They tell you about the sleepless nights. They tell you about the diaper explosions.
(And is it just me, or do people really love to tell you about the diaper explosions?? Don’t even get me started on that candy bar game.)
But here is something people do not tell you when you have a baby: that baby turns into a toddler, and toddlers do not understand brunch.
When you have a toddler, 7 am is the new 10 am. You can carefully craft gorgeous eggs Benedict dripping in homemade hollandaise, chill your bubbly for mimosas in the good (read: non-sippy) champagne flutes, and roast some candied bacon with Emeril-like flair, but you’re doing it before the sun comes up.
Don’t get me wrong, brunch food is still the best food, and it doesn’t matter if you eat your candied bacon and sip your champagne with the soft din of pre-dawn fitness equipment infomercials or mid-morning Meet the Press in the background… you’re still eating candied bacon and sipping champagne, which means your life is amazing. But it means that your brunch is a breakfast. Breakfast is not quite as fun. It’s a little more rushed. It’s a little less chic. And, like the long-lost prodigal son, it was the last part of our pre-child life for which we eagerly, empty champagne glasses poised at the ready, awaited a return.
Guess what?? Brunch is BAAAAAAAACK!
I don’t know if it was the varsity toddler entertainment skills of the Booze Hound or our babe’s natural tendency to not want to eat the minute she wakes up- probably a good helping of both- but it happened. Brunch at 10 am. The one relic of our pre-baby life that the Booze Hound and I craved the most has returned.
So let’s pop some bubbly and fry. that. bacon.
This sandwich was the main feature in our inaugural brunch, and it lived up to the honor upon which it was bestowed. Bacon with kale is mega-trendy right now because, um, it’s an AWESOME combo, and when you want something super-chic to welcome you back into the fold of the chicest of chic meals, you have to pick something mega-trendy, n’est pas??
Deep beneath the surface of my love for each ingredient in these sandwiches (right down to the rustic bread I butter on both sides. BOTH SIDES.) lies the true key to my heart: the infamous sweet-savory component. Oh, and this one has buttery, creamy, and spicy thrown in for good measure. I can’t even contain myself. SO AMAZING!!!!
I want to spend four pages talking about everything I loved about this sandwich, but I could also spend four more pages talking about how freaking pumped I am to be able to eat brunch at an appropriate brunch time with my kid. Oh my gosh, she is so chic already. Maybe I’ll put on her baby shades, a fedora, and skinny jeans for the occasion. HA! Just kidding. But not really.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch kale, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
- Pinch chile flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- ⅓ cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 4 strips bacon, cooked until very crisp
- 4 slices rustic bread
- Butter for toasting
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add all of the kale along with a hearty pinch of salt, pepper, and a pinch of chile flakes (more to taste). Saute until wilted and soft, about 3 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavor, season additionally with salt and pepper, if desired (you want your kale to have lots of flavor). Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the skillet back over medium heat, slather each side of the bread with butter, and toast in the pan, flipping once, until golden and crispy on each side.
- While bread is toasting, mix ricotta and maple syrup in a small bowl. Once bread is toasted, divide the maple ricotta between the four slices of bread. Add a nice pile of kale to two halves, then two strips of bacon on each sandwich and finally, top the with the other pieces of bread with ricotta.