a weekend treat shared with friends and family, saving a little for a weekday splurge.
Cheddar Beer Bread
1 bottle beer (12 fl oz)
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9″ loaf pan by greasing and flouring bottom only. Mix all ingredients except melted butter in a large bowl. Mixture will be sticky. Spread batter into loaf pan. Top with melted butter. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Butter will be absorbed into bread during baking, leaving a crunchy crust and firm moist crumb inside.
Store leftover bread in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Leftovers will keep for 6-7 days. Fantastic sliced and toasted with a smidge of melted butter.
Spinach Artichoke Spread
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach – thawed or 1 pound fresh baby spinach – washed and stems removed
1 can artichoke hearts – drained and chopped
8 ounces cream cheese – cut into 1″ cubes
16 ounces sour cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Over medium heat melt butter in a large saute pan. Add thawed spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir and cook until cheeses are melted and mixture is bubbling. Carefully fold chopped artichoke hearts into mixture. Top with additional Parmesan. Serve with toasted Pita Bread triangles, crackers or sliced french bread.
Ok….now that you have the foundations of this dish here’s how you put it all together.
Spinach Artichoke Baked Egg
1/2″ slice Cheddar Beer Bread – toasted
1/4 cup Spinach Artichoke Spread
Preheat oven to 400F. Place pre-toasted bread slice on baking tray. Spread spinach mixture atop bread, creating a wall around the edges to hold the egg in the center of the bread. Crack egg in the middle and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Bake in the hot oven for 5-7 minutes. Egg should come out gooey in the center – assuming you like it this way – and the spinach artichoke spread will be warm and gooey while the bread is crusty and crunchy.
This breakfast will engage all your senses as you dig in.