Sunday, June 03, 2007

Making good use of day-old bread...

10 more new recipes for us this week - even through all of the craziness that has been going on around here! I would have to say that the Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid, Essence of Chocolate Squares, and the Rice and Eggs with Peas and Herbs were the highlights of the week for us.

Speaking of that fun cardamom braid, I had frozen most of the slices and we have been nibbling here and there from the loaf throughout most of the week. Every time we went and grabbed a slice to toast, we kept wondering how else we could reuse this enticing bread in a breakfast-type dish. I decided to save a few slices in case we came up with anything and ended up pulling them from the freezer yesterday. We wanted them to grow a touch old so we could throw together a Basic French Toast recipe and have a breakfast-for-dinner night! Well, it was more of a method than a recipe I guess - just enough milk, egg and spices to coat and saturate the thick slices. Since the bread was fairly sweet and spicy, I just used a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom to tie in the flavors already present. We used a skillet and a touch of butter for flavor to cook the bread in, but you could use a nonstick griddle and cooking spray to make it a little lighter. We opted to just do a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar to finish - since the bread was already sweet, we thought a syrup might have been a bit too much.

Instead of bacon or eggs as a side, Jeff thought something potato-y would be nice as a side tonight. I agreed, but wanted something that would be pretty simple and not too heavily flavored. So I shredded up a few russet potatoes and went to work on assembling these Crisp Potato Hash Browns. The original recipe called for adding scallions and bell peppers, but we decided to leave them out to keep the flavor a little more clean. The potatoes are tossed with cornstarch (this helped them keep their shape and control any excess liquid from the potatoes), salt and fresh ground black pepper along with garlic and onion powders for a light flavor background. You could certainly dice up some onions and mince up fresh garlic if you want to take the extra time, but I was on a mission to get dinner done! To form the round shapes, we scooped a heaping mound of the potatoes into a large open biscuit cutter - you want to gently press the mixture down enough, but not pack it too tight as you want it to cook all the way through. Instead of pan-frying, these browns go into the oven at a high temperature to bake - we did spray just a touch of olive oil spray on top to help the process along. After baking, they came out moist and tender on the inside with a crisp golden brown exterior.

We actually preferred these a little on the plain side as they didn't have any overpowering or distracting flavors that detracted from the delicious French toast. However, I would probably add the scallions and bell pepper if I was making it along side a more savory entrée.


  1. WOW, that looks great, Joe. I love French Toast. I recently didn't have milk, but had cream in the frig and made it with that. Oh my...was that good, rich but good.

  2. Mmmm, I love breakfast for dinner! Unfortunately, my boyfriend is not a big fan.

    Hey, Joe, I saw this recipe and thought of you:

    I think I'm going to try making it later on this week--I'll be interested to see if you try it too. :)

  3. Your bread looks great, and those hash browns too! I love potatoes.

    Your brownies from the last post look awesome too :)

  4. The way you've made your French Toast is what, in Spain, are called Rebandas de Carnaval, when they're served on (Carnival) Shrove Tuesday,
    torrijas the rest of the time. And, definitely a yummy way to use up day old bread.

  5. Janice - Cream would certainly make it an indulgent treat!

    Me - Thanks for the link! I will check it out.

    Kelly-jane - Thank you!

    Pamela - Very tasty way to use it up indeed... though, I bet it would have been just as good in a bread pudding instead!