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Posts Tagged ‘Brunch’

 

Baking in Oregon.  Today, that has a dual meaning.  It’s hot.  We’re not only baking in the kitchen, we’re baking in the living room, baking in the den, baking in the bedrooms.  You know, nothing can kill the desire to work in the kitchen over a hot stove like a scorching, sticky, summer day.  We don’t get a lot of really hot days here in Oregon, but we’re just coming off a run of 5 really hot days, 3 of which were over 100°F and rather humid.  These are the kind of days that just wipe you out, sapping all desire to do just about anything right out of your system.  Still, you gotta eat, and on days like these, quick, easy and cool are the way to go.

Not too long ago, we had some family over for an informal gathering.  We kept the menu pretty simple, with a few cool drinks to go along.  I made up a batch of my Strawberry Lemonade, which has been very popular in the past.  I started with a gallon, but it became apparent very soon that it wouldn’t be enough.  I whipped up a second gallon and it too, was quickly wiped out.  I threw together a third gallon and finally managed to quench everyone’s thirst.  Thankfully, I can prepare this simple recipe in just a matter of minutes.

The next day, I found at least 1/2 gallon remaining in the refrigerator.  Since my wife and I don’t drink the stuff too often, I wanted to put some of it to good use.  Looking around the kitchen, I noticed I had some fruit and yogurt I needed to use.  The fruit was just starting to look a little less fresh.  In the heat of the summer it wasn’t going to last too much longer.

So, I concocted a smoothie which I based on the Strawberry Lemonade and a few more items I had on hand. The result?  Thick, cool and refreshing as well as filling, but in a good way.  This was a tasty treat that made a warm day a bit more enjoyable.  The next day I tried a different variation, but stayed with the Strawberry Lemonade as my starting point.  Want to give it a try?  I’ve listed my recipe for Strawberry Lemonade as well as my 2 versions of fruit smoothies here.  Enjoy!

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Orange Pecan French Toast

Orange Pecan French Toast

I love breakfast.  Just about any breakfast food will grab my attention and make me stop whatever I’m doing so I can dig in. Hot breakfasts particularly.  Sweet, savory, it doesn’t really matter.  If it makes up that wonderful food group known as breakfast, I’m in.

I had recent occasion to prepare breakfast for a small group, but my time was very limited.  We had to be on the go fairly early in the morning, so I wasn’t going to have time to prep and cook the same morning.  I thought about a variety of prepare ahead breakfast dishes, but I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before.

Searching through my archives of many, many unused recipes I’ve collected from recipe and blog sites.  I had a collection of recipes filed as Breakfast Casseroles, so I drilled down deeper.  I was thinking about a savory type casserole – something with hash browns, eggs, cheese and some kind of meat, but I had made that recently and it didn’t fit my desire for something different.  Then, I happened across a group of recipes that I’d forgotten about – Baked French Toast.  I must have at least 10 different recipes for some kind of Baked French Toast.  There are a number of variations of this recipe, including some that are really more like a baked bread pudding, all of which looked mighty tempting.  As I perused the virtual stack of culinary deliciousness, my eyes locked on one I had picked up from Allrecipes.com some time back. 

Now, I can sometimes be an Allrecipes.com junkie.  There are quite a few good recipe sites out there, and some even more amazing foodie blogs, but Allrecipes is definitely in the top 10 as my go to source for recipes.  What I like best about Allrecipes, besides the very large database of recipes, the great photos that often get posted, the good looking and easy to navigate site and the nice printing options, are the reviews and ratings from readers.  While I can usually find reviews and ratings on other sites, Allrecipes consistently seems to get loads of good feedback from people who have tried and modified the recipes.  Some of these recipes have hundreds of reviews from folks that have taken the time to give their suggestions on how to tweak a recipe to make a good recipe great or a bad recipe better.  That feedback helped me to make my choice:  Orange Pecan French Toast

Rated 5 out of 5 stars, it just sounded (and looked) too good to pass up.  I read at least half of the 60+ reviews to get some ideas on how or how not to modify the recipe.  In the end, I decided to stick pretty close to the original.  I used thick cut french bread from the bakery aisle that did not have a crunch crust.  I added more pecans than noted, mostly because I like pecans and I happened to have quite a bit on hand.  I also used 5 whole eggs instead of 2 whole eggs and 3 egg whites as another reader suggested it and I didn’t have any use for 3 egg yolks in the near future.  I whipped up this easy recipe and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, I tossed it in the oven, and voila – out came a masterful piece of oooey-gooey uber-sweet nutty and hearty French toast. 

Actually, it’s really a bit more like a sweet roll than French toast.  That’s okay, once I got a taste, I could have eaten the whole pan – but that wouldn’t have been fair to anyone else (can’t say it didn’t cross my mind though….).  This stuff is awesome.  Seriously.  You need to make this – people will thank you.  Significant others will kiss you.  Non-significant others will kiss you.  Strangers on the street will kiss you.  On second thought, don’t make this, you’ll just be mad at me for getting you addicted to this little slice of breakfast ‘crack’.  Want to live on the edge (of breakfast)??  Here’s the recipe, you’ve been warned.  (BTW, I hope the folks that host ‘Sugar High Friday’s’ don’t mind my nod to the name of their event.)

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