Overnight Peach French Toast

Every summer a local non-profit sells Colorado peaches as a fundraiser. We always buy a box, which has to contain about 3 dozen peaches, ripe peaches, ripe all-at-the-same-time-peaches. We usually eat about 5 peaches a day until we are so tired of eating peaches that we don’t feel too badly when we have to throw out the last 3 or 4 because they are overripe and molding. This summer I vowed to do a little bit more with them than just eat them fresh 5 times a day. I saved this recipe a few months ago in preparation for the arrival of the peach truck. I got our box a few days ago and bought the ingredients so that I could make it. It took very little preparation late the night before and baked up really nicely. The bread turned really custardy like a bread pudding. We served it drizzled with the slightest amount of maple syrup but it is delicious without or would be tasty with a little bit of powdered sugar. There are leftovers and I imagine they will heat up well for a couple of weekday breakfasts.

Overnight Peach French Toast

Ingredients:

½ loaf of French bread cut into ½” slices

8 eggs

2 C. milk

¼ C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large peaches, sliced

¼ C. packed brown sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ C. sweetened condensed milk or ¼ C. heavy cream

Directions:

Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange bread in a tight, flat layer in dish.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Pour over bread. Arrange peaches on top of bread and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap baking dish and pour condensed milk or cream over top of bread/peach mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Adapted from Prevention RD

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S’mores Ice Cream

So I mentioned in my last post that I had two ice cream recipes chosen to make for National Ice Cream month and this is the second. I have another ice cream flavor that I would love to try making but looks like July will get away from me before I have a chance to do it. I first saw this ice cream on Pinterest and pinned it right away. There are few things that say “summer” more than s’mores made on a bonfire. We’ve been having a string of 90-degree days here so bonfires are not happening, but the flavors of a toasty, ooey, gooey s’more mixed up into a nice cool treat? Now that is happening. I was skeptical that the ice cream would turn out tasting like a toasted marshmallow, but it certainly did. I might let my marshmallows get a bit more char on them the next time I make this, imparting more flavor to the base. The original recipe called for a fudge layer but I made this easier on myself and mixed in semi-sweet chocolate chunks. It does appear to be a really involved recipe, but I actually whipped up the custard base in less than 20 minutes and that’s with two little helpers wreaking havoc in my kitchen. Enjoy!

S’mores Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 (10-ounce) bag large marshmallows
1 1/2 C. whole milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 C. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

about 8 graham cracker squares, coarsely chopped

3/4 C. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks

Directions:

Spread the marshmallows in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them under the broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until toasted. Take them out and, using tongs, flip them over and put them back under the broiler until the other side is toasted. Set the marshmallows aside.

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat on medium until simmering.

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large, heatproof bowl. Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, using a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture from the bowl back into the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly with the spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (it should be between 170 and 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.

Let the custard cool for a few minutes. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and stir. Put the toasted marshmallows in a blender, then pour a cup of custard over top. Puree until the marshmallows are completely broken down and the mixture is smooth. (I was skeptical that the full blender of toasted marshmallows would blend up, but they did!) Add the rest of the custard and blend for 10-15 seconds to combine. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Before churning, remove plastic wrap and whisk ice cream base until smooth and pourable. It will be thick and spongy at first. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove half of mixture and place into a storage container. Sprinkle with half of the chopped graham crackers and half of the chocolate chunks. Spread the remaining ice cream over top and sprinkle the rest of the graham crackers and chocolate. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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Coffee Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month and in honor of it, I chose two recipes to try. This is the first. I chose coffee ice cream because normally I’m not a big fan of it. Our family has gotten quite into the iced coffee trend, though, and we’ve been keeping a pitcher of cold coffee in the fridge for when the craving strikes. My 3-year old daughter is now a coffee lover. Usually I can sneak her a cup of mostly milk plus coffee but she steals sips from our mugs in the mornings and wants her own cold coffee when she sees us making a glass for ourselves. Even this week while at story time at Barnes & Noble, she asked for a hot coffee from the cafe. What a nut. When I was cooking the base, the aroma was spectacular. I just knew it was going to turn out delicious, and it sure did. After one taste, my husband said, “well, I think I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!”  The mug in the photo held about 4 scoops and the 3 of us devoured it. I don’t think the container in the freezer will last long. Hopefully until after breakfast.

Coffee Ice Cream

Ingredients:
1½ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar
1½ cups whole coffee beans (I used caramel-flavored beans)
Pinch of salt
1½ cups heavy cream, divided
5 large egg yolks
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. finely ground coffee or espresso powder

Directions:
Combine the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt and ½ cup of the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour. (I didn’t have an hour to spare so 30-40 min. was enough to infuse with coffee flavor)

After steeping, return the saucepan with the coffee mixture to the burner over medium heat.  Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Once the coffee mixture has become warm again, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Return the egg-coffee bean mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.

Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans.  Mix in the vanilla and ground coffee or espresso powder.  Chill the batter in the refrigerator.  Chill thoroughly and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source: Annie’s Eats

*As for what to do with the leftover 5 egg whites? We made egg white sandwiches because egg whites and sausage patties are way healthier!

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Iced Passion Tea Lemonade

At the beginning of my maternity leave this February, I received a $25 gift card to Starbucks. I generally don’t go to Starbucks but a few times a year, but if I have a gift card and don’t have to spend my own money, then sure, I’ll stop there while on my way out of Target or take my daughter out for hot chocolate after sitting patiently during her haircut. I milked that gift card for all its worth, leaving me with about $4 left the week before I went back to work. I stopped at Starbucks to spend the remaining balance of my gift card and this time instead of getting a coffee drink, I opted for an Iced Passion Tea Lemonade. I was surprised how delicious and refreshing it was. Not too sweet, not too lemony/sour, the perfect pick-me-up on a gorgeous spring day. I saw this recipe on Pinterest for a knockoff and since I only drank this yesterday and the flavor is fresh in my mind and mouth, I can tell you it is spot on. I multiplied the recipe to make a pitcher since I doubt I would ever just mix up one serving at a time.

Iced Passion Tea Lemonade

Makes about 8 servings

8 C. (64 oz.) brewed Tazo Passion Tea

2 C. (16 oz.) prepared lemonade

3/4C. (6 oz.) vanilla syrup (recipe as follows)

To make vanilla syrup, place 1 C. water and 1 C. granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 min to allow syrup to thicken. Remove pan from heat. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract, stir and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

To make tea lemonade mix together the 8 C. of tea, 2 C. of lemonade and 3/4 C. of the vanilla syrup in a pitcher and chill in the refrigerator. Pour over a glass of ice and enjoy!

Recipe from Smells Like Home

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Banana Streusel Muffins

When I was growing up, my mother always baked homemade muffins to go alongside her hotdish. I have no idea where this idea came from, if it was her own or if she grew up eating this meal. Wherever it came from, it equals comfort food for me. I still make a good old fashioned hamburger hotdish on occasion. For those readers who aren’t from the Midwest, hamburger hotdish usually consists of macaroni noodles, browned hamburger, corn, kidney beans and either condensed tomato soup or tomato sauce. As for any spices besides salt and pepper, it’s up to the cook. My mom usually added some chili powder to hers. We almost always had blueberry muffins with our hotdish. Last week, I made these delicious, moist, big, awesome banana muffins to go with ours. It has taken me a while to find a perfect go-to banana muffin recipe to use up the hoards of frozen, ripe bananas in my freezer. I’ve been making this one for a while now on weekends or sometimes for my daughter’s snack day at preschool.

Banana Streusel Muffins

Makes 12 jumbo muffins

Streusel Topping

1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 C. light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. coarse salt

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 C. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Muffins

2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 C. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 ripe bananas

1/2 C. buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt

To make streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter and work it into dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry blender. Set aside in the refrigerator.

To make muffins:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 jumbo muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Then add vanilla and bananas.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating until the flour in absorbed. Mix in buttermilk/sour cream/yogurt.

Using a large cookie scoop or a scant 1/4 C. divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle each with streusel topping.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins come out clean.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool.

Recipe adapted from the Sono Baking Company Cookbook by John Barricelli

 

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Homemade Greek Yogurt

This year I had two specific dairy-related cooking goals. I wanted to make homemade mozzarella cheese (stretching that hot cheese looks so fun!) and homemade yogurt. As I mentioned briefly in my last post, the mozzarella cheese was a flop. I so badly wanted it to work, but I think it had to do with using milk that I believed was pasteurized but was really ultra-pasteurized. So many rules! Anyway, last week I attempted to make homemade yogurt for the second time in my life. I tried to make it 4-5 years ago and it was a flop. I did exactly what I was supposed to and waited all night only to uncover it in the morning and find a runny, tangy bowl of milk. Determined to try again, I found many different recipes on Pinterest and went ahead and tried one from America’s Test Kitchen. The folks there test the bejesus out of their recipes so I trusted this recipe not to fail me. And it did not! It worked perfectly the first time. Making yogurt from scratch sounds like a major ordeal but I assure you, it is very hands-off and quite easy and you don’t need any special equipment. Well, except I am pining for a super expensive digital thermometer.

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Makes about 5 cups

8 cups 2% low-fat milk
1/2 C. dry milk powder
1 C. plain 0 percent Greek yogurt (Be sure that the “starter” yogurt you choose contains live active cultures)

1. Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot and steaming but not simmering, 170 to 180 degrees. Stir in milk powder, transfer milk mixture to a large bowl set over an ice bath, and stir milk occasionally until it cools to 110 degrees. *I didn’t make an ice bath, but just kept the bowl at room temp and monitored the temperature every 10min. until it was cooled. I used a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the bowl. It took 30-40min. 

2. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt and a ladleful of cooled milk together until smooth. Add yogurt mixture to remaining cooled milk, and whisk to combine.

3. Cover large bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and poke several holes in the plastic. Preheat your oven to whatever temperature you like but only for 1 min. Turn oven off but keep the light on. The oven should remain between 90 and 100 degrees. Place bowl in oven and ferment until yogurt has thickened and set, about 7 hours. *I set the bowl on a cookie sheet and covered it with several kitchen towels to sort of insulate it and keep it warm and cozy. I checked it after 5 hours and it was pretty set but left it in the oven overnight for good measure.

4. Set a mesh strainer or colander over a large measuring cup or bowl and line strainer with 2 coffee filters or a double layer of cheesecloth. Add yogurt, cover strainer with plastic, and refrigerate yogurt until about 3-4 cups of liquid have drained into the measuring cup or bowl. *I only let mine strain 2 hours and plenty of whey had drained. I didn’t want a very thick, sour cream-like consistency and this was just enough.

Transfer yogurt from strainer into a clean, airtight container, discarding drained liquid. At this time you may add vanilla extract to taste and/or any sweetener you prefer. I added 1/4-1/3 C. of white sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla extract to mine and it was great. Serve with honey, fruit, granola or any other topping of you choose.

Yogurt can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I have read that you can use your own yogurt to start subsequent batches of yogurt but have yet to try it out. This also takes some planning so that you either set aside a little bit right after you make it, or make sure not to eat the entire batch in order to start the next.

America’s Test Kitchen Feed

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Steel Cut Oats

For a few months now, my husband and daughter have been on an oatmeal-for-breakfast kick. I enjoy oatmeal on occasion, provided it’s the brown sugar and cinnamon or maple flavored kind. Also, I’m a little bit afraid to eat it again since it was one of the only foods to make my stomach turn while I was pregnant. Recently, I took a trip to a local natural foods store for an ingredient I needed to try my hand at making homemade mozzarella cheese. Since I didn’t want to just buy a $0.99 package of citric acid, I grabbed a bag of steel cut oats to try. I looked up a few recipes and we cooked it on the stove top the next morning. Steel cut oats are different from regular rolled oats in that they are the whole oat kernel cut up into small pieces while rolled oats have the bran removed and are rolled flat for faster cooking. Therefore, they are better for you because they have more fiber and are a “whole food.” On the stove top, steel cut oats take 35-40 minutes to cook through. This works if you get up extra early in the morning or cook it on the weekends. I also looked up ways to cook it in a crockpot. Worried about how they might scorch in our large crockpot, I discovered a water bath method which worked perfectly and I liked the hands-off approach. Plus, you can prep it the night before and wake up to a warm, hearty breakfast. Or do like I did and cook it during the day while I was home to monitor it and then transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge to warm up the throughout the week. Oh and by the way, the cheese-making project was a total flop! I think it was a problem with the type of milk I bought. Oh well, at least it led me to this yummy breakfast recipe.

Stovetop Steel Cut Oats

3 C. water

1 C. whole milk

1 C. steel cut oats

1 T. unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1. Bring water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam; add oats and toast, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until golden, 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

2. Stir toasted oats into the simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until oats absorb almost all of the liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, , about 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let oatmeal stand uncovered 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired.

Makes about 4 servings. Total cooking time is 35-40 min.

Cooks Illustrated

Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Same ingredients as above. Complete toasting step, however, place oats into an oven-safe bowl. Top with milk and water and salt. Stir.

*Toasting the oats first isn’t necessary, it just gives them a bit nuttier flavor. I’ve cooked them both ways and they turn out fine without the toasting step.

Form a ring out of crumpled aluminum foil and place in the bottom of a large crockpot. Place bowl of oat mixture onto ring. This step lifts the bowl off the bottom of the crock to avoid the possibility of cracking either the bowl or the crock. Fill crock with water up to the level of oats in the bowl. Cover and cook on low about 6 hours. Gently lift bowl out of water-filled crock and either serve or place into an airtight container to eat later.

Method adapted from Ann Kroeker

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