French for “Lost bread,” Pain Perdu is a New-Orleans-style french toast. This is a great way to use up your leftover bread from Tuesday night’s Italian dinner. Any fresh fruit is a great addition to this recipe.
Feel free to omit the powdered sugar with the strawberry topping. The benefit to adding sugar to your strawberries is that you get a nice strawberry compote as a result. Practically your own homemade strawberry syrup.
1 day old french loaf, cut diagonally into 1-inch thick slices
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
Whisk milk, honey, 1 tablespoon sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and eggs in a large bowl.
Place bread slices in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and pour egg mixture over bread. Turn to coat.
Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning occasionally until all of the egg mixture is absorbed.
In the mean time, combine strawberries, remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, and rind in a bowl. Let stand 20 minutes.
Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bread slices to pan, cook 3 - 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat with remaining butter and bread. Warm cooked bread in a plate in the oven at 200 degrees F while you finish cooking the rest.
Place bread onto plates and dust with powdered sugar. Top with strawberry mixture.
That’s spanakopita, or Greek spinach pie. I tried it for the first time at The Living Room. I love spinach, feta and pastry so after taking the first bite, I was in crispy/gooey heaven. I needed to learn how to make these immediately! After doing some research I learned that there are two methods of preparation: The pan method (very similar to Baklava) or the folding (triangle) method, perfect for individual servings.
1 pound fresh spinach or 10 ounces of frozen spinach
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 pound feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
6 tablespoons flour
10-15 phyllo sheets, thawed
3 cubes unsalted butter, softened to melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If you are using fresh spinach, rinse and stem the spinach, chop into small pieces or tear into shreds. Drain well to thoroughly dry.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the spinach and chopped onions and saute until the spinach wilts and cooks down, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer to a sieve and drain well; set aside in large mixing bowl.
If you are using frozen spinach, thaw thoroughly, drain well. Also squeeze/press the water from it.
Place in a large mixing bowl. In a medium pan, saute the onions until translucent; add to bowl containing thawed spinach.
Feta typically comes packed in brine, so give it a quick rinse under cold water. Let it drain on a paper towel for a couple minutes. Then you can crumble it into the bowl containing the spinach and onions.
Add the flower, chopped parsley and eggs; mix thoroughly.
Melt the 3 cubes of butter (low heat; don't let it bubble)
Brush the 9' x 13' baking pan with olive oil.
Lay 6 phyllo sheets in the pan, lightly brushing each with melted butter before adding the next layer. Brush all the edges first since that is where drying will begin.
Spoon half the spinach mixture over the top of the phyllo and carefully spread evenly to within about 1/2 inch of the edges.
Lay 6 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each one with melted butter before adding the next layer. Spread the remaining spinach mixture over the top
Finish off with the remaining sheets of phyllo, brushing each as previously done. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to set.
Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Test by inserting a table knife to the center. If it comes out relatively clean, your spanakopita is done. Don't let this go beyond golden brown. Let cool for 5 to
10 minutes, cut into squares, and serve.
Folded Triangle Method:
Cut one stack of working strips at a time or your phyllo sheets will dry out. Use only 1 strip/sheet for each triangle. The length and width of the strips depends on what size you want to end up with when the triangle is finished. The Greek lady I got this recipe from recommends at least 2 inches wide and no more than 8 inches long.
Keep any unused strips covered with a damp towel or cloth. It's helpful to have a partner here.
One can brush on the melted butter and drop between 1 and 2 heaping tablespoons of filling onto the strip, depending on the width of your strip and desired finished size. The other person can fold.
The closing edge should seal the triangle, if it doesn't, just apply a little of the melted butter to the edge and seal it up.
These triangles will cook more quickly than the pan method, about 15-20 minutes. In this case, use a wooden toothpick to test the center. Essentially, you want the cheese to be melted and the layers of phyllo cooked.
Folks, you are in for a very special treat today. You are witnessing a part of Foodie McBooty history — a huge milestone in the cooking life of Foodie McBooty: I just bought my first basil plant! Before this, I have never attempted growing an herb garden — in fear of my cat eating more of the plant than I actually would.
(*Jaws Theme Plays* AHHHHHH!!!!)
But I couldn’t resist the sweet smell of fresh basil and gave in.
So what’s a girl to do now that she has her own basil plant? I ripped off as many leaves as possible and made fresh basil pesto! I think I left enough plant for the little guy to survive. I think…
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, etc... *see note)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the nuts and pulse a couple more times. Add part of the olive oil and process for a few seconds. Repeat this step until all of the olive oil is used and your ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add the cheeses. Pulse until just combined.
Pesto freezes really nicely. Pop any extra you may have into a freezer bag or small container for future use.
Also, experiment with using different nuts in your pesto. Each provide a slightly different flavor and you might find a new favorite. I've heard toasted macadamia nuts are pretty good. Haven't tried it myself yet.
A couple weeks ago my friend and I made what some deem as the “World’s Best Pancake Recipe.” Who considers this the best pancake recipe? Who really knows. Never-the-less we made them anyway. Our pancakes turned out fluffy and golden brown, crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. Everything a pancake should be. Real buttermilk is absolutely key in this recipe and makes a big difference.
So is this really the best pancake recipe out there? Probably not. But these pancakes were pretty darn good!
The following are two dishes that make me feel more French than I’ll ever be (both recipes are from the brilliant Julie Child):
First and foremost, Ratatouille.
Other than a delightful Pixar movie (“Rat and patootie…RATPATOOTIE!!”), ratatouille is a traditional french vegetable dish. Typically roasted, ratatouille has strong flavors and a butt load of variations. This dish makes a great accompaniment to roasts or chicken or any dish really.
In the words of Julia Child, “A ratatouille may be cooked completely the day before it is to be served, and it seems to gain in flavor when reheated.” Cool with me.
Peel and cut the eggplant into 3 inch long slices. Cut the zucchini into slices and peel. Place those vegetables in a bowl, cover with water and let rest for 30 minutes. Drain.
Saute the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil and a little salt in a skillet. One minute on each side until browned. Set aside.
Cook the onions with the olive oil in the same skillet for 10 minutes over moderate heat. Stir in the garlic and add salt and pepper.
Peel the tomatoes and boil for 30 seconds. Cut into slices. Lay them over the onions in the skillet. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover. Pour the juice from the skillet over the tomatoes. Raise heat and boil for several minutes until the juice has almost entirely evaporated.
Put a third of the tomatoes mixture in the bottom of a casserole. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parsley. Then put half of the eggplant and zucchini on top. Then the second third of the tomatoes and so on until you have three layers of vegetables and parsley.
Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for 15 minutes more, basting several times, until the juices have evaporated. Be careful to not let your vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.
Set aside uncovered and add a tablespoon of olive oil for flavor. Serve hot, reheat slowly at serving time, or serve cold.
Crepes are essentially very thin pancakes. You can eat them how with a little syrup or fruit. This is the way I usually eat them. There are versions that wrap a crepe around sweet fruit filling or savory fillings like meats, cheese and vegetables too.
It takes some time to perfect the art of the French crepe. Don’t get discouraged. Practice makes perfect, right? Keep on trying. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. I’ve killed many crepes to get to the point I am at today.
Put the liquids, eggs and salt into a blender. Add the flour, then the butter. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to sides of the jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend for 2 to 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The batter should be a very light cream, just thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. If after making your first crepe, it seems too heavy, beat in a bit of water, a spoonful at a time.
Brush the skillet lightly with oil. Set over moderately high heat until the pan is just beginning to smoke. Immediately remove from heat and pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions to run the batter all over the bottom of the pan in a thin film. Pour any batter that does not adhere to the pan back into your bowl. You want your crepes to be about 1/16 inch thick.
Return the pan to the heat for 60 to 80 seconds. Then jerk and toss pan sharply back and forth and up and down to loosen the crepe. Lift its edges with a spatula. If the underside is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning.
Turn the crepe by using 2 spatulas; or grasp the edges nearest you in your fingers and sweep it up toward you and over again into the pan in a reverse circle; or toss it over by a flip of the pan (some day, I will master this skill!!)
Brown lightly for 30 seconds on the other side. As they are done, slide the crepes onto a rack and let cool several minutes before stacking on a plate. Crepes may be kept warm by covering them with a dish and setting them over simmering water or in an over set to low heat.
Grease the skillet again, heat to just smoking, and repeat with the rest of the batter.
SERVE with practically anything - Butter, cinnamon and powdered sugar, or berries and fresh whipped cream, or make it a savory feast with spinach and cheese, or nutella and bananas and chocolate drizzle.
Comfort Food is one of my biggest weaknesses (and equally strongest passion). Chicken and dumplings, Shepherd’s pie and (of course) macaroni and cheese. If the food takes me down memory lane and back to my youth, I’m a fan.
I am constantly updating this recipe. Every time I make this dish, it turns out a little different each time. I throw in whatever ingredients I find laying about my kitchen (and surrounding areas). It makes life a little more interesting maybe, but doesn’t make for a solid recipe. Keep that in mind as you follow this thing. I call this the “Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Sink” recipe for that reason.
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (penne is mighty tasty too)
extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup monterey jack, shredded
8 ounces processed cheese food
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs or crushed croutons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and extra-virgin olive oil to keep from sticking.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes (the butter should be frothy and free of lumps). Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer on low for ten minutes (until yellow in color) and remove bay leaf.
Temper in the egg by taking some of your butter sauce mixture and adding it to the beaten egg first to regulate the temperature (dumping the egg straight into the sauce results in what is essentially scrambled eggs). Stir in all of your cheese, reserving a bit to sprinkle over the top.
Fold the noodles into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Melt the remaining butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the noodle mixture with the bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Are you asking yourself if you should make this recipe? Well the answer is: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES EYS YES EYS YES YSEYSE YSEYSEySYeyEYSEYSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!
I will never think of carrots the same way again. I suppose you can take that as a warning if you steam, bake, roast carrots and are satisfied. If you are the type of person who likes carrots just as they are, DO NOT TRY THIS RECIPE!
For those of you who live on the wild side from time to time, TRY THIS RECIPE!!
…especially when you don’t know what to do with those leftover carrots.