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Over-the-Top New Year's Brunch - on a Budget

After a year of chefs competing to see "How Low They Could Go," one chef has emerged victorious: Bill Telepan, of his namesake Telepan restaurant, in New York City.

Because he completed his dishes on his last visit so far under-budget, "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" threw out our usual "Chef on a Shoestring" $40 budget altogether and asked him to prepare a lavish New Year's brunch.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore!

Telepan beat out 51 other chefs to take the "Shoestring" challenge title.

The first time around, Telepan spent just $37.01 on his three-course meal.

Mouth-Watering Pasta, on a Shoestring


Apple Pancakes
Mushroom Frittata
Ham & Cheese Biscuits
Yellow Grit Cakes
Coddled Eggs & Tater Tots
Egg Salad Tartine
Ricotta Crepes

He also made some great cocktails to take us into the new year, including:
Italian 77 (prosecco drink)
Mexican Bloody Mary (tequila drink)
Perro Salado (tequila drink)


Coddle: A cooking method most often used with eggs, though other foods can be coddled as well. There are special containers with tight-fitting lids called "egg coddlers" made specifically for this purpose. Coddling is usually done by placing the food in an individual-size container that is covered, set in a larger pan of simmering water and placed either on stovetop or in the oven at a very low heat. The gentle warmth of this water bath slowly cooks the food. Coddling can also be done by gently lowering the food into water that's come to a boil and removed from the heat.

Frittata: An Italian omelet that usually has the ingredients mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside, as with a French omelet. It can be flipped or the top can be finished under a broiling unit. A frittata is firmer because it's cooked very slowly over low heat and round because it isn't folded.

Tartine: French for a slice of buttered bread, which can be topped with any of various other spreads form jam to cheese.

Crepe: The French word for "pancake," which is exactly what these light, paper-thin creations are. They can be made from plain or sweetened batters with various flours, and used for savory of dessert dishes. Dessert crepes may be spread with a jam or fruit mixture, rolled or folded and sometimes famed with brandy or liqueur. Savory crepes are filled with various meat, cheese or vegetable mixtures - sometimes topped with a complementary sauce - and served as a first or main course.

Bill's big New Year's Day brunch:


Apple Pancakes with Bacon Maple Syrup

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk
2 eggs
4 cups grated apple
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Mix together flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and blend well. Blend together milk and eggs, and incorporate with dry ingredients. Add apples and blend well. Let sit for approximately 15 minutes.

Melt 1 to 2 teaspoons butter in an ovenproof saute pan over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, pour in 1/4 cup batter to form a pancake. Cook 3 to 4 at a time, but be sure not to crowd the pan.

When pancake edges begin to turn brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, pop pan into oven until the surface is cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip pancake over, and cook 1 to 2 more minutes over medium heat on stovetop. If pancakes are getting too dark lower the heat on the stovetop. Transfer pancakes to a wire rack and repeat with remaining batter. Should make around 18 pancakes.

Bacon maple syrup:

1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup maple syrup

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Let sit at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits with Country Ham

Yield: approximately 1 dozen

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 ounces butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese-packed and extra for top
12 slices country ham

Mix dry ingredients. Slice in the butter, and mix until pea sized pieces form. Add buttermilk and cheese, and mix until just blended.

Roll out with flour until 3/4 inch thick. Cut with a 3-inch cutter. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese.

Bake at 400°F for 12-16 minutes.

After cooling, cut each biscuit in half and insert in 1 slice ham. Serve.

Yellow Grit Cakes

Yield: approximately 16 cakes (serves 8)

3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups milk
2 cup organic yellow grits
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
Canola oil for frying
Mix of half cornmeal, half corn flour for dredging
Salt and pepper

Bring milk and stock to boil.

Stir in grits and cook on very low heat, stirring every 5 minutes until grits are tender for about 45-60 minutes (closer to 60).

Cool to room temperature.

Beat eggs and once the wet ingredients are cool, mix in beaten eggs and flour. Season to taste.

Form small, round 2-ounce cakes. Dredge in corn meal/flour mixture.

Pour 1/2 inch of oil onto a large nonstick frying pan. Heat over medium heat until the oil just begins to shimmer.

Carefully add as many cakes as will fit in the pan without crowding, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden on the first side. Flip and cook until golden on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to the rack while cooking the remaining cakes, adding more oil as needed.

Coddled Eggs

Yield: 16 eggs (serves 4)

16 eggs
8 slices toast
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil in a medium pot.

Add eggs, four at a time, and cook for 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Place in ice water for at least 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining eggs, 4 at a time.

Peel eggs by poking a hole in the shallow or 'bottom' of each. Pour "tea" water over eggs and let sit 5 minutes.

Drain on towel quickly and place 2 in a martini glass.

Serve with buttered toast.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Mushroom Frittata

Serves 8

2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons thyme chopped for frittata
4 ounces mixed mushrooms, in bite size pieces
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
8 eggs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add scallion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and let soften for about 5-7 minutes.
Take off the heat, place in bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Whisk the eggs together and add in the mushroom mix.

Heat remaining oil in a 10-inch saute pan on medium heat. Place in the egg mixture and cook on the stove until edges start to solidify.

Place in oven for about 12-15 minutes, until the frittata is cooked through. Slip onto cutting board, cut into serving wedges (8).

Tater Tots

Yield: 24

1 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes, grated, water reserved
1 onion, grated
2 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Grate and squeeze potatoes and the onions and reserve the water from the potatoes.

After the water from the potatoes has settled, pour off the water and save the starch which will have settled to the bottom.

Beat the eggs, add them to the starch and combine well. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and combine all ingredients.

Heat frying oil in a pot to 350°F. Scoop out a tablespoon of the potato mixture and form into little balls. Drop into fryer until golden brown, 8 at a time, for about 3-5 minutes.

Egg Salad Tartine with Smoked Salmon

Serves 8

8 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped dill
8 slices sourdough bread
8 ounces sliced smoked salmon

Place eggs in a pot covered in cold water and bring to a boil. Turn to a high simmer and cook 11 minutes.

Drain water and run eggs in cold water for about 2 minutes. Peel shells and place into a bowl.

Crush eggs with fork or potato masher. Mix in mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Spread on to sourdough bread and top with smoked salmon.

For more recipes, go to Page 3.

Ricotta Crepes with Cranberries

Makes approximately 24 crepes

6 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup club soda
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Lightly beat eggs in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in milk, club soda, sugar, melted butter, and salt. Add the flour; whisk until lump-free and of pourable consistency.

Set a dinner plate next to the stove. Heat a 12 inch saute pan over low flame. Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter (two ounces is plenty per crepe), shaking and tilting the pan as you pour. Try to get an even layer to avoid "holes," as the crepes cook quickly.

As soon as the crepe is solid and smells buttery, lift one edge with a spatula or your fingers and transfer to the dinner plate. There is no need to flip and cook the other side. Aim to have blond, uncolored crepes. The batter is enough for 24 crepes, so you'll have the ability to choose the best looking and thinnest for the dish. Continue cooking the crepes, layering them on top of each other. Wrap and set aside.

3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons honey

Combine ingredients and reserve.

To assemble crepes:
Spread 2 tablespoons of the filling on each crepe, and fold into quarters.
Warm in 350°F oven for 3-4 minutes.

To make cranberries:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
6 ounces cranberries

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving with crepes.

Whitefish Salad Tartine with Scallion

Serves 8

1 pound smoked whitefish or trout
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoon chopped onion
1 piece celery-chopped
8 slices sourdough bread
1 bunch scallions-chopped

Place fish into a bowl and break into pieces.
Mix in mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread on to bread and top with chopped scallion.

Italian 77

1 ounce St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
1 ounce lemon juice
4 ounces Prosecco

Combine all ingredients and serve in champagne flute with a lemon twist

Mexican Bloody Mary

1 1/2 ounce Silver Tequila
4 ounces Bloody Mary Mix (Tomato juice, horseradish, Worchestschire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, black pepper and salt to taste)
Lime wedge, for garnish

In a highball glass, combine the tequila and Bloody Mary mix. Stir well and serve over ice with a lime garnish.

Perro Salado

1 1/2 oz. Silver Tequila
4 ounces grapefruit juice
Salt, for rim of glass
Lime wedge, for garnish

Combine ingredients and serve on ice in highball glass with salted rim garnish with lime wedge.

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