Tuesday, February 19, 2013

French Toast

This post is a little bit different than my previous stuff. I'm actually going to talk about food today. I know, crazy right? This is a blog about food, but for some reason I fail to write about food every time! But anyway, let me know in the comment section below if you like this change or if you'd rather me revert back to my usual ramblings. And guess what! And if you're like Oh no, I could never comment because I don't want anyone to know I actually read this ridiculous blog! then you can make your comment anonymous. Or you have the option of making up a name. Like LordVoldyIsMyBFF3000. Or John Smith. Whatever floats your goat.

Okay, the topic of today is French toast! My most favorite food in all the land. I really don't know why I haven't given you my French toast recipe before, considering it's fantastic and I make it all the time. Like four or five times a day. Not really though. But pretty much.

So here's some super duper fun facts about this delightful piece of bread heaven:

  • Wikipedia is telling me French toast is also known as eggy bread. That's repulsive. Yeah, I'll have some eggy bread right after I'm done drinking this curdled sour milk.
  • French toast is just about as French as French fries. 
  • The earliest known reference to French toast is actually a Latin recipe from the 4th or 5th century that is found in the Apicius (an old Roman cookbook). Though the bread in this recipe was only soaked in milk, not eggs. So I guess it could be called milky bread. Slightly more appetizing than eggy bread.
  • Then there are 15th century English recipes for 'Pain Perdu' which French for "lost bread." So it was a way to use up stale bread, at least for the poor folk. Apparently the Pain Perdu recipes for the wealthier people called for high quality fresh white bread.
  • French toast doesn't have to be sweet! In Scotland, it is served with sausage between two slices and is eaten like a sandwich. It's sometimes dipped in ketchup. And in India it is made with green chilies and onions.
  • In Spain they soak the bread in wine or milk then dip it in egg and fry it. It is generally served with cinnamon or honey. This one really tickles my intrigue.
  • Lastly, in France it is eaten as a dessert because it is made incredibly sweet.

Now you might think that is all a bunch of useless information, but hey, you might need it at some point! For example if you meet someone whose only interest in life is breakfast food, then you can whip out one of these cool facts like, "Hey did you know that French toast is also known as eggy bread?" Then the two of you will surely fall in love over this shared fun fact.

Or maybe you're sitting in your history class and Professor Binns asks, "Students, what was significant about Rome in the fourth century?" And you can scream out with complete confidence and glee, "THE FIRST RECORDED FRENCH TOAST RECIPE!" Guaranteed 'A' for the semester.

Disclaimer: These facts will most likely not help you fall in love or receive an 'A' in your history class. I may have been stretching the truth a wee bit. Fine, fine, I was full on lying to you.

Now for the recipe! I know you are so ridiculously excited you could pee your pants. Please don't. 
  

The Recipe:
Makes 2 slices of French toast.

Ingredients:  

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS milk (I used almond milk, use whatever tickles your fancy) 
  • 1/2 TBS brown sugar
  • Slightly rounded 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 

Forgot to add the vanilla and sugar in the picture. My bad. I took this at 1am. I was tired.

Step 1: Whisk the living hell out of the eggs and milk in a pie dish. You really don't want the egg whites still separated. It'd be gross. Then throw in the spices, sugar, and vanilla and whisk it even more.

Looks so yummy! Like vomit flavored soap water.
Step 2: Soak a slice of bread in the mixture. Make sure it's nice and saturated so it'll be fluffy throughout the entire piece of bread.


Step 3: Melt a bit of butter in a pan on medium heat. Throw the bread in the pan when it's hot. Cook on each side till it looks brownish and done and not like raw egg.
Step 4: Eat the amazing goodness! Dress it up however you like.

Maybe add some fresh fruit.
Or fresh fruit and whipped cream!
  
Or go full-fatty mode and add maple syrup and homemade cinnamon nutmeg whipped cream!
     
To make cinnamon nutmeg whipped cream, throw some heavy whipping cream in a bowl and beat it electrically with white sugar (how much depends on how sweet you like it) and probably 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg. I really have no idea. I never measure anything. Just try it and add more spices if it tastes like nothing!


Hope you enjoyed this post. If you fancied it, share it with your Facebook friends (button below) or your real life friends. Or I guess even your imaginary friends if that's your thing.

 Until next time!   

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes


I seem to have run into a bit of writer’s block. Which is rather unusual for me because I can typically ramble on aimlessly for ages and ages. So I think I’ll just introduce you to my wee little kitten. Her name is Olive. And I’m sure you won’t be the least bit surprised when I tell you her middle name is Oil. Yes, I named my cat Olive Oil.



When you have a kitten you learn a lot. Not just about cats, but about yourself. Here are a few things that one learns rather quickly:

  • This one could be just me, but my first thought upon bringing home Olive? “Now I don’t need humans.”
  • Litter boxes are horrible. First you’re kind of like, “Hey, this isn’t too bad. It’s kind of relaxing. Like a Zen garden.” Then you realize your Zen garden is full of shit and it just ruins it.
  • You finally understand why new parents post thousands upon thousands of pictures of their babies on social media. Apparently parents and kitten owners are the same in that regard. You get this strange urge to upload every single picture you take and you think that everyone in the world wants to see your kitten from every possible angle. It’s like temporary insanity. Luckily I've been able to fight this urge. For the most part.
  • You quite often find yourself thinking or feeling things a cat lady would. And it is terrifying. For example, the first time Olive Oil used the litter box on her own I felt like an extremely proud mother. And then I realized that’s exactly how a cat lady would feel and I wanted to cry.
  •  You become constantly paranoid that your cat is plotting to kill you in your sleep. Like the first night I had her, I got a claw to the nostril at 4am. I nearly jumped out of my bed with fright. Other times she acts like she wants to snuggle and curls up next to my neck. It is so cute! Until she proceeds to bite my neck.  So now I tend to sleep under my covers as to avoid being mauled in the middle of the night.
  • It doesn’t matter how cute your kitten is, if she keeps you up for too many nights in a row, she’s getting locked outside of your room for the night.
  • You realize you never, ever want children. If taking care of a kitten is this time consuming and causes this much sleep loss, children are no longer even an option.
I’m making having a kitten sound absolutely horrible. It’s not all bad. Olive is really adorable and it’s a lot fun to watch her play. And it’s so cute when she actually wants to snuggle and not maul my face. She also likes to ride around on my shoulder like a parrot, which is pretty hilarious. She's actually lying on my shoulder as I write this...

She looks so sweet and innocent here. Don't believe it. It's all a lie.


Okay, food. I visited my sister this past weekend and she made the most amazing lemon poppy seed pancakes. I know I usually only share my own recipes, but these pancakes were so so so so so good that I just have to share the recipe with you. 

The Recipe:

Ingredients:



  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour (go whole wheat!)
  • 2 TBS white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Step 1: Stir milk, lemon juice, and vinegar together in a bowl. Let stand for ten minutes. It needs to curdle, which is really gross.

Curds look so nasty. Don't worry, the pancakes will turn out great despite the unpleasantly chunky milk.

Step 2: Whisk egg, butter, and vanilla into the nasty milk.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.




Step 4: Add milk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the batter is mostly free of lumps.




Step 5: Heat a skillet over medium heat. The original recipe says to spray with cooking spray, but I used butter because, well I just like butter. 

Then add some batter. However much you want. It really depends on how big you like your pancakes. Cook for a couple minutes until bubbles appear on top, like so:


Then FLIP! It'll be done when the other side is brown.

Step 6: Make a delicious lemon syrup. Just squeeze 1-1/2 lemons into a small sauce pan. Add 1 tsp zest and a couple tablespoons of white sugar(add until it reaches desired sweetness). Bring to a boil, then simmer until syrupy. Don't skip this!! The syrup is the best part!

Step 7: Consume the pancakes.



And that is it! Thanks for reading! I know I promised you fire last time because I now have a torch, but I lied. Maybe next time. I'll try to work on a good creme brulee recipe or something. Until then, so long.



Friday, January 4, 2013

Pesto Chicken Florentine


So finally a new post. I know your life has been absolutely terrible and hardly worth living since you haven’t been able to read my blog and enjoy my grotesque photography. But now order has been restored to the universe and you can once again experience the beauty that is this blog. I’ve had various people ask me to make a new entry lately and it had me seriously questioning their sanity. I mean, why do people enjoy this so much? All I do is ramble on about whatever pops into my head and then toss in some pictures of food that most often look like someone threw up into a casserole dish. And on top of that, I occasionally insult my readers. Which isn’t the nicest thing to do. No one enjoys being insulted. So once again that brings me back to my question: why do you continue to read this? But I suppose it’s your choice. I’m not going to force you to not read my blog. In fact I quite enjoy seeing how many people read it. It’s quite a confidence booster when you have fifty people reading something you wrote. Until of course you realize they are all most likely insane. Oh goodness. There I go insulting you again. I’m so sorry. Not really, though. If I was truly sorry I would have deleted that sentence.

     Anyway, sarcasm aside, I am rather pleased that you have come to my page to read this. I’m so excited that I finally have time to make new posts now that this semester from Hell has ended. Although I have found that I just hate not being in school. There’s nothing to do and I feel like I no longer have a purpose. You might say, “Oh just enjoy the time you have off. Sleep in and do nothing!” Shut up. I hate you. Okay, maybe I don’t hate you, but I hate what you just said. Do you know how boring that is? I got sick of break two days after school ended. I had no idea what to do with myself since I had nothing to study. And sleeping in is so stupid. Sure it’s nice, but then half my day is completely wasted! Not that I have anything to do anyway. I suppose I could go out with some fellow humans. Haha no. What am I even saying? That would be ridiculous. I’d have to put on pants. What a hassle.

     Oh wait! I do have something to do! I just recently found the website sproutrobot.com. It is so awesome because you just put in your zip code and it tells you what you should be planting right now! It looks like I need to be starting leeks and broccoli inside, so I guess it time to buy some seeds, soil, and peat pots. So exciting.

     So I have an excellent recipe to share with you! It’s not terribly difficult, but it takes a little time. Proper warning: you’re going to need about a hundred spoons. Here we go:

The Recipe: 

Serves 5. Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12oz pasta (I used rigatoni, but it doesn't matter) 
  • 1 batch alfredo sauce, listed below (don't ruin my recipe by using a jar)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 TBS pesto (this can be from a jar)


 


 Alfredo Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole...really up to you though)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan (go for good quality if you can! Not the powdered garbage I used.)
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped




Step 1: Let's start with the Alfredo sauce. Melt butter in a sauce pan on med-low heat. Saute garlic in butter for about a minute or so. SUPER FUN TIP: To peel garlic really easily, just press on the clove with the handle of your knife until it breaks just a little. The paper will just magically slide off!





Step 2:  Add milk, yogurt, cheese, and pepper to butter. Place aside on a back burner on simmer for now. Stir occasionally. Also, throw a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta.




Step 3: Moving on to the chicken. Slice that up. About 1/2" width. 



Step 4: Put olive oil in a pan on med-high heat. When oil is heated (it'll start to shimmer), saute the minced garlic for about a minute. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn! If your water is boiling, cook the pasta now.

Step 5: Add chicken to the garlic and oil and cook until it is done (no more pink!). Then throw in your spinach and saute that for a couple minutes until the spinach is cooked.




Step 6: Back to the sauce. I really hope you didn't forget about that Alfredo sauce because it would be completely ruined by now. Add parsley and the 2 TBS of pesto to the sauce and give it a good stir. 






Step 7: Toss the chicken and pasta into the sauce. Or pour the sauce over the chicken and pasta in a separate dish. Whatever you want to do as long as it all gets mixed together.




Step 8: Put into a bowl and consume it.

Super special optional step that is a fantastic extra treat: Saute sliced mushrooms in a decent amount of butter and add a splash of sherry. Then throw the cooked mushrooms on top of the Florentine. SO delicious.


I promise it tastes and looks way better than this picture looks.

Alrighty, well thank you for reading! I got a kitchen torch for Christmas this year that I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT, so my next post will most likely involve fire. Till then, I bid you adieu.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goodbye for now.

Well I'm sorry to say that I'm cancelling my blog indefinitely due to the fact that I'm no longer permitted to cook in my house for reasons unbeknownst to me. So I bid you adieu and if someone wants to make the recipe I linked to below and tell me how it is I would love you forever. Actually forever is quite a long commitment, so I guess I'll love you for a day or something. Or not. But anyway....

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moussaka/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=moussaka&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Recipe%20List

But with these changes:
-Use zucchini instead of eggplant.
-Grill zucchini, don't fry it.
-Add about 5 crimini mushrooms (chopped) into the bottom mixture before baking.

Bye.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cat Facts?

I don't have a recipe for you this week. So sorry! I made shepherd's pie last night and it was quite delicious, but it can definitely be improved. And I'm not about to give you a mediocre recipe. But here are some random cat facts to keep you entertained until next week when I'll hopefully have a proper recipe for ya. Hopefully they're all true or I'm going to feel dumb. Haha not. The people I got them from will feel dumb. Anyway....here you are:


  • Every year, nearly four million cats are eaten in Asia.
  • A group of cats is called a "crowder." For example: "An extremely large crowder of cats is eaten in Asia each year."
  • You need about 24 cat skins to make a coat. (Not from experience.....)
  • In Ancient Egypt, when a family cat died the family would mourn by shaving off their eyebrows.
  • In the original Italian version of Cinderella, the fairy godmother character was a cat.
  • Inventor of the cat flap door? Isaac Newton! His cat's name was Spithead by the way.
  • Cats have 130,000 hairs per square inch.
  • The first cat show occurred in 1871 in London.
  • Cats can tolerate temperatures up to 130 degrees as long as they have enough water. I'm really concerned about how they figured this out....
  • Cats sweat only through their paws.
  • A cat named Dusty holds the record for birthing the most kittens: 420! 


Well there you go! Hope you thoroughly enjoyed that. Now that I think about it I probably should have given you facts about food, considering this is a food blog and all. Oh well. These are more fun. And the first one is pretty much about food anyway. Gosh. I'm just feeding everyone's claim that I'm going to end up a cat lady. 

By the way if you want to be updated with some of the random thoughts that go through my head at various times, follow me on twitter! @jewlaur


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Eggplant and Zucchini Parmigiana

     Hello there. So glad you stopped by. I have a dish for you today that is quite lovely, but first let's talk about good old American River College. I just finished my first week back and as always, it was a delight. First of all, the people are absolutely fantastic. To watch. I mean if you are into people watching, this is the place to go. So many strange people gathered in one place. It's my own personal people-watching paradise! Some people enjoy bird watching or rock watching, but no, it's all about the humans! On Monday I walked past this kid just sitting on a bench smoking a pipe. Then of course you get the occasional creepy comments like, "Hey, did you know your hair matches your bag?" Yeah. Okay thanks, kind sir. I definitely did that on purpose. Bought a bag specifically to match my ginger hair. Then there are the people that wear the most outlandish get-ups. Like sweat pants and stilettos. At the same time. Now I know I'm not too fantastic at the whole wearing clothes thing, (Well wearing "stylish" clothes of course. I'm quite good at being properly clothed the majority of the time.) but I'm pretty sure heels and sweats don't mesh. Unless I'm completely wrong about this and it's some new fad....I'm afraid I won't be partaking in that one. Me and heels don't get along too well. Nothing worse than being six foot two and stumbling around running into people. It's like a pale, red headed Godzilla or something. No one wants that. Everyone is much better off with my feet flat on the ground. And I prefer it that way, thank you very much.
     Anyway, once again I'm rambling. But yes. The first week of school. I can tell already that this semester is going to be insane. Or I'm going to be insane by the end of it. Probably the latter. There's already so much studying to do! Though I really prefer being at school then being on break. I didn't realize it until I got back to school. I'm much better off with no free time. Like I'm in the middle of a four day weekend right now and I cannot stand it! After just Friday I was ready to go back to class. Speaking of Friday, I went to a lecture on mushrooms that night. It was fascinating. Apparently a lot of people are really into mushroom hunting. I never knew. But that day my mom said to me, "What kind of major nerd would go to a lecture on mushrooms at 7:30 on a Friday night?" My mom has obviously gone mad because she suddenly doesn't know me at all. ME, mom. I'M the kind of nerd that goes to a lecture on mushrooms. But the joke's on her because the place was packed and I am now so much more knowledgeable on the topic of mycology (the study of mushrooms). Did you know the pretty red mushrooms with white spots that often appear in cartoons are real? They're called Amanita muscaria. And they're deadly. So I suggest not eating them. You will die. 
     But let's get back to the real topic of this blog: eggplant parmigiana.Which has mushrooms in it! But edible ones of course. I got the original recipe from my favorite chef Jamie Oliver's website. But I changed it a bit, like I always do. Can't help it... But here's his recipe if you don't trust my alterations ;)

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/recipes/vegetarian-recipes/aubergine-parmigiana

Let me just say that this dish is a little involved and takes some time. But it's probably a good amount faster if you have a kitchen. I have a camping stove and a toaster oven. 


The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large firm eggplant
  • 1-1/2 or 2 zucchinis
  • 5 crimini or button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1tsp dried)
  • 2 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes or 2- 14oz cans of whole tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • wine vinegar
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves (or throw in some dried, but that depresses me. Use fresh.)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Bread crumbs, around a cup


Step 1: Heat up barbeque. Slice eggplant and zucchini into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside.


Step 2: Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add onion, garlic, and oregano. Saute until the onion is translucent. While that's cooking, go to step three.

Step 3: Back to the sliced veg from step one. Throw the zucchini, eggplant, and whole mushrooms on the barbeque and cook until nice grill lines appear. Flip and then remove from heat when you have lines on both sides. Set these aside.


Step 4: If you are using fresh tomatoes, throw them into a pot of boiling water for forty seconds and then into cold water for thirty seconds. This will make the skin peel off easily. After you've removed the skin, squeeze out the seeds. (This seems kind of wasteful because you are losing a lot of the tomato, but it's necessary. Otherwise you'll end up with water parmigiana.) Then cut up the flesh and add to the pan of onions.

Dig the camping stove?
Step 5: Cut up the mushrooms from the grill to a size you prefer and add to the pan. Stir well and the cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes. When the tomato mixture is reduced and tastes sweet, add a splash of white wine vinegar as well as salt and pepper to taste. Then add the basil leaves (you can tear them up a bit if you like) and stir. If you want you can puree this before layering, but I don't have time for that kind of nonsense. 


Step 6: Grab a casserole dish - Jamie Oliver suggests earthenware, I just used glass because that's all I have - about 10x6in. Now it's time to layer! Oh and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Start with a small layer of your tomato sauce. Top with a thin layer of Parmesan. Then a single layer of eggplant and zucchini slices.


Step 7: Keep on layering until you've used all the sauce and zucchini and eggplant slices. Try to finish with sauce on top then add a good amount of Parmesan followed by a decent layer of bread crumbs. Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Problem: A good deal of my food pictures end up looking extraordinarily like vomit. Suggestions on how to remedy this?
 Step 8: Eat it. I threw it atop some whole wheat penne along side a nice salad. But you can do whatever you want.


Well that's about it... Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it immensely. Or even just a little bit.

Oh here are a couple side notes on the recipe:
  • Don't like eggplant? Only use zucchini. 
  • Don't have time to start up the BBQ for the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms? There are other options: Foreman grill, stove top griddle grill thing, bake with a spritz of olive oil on a cookie sheet. Some recipes even fry the eggplant in oil, but that can make it a little greasy. I suggest grilling if you can because it adds delightful flavor and doesn't require additional oil.
That's it. Toodles.