Who knew toast could be so delicious? Brushed with butter, dipped in sugar, and grilled, the bread (a nice enriched challah) becomes almost brûléed.
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I grew up with French toast here in the States, but toast became something altogether different during my trips to Southeast Asia. There I kept stumbling across "toast places," where a piece of bread becomes an elegant dessert. Shibuya Honey Toast is particularly popular—pillowy, butter-rich bread that's block-cut, toasted, and topped with ice cream. It's my starting point for these recipes.
I've also come to believe that black pepper is a better companion to sugar than it is to salt; it provides a welcome spike of flavor without muddying other delicate flavors. I sneak it into everything—ice cream, pound cake, jams—because anything sweet welcomes it. Especially bananas. So sugar-up your toast, brown it a little too much, and have the pepper mill handy.
Ingredients & Why:
1/4 cup dark rum — Bananas. Rum.
3 tablespoons brown sugar — The molasses gives depth and is welcome with charred things.
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided — Some for the toast. Some for the sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground — Methinks sugar and black pepper are more natural partners than salt and pepper.
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt — salt heightens flavors and helps combat cloying sweetness.
4 bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthwise — Use mini bananas or Manzanos if you can find them. Any perfectly ripe banana will work, though.
Cooking spray — To keep things moving.
4 (3/4-ounce) "blocks" challah bread, crusts removed — You'll be sugar-dredging this. Then you'll grill. You may never bake again.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar — This will bind with the butter and create something between a glaze and a candy on the bread.
View Recipe: Grilled Bananas on Sugared Rum Toast
Keith Schroeder, chef, culinary educator, and entrepreneur, has led kitchens at resorts, restaurants, catering companies, and luxury hotels throughout the nation. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta and Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University, Schroeder is the founder and CEO of High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet, sold in retail venues such as Whole Foods Market and served by fine restaurants, hotels, and airlines. He currently writes Cooking Light magazine's "Cooking Class" column and actively lectures and teaches others his culinary secrets. His first Cooking Light cookbook, Mad Delicious, comes out October 2014. Schroeder lives near Atlanta, GA, with his wife and two children. Connect with Keith Schroeder via Facebook and Twitter.
French Toast Croque Monsieur Sandwich with Bèchamel Sauce
French Toast Croque Monsieur Sandwich Recipe: I am constantly dreaming up different ideas for crazy recipes to try and make. Unfortunately, most of them end up sucking big time and go straight to my garbage pail. However, ever now and again, one of my crazy ideas comes to fruition and ends up turning out fantastic! This unique twist on the classic Croque Monsieur sandwich falls into that category.
For those of you who are not familiar with a Croque Monsieur sandwich, it is a classic French sandwich made with ham and cheese. The sandwich is typically made a brioche type bread that is lightly sugared and baked. The sandwich is then compiled (often with Gruyere cheese) and then baked in the oven.
My take is a little different. I like the bread to a thick cut white bread that I batter with a seasoned egg mixture and fry to make it a fully French Toasted crust. I also like to whip up a quick Beèchamel sauce to pour over the ham and melted Gruyere. All together this makes the classic sandwich a bit more decadent to say the least. I especially love this dish on a Sunday early afternoon. It is a perfect recipe to make for your next Brunch party.
There is definitely a reason why the French make the best food! This sandwich is the real deal and will blow you away! I guarantee it.
12 Fresh Homemade Pasta Recipes
Starting your own business can feel isolating without a network of women to bounce off ideas, ask questions, and cheer you on along the way. Enter Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week highly-interactive virtual course that brings together top female entrepreneurs to teach you how to build a new business — from business plan to promotion — or grow your existing one.
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Our summer mentorship program will feature a host of new mentors we're excited to connect you with, including:
Linda Xu, Entrepreneur and E-Commerce Expert
Linda is the co-founder and chief growth officer at Cart.com, a Series-A e-commerce technology platform that partners with brands to help them grow. Linda served as head of growth at Sitari Ventures where she oversaw strategy and operations. She has acquired and advised tech and consumer companies as a private equity investor at global firms including The Riverside Company and Lazard. Additionally, Linda spent a brief stint on the team launching Uber Freight. She loves all things food and plants.
Stephanie Cartin, Social Media Expert + Entrepreneur
An entrepreneur at heart, Stephanie walked away from her corporate career in 2012 to follow her passion to launch Socialfly, a leading social-first digital and influencer marketing agency based in New York City. Socialfly has since blossomed to over 30 full-time employees and has been named to Inc. 5000's fastest growing private companies two years in a row. The agency has worked with over 200 well-known brands including Girl Scouts, WeTV, Conair, Nest Fragrances, 20th Century Fox and Univision. Stephanie is the co-host of the Entreprenista Podcast and co-author of Like, Love, Follow: The Entreprenista's Guide to Using Social Media To Grow Your Business. She is also a recent recipient of the SmartCEO Brava award, which recognizes the top female CEOs in New York and a Stevie Award for Women Run Workplace of the Year.
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It would be remiss of us not to mention that Anson Mills grits benefit enormously from soaking overnight in water before being cooked. Not only is the cooking time shorter for soaked versus unsoaked grits, but the finished texture is also superior because the corn particles experience less trauma during cooking and better hold their shape.
Soaking quick grits in water overnight and cooking them in their soaking liquid reduces their cooking time by about 50 percent. In real terms, this means 1 cup of quick grits, unsoaked, cooks in about 30 minutes soaked overnight, they cook in about 15 minutes. With their smaller particle size and increased surface area, quick grits require more water at the outset than coarse grits for saucepan cookery. Because they cook more quickly and with more water, we cook quick grits uncovered.
A crêpe is not difficult to make. And a good crêpe is not more difficult to make than a bad one. You need a recipe with enough butter for the crêpe to brown to supple crispness and flavor without turning stiff and dry. You need the correct egg, flour, and milk ratios so the crêpe stays creamy inside. You need a well-seasoned pan whose diameter does not exceed that of the burner, and some pretty serious heat—not steak-searing heat, but not cautious warming heat either. We favor cast iron for producing the gorgeous brown lace that is a perfect crêpe, but its heft makes for heavy handling. Cast iron is suited to griddle cookery in which the crêpe is stroked thin with a T-shaped wooden spatula and the pan is not manipulated by the wrist. If you have those things, use them.
If you’re working with a skillet, forget cast iron. Your wrist will never make it through the deft machinations necessary to move the batter around the pan. We don’t recommend nonstick pans under any circumstance when it comes to crêpes—a crêpe must stick to and grip the bottom of the pan to develop the correct lacy texture, not skate around without purchase. Our favorite pan turns out to be a very basic 10-inch All-Clad skillet seasoned to within an inch of its life, and forbidden to cook anything but crêpes.
The prettiest side of the crêpe is the side first down in the pan. To display its best side, run the spatula under the crêpe in the pan at its midsection, lift it as a half circle, place it on the plate, slide the spatula out, and fold the crêpe into a triangle. Crêpes also taste fabulous rolled into a log and eaten in a few bites.
What makes this recipe in part so fine is the sexy combination of rum and orange liqueur with brown butter. Should you wish to forego alcohol in the batter, by all means do so—substitute ½ teaspoon of vanilla and add another 2½ tablespoons of milk—but the flavor dimensionality of the crêpes will be diminished.
By the way, the Lemon Butter we run with our Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes would be a superb accessory to these crêpes.
Brussel sprouts slaw with sugared pecans – quelling the funsucks
I was apprehensive about offering ‘cooking workshops’. What if no one was interested in taking classes from a self-trained cook? My index finger wavered slightly just before I sent the offer into cyber space to be read by enthusiasts and critics. It’s those damn critics that keep a girl from doing what she believes she can.
Why does the critic’s message finds me faster than an encouraging word? A dozen people could tell me the idea is good but, god forbid, one naysayer lets out a nasty, barely audible, quip and I’m completely fixated on the negativity. It doesn’t stop me but it is a funsuck.
Happily, the negative nellies eventually become white noise, anxiety slips away and the fun begins. Who knew that sharing my love of food and cooking, in the flesh, would be such a blast? The January workshops sold out in 90 seconds. I couldn’t believe it. In less than two minutes, every spot was taken and I had a waiting list. It was awesome and incredibly reassuring! The February and March classes are full – which I’m over the moon about. At the end of March, I’ll take a break.
Here’s what a few folks had to say about the workshops:
“What a lovely, informative, fun and delicious way to spend an evening! My girlfriends and I attended the class on learning to make gnocchi. Michelle’s passion, extensive knowledge and experience with Italian cooking are outstanding. Her hand on approach and patience in teaching us was much appreciated. We not only learned how to make gnocchi and sauces but were rewarded with eating it. It was so good!!
Thank you again for such a great evening filled with laughter and learning.
We are already booked for more classes and can’t wait!”
“Hi Michelle, I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed last night’s cooking class. I really loved the intimacy of a small group and sharing food with some fine and interesting people.Your personal stories and knowledge of great ingredients, and food in general, is equally enjoyable in person as it is reading about them in your blogs — although I now see that you also have a flair for entertaining while teaching. You truly have many gifts. I can’t wait for next year’s round of classes. Have a great sabbatical/trip!” Mary Hachey
“What a wonderful evening …so much for me to remember ….but what I can’t forget is the amazing flavours and textures and presentation ….I truly can still taste and smell ….the way to move through a kitchen with such ease. What a wonderful perfect kitchen and beautiful home and teacher/hostess and of course great gals to share it with …..thank you again, Michelle. Glad there is a blog for guidance as I would never remember ….. I was shaking at first but you made me feel so welcome…can I come back tomorrow lol . Xo your mesmerized pupil! Can’t wait for round two. Sweet dreams I will have….hope you do too. Xo” Alanna Britt
“What a wonderful night I had tonight in making my first Gnocchi with chef Michelle Hooton. Can’t wait to try this on my family and friends. Aft er telling Michelle my cooking skills, that did not scare Michelle. She was very understanding. It was a nice intimate feeling in Michelle’s beautiful home in up town Saint John. Michelle was a wonderful hostess. It didn’t feel like a cooking class, it felt like Michelle was just having a few friends over. Thanks for a wonderful evening…. I was glad we were in your class, because you never forget your first….lol” Denise Long
“In a word, Wednesday’s with Michelle is INSPIRING!! Michelle has invited you into her home, shared her knowledge, tricks and life experiences which gives the home cook(chef wannabe) a level of comfort and confidence to create your own culinary masterpieces. The evening was great fun, interactive and educational…I am hoping to attend MANY more!” Stephanie Culliton
Having the opportunity to connect in, real life, with fellow foodies and cooks is a gift to me. Our discussions and their questions have made me realize how vague my recipes can be. I make assumptions while I’m writing that could leave the reader/cook lost in the middle of a recipe. What’s intuitive to some is completely alien to others. I want to write clearly. My workshops have become a place for me to discover a more thorough way of communicating. I love that.
Today’s recipe uses the highly controversial – you either love or despise them – Brussel sprouts. Boiled, sautéed or roasted are the typical cooking methods producing the violent reaction to their taste. Shredded raw, tossed in a sweet and tart salad dressing embellished with dried fruit and toasted nuts will turn the heart of even the most ardent hater of these contentious tiny cabbages. If you like Brussel sprouts, you need to try this salad. It’s delicious!
All Hear Her Roar
To mark International Women’s Day March 8, I’m honouring my four most highly influential female chefs that had the biggest impact on me in my profession. They fuelled my passion and I love this taste of culinary history. We just need to narrow it down so stay tuned.
Alice Waters - Chez Panisse, Berkeley - Her two most famous signature salads:
Baked Goat Cheese and Garden Lettuce with Shallot Red Wine Dressing
Susan Spicer - Bayona, New Orleans - Her most famous signature dish:
Bayona Roasted Garlic Soup
Cristeta Comerford - White House Executive Chef since 2005 Serving Bill & Hillary, George W. & Laura, Barack & Michelle, “_” & Melania and currently Joe & Jill.
Leah Chase - Dooky Chase, New Orleans - Chef and co-owner, Chase made the eatery a hub for the African American community of New Orleans and a meeting place for pioneers of the civil rights movement.
Homemade pesto recipe
A weekday favourite of mine that is way simpler too make than it may seem. If you’re lazy (like I usually am), use a blender. If a bit more ambitious use a mortar & pestle.
What you need (four approximately 3-4 persons)
Basil, about 5 deciliters of fresh leaves
2 Tablespoons of pine nuts
1/2 deciliter of grated parmesan cheese
How to make the pesto:
1. Toast the pine nuts until golden, but not burnt. Set aside.
2. Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
3. Put garlic, basil, parmesan and nuts in a blender. Mix to a paste.
4. Add olive oil, little by little while continuing to mix until the pesto reaches a thick, slightly runny texture. Season with salt.
Serve with pasta, on pizza, a sandwich or just eat it straight from the jar, it’s that good. ☺️
Fig meringue sandwich
This works as a dessert or an afternoon tea cake. It can also be served as a roulade. Simply turn the meringue out on to sugared paper, cool, pile with cream and fruit, then roll up like a great, fat Swiss roll. Makes 6 cakes.
For the meringue:
egg whites 6
caster sugar 280g
shelled hazelnuts 100g
cornflour 1 tbsp
Split the vanilla pod down its length then scrape out the seeds. Whip the cream until almost thick, fold in a third of the crushed nuts and the vanilla seeds, then spread on to the meringue. Slice in half lengthways and then cut each half into six short rectangles.
Slice the figs and divide some of them between half of the meringue slices and reserve the others. Place the remaining halves on top, then decorate with the remaining figs. Warm the honey with the remaining nuts in a shallow pan. Spoon over the fig meringues and serve.
With praise from Dorie Greenspan, Jim Lahey, and David Lebovitz, the definitive bread-baking book for a new generation. But this book isn’t just about baking bread-- it’s about what to do with the slices and heels and nubs from those many loaves you’ll bake.
Alexandra Stafford grew up eating her mother’s peasant bread at nearly every meal—the recipe for which was a closely-guarded family secret. When her blog, Alexandra’s Kitchen, began to grow in popularity, readers started asking how to make the bread they’d heard so much about the bread they had seen peeking into photos. Finally, Alexandra’s mother relented, and the recipe went up on the internet. It has since inspired many who had deemed bread-baking an impossibility to give it a try, and their results have exceeded expectations. The secret is in its simplicity: the no-knead dough comes together in fewer than five minutes, rises in an hour, and after a second short rise, bakes in buttered bowls.
After you master the famous peasant bread, you’ll work your way through its many variations, both in flavor (Cornmeal, Jalapeno, and Jack Three Seed) and form (Cranberry Walnut Dinner Rolls Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread). You’ll enjoy bread’s usual utilities with Food Cart Grilled Cheese and the Summer Tartine with Burrata and Avocado, but then you’ll discover its true versatility when you use it to sop up Mussels with Shallot and White Wine or juicy Roast Chicken Legs. Finally, you’ll find ways to savor every last bite, from Panzanella Salad Three Ways to Roasted Tomato Soup to No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Cookies.
Alexandra's Kitchen, Finalist for the Saveur Blog Awards Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners 2016