Archive for ‘Breakfast’

May 5, 2012

Bananas Foster French Toast

There’s nothing healthy about this rich delicious breakfast. My husband saw someone on TV making Bananas Foster French Toast and decided I had to try and make it. He loves anything banana, so he began to haunt me with his request. I think you should make Bananas Foster French Toast. Doesn’t Bananas Foster French Toast sound really good? I heard you were making us Bananas Foster French Toast on Sunday. You know, you never make Sunday breakfast for us. Oh, you’re going to the store? You should see if they have some challah, so you can make us Bananas Foster French Toast. I’m not kidding! Really annoying, right? I think he was actually whispering it to me while I slept, thinking that it would come to me in a dream.  I’d wake up and say, “I have this really strange urge to make Bananas Foster French Toast.”

He won.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FRENCH TOAST (Serves 4)

  • 1 loaf challah bread (about 8 thick slices)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use skim milk)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place a sheet pan with a wire rack in the oven.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla, salt and sugar in a low casserole dish (I use a glass Pyrex pan).  Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with one tbsp of butter. Working in batches, place the slices of challah in the custard mixture and let soak for 30 seconds or so, before turning over to soak the other side. Once the butter has melted, place the custard dipped challah in the pan. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden and firm. Transfer each finished slice of French toast to the preheated oven to stay warm.  Repeat with the remaining challah slices, using the other tbsp of butter as needed. Keep in the warm oven until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS FOR BANANAS FOSTER

  • 4 bananas, thick slices
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

In a medium size non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the sugar has dissolved and combined nicely with the butter. Stir in the banana slices and cook for a few minutes, until the bananas begin to soften. Raise the heat slightly and add the rum. Stir and cook until the rum is heated through. The alcohol will cook off as it simmers.

TO SERVE

Spoon the Bananas Foster over the French toast slices and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Decadent, sinful and yummy!

On a side note, a few nights after Alan’s fancy breakfast, I made a second batch of the bananas to tweak the recipe and we had it over vanilla ice cream for dessert. Better than the French toast if you ask me!

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March 4, 2012

Martha’s Irish Soda Bread

I’m not really the Martha Stewart type. I’m not crafty, inventive or much of a farm girl. In fact, I find her very intimidating. Just this week she made rock dominos and draft dodgers. Do I need rock dominos? She also decoupaged a chest of drawers. That will never happen here. She taught her followers how to store bread, wallpaper glass coasters and decorate pencils. Uh oh! I didn’t know I was supposed to decorate my pencils? We’ve got a lot of pencils lying around here – I’m going to be busy.

She made half a dozen different kinds of cookies and included how to turn cookies into an art project (really?). She’s also offering crowd-pleasing casserole recipes in the food section of her website. Aren’t you exhausted? I am, thank God I’m lying in bed writing this post.

The emotions that come over me when I think of Martha are a combination of admiration (25%), disbelief (25%), and irritation (50%). Am I less of a woman because I didn’t have a Valentine’s Day Crafternoon? Yes, she called it Crafternoon. I’m always misplacing my sewing machine when it’s time to make my heart-shaped pot-holders. I’ll try harder next year. Truth be told, I don’t even know how to sew or decoupage. I don’t think my lack of craftiness is holding me back in life. At least I can cook. No more kvetching!

Although the admiration I feel for Martha only makes up 25% of my total Martha emotions, let’s focus on admiration. This Martha Stewart Baking Handbook is truly my favorite. I love it, but shhhh, don’t tell Martha. I’m more of a cook than a baker, so when I have a baking question I often turn to this book. She includes lots of helpful information on baking techniques, measurements, bakeware and tools. She has included what seems to be, every basic baking recipe I’ll ever need – with photos! If you want to add one comprehensive baking book to your cookbook library, I would buy this one.

When a special occasion rolls around, I can always count on my fabulous aunt to send a new cookbook my way. Until this moment, I don’t know if she knew how much I’m looking forward to receiving my next book. She gifted me this Martha Stewart book, and my whole family thanks her when I make Martha’s black and white cookies. They’re the cookies that eat like a cake. I know my New York/New Jersey followers know these cookies well. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I’ve made her Irish Soda bread. I’m really the only one in the house who likes it… alas, I end up eating the whole thing. I can attest that it’s simple to make and delicious. If you love Irish Soda bread and live close to me, please come over and help me eat this, I’m getting full.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and thank you Martha!

Martha’s Irish Soda Bread

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups raisins (I like to use a combination – 1 cup golden and 1 cup regular raisins)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, caraway seeds, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. You want the mixture to look like pea sized crumbs. It’s ok for there to be larger crumbs throughout the mixture as well. Toss in the raisins and combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the whole egg with the buttermilk and baking soda until properly combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, begin to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Make sure you scrape from the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Combine until the dough just comes together.

Now use your hands to form the dough into a round dome shape and transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Beat the remaining egg yolk with the heavy cream and brush the top of the dough with the mixture. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a cross on the top of the dough, in the center, about 3/4 inch deep. Bake in your preheated oven until it turns a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean – about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Bread will last for up to 3 days.

Enjoy slathered with lots of good butter!

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