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: Basic Vinaigrette

Basic Vinaigrette

Basic Vinaigrette

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A basic vinaigrette is a whipped concoction of vinegar and oil. When done well, the vinaigrette lightly coats fresh garden greens and nudges them towards greatness. While this recipe is very easy, it is important to get it right so that you don’t end up with a glunky sauce over your delicate lettuces!

You’re going for a balanced seasoning to enhance the flavors. This dressing is best used shortly after mixing, but if it sits a day or two (covered and refrigerated), add a few teaspoons of vinegar to brighten the flavors again.

Yield: about 2 cups

Ingredients
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, smooth or grainy
1 small shallot, minced
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and shallot.

While vigorously whisking, pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil into the mix and whisk until well incorporated. Continue whisking.

In a thin, steady stream whisk in the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

___________________________________________________________
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: Spaetzle

spaetzle
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If you are on your way home tonight and tired of pasta, I have a new idea for you—spaetzle! Spaetzle is a cross between a dumpling and a noodle and it’s a fast weeknight side dish that is fun to make. You can buy a spaetzle makers, but a colander with large holes works just fine.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Place flour in mixing bowl. Add eggs and mix until blended.

Slowly add milk, mixing constantly, to form a stiff dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Fill a soup kettle full of water and bring to a boil. Hold colander over kettle (wear heavy, long mitts to avoid burns from steam), pour spaetzle dough into colander, and press through the holes with a rubber spatula, forcing spaetzle into boiling water. When noodles rise to the surface, they are done.

Drain, spoon into a bowl, top with butter, and serve with stew or goulash.

___________________________________________________________
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: Fruit Roll Ups

fruit roll ups

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Kids are crazy for fruit roll-ups and you won’t believe how incredibly easy they are to make. Kids love them, and they’re perfect to pack along on any movable feast. I have found that peaches, mangos, and most berries work best (avoid bananas, melons, or citrus). They are, of course, best in the season that the fruit is growing in, but frozen fruits work well, too.

Yield: about 5 pieces

Ingredients
2 cups pureed fruit
1 to 2 tablespoons honey

Directions
Heat oven to 200.°

In a small mixing bowl, stir ingredients well to combine. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or a Silpat mat. Ladle puree onto baking sheet and spread into a very thin (about 1/8 inch) circle, about 8 inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining puree. Place in oven 5 to 6 hours or until dried but still flexible. Cool and wrap in plastic.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

___________________________________________________________
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: Julie’s Brownies

mmm, brownie

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Sometimes you just need chocolate to get things on an even keel. My friend Julie Fox has a great recipe for chocolate brownies that is also super easy to make. All you need is about an hour—some chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, and walnuts. Soon enough you’ll be in chocolate heaven. Enjoy!

Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 70 minutes
Yield: About 40 pieces

Ingredients
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for greasing
4 tablespoons plus 3-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12×17-inch jelly-roll pan and dust with 4 tablespoons sugar. Discard any sugar that doesn’t adhere to pan.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 3 sticks butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until both have melted.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat eggs with 3-1/2 cups sugar until blended but not “frothy.” Stir in vanilla, then chocolate. Add flour, stirring until just combined. Fold in nuts if you like.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 35 minutes, or until set. (A wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out almost clean.) Let cool completely before cutting.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

___________________________________________________________
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: Mediterranean Pork Chops

pork chops

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Pork has come a long way in recent years, so don’t look to your grandmother’s old cookbook for a recipe. If you do, chances are you will overcook the meat ending up with tough chops. These days most people like to cook pork to a medium pink – I like to lightly dust the chops with flour before cooking which helps protect the meat when you sear it.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
4 1/2-inch-thick pork chops
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons capers
1 14-ounce jar whole artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and halved
3 to 4 cups hot cooked couscous or rice

Directions
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper; dredge in flour and shake off excess. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chops and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Remove chops; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add broth, tomatoes, olives, capers, and artichoke hearts to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Spoon over pork chops and hot cooked couscous or rice.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

___________________________________________________________
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.