The Daily Dish: French Toast

french toast

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Today we’re talking about French toast. This morning stalwart most likely got its name from the French dish, pain perdu or “lost bread”—a poetic way to say stale bread. And slightly stale bread is one of the keys to French toast that has a crunchy exterior with light and airy insides. Essentially this is bread, soaked in custard, and pan fried; perhaps the precursor to bread pudding.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
1 cup milk
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 (1/2-inch) slices slightly stale country loaf, brioche, or challah bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Maple syrup

Directions
Heat oven to 350°. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a shallow pan (a pie pan works well).

Dip bread into mixture and let soak about 30 seconds on each side.

Remove to a cooling rack sitting on a sheet pan. Let sit at least 2 minutes, but not more than 3.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt approximately 2 tablespoons butter (you want a thin layer coating the pan). Lay two or three bread slices into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove from the pan, lay on a baking sheet, and place in oven about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

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The Daily Dish: Shredded Potato Cake with Leeks and Cheese

potato cakes

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Who doesn’t love a potato? Who doesn’t love cheese? So how about potatoes and cheese in a crispy pancake? I snagged this recipe for a Shredded Potato Cake with Leeks and Cheese from the good people of Shelburne Farms. Right on Lake Champlain in central Vermont, this special place is a working farm, cheese maker, inn, and great restaurant.

Ingredients
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced
1-1/2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
3/4 cup grated Alpine-style cheese (such as Gruyère)
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher or sea salt

Directions
In a medium-size cast-iron frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are silky and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe frying pan clean.

Rinse potatoes well, but don’t peel. Shred on a box grater. Place shredded potatoes on a clean dish towel and sprinkle with another generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss potatoes with your hands to season. Gather towel corners together and twist (over a bowl or sink) to remove as much moisture as possible.

In the still-warm frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the shredded potatoes in an even layer; press them into the pan. Add leeks and cheese in even layers. Add remaining potatoes, pressing them into the pan.

Cover the pan and cook until potatoes are golden brown on the bottom (peek with a spatula), 8 to 10 minutes. Turn a plate (larger than the pan) over on top of the potatoes. Place your hand firmly on top of the plate and carefully flip the pan so the potato cake is on the plate.

Heat remaining oil until shimmering. Slide potato cake back into pan, raw side down; cover, and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Slide from pan and let rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli.

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

The Daily Dish: Buttermilk and Banana Pancakes

buttermilk and banana pancakeslisten icon Listen to the Daily Dish

I confess, I am not a morning person, but making pancakes is worth getting up for. My nephew James and I have also discovered that these will taste much better if you have not showered and are still in your pajamas—really. This is a pretty standard pancake recipe. In the summer I make these with blueberries and peaches.

Yield: 2 dozen pancakes

Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus a pinch baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 quart buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 bananas, sliced into about 20 rounds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup warm maple syrup

Directions
In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in buttermilk and butter. Whisk in the dry mix-just until incorporated—do not overmix. Let rest 5 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick saute or griddle pan to medium (about 350 degrees). Melt enough butter to spread a thin even film over the surface of the pan. Ladle about ¼ cup of batter per pancake into the pan and let it spread into a round. Let the pancake cook about 30 seconds.

Place 4 or 5 pieces of sliced banana onto the pancake and let cook until bubbles break the surface. Gently flip and cook about 1 minute (or until golden brown) on the other side. Serve with warm maple syrup.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

The Daily Dish: Anadama Bread

anadama bread

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This is definitely a New England recipe. Anadama bread is one of the most popular breads here, and for good reason—it’s absolutely delicious. Try smearing a mixture of butter and local honey on it and, you’ll be hooked. This is my friend and mentor chef Jasper White’s recipe, Jasper uses a bit more cornmeal and less molasses than most recipes, so it serves dual roles as a breakfast bread or alongside hearty chowders.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 1.5 hours
Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 cups (approx.) warm water (105-115 degrees), divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 teaspoons salt
3-1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Vegetable oil or butter
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)

Directions
In a medium-size bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer with hook attachment), combine yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water; mix well. Add melted butter, molasses, salt, flour, and cornmeal. Slowly add up to 1 cup more warm water; mix to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead by machine about 10 minutes, or by hand about 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Oil (or butter) a large bowl lightly. Shape dough into a ball and place in the bowl; turn it once so it’s lightly greased all over. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free spot. Let dough rise until volume doubles, about 1 hour.

Grease two 9-1/2×5-inch loaf pans. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place each loaf in a pan, return to a warm spot, and let rise until volume doubles, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash and bake 1 hour, or until deep golden brown. To test for doneness, remove one hot loaf from its pan and tap the bottom of the bread; you’ll hear a hollow sound if it’s done. If it’s not done, return it to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. When loaves are done, turn them out of their pans and cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.

(Adapted from 50 Chowders: One-Pot Meals—Clam, Corn & Beyond by Jasper White)

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

The Daily Dish: Rice and Lentils

rice and lentils in bowl

Riso e Lenticchie

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Serves 8 or more as a first course or soup

Ingredients
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut in pieces
1 cup onion cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup carrot cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup celery cut in 1-inch chunks
6 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
8 to 10 cups hot water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 ½ cups Italian short-grain rice, such as
Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano
1 cup chopped scallions
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing

Directions
Drop the pancetta or bacon pieces into the food-processor bowl, and pulse several times, to chop the meat into small bits. Scrape all the chopped pancetta right into the heavy saucepan. Put the onion, carrot, and celery chunks and the sage leaves into the empty food-processor bowl, and mince together into a fine-textured pestata.

Put the butter and olive oil into the saucepan with the minced pancetta, and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, as the butter melts and the fat starts to render. When the pancetta is sizzling, scrape in the vegetable pestata, and stir it around the pan until it has dried and begins to stick, 4 minutes or so. Clear a space on the pan bottom, and drop in the tomato paste, toast it in the hot spot for a minute, then stir together with the pestata.

Raise the heat, pour in the white wine, and cook, stirring, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Pour in 8 cups of hot water and the tablespoon salt, stir well, and heat to the boil. (Add all 10 cups of hot water if you want to serve the rice and lentils as a thick soup rather than a denser riso.)

Cover the pan, and reduce the heat slightly, to keep the water at a moderate boil, and let it bubble for 20 minutes or so, to develop the flavors.

From Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy

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lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.

The Daily Dish: Icy Espresso Frappe

espresso frappe with straw

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Frappe di caffè

Serves 4

Recommended equipment
A blender and a food processor, if needed
4 tall glasses, chilled, and 4 long spoons

Ingredients
2 cups strong freshly brewed espresso
6 tablespoons sugar or more to taste
3 cups finely crushed ice or ice cubes
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
While the espresso is hot, stir in 5 tablespoons sugar (or to taste). Let the coffee cool to room temperature.

If you don’t have crushed ice, pulverize the ice cubes in a food processor (my preference) or a blender, into fine bits. Return the crushed ice to the freezer.

Whip the cream, with a spoonful of sugar if you like, until smooth and holding soft peaks. Keep it chilled.

When thoroughly cool, pour the espresso into the empty blender jar. Churn on high speed for at least 2 minutes, until it becomes light in color and frothy.

Pour an equal amount of the espresso frappe into each chilled glass, quickly add a share of crushed ice and top with a mound of whipped cream. Serve right away with a long spoon

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lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.

The Daily Dish: Easy Breadsticks

breadsticks

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I love throwing dinner parties. I am always trying to think of fun and tasty snacks to have as appetizers: not too fancy or fussy, things you can pick up with your hands, and something I can make myself. I was recently at a cocktail party where breadsticks were served — store-bought — and they were okay, but I figured they can’t be too hard to make and I can add any flavors I like.

Ingredients
Pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

Any toppings you prefer. (we suggest black and white sesame seeds, fennel and coriander seeds, poppy seeds, chile powder, finely grated Parmesan cheese, za’atar spice mix, or freshly ground black pepper)

About 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt

Directions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out your favorite pizza dough (store-bought or homemade) to about 1/3 inch thick.

Using a large knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips.

Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with any mix of seeds, spices, and cheese. One by one lift the ends of the strip and twist. Arranged the twisted strips onto baking sheets.

Bake until nicely browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Let cool, then serve or store up to 1 day in an airtight container.

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Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine’s food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.