Langlois Stuffed French toast

Finished stuffed french toast
This is another recipe J and I learned to make while at the amazing Langlois Culinary Crossroads. It is perfect for a new year’s day breakfast or brunch. While it looks complicated, it’s actually pretty easy. The hardest part os stuffing the brioche!

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Langlois Stuffed French toast
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Bread and filling ingredients:
Custard ingredients:
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Bread and filling ingredients:
Custard ingredients:
Instructions
  1. Cut the Brioche into about 6 2 by 2 rectangular pieces. Using a skewer precut the hole for the filling. You will have to turn it around to make a hole larger than the skewer. This is where slightly stale bread comes in handy.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and juice together on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Put the filling into a ziptop bag. Cut off the corner. Pipe into the skewer holes.
  4. If this doesn't work, you can make a sandwich by making a pocket (think pita pocket), just make sure to only cut through one side of the bread or it will be more difficult to brown. Set this aside.
  5. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Dip each piece of stuffed bread into the custard and turn once to completely coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (overnight is better!) but no longer than 24 hours.
  6. When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium to medium-high temperature.
  8. Brown each piece of stuffed bread on all sides. Do not move it around. Do not check and see if it's browning.
  9. Let it sit longer than you think it needs to. About 5 minutes per side.
  10. Place the browned pieces into a casserole dish and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Garnish as you please and serve.

My opinion:
Sometimes we cover this in powdered sugar, other times maple syrup. It’s just as good alone though. We’ve served this to friends and family and everyone has raved about it each time.

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Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)

Shakshuka

During the last few months of my pregnancy, I had to increase my protein intake. Lucky for me, J found several recipes that tasted good, included several servings of vegetables and had lots of protein. This one from Tori Avey with a few modifications quickly became one of our favorites.

You can modify the spice level based on your tastes. If you want to add more eggs, feel free! It’s just as good the next morning on toast like huevos rancheros.

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Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium (we use our cast iron skillet for this).
  2. Heat olive oil in the pan.
  3. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  4. Add garlic and continue to sauté until mixture is fragrant.
  5. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir to blend.
  7. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes until it starts to reduce.
  8. Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.
  9. At a minimum, add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. You can also add more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka.
  11. Sprinkle the feta over the dish, or mix it in if you like.
  12. Then crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. In our cast iron skillet, we can get about five eggs around the outer edge and one in the center.
  13. The eggs will cook over easy on top of the tomato sauce. If you prefer more done eggs, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook in the oven until set (when the skillet is jiggled, the eggs don't jiggle back).
  14. We leave the mixture uncovered and let simmer for between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced.
  15. Be careful at this point, because the mixture can go from reducing to burning quickly. 
  16. Serve in a bowl alone, over rice or with some french bread.

My opinion:
This dish is delicious hot or cold. With sides or alone. It’s easy, filling and perfect for a late fall evening.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, our toddler loves this dish. We just add the extra spices onto our own plates. 

Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac


As the arrival of our daughter gets closer, J and I have started perfecting some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home. We finally got this dish perfect and couldn’t be happier. The original recipe can be found here.

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Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac
Servings
people
Ingredients
Beef Marinade Ingredients : makes the gravy
Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part it really brings the whole dish together!)
Non-sauce Ingredients
Servings
people
Ingredients
Beef Marinade Ingredients : makes the gravy
Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part it really brings the whole dish together!)
Non-sauce Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hours let marinate in the refrigerate. (Note: If you're thinking ahead (like we occasionally do), feel free to combine the beef and the marinade and freeze the mixture. Then you can just take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator when you leave for work.)
  2. Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. It should look something like this:
  3. Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4tablespoons tablespoons the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes (longer is better here too!). Prepare bed of lettuce and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.
  4. Heat a large wok or pan over high heat.
  5. Add about 2 tablespoons cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary. This will sear the beef so it looks like this:
  6. Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes.
  7. Drizzle another 3-4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions.
  8. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small bowl and use for dipping the beef, or feel free to just drizzle it on.
  9. The dipping sauce should look like this:

My opinion:
This has to be in my top 10 favorite dishes of all time. I love the veggies and the balance of all five flavors. I also love that the rice isn’t even really necessary for this to be a filling meal. Plus even if you do all the prep work right before dinner, the whole start to finish time is only about 30 minutes.

Mom’s banana bread

My mom didn’t make banana bread very often because she doesn’t really like bananas, but my dad, sister and I did, so when she made it, it was a great day. I was pretty surprised at how easy this is to make. It’s perfect for a cold late winter day.

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Mom's banana bread
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or Crisco. No need to flour the greased pan. Mix the wet ingredients into a bowl, adding the milk last.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. If your brown sugar is a little lumpy, that's ok! It will add pockets of caramel notes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 55 to 60 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean and the sides start to pull away from the greased pan.

My opinion: This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s delicious and one of my most favorite breakfast foods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter (if you add peanut butter reduce the oil by one tablespoon). The options are endless!

Jeb’s Chili

 

One of J’s favorite dishes is his father’s chili. It makes more than enough for three meals and a few lunches for us. Like most of our favorite meals, this one gets better the longer it simmers. It looks complicated, but I promise it’s easy and worth it.

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Jeb's Chili
Servings
Ingredients
Base Ingredients:
Sauce Ingredients:
Servings
Ingredients
Base Ingredients:
Sauce Ingredients:
Instructions
  1. Brown the meat.
  2. Add the chopped bell peppers and onions and cook until desired caramelization.
  3. In a separate pot make the sauce by adding the first 11 ingredients and simmering for about 45 minutes until smooth.
  4. Then add the tomatoes and meat and peppers and onions. Simmer one to two hours.
  5. Add 1 to 4 tablespoons massa flour to thicken if needed (most of the time we leave this step out).

 

My opinion: This is delicious with shredded Monterrey jack cheese, lime juice and tortilla chips. J prefers his with corn bread. It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night.