CULINARY THRILL SEEKING: Put some sparkle in breakfast

Published 12:01 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tastes mature over time. You may be surprised how a $12 bottle of brut can class up your brunch. Freixenet’s Cordon Negro Brut is a crisp cava (sparkling wine) that makers say is known around the world as the “Black Bottle Bubbly.” 
If you get bubbly on New Year’s Eve only, note that 2015 is nearly half past, so break out some Freixenet for this light and fruity blend that looks so good fizzing up a tall flute glass. It sounds and smells and tastes like elegance with a touch of ginger, and also pairs with spicy cuisines.
Why it’s good: Grapes are hand picked and brought to the winery; the first fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The secondary fermentation is bugunin the bottle. Cordon Negro is aged for up to18 months in a cave.
Add a touch of orange juice to make your brunch pop, with something like this:
Almond Toasted Brioche
*Courtesy of Food & Wine magazine
 1 and one fourth cups sliced blanched almonds
one half cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
one fourth teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
one fourt cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
Six 1-inch-thick slices of brioche, cut from a 1-pound loaf
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
Berries, for serving
 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine 1 cup of the sliced almonds with the granulated sugar and process until powdery, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the butter and the pure almond extract and process until creamy, about 2 minutes. With the food processor on, add the milk and process the custard mixture until blended. Transfer the custard mixture to a shallow baking dish.
2. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter evenly on one side of each slice of brioche. Dip the unbuttered sides of the brioche into the custard and transfer to a baking sheet, custard side up. Spoon any remaining custard over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining ? cup of sliced almonds. Bake the almond brioche for about 20 minutes, until the bottom is golden and crisp and the almonds are lightly browned. Transfer the brioche to plates and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Top with fresh berries and serve.
Viki’s Granola
Can you possibly restrain/reward yourself with just one tablespoon of Viki’s Granola a day? If the original, with pecans, almonds and honey proves too much for you, you may not be able to resist the blueberries, almonds and honey version. It’s 100 percent natural and gluten-free. Why just a tablespoon? I’m topping Greek yogurt desserts with this satisfying spoonful. Oh sure, some people eat granola for breakfast. Fine. Mine will last longer this way. But, you can always get more. of Bethpage, New York is where you can learn more about why “love” is their first ingredient. There’s a heart image where I put the word “love,” but one taste and you’ll know what they mean.

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