6-25-05 - 1


Recipes for a lazy Saturday morning, sitting on the patio in the sun, listening to bird song and NPR's Morning Edition, reading the New York Times.

Frittata : I make a lot of frittatas these days because they're one of those great flexible things that you can do with whatever you have on hand, and they're quick and you only need one pan. Heat an oven-safe skillet with a little oil. Add chopped onion and raw chicken sausage; brown, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the tasty brown bits up; add some very finely chopped potatos and cook until soft; add some chopped tomato and cook until softened; add some microwaved frozen spinach (microwave in a covered bowl until thawed and warm). Prepare eggs : roughly 6 eggs in a bowl, whisked well. Make sure you salt & pepper; I added fresh oregano from my yard. Sprinkle the mix with goat cheese (which will become soft gooey nuggets in the frittata), and pour the eggs over it all. Keep cooking on medium/low until it starts to set up (don't stir after you add the eggs). Place under the broiler a few inches down and cook until nicely brown on top, usually a few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Slip a spatchula under it to loosen. Put a plate upside down on top of the pan and flip the pan over to get the whole frittata out. Cut in wedges like a pie. Sprinkle the top with fresh herbs (parsely and green onions are nice) and grated parmesan.

French Toast : The key to great french toast is to start with great bread. Many books tell you to use stale bread, though that's not really necessary. Do not use those horrible grocery store sliced breads, get a real loaf of bread. The best breads I've used are brioche and challah, though today I used a ciabatta and it was great. Cut some nice thick slices, about an inch thick. Prepare the custard : eggs & milk, with not too much milk, and more egg yolks than whole eggs; if you want to make it really rich, use half and half instead of milk. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and whisk. Soak the bread, spooning the custard over as appropriate. Use a small pan to soak them so the custard is deep. Soak at least 5 minutes on each side. Heat a pan with a little vegetable oil. Now here's the trick bit : take the slices out of the custard and sprinkle the side you're going to put down in the oil with granulated sugar. Fry at a low temperature so the middle will cook by the time it gets golden grown. Sprinkle the top with sugar before flipping. The sugar sprinkles will add a slight caramelized crust to the french toast. Remove to paper towels and pat dry to remove excess oil. Top with powdered sugar and caramelized apples (saute thinly sliced apples in hot butter and sugar until the butter and sugar start to brown). Tastes like a french apple tart or a Pain au Raisins with the sweet eggy custard gathered in the folds of the escargot of pastry. Chez Zee in Austin, TX has the best French Toast I've had at a restuarant. Brian says Greens in SF is good too.

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