As of this issue’s publication date, OHMS Cafe & Bar doesn’t serve brunch – but it’s definitely on the horizon. The long-standing downtown eatery is currently finishing up an outdoor patio addition, and when the space is ready, an outdoor Saturday brunch will be on the menu. With that change at least a month away and with only two weeks until Easter, we asked Chef Josh Fuller for a few ideas to create a colorful, delicious Easter brunch.
He starts with a casserole-like strata – a brunch staple – featuring bacon and leeks. “Onions, bacon, and cheese are always a good combination,” he says. He chose the accompanying vegetable tart not only for its taste, but also for its appearance. “It’s really good-looking,” he says, due to the bright hues of the tri-colored bell peppers, asparagus, artichokes, and fresh herbs. The raspberry coffee cake recipe is one that OHMS has used forever. “It’s a crowd-pleaser,” Fuller says, thanks to the atypical use of cream cheese as an ingredient.
The traditional English Pimm’s cup blends lemonade, strawberries, cucumbers, and Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur, a low-alcohol gin-based drink. “It’s just real refreshing,” he says, which makes it the perfect liquid complement to the rest of these rich, savory brunch items.
Vegetable Tart 2 puff pastry sheets ½ cup artichoke hearts ¼ cup toasted pine nuts ¼ cup olive oil 2 cloves fresh garlic 1 red bell pepper, julienned 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned 1 red onion, julienned 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces 1 ½ cups grated fontina cheese Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. On nonstick baking sheet or sprayed parchment paper, lay puff pastry sheets on top of each other. Fold edges about 1 inch, pinching as you go along. Using fork, poke holes throughout, avoiding raised edges. Set aside. In food processor combine artichokes, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Process until semi-smooth. Spread mixture over puff pastry. Sprinkle fontina cheese across pastry. Toss vegetables in some olive oil with salt and pepper then lay across pastry, staying inside raised edge. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 8 servings
Bacon and Leek Strata 1 pound bacon, diced 8 slices hearty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 leeks, chopped and washed 8 eggs 2 cups half-and-half 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon dried savory 1 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese ½ cup grated parmesan
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cook bacon in pan until crisp. Remove bacon and saute leeks in drippings until tender. In large bowl whisk eggs with half-and-half, salt, pepper, Dijon and dried savory. Combine liquid with bread, bacon, leeks and cheese. Pour into greased 9-by 13-inch casserole pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.
Makes 8 servings
Cream Cheese Raspberry Coffee Cake Topping: 2 ½ cups flour ¾ cup butter ¾ cup sugar
Cut butter into flour and sugar until it resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup for topping.
To remaining crumb mixture add: ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ¾ cup sour cream 1 egg 1 teaspoon almond extract
Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides of greased and floured springform pan. Batter should be about ¼ inch thick on sides.
Filling: 8 ounces cream cheese ¼ cup sugar 1 egg
In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and egg. Blend well. Pour into batter-lined pan. Spoon ½ cup raspberry preserves evenly over cheese mixture. In small bowl combine reserved crumb mixture and 1/3 cup sliced almonds. Sprinkle over preserves. Bake at 310 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until cream cheese is set and crust is deep golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 servings
Pimm’s Cup 1 part Pimm’s No. 1 3 parts lemonade Fresh strawberries and cucumber slices for garnish
Combine Pimm’s and lemonade in decanter; stir will to combine. Serve over ice with strawberries and cucumber slices.
Meet the Cook: Chef Josh Fuller of OHMS Cafe and Bar
Josh Fuller doesn’t know what he would have done with his life had his mother not bought OHMS Cafe and Bar. Mary Fuller had begun catering and asked Jonathan Early, the restaurant’s original owner, if she could rent the kitchen to prepare for an event. Instead, he offered to sell her the entire restaurant. That was 1992, and at the age of 15, Josh found himself thrust into a family business. This one happened to be located on Tyler Street in the shadow of the Chase Tower downtown. Josh worked on-and-off at the restaurant through high school until moving to Phoenix in 1996 to attend a culinary institute.
“I worked at a bunch of different places once I got out, then moved back to Amarillo in 2002,” Josh says on a recent Monday afternoon, when the restaurant and bar are closed. “That’s when we changed the concept at OHMS I’ve been here ever since.”
Before 2002, OHMS served a cafeteria-style lunch and dinner. “You would go through [the line], see everything first, and choose an entree,” he explains. “It was a buffet and we served beer and wine. When I got back, we got rid of that and went to full-table service at dinner.” He oversaw a remodel of one end of the space, turning it into a sophisticated cocktail bar with signature martinis and an extensive wine list.
Josh also began to develop a new menu, and before long, the cafeteria experience had given way to something else, becoming one of Amarillo’s most-loved fine dining destinations. “It’s definitely upscale. We specialize in steaks, seafood and wild game,” he says. “A lot of people say it’s like going to Santa Fe.”
Though suggesting brunch recipes for this issue, OHMS has always been known for those high-end dinners rather than breakfast or brunch dishes. “We’ve catered some brunches, though,” says Fuller. “And brunch is coming.” The cafe is just a few weeks away from finishing a brand-new outdoor patio. Weather-permitting, OHMS will open the patio and bar on Saturday mornings for a regular weekend brunch, just as soon as the space has been finished. “Hopefully it’ll be done in time for good weather,” he says.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.