Wednesday, December 21, 2011

baked french toast casserole

Lookit, I love The Pioneer Woman. Truly, I do. Her wild rice and corn casserole is slap-your-mama good. Her stuffed mushrooms? To die for. But I always find myself tweaking her recipes to contain less fat-- not that it's not delicious, but if I ate her recipes as is I would be roughly the size of the Goodyear Blimp. I'd love to know her secret!

When I came across her recipe for baked french toast that contained 2 cups of whole milk PLUS 1 cup of heavy cream PLUS A WHOLE STICK OF BUTTER, my eyes almost fell out of my head. So I gave it a loving revision. And it's still delicious. Lemme tell you how:

the insides:
1 loaf of sourdough (or bread of your choosing, enough to rip up and fill a 9x12 casserole dish)
nonstick spray
12 eggs
1 C buttermilk, I used 2%
4 T sugar
4 T bourbon* (*optional, I guess)
2 T vanilla

the topping:
1/2 C - 1 C pecans, toasted
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1 T cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/2 stick butter, cubed and very, very cold

Directions: rip up your bread and fill your greased casserole dish. In a large bowl combine 12 eggs, buttermilk, sugar, bourbon, and vanilla and beat lightly with a fork. Pour it over the bread, cover with foil, and stick in the fridge for at least 4 hours (I say overnight. I mean dude, that took what, 5 min? Perfect thing to do before bed on Christmas Eve.)

For the topping, throw the toasted pecans in your food processor with flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Add in the cold butter cubes and pulse until it resembles small pebbles. Stick that in the refrigerator too.

The next morning, sprinkle the topping on and bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour, depending on if you like yours eggy vs. toasty. I put maple syrup on mine and served it with cayenne & brown sugared bacon.

Serves 12, and if you care: 400 calories, 20g fat, 12g protein, 3g fiber.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Seriously, almost a year? I'm so flighty with this thing. But I'm unemployed now so I SWEAR to start posting more often. At least once a month. Will you guys help keep me accountable?

Today I am making a sauce gribiche. In all honesty I am making it because I have an almost limp bunch of parsley that really needs to be used, and stat. But also, because I love it-- it's delicious, and fun to make, and so very, very French. And it's really, really adaptable. I've used it on asparagus in the past, and once in a pasta dish with flaked salmon. Tonight I'm putting on steaks, like this guy. But doesn't it sound great on roasted potatoes?

When I first tried it, I read David Lebovitz' recipe, because I love his style, and also Orangette's, ditto, and since then I've played around with the ingredients, and what I have, what I like, etc, and found my perfect gribiche.

Ingredients: one egg, olive oil, capers, fresh parsley, whole-grain mustard. (You'll notice there are cornichons in the photo above. Now I love love LOVE cornichons, but my personal opinion is that they add one too many flavors to this sauce, so I leave them out now.)

Start by soft-boiling your egg. You want the white firm and the yolk runny. FIRST, make sure your egg is at room temperature so it doesn't crack when you lower it into the boiling water. Bring a pot of water to a boil, turn it down to a steady simmer, and carefully lower in the egg with a slotted spoon. Exactly 5 minutes later, remove with the slotted spoon and run under cool water until you can peel it.

Drop it into your glass bowl with a spoonful of whole grain mustard. Mash around with a fork until the white is crumbled up, and start adding olive oil little by little until it looks sort of like lumpy mayonnaise. Appetizing, right? (I didn't take a photo of that step.)

Next, add chopped capers and flat-leaf parsley. Like, a LOT of parsley. Don't worry. Parsley is delicious. Taste and season to your preference with salt, black and/or red pepper. Keep adding and mixing and tasting until you get it just so. You'll know when it's right.

Feel free to experiment and make it your own. Use a mixture of herbs. Add a clove of minced raw garlic. Brighten up with a splash of acid, like lemon juice or red wine vinegar. It's up to you and your taste buds!

Cover with plastic wrap and it will store for a few days in the refrigerator. However, I like it room temperature, served over something simple. Cold roasted chicken. Poached fish. Leftover steak or potatoes. Scrambled eggs? The possibilities are endless.