Monday, April 23, 2012

Baked French Toast

French toast is the perfect way to use up the last of a French baguette that threatens to get hard if you don’t use it in a timely fashion. I found a baked French toast recipe in Junior League Cookbook from Birmingham, AL, 2006 called Table of Contents. The recipe is based on the Junior League’s version from Lavallet Tortorici. Follow this simple recipe for a scrumptious breakfast.

enough (on the diagonal) slices of French bread to form single layer in 9x13 baking dish
3 eggs
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2¼ cups milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup butter
1 cup berries, ripe peaches or mango roughly chopped, or apple or pear compote (basically any soft fruit you prefer could work here)

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the milk and blend. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and let sit overnight in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Turn bread slices over and sprinkle fruit on top. In another bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into mixture to form a streusel topping. Top French toast with streusel. Bake 35-40 minutes until toast has puffed slightly and streusel is browned.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stracciatella con Spinaci

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a great, super simple soup by Linda Meyers in the December 2011 issue of Food & Wine. This Italian soup called Stracciatella with Spinach, with egg and spinach, is so easy to whip up and makes for a lovely meal.

According to Food & Wine, this version was created for 8 servings.

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground, if possible)
fresh ground pepper
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
2 quarts chicken stock
1 ½ cups baby spinach leaves

Whisk the eggs, parsley and nutmeg together. Season with salt and pepper, and then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Meanwhile, boil the stock over medium-high heat. While whisking continuously, add the egg mixture. Once incorporated, add the spinach. Turn down the heat to low, and let the egg bits are fully cooked and the spinach has wilted and cooked. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve with additional cheese and crusty bread.

Chris’ Conquistador Chicken Pasta

Chris named this pasta as tribute to the mix of old and new world flavors. Did you know that tomatoes are native to Central America and South America? Read more about tomato history in this article by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone ( However you identify the flavors, this is a chicken pasta dish that is simple enough for any weeknight.

1 cup pasta, cooked to al dente (select any pasta you like, such as elbow macaroni or rotini)
½ lb chicken, seasoned, grilled (or baked), and chopped (I used Penzey’s Spices’ Arizona Dreaming seasoning)
2 slices bacon
Fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 oz fresh goat cheese

Ensure that your chicken and pasta are prepared, or boil pasta and grill chicken while beginning the other steps. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp over moderate heat. Set aside bacon strips. Add olive oil to bacon drippings and swirl around pan. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir to coat. After about 2 minutes, add garlic and sauté mixture until the first few tomatoes threaten to burst. Add the baby spinach and stir. Once the baby spinach has wilted, toss in the chicken and pasta. Heat through and then crumble in the bacon strips and fresh goat cheese and stir to warm the cheese and incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and then serve.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blueberry Shortbread Buttermilk Ice Cream

What to do to use up the last of some buttermilk…

Let’s make ice cream! Blueberries, buttermilk, crushed Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, plus a few more ingredients combined into my wonderful ice cream maker – and poof, I have a fun new ice cream flavor to try out.

  • 1 pound blueberries (if frozen, thaw)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  2 cups buttermilk
  • handful shortbread cookies (such as Lorna Doone, around 10), crushed
Puree blueberries with sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk.

Transfer to the container of an ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's directions. At about 10-15min, as the ice cream begins to firm up, sprinkle the crushed shortbread cookies and complete the ice cream for a few more minutes. Pack the ice cream into an airtight container, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours to allow the ice cream to harden before serving.