Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category


Sourdough Baguette French Toast with Sticky Bananas

March 6, 2011

There’s really nothing like French Toast for breakfast. With so many variations it’s remarkable I don’t make this incredibly easy breakfast more often. But now, for my third take on my blog’s namesake dish, I present miniature french toasts with boozy bananas to accompany.

I slice the baguette and the bananas both along the bias and about the same thickness. This creates a more appetizing presentation. A dusting of powdered sugar at the end is a nice finishing flair. If you like syrup, it won’t be out of place here, but my bet is you won’t need any.

The results were beautiful — and delicious.


Sourdough Baguette French Toast with Sticky Bananas

For the toast:

6-8 slices day (or two) old baguette, cut on the bias, about 1/4″ thick
1 egg
1 cup milk or half and half
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. kosher salt
Butter, for frying

For the bananas:

1 banana, sliced along the bias, about 1/4″ thick 1 T. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
a splash of Grand Marnier (optional)

  • In a medium bowl, combine all the batter ingredients for the french toast and mix well. Pour into a shallow baking dish.
  • Place  baguette slices into the batter and let soak, turning over occasionally, about 6 minutes total.
  • Heat a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • When hot, add butter and stir until melted and foam has subsided
  • Place baguette slices in pan — but don’t crowd them — and cook about 3 minutes per side, or until dark brown and crispy.
  • Set in a warm oven while you prepare the other toast slices.
  • Meanwhile in another skillet, melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat until bubbly.
  • Add bananas and fry until they just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  • Add small amount of Grand Marnier (if using) and stir. (If you’re interested in being a show-off, you can ignite the liquor and flambe the bananas — but it’s totally unnecessary here.)
  • Keep warm over low until french toasts are ready.
  • Serve, with extra butter or syrup, if using.


Saturday Morning (Lazy) Breakfast

May 8, 2010

This morning was a lazy one, to be sure. While we woke up at a decent time and had an early morning coffee, I spent the rest of the morning reading the news and catching up on e-mail while Jared played video games (again). It wasn’t until 11 or so that we even thought about eating.

Mornings like this are wonderful and a luxury, so why not have a wonderful and luxurious breakfast to go along with it? This frittata, which you could make in any number of ways, is delicious with it’s sweet red peppers, creamy, tangy feta cheese, and rich eggy custard. It also makes a great dinner alongside a simple green salad.


Red Pepper and Feta Frittata

6 eggs
3 T. half and half or milk
1 t. warm water
Pinch of kosher salt
2 T. butter or olive oil
1/4 c. finely chopped red pepper
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Black pepper, to taste
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 t. dried oregano or 2 T. fresh parsley, minced

  • Turn on oven broiler to high, and place oven rack to highest position for broiling.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, water, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a broiler-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter until foam subsides (if using oil, wait until oil is glossy and hot).
  • Add shallot and red pepper and saute until soft and shallot is translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
  • Add egg mixture and stir to evenly incorporate pepper mixture into the eggs. Turn heat down to medium-low.
  • Let cook without stirring for 3-4 minutes or until the eggs are cooked about halfway through. The mixture on top will still be very wet and uncooked.
  • Transfer pan to the oven and cook under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until the eggs are puffy and cooked through. For the last 30 seconds, top the frittata evenly with feta cheese.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand for 30 seconds.
  • Using a rubber spatula, loosen the bottom of the frittata from the pan by running the spatula around the sides and bottom.
  • Slide the frittata out onto a serving plate, sprinkle with black pepper, dried oregano or parsley, and slice into wedges. Serve.

I served this frittata with challah toast topped with a sprinkling of olive oil and dijon mustard. Delicious for a slow Saturday morning. Then I went out and mowed the lawn…that part was not so much fun.



Mint Julep Granita

May 4, 2010

Granita is an Italian-style shaved ice. Think snow cone but softer and with the syrup already mixed in. In other words, better.

For brunch this past Sunday I created a menu with a loose Kentucky Derby theme. A big thanks for this goes to Kyle Leuken, who brought the best mint juleps to the brunch.

So after a meal of bread pudding, citrus salad, breakfast pizzas, and parfait almost everyone was filled to the brim, so it was good that dessert was basically just sweetened ice flakes. I think they were a success.

This is an easy dish to throw together so I really encourage you to give it a shot for your next weekend or 4th of July party.

Mint Julep Granita
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Mint Julep Sorbet

3/4 c. sugar
2 c. water
1/2 c. fresh mint leaves
1/4 c. good bourbon
1/4 c. club soda

  • In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, water, and mint to a boil to dissolve sugar. Turn heat off and let cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Add bourbon and club soda.
  • Pour into a freezer safe container. It’s best here to have a wide, shallow dish such as a 13″x9″ glass baking pan. Put the dish in the freezer, uncovered.
  • After 30 minutes, whisk the mixture, scraping down the sides of the dish to loosen up any frozen ice pieces. Return to the freezer uncovered.
  • Twice more after 30 minutes repeat the whisking and scraping of the mixture. At this point the granita should be the texture of wet snow. Cover the dish and freeze for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
  • Serve in a small bowl with mint sprigs and powdered sugar as garnish, both optional.

Enjoy, friends. Later this week, Brian will be giving everyone a recap of the brunch so stay tuned.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 30, 2010

I’m on a quest to find my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. They are in my favorite cookie, and I’ve made at least a dozen different recipes, but I’ve yet to find the recipe, the one that will end my search.

One of my co-workers, Sarah, brought this recipe of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies into the office this week, and had baked them that very morning. They…were…delicious.

Well I just had to make them myself, of course, and she was gracious and gave me the recipe. The (brief) history is that her sister used the supposed Mrs. Fields recipe, modified it slightly, and has been making these cookies for years ever since.

Here’s the thing: my version was not as good. But I think I know the culprit. The recipe that I’ve listed below calls for quick-cooking oats. I used old fashioned rolled oats instead and I wouldn’t recommend that you do the same. The quick cooking oats make these cookies softer and more tender, and bring the flavor of the oats out for a softer but nuttier tasting cookie.

Mine were good, but Sarah’s were great.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted by co-worker Sarah’s sister from Mrs. Fields

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. granulated white sugar
1 c. butter
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2.5 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2.5 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Cream together sugars and butter until light and creamy
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla
  • In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, then add to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  • Stir in the oats to combine, then add chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop in large tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges but still soft and light on top. Don’t overbake these cookies or they will toughen up considerably.

Cool on a wire rack and serve, preferably with milk. Cookies deserve milk.



April 29, 2010

For the second time this week I’ve been seduced by the call of the Minimalist. This time, I was thinking about a video from back in February about Yakisoba. He describes the sauce for yakisoba as any number of ingredients — mostly condiments — that make up a slightly sweet and salty, though decidedly Asian sauce.

Yakisoba was a fairly common meal in our house growing up. We’d buy the fresh egg noodles from that Maruchan company (yup, the same people who make every college student’s Ramen stash), stir fry up some pork or chicken, vegetables, and pour on the sauce from the package. Honestly, I still crave that meal sometimes. It’s that good. And in fact, I don’t discourage you from trying it.

Nevertheless making your own sauce is really simple so there’s not a whole lot of reason to not do it. And while yakisoba is made with chinese-style egg noodles traditionally, I actually enjoy the tenderness of Japanese soba noodles, made with buckwheat. You could use any number of noodles that you’d like, including Italian angel hair (in a pinch), but I’d stick with either tradition or soba.


For the sauce:
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. worcestershire sauce
2 T. mirin, honey, or sugar
2 T. ketchup
2-3 dashes (to taste) tabasco sauce PLUS 1 dash or more sriracha if you have it.
1/2 t. dijon mustard

Everything else:
2 T. ginger, minced
1 T. garlic, minced
3 thin-sliced pork chops, cut into strips
2 carrots, finely diced or shredded
1 small head savoy cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups or to taste)
Any other vegetable you love, like snow peas or mushrooms, about the same quantity as carrots.

  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside. (boy that was easy)
  • Bring a pot full of salty water to a boil over medium high heat. When boiling, boil noodles according to package until tender. Drain in a colander and toss with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside. (see? nothing to it!)
  • In a large skillet or Chinese wok heat 3 tablespoons of peanut oil until hot. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 60 seconds or so.
  • Add pork and saute until it begins to brown. Don’t worry about fully cooking the meat here as it will continue to cook as we continue on to the next step.
  • Add carrots and cabbage and saute for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. You might need a little water in case it starts to stick. I didn’t though.
  • Add noodles and sauce and toss together until well combined and the noodles are warmed through.
  • Serve, garnished with chopped scallions and more sriracha to taste.

Here’s the before and after. Clearly we liked it.


Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

April 28, 2010

Believe me, I love me some good fajitas. But you know, I live in San Diego and Mexican food is everywhere. Really good Mexican food. Everywhere. So when I saw some really great skirt steak at the market this week, I thought of taking the fajita steak staple and turn it into something a little different, something say, Italian.

Well, wouldn’t you know it I made a nice tangy balsamic marinade and then turned my attention to the side dish options. I roasted up some bell peppers, sauteed some onions and before I knew it, I was one tortilla away from, you guessed it, fajitas.

Thank God we were out of tortillas. How embarrassing!

Back to the steak (I’m eating it as I’m writing this, by the way, so I can tell you it’s delicious and you should make it tonight). The marinade was a simple mix of balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, some dried herbs (thyme, oregano, and fennel seed and yes you could use fresh herbs here, too), red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley. Poured over the steak and marinaded for an hour the steak was incredibly flavorful and sweet.

So skirt steak isn’t just for fajitas anymore! They’re also for, well, okay Italian fajitas.

Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1 t. dijon or yellow mustard
1 T. kosher salt
1 t. ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 t. each oregano, thyme, fennel seed
1 t. dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 small handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 lb. – 1.5 lbs. skirt steak, cut into 4-6″ pieces (any more than this and you’ll probably need to increase quantity of the marinade)

  • Sprinkle steak pieces with a small amount of kosher salt on both sides, set aside for 10 minutes or up to a day.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix all ingredients (except the steak) together until they form a smooth sauce. Pour into a quart-sized zip log bag. Add steak and marinate for 1-2 hours. I wouldn’t go for too long here because a) the steaks are thin and b) it will get pretty salty after too much longer. Honestly a short marinade time here will be fine.
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. When hot, sear each steak for 60 seconds on each side until brown.
  • Remove steaks from heat and immediately wrap in foil for 10 minutes.
  • Cut steaks across the grain and serve as you please.



Radicchio and Shrimp Soup with Rice

April 27, 2010

Every week or so, Mark Bittman writes another column and produces a short video segment for the New York Times under his culinary pseudonym, The Minimalist. Those of you who have read this blog for a while will recognize that many of the dishes that I prepare on a regular basis come straight from either the Minimalist column or from his cookbook, modestly titled The Best Recipes in the World.

Tonight’s quick meal is no exception. After having watched his video on a soup made from bitter greens, rice, and water, I thought I’d make my own version, enhancing the flavors a bit and making it a bit heartier for a springtime supper.

A thoughts: radicchio (and the escarole Bittman uses) is quite bitter. If bitter’s not your thing, swiss chard or even spinach could be used in this recipe, though the cooking times would have to be adjusted. I like the bitterness of the greens though, and encourage you to try them. It cooks up in 20 minutes, makes plenty of leftovers, and is just really good.

Radicchio and Shrimp Soup with Rice
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist

1 slice of bacon
1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Scant 1/2 c. short grain white rice, such as arborio
1/4 c. dry white wine.
1 head radicchio, cleaned and coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
6 c. good chicken broth or stock
1 c. small shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a dutch oven or large, deep saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add bacon and fry until fat is rendered. Reserve the bacon (minced) as garnish.
  • Add onions and saute for a minute or two until translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute for 30 seconds more. Add rice and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add white wine and stir until absorbed. Then add greens and stock, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and cover.
  • Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the greens and rice are both tender.
  • Add shrimp and cover until shrimp are cooked through.
  • Adjust seasonings, garnish with bacon, and serve with crusty bread.

And once I get my camera back from my friend, these photos will improve. I’ve included (probably illegally) Mark Bittman’s for comparison (his is the pretty one).