Friday, October 12, 2012


I think I’m a fairly decent baker. I don’t think I’m amazing, but I do think that I can find my way around a pie tin and pipette bags. There is one thing that I have been trying to bake for over five years now, and I still haven’t found the right way to do it: Banana Bread.  Part of my problem is this: 1) I get bothered by the recipes that call for sticks of butter, or lard or large amount of any fat, 2) Because of this, I mix and match low-fat recipes.  And while I know it’s verboten in the world of baking, I rarely follow any recipe I read to a T.  Ninety percent of the time, it works out in my favor; the remaining ten perfect is my Waterloo.

My low-fat Banana Breads never work out as I hope. They generally brown very quickly, get a little burned on the outside and under-cooked on the inside and don’t taste as delicious as one would hope (given the large amount of brown sugar, vanilla and banana that are in them). However the whole “oh Apple Sauce is a great substitute for butter” thing, is a lie. It really isn't-  At least not in breads.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fast Break!

The Husband is a breakfast person-He loves pancakes, he loves Eggs Benedict, he loves waffles and bacon. I, on the other hand, am not.  Growing up The Mother would treat us every once and a while we would have Breakfast for Dinner. The Siblings would be so excited. The Mother would make pancakes, and scrambled eggs and bacon and breakfast sausage (okay, the ONLY breakfast things I really enjoy are sausage and hash browns).  Growing up I hated eggs, refused to eat them. And pouring maple syrup onto pancakes made them so mushy. While The Siblings were going crazy over Breakfast for Dinner, I’d silently sulk. And when I got older, I’d go out  to the Wawa and grab a sandwich.

As I've gotten older, I've changed my mind on the eggs (although I'm not the hugest fan of soft boiled eggs..the texture creeps me out), and I'm much less against breakfast. We're not brunch people (because I sleep too late to make it in time) but when we do, I err towards the side of savory and much more on the lunch side of the brunch menu. I  should add, I do enjoy a good Southwestern Omelet every once and a while. 

So back to The Husband- He’s been traveling a lot this past month (he’s currently in Denver for a conference) and on one of his rare mornings home, I decided to make him something that he loves (and something I’ve never made) French Toast.  I got the idea the evening before, while making a Roasted Tomato Soup and Veggie Sandwich. I had ¾ of a loaf of Italian bread left and thought, rather than making ribollita, I’d try something I haven’t done before. Besides, I was picking The Husband up from the airport at 8am, so I thought I could make up for his 4:30am wake-up with breakfast.

French toast is best when the bread used is slightly stale. And since the bread I had was fresh, I thought I would speed up the process. I cut the bread into 1.5 in slices the evening before and let it sit out on the counter until I made it, 16 hours later. Making the French toast was super quick. I think the whole thing took maybe 20 minutes and I have to say, I think I did a pretty good job for a first time.

French Toast:

4 Eggs
¾ cup of Milk
2 TBS Sugar
1 TSP Vanilla
Pinch of salt
10 slices of Italian Bread (firm to the touch, but not totally stale)
1 TBS Butter
Maple Syrup (the real stuff)
Confectioners’ Sugar

In a bowl, mix Eggs, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla and Salt. Wisk until liquids are totally mixed. Soak the bread, making sure to cover both sides. You want to let the mixture soak into the bread as much as possible, without letting the bread soak up all of your mixture too soon. I recommend about 90 seconds on each side. Heat a large skillet, add ½ TBS Butter to the skillet.  When the butter had melted, add bread.  Cook each slice until it’s golden brown and slightly crispy on each side. This should be about 4 minutes or so total.

Repeat the process until all of your slices have been cooked.  I the meantime, put your Maple Syrup into a microwaveable container and heat for roughly one minute. Trust me, you’ll want to do this, warm syrup is so much better than cold syrup.

When you’re about to serve, sprinkle Confectioners’ Sugar onto the toast and serve with your warm syrup.