Tag Archives: brunch

Nutty’s French Toast and a Shopping List

I am not sure when brunch became synonymous with Mother’s Day but every year I get an avalanche of special menus or deals from restaurants trying to get me to over pay for eggs to celebrate Mom.  Do dads not like bubbly drinks and high calorie food?  I say celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday with a brunch in his honor and what better way to do that then with Nutella stuffed french toast??  My dad is a Nutella fan – in fact we had a hamster when I was a kid that I named after Nutella (RIP Nutty).  When I saw this recipe in House Beautiful of all places, I knew it was a must make item.  Usually I am not a huge french toast person, as I think the syrup ends up DSC00053competing with the doughy toast so this is the perfect solution as it requires no syrup at all.  The recipe comes from John Besh, an unbelievable chef with a small restaurant empire down in New Orleans.  Last time Patrick and I were in NOLA we managed to eat in two of his restaurants in one day and his jalapeno grits are something I still dream about.  He says you can stuff these with peanut butter or jam if you prefer, but I think the Nutella is really perfect.  When you punch out the toast rounds don’t worry if they don’t look perfect.  As you can see mine weren’t but once they get a dunk in the egg mixture and fried up they look just fine.  Also sometimes the sandwich got a little stuck in the glass, just poke it up from the bottom and it will come lose.  I decreased the egg mixture and nixed the oj as I didn’t feel it added anything and I ended up throwing a ton of egg away.  If your bread really soaks up a ton then you can just beat in another egg and some milk.  One note – french toast is a pretty tough thing to make for a crowd but you can at least make some of these elements in advance so you don’t spend all your time with your guests in the kitchen.  I made the sandwiches and the egg mixture hours before and just dunked and fried them when ready which takes about 5 minutes.  You definitely want to serve them right away while the Nutella is nice and melty.  Happy Fathers Day to my dad and all the dads!

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Nutty’s French Toast (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   Stuffed French Toast by John Besh
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or other yummy filling)
  • 16 slices white bread – approximately 1 loaf (I used Arnold’s Country Bread – basically something with a little more texture than Wonder bread – also I used the heels of the loaf to no ill effect)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil

Lay out all 16 slices of bread and then spread approximately 1 tablespoon of Nutella in the middle of 8 of the slices.  Top those slices with the non Nutella slices to create a sandwich.  Using a pint glass, cut a round sandwich out from the middle, pulling the excess crusts off before lifting the glass.  This step can be done ahead several hours or the day before (if so store sandwiches in a tupperware).

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Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large shallow bowl.  Again, this can be done in advance just let it come up to roomish temperature before dipping.  Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Depending on the size of your skillet you may be able to do all the sandwiches at once (I did) if not fry them in batches of 4.  Dunk the sandwiches untill they are fully coated in the egg mixture.   Add sandwiches to the pan and cook until browned on both sides – about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

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Nutty's French Toast

  • Servings: 4 (2 mini sandwiches per person)
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or other yummy filling)
  • 16 slices white bread – approximately 1 loaf (I used Arnold’s Country Bread – basically something with a little more texture than Wonder bread – also I used the heels of the loaf to no ill effect)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil

Lay out all 16 slices of bread and then spread approximately 1 tablespoon of Nutella in the middle of 8 of the slices.  Top those slices with the non Nutella slices to create a sandwich.  Using a pint glass, cut a round sandwich out from the middle, pulling the excess crusts off before lifting the glass.  This step can be done ahead several hours or the day before (if so store sandwiches in a tupperware).  Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large shallow bowl.  Again, this can be done in advance just let it come up to roomish temperature before dipping.  Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Depending on the size of your skillet you may be able to do all the sandwiches at once (I did) if not fry them in batches of 4.  Dunk the sandwiches untill they are fully coated in the egg mixture.   Add sandwiches to the pan and cook until browned on both sides – about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Shopping List for June 22-26

Items are tagged with the day of the week they are used so if you don’t want to cook that day just scratch it off

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Tues)
  • couple tablespoons flour (Tues)
  • 1 stick butter (Tues)
  • 4-5 lemons (Tues/Thurs)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (Tues)
  • capers (Tues)
  • parsley (Tues/Wed)
  • 2 ounces prosciutto (Tues)
  • 1 onion (Tues)
  • 1 pound frozen peas (Tues)
  • 1 pound ground beef (Wed)
  • hamburger buns and toppings of your choice (Wed)
  • 4 to 6 earns of corn (Wed)
  • 3 1/2 pounds red small potatoes (Wed/Thurs)
  • white wine vinegar (Wed)
  • dijon (Wed)
  • 3 ounces goat cheese (Wed)
  • 1 celery stalk (Wed)
  • 1 shallot (Wed)
  • 2 pork tenderloins (Thurs)
  • package of sage leaves (Thurs)
  • 1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (Thurs)
  • chives (Thurs)

English Muffin Toast

There is something so intimidating about using live yeast.  It makes you think that it will go horribly wrong, that you have to know exactly what you are doing and frankly takes more science know how than I have.  In order to conquer my fear I tried taking a bread making class with my friend Erica so we could get in person instruction (ie hand holding).  We went to Hill’s Kitchen – my absolutely favorite store in all of DC that also teaches cooking classes in a studio above the store – and took lots and lots of notes.  It’s a great place to take classes wpid-20150531_113055.jpgbecause it’s also hands on and by the end of the class we had each made a mound of lovely soft pizza dough.  We happily went on our way, secure in the knowledge that we had conquered our shared fear of yeast, with ambitious plans to start baking our own bread.  We met up with our men and headed out for a night of pizza, appropriately enough, and drinks.  About halfway through dinner Steve, Erica’s very observant husband, pointed out that both of our purses had expanded to about 3 times their original sizes.  We had put our pizza dough wrapped carefully in plastic bags into our purses and forgotten them.  Well wouldn’t you know that the dough rose again in our Kate Spades!  I was completely thrown off and didn’t attempt anything with live yeast for a while.  However, there are easy recipes that don’t require a class or really any science skills at all, that result in lovely home-baked goods – this recipe is one of them.  I had seen various mentions of English muffin bread on pinterest and elsewhere and it was just too tempting.  I went with King Arthur because they have really simple instructions and some of the best baking expertise out there.  This bread has this lovely english muffin type flavor and texture but it comes in a bread loaf form.  Perfect for just some butter and jam it would also be the terrific start of a sandwich.  I am proud to say that I am now no longer scared of yeast (though I still wouldn’t recommend letting dough rise in your handbag). English Muffin Toast (printable version at the end of the post) Inspiration:   English Muffin Toasting Bread by King Arthur Flour Special Equipment:  stand mixer (preferable), candy thermometer Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (it will be a little more than one envelope)
  • 1 cup milk (whole is better)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and then toss in the cornmeal.  Shake the pan around so that the cornmeal sticks to all the sides of the pan then knock out any remaining cornmeal into the sink.   wpid-20150531_112749.jpg Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast with a whisk in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Measure out the milk, water, and oil and combine in a microwave safe bowl (or just use the glass measuring cup like I did) and place in the microwave.  Heat at high for 30 seconds, stir the liquid and then put it back in for another 45 seconds.  Stir again and take the temperature with the candy thermometer.  You want it between 120 and 130 degrees.  I needed to microwave one more time for 30 seconds to get the right temperature (so 30 seconds, 45 seconds and 30 seconds).  Your timing might be slightly different, just remember to stir the mixture before you put in the thermometer.  The original recipe says you can go off of touch but when it comes to yeast I think its best to be accurate.  Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and then mix with the dough hook at a high speed for approximately 1 minute.  If you don’t have a stand mixer you could probably do this by hand by kneading it but man I have no idea how long that would take.  I suggest cozying up to a friend with a stand mixer and barter some of the english muffin toast for use of the mixer.   wpid-20150531_113734.jpg     wpid-20150531_113846.jpg The dough will come together pretty quickly and be soft and a little sticky.  Dump the dough into the prepared loaf pan and press it in until its level if you need to.  Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour (took me an hour).  When its done it should just peek out over the rim of the pan.   wpid-20150531_124547.jpg During this hour preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then when ready bake for 22 to 25 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  The bread is great toasted but not so much warm from the oven so let it cool completely and then serve with butter and jam. 

English Muffin Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Print

Special Equipment:  stand mixer (preferable), candy thermometer

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (will be a little more than one envelope)
  • 1 cup milk (whole is better)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and then toss in the cornmeal.  Shake the pan around so that the cornmeal sticks to all the sides of the pan then knock out any remaining cornmeal into the sink.  Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast with a whisk in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Measure out the milk, water, and oil and combine in a microwave safe bowl (or just use the glass measuring cup like I did) and place in the microwave.  Heat at high for 30 seconds, stir the liquid and then put it back in for another 45 seconds.  Stir again and take the temperature with the candy thermometer.  You want it between 120 and 130 degrees.  I needed to microwave one more time for 30 seconds to get the right temperature (so 30 seconds, 45 seconds and 30 seconds).  Your timing might be slightly different, just remember to stir the mixture before you put in the thermometer.  The original recipe says you can go off of touch but when it comes to yeast I think its best to be accurate. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and then mix with the dough hook at a high speed for approximately 1 minute.  The dough will come together pretty quickly and be soft and a little sticky.  Dump the dough into the prepared loaf pan and level it off if you need to.  Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and let it raise for about 45 minutes to an hour (took me an hour).  When its done it should just peek out over the rim of the pan.  During this hour preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then bake for 22 to 25 minutes until golden.  remove from oven and let cool.  The bread is great toasted but not so much warm from the oven so let it cool completely and then serve with butter and jam. 

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