Overnight French Toast

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Waking up to breakfast smells is probably one of the best ways to wake up. I don’t have a personal breakfast chef, so if I want breakfast at home, then it’s up to me. Overnight oats are terrible lie of a breakfast, but overnight French Toast (which is really just a lightened up bread pudding with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg) is a fantastic alarm clock for your olfactory system.

Enjoy a scoop with some greek yogurt and maple syrup and you’re pretty golden.

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No hard and fast recipe:
Half a loaf of old bread, sliced.
Whole Milk
A little bit of sugar.
2-4 eggs. I probably settled in the middle at 3. Also a good way to use up yolks.
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Vanilla extract if you want it.

Heat the milk and sugar up, temper the eggs and add to the milk & sugar. Toss in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Butter/oil up a baking dish. Layer the bread slices.

Pour milk and egg mixture over bread slices. Cover, let soak overnight.

If you don’t have an oven that you can program to bake at set times, sorry, you’ll have to wake up in order to bake this. Otherwise bake it at 325-350 for an hour before you want to get up. Take off the foil 20-ish minutes at the end of baking to firm up the top.

Gluten Free Scones

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Hodgson Mill posted a recipe for “Gluten Free Baked Beignets“. I used quotes because there is no way you can all these beignets in any way, shape, or form.  However, they are perfect as gluten-free scones. Not as light as wheat-based scones, but pretty decent for coconut flour scones. Hodgson Mill took my criticism well on Twitter. But seriously, don’t confuse these for beignets. It’s like calling a dinner roll a funnel cake. Two completely different things.

I don’t have any issues with gluten, but I will jump on any recipe that uses coconut flour. I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Baking in my Bathing Suit has been gluten-free lately, and she came over to help me make these.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

2T Warm Water
1 t yeast
1/2 t sugar
(Proof the three above ingredients if you want, otherwise just toss it all together)

1 C Gluten Free AP Flour
1/2 C Coconut flour
2 T Sugar
1 t baking soda1/2 t xanthan gum
3 T coconut oil, melted
1/2 C milk
1 t lemon juice
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract

Combine all of the dry stuff, then drizzle in the melted coconut oil and mix so it evenly distributes and looks kind of clumpy. Then add in the liquids (including the proofed yeast, if not, toss in the yeasty trio now). Mix well.
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Here’s what it looks like when it’s all combined and mixed. Then you cover it and let it rise for about an hour.

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Put some parchment paper on the baking sheet you intend to use. Sprinkle with some gluten free flour
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Plop the risen dough on this sheet, then knead/fold it for a little while so the dough comes back together.

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Then roll it out into as much of a rectangle as you can make, he he. (Straight lines are not my strength)

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Then cut into triangles. Or however you want them shaped.

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Spread them out a bit on the parchment-lined pan. Then cover and let them rise another +/-30 minutes. (note: I made these in winter, so my house is cooler and a 30 minute rise time is normal. In the summer this may be reduced to less than 30 minutes)
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Here’s how they look after poofing for a half hour. Wow, lookin’ pretty scone-y.
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And here they are fresh out of the oven. 400F until the edges just start to get a slight tan. I think this was about 8 minutes for my in my convection oven.
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Figured I’d try them tossed in powdered sugar in the spirit of beignets. Also because these aren’t very sweet.
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They looked pretty, but you can leave the powdered sugar off your own. Not much stuck to them.
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But these gluten free scones were great with some freshly macerated fruit!

 

Green Tea Bread Pudding

P1030032I usually suck at making bread pudding. But for some reason I lucked out with this iteration. Something like 2 cups of milk, 3 eggs, splash of vanilla extract and about 1/2 c of sugar all whisked together. Then toss in some unsweetened shredded coconut, and pour all over your cubed bread.

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I let them all sit together overnight, then popped it in the oven until it all set. About 350F for something like 30 minutes (covered).

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I think the overnight soak is what helped nail this. It gave the bread enough time to absorb all of the liquid. Also, use a lot of liquid. I think in the past I’ve been skimpy with the liquid, which resulted in not-really-bread-pudding crunchy results.

The loaf I used was a green tea swirled tea cake. It was okay as it was, but better as bread pudding.

Cinnamon Donut Loaf

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Fall is here. What comforts you in this weather? Big bowls of soup? This weekend I was thinking of cinnamon. Cinnamon used to be low on my list of spices, but lately I’ve been digging Penzys’ Cinnamon mix. It’s a blend of China, Vietnamese, Korintje, and Ceylon cinnamon. It’s got warmth, kick, and brightness. I know A Southern Grace loves cinnamon as much as I love Hello Kitty. I guess our palates can change over time.

I’ve been so busy with house stuff lately that baking has seemed like this overwhelming task, but this recipe is quick and easy to make – mix it all in one bowl. I didn’t know there would be so many “must” fixes when owning a house and the fun stuff like baking and cosmetic replacements would have to wait until, say, a bathroom floor got put in. But still, I’m lucky to have these decision and repairs to make.

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I’m still loving Chobani greek yogurt and wanted to incorporate that in a loaf to cut some fat, increase protein, and increase tenderness. This is probably a mix of coffee cake, donut, and quick bread. I still don’t eat wheat as much as I used to, but this was a springy, soft, comforting nibble in the morning.

One benefit of this weather is that I can leave it outside on the patio fence to cool off quickly. If you slice into baked goods without letting them cool off, more moisture will evaporate from the cut and the good overall will be drier than if it’d cooled off on its own (whole).

Enjoy this with a piping hot cup of tea, coffee, or even a scoop of ice cream.

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Cinnamon Donut Loaf Recipe
Dry
2 C AP Flour
1.5 t baking soda
1.5 t baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 C white sugar
1 T cinnamon

Wet
1.5 C greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 T maple syrup
2 T melted butter or oil

Streusel Topping
2 T melted butter
1/3 C white sugar
1 t cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the bowl, then add the wet ingredients, stir to combine.
Put in an 8″x8″ square baking pan.
Top with melted butter, cinnamon, & sugar mixture.
Bake 350F until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center, about 40 minutes.

Wolf Rd Diner

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Went to the Wolf Rd Diner on a Sunday morning, at a rather busy time for them. It’s the diner closer to the airport on Wolf Rd (219 Wolf Rd, Albany, NY 12205). Coffee is fine for diner Coffee. Our waitress was forgetful and overall not that great. You’d think she’d try to remember our orders and get it right the first time she forgot something, but after a while we gave up trying to remind her about the stuff she forgot because she’d apologize, say she was going to get it, then get distracted with other tables and never bring us the thing she forgot.

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Any way, they use real butter on their toast (yay, not margarine) and do a pretty decent fry-up on the home fries and hash. The eggs were a properly runny over easy.

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Challah french toast with ham. Wow, that was super yellow. No maple syrup, only breakfast syrup. But plenty of butter, so that was good. If you get there before 11 AM (I think) you can do a breakfast combo where your meals also come with coffee/tea and juice. Grapefruit juice was good – not too tart or sugary.

I still prefer Bob‘s over the Wolf Road Diner, but in a pinch, this wasn’t too bad.

Illium Cafe

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Poached eggs & pear cranberry oatmeal at Illium Cafe before the Troy Farmers Market one morning. Staff were great – very welcoming and professional.

Eggs were okay – one yolk was almost hard boiled, but the others were nice and runny. Skip the oatmeal. While the serving size was massive, it tasted like instant rolled oats with too much water in it, with some diced up pears and a bunch of dried cranberries. This would be great with steel cut oats, or if it was made the night before and left to let the flavors mingle, but this was made on the fly and was way too gluey and watery.

Carmen’s Cafe

Flan French Toast at Carmen’s Cafe is my new favorite breakfast food in the area. Get it, get it, get it, get it, get it! Three thick and fluffy slices of french toast absolutely drenched in caramelized sugar and… oh. So good. And only $7!
My favorite local social media maven ordered the Cuban eggs ($8.25) with egg whites, and they didn’t add any extra charges for using egg whites. She was happy with this plate. So much food!
Albany John got two sliders (Fritas Cubanas) with plantain chips for $5.50 & a side of chorizo hash. The sliders were cooked well & were on the tough/rubbery side. Probably would skip these next time. The hash wasn’t crispy-style hash, but still enjoyable.
DON’T RESIST THE FLAN FRENCH TOAST! IT IS SO GOOD, AND HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE SOMETHING SLATHERED IN CARAMEL SAUCE???

Breakfast at Rogowski Farm

Visited my Dad in Orange County, NY when I was on my way home from Philly. For breakfast we went to Rogowski Farm in Pine Island, NY.
Orange County has a lot of black dirt farms – rich soil.

This was a very casual breakfast location – breakfast was made there, right in front of you, open seating. Loved that community aspect of it. Breakfast menu right on the board.

Cream and sugar on the table, and they give you your own carafe of coffee! Yay!
I was really digging all of the carbs they had on the menu… so I ordered all of them, and a poached egg. From L-R on the bottom:
Honey Corn Muffin with cranberry butter ($2) – really tasty muffin. Nicely moist and the butter was so good on it.
Cinnamon Dirt Bomb ($1) – cakey deliciousness! This reminded me of coffee cake, but with a much more satisfying ratio of topping:cake (i.e. lots!)
Apple Cheddar Thyme Scone ($3) – tons of cheddar, but a little stale tasting and dry. Maybe it was made the night before, or way early in the morning and left uncovered. If it were fresher, it would have been great.

My poached egg was perfect – completely runny yolk!

My dad got the Apple Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with bacon. Mmm, this was also really good. Shredded apple with cream cheese – really nice combo with french toast.
They also have a supper club! Lamb loin? I wanna go back!

Daniel B.: “The Tour de Egg Sandwich is going to start at 7:30 on a Saturday,”

Albany Jane: “Ha ha, that’s a good one. No, seriously, when does it start?”

Daniel B.: “7:30 am on a Saturday,”

Albany Jane: “Yeah, I’m gonna be late,”

Daniel B.: “You can’t be later. 7:30 A.M.. SATURDAY.”

Albany Jane: >_<


You may have heard about Daniel B.’s Tour de Egg Sandwich. You may have even been on it. Here are a whole lotta pics from that (way too) early Saturday morning. (For the record I made it there with THREE minutes to spare. That’s like arriving an hour early for me!)

Albany John and I decided to split a sandwich at each stop so we could hopefully stave off a visit to the cardiologist immediately following the tour. Our chosen sandwich?:

Bacon, Egg, & Cheese

Egg sammich #1 was pretty decent. Two eggs on the roll, although a bit pricey at $5. The cheese was white American, and the bacon was crispy and soaked the buns nicely. The buns also tasted fresh and were really pleasantly squishy-soft. We went to:
Jack’s on Central Ave (near the Co-Op). I’d never been there before, and is a little bit bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside, not unlike a Tardis.
We also got two cups of coffee, because at 7:30 AM, Go Go Juice is absolutely necessary. The Profussor wisely paired us up with another couple we’d enjoyed hanging with on the Tour de Fish Fry. I don’t know about you, but bleary-eyed me is completely unfriendly and crankasaurus at sevenfreakingthirty in the morning.

Two cups of Joe & a BEC is just over $8.00 at Jack’s.

Stop number two was the deli at McCarroll’s in Delmar.
You order at their counter, give your name, and wait for them to call it. These guys were busy on Saturday morning, and not just because of our group.

$3.19 for a sammich here.

I LOVED the bacon. So crispy, plentiful, and they had just the right amount of fat. Mmm. I think the roll was from Prinzo’s, which is probably my hands-down favorite hard roll in the Capitol Region. It was also toasted up just a teensy bit on the inside.
I also liked that the egg yolks weren’t cooked 100% hard. I picked out any of the hard cooked egg yolks from all of the egg sandwiches we ate this day. Yes, I’m picky. Cooked egg yolks gross me out; I only like runny egg yolks.

Anyway, you can see how generous the bacon was here. I think Albany John started getting a little full. We have an unofficial 2/3-rule in our house. Usually Albany John eats 2/3 of food in the time I can eat 1/3 amount of food. I def ate 2/3 of this roll. Man, I wish I still lived in the DelSo. It would be so easy to go here.

Our next stop was Stewart’s on New Scotland Ave. I was all “YEAH, STEWART’S!” Because, dude. It’s Stewart’s. It’s our local convenience store chain! This was a mere $3.05 after tax for one roll…

But… it was bad. There is no minicing of words on this one. Stewart’s, you may have fabulous ice cream flavors, and local milk, but you need to improve your bacon, egg, & cheese sandwiches.

The bacon was in a roll. A ROLL. As in, sliced off of a log of bacon. This is kind of not a normal bacon shape, and if you have abnormally-shaped bacon, it should at least taste good and not like fail and sogginess.

The egg circle patty thing was gross – they tasted like powdered eggs, dense and unpleasantly heavy, yet not very eggy. You guys have local eggs – use ’em!
The roll was equally unpleasant – the crumb was too tight and dense, and rather overwhelming (but then again, you really didn’t want to focus on the egg & bacon circles).
The cheese was there, but absolutely flavorless and forgetful. A waste of calories. Albany John and I took two bites of this sandwich and deemed it painfully inedible. As in, our stomachs started hurting after eating these hockey pucks.

Thankfully our tour-long sandwiching mates (i.e., folks goodly enough to put up with my sarcastic and cranky demeanor) brought along Zero, who was more than willing to dispose of our undesired sandwich.

I still can’t get over how awful this bacon, egg, and cheese from Stewart’s was. I love their buttered hard rolls, and pretty much every thing else I’ve ever gotten from Stewart’s. How could something so bad come from Stewart’s?
Stop number four was Bella Napoli in Latham. It was about a 10 minute wait from ordering to receiving an egg sandwich. Saturday mornings are busy here!

Two eggs, a generous amount of bacon, and hooray, the egg yolks weren’t entirely hard! $3.51 with tax.
It was okay, but I think Bella Napoli’s hard rolls are a bit too sweet, so it’s not as perfect as a Prinzo’s hard roll, or… any other not-super-sugary rolls. The texture is great, though – airy and light buns.
Our final stop was Famous Lunch in Troy, NY. This was another one of my favorites. It was like $2.50 for a sandwich! When you go to Famous Lunch you just order with someone at the counter, and pay when you leave. It’s really low key.

BACON, so good! And the buns were nicely charred. Not burnt, but a good bit of browning and flavor. Just a hair from burnt, basically the diner-equivalent of wok hei. Tons of flavor, just awesome all around. All of the flavors were equally balanced, and it was just an enjoyable and delicious bacon, egg, & cheese overall. So good. <3 Famous Lunch! <3 Troy!

My two fave BECs were from McCarroll’s & Famous Lunch. Stewart’s was a surprising last place finisher (if you’d asked me before the tour, I’d have easily placed it in the top 3. Not a distant last).

It also seems like egg sandwiches in the Albany-area cook their eggs whole and the yolks most of the way through. In the future, I would probably ask for egg-white only, or sunny-side up yolks in my egg sandwiches, or else risk picking out hard cooked yolks from each sandwich (which grosses out everyone else around me).

New Orleans – Day

After a night of revelry, Bro, Margarita, Albany John and I were in need of sustenance. Margarita suggested Cafe du Monde on Decatur. There was a line of folks waiting to be sat – there is no real hostess – just grab a table if it’s free. Late-risers that we are, we had no problem finding a table and sitting within a few minutes of getting there. There are a lot of tables outside, and even inside, it feels very open and breezy.
When you order from a server, they go to a line and pay for your order out of pocket. Interesting system, but seems like pretty much anyone can be a server here. Once your order is delivered, you pony up to your server and pay your tab.
4 cafe au laits for us, and three orders of beignets. Fried dough covered in powdered sugar. These were just the teensiest bit oily on the outside. A bit of custardy/creamy interior inside. I’m normally not a powdered sugar fan, but these weren’t too bad with sugar on them.

Overall, I liked the coffee much more. I love chicory, such a nice flavor in coffee.

It was after noon, so I felt it appropriate to grab a refreshing beverage. Frozen peach bellini daiquiri! This was about $8.50 and came with a free shooter. It was more refreshing than potent, a good hair of the dog. I managed to finish about half of it – so cold!

And guess what’s close to Cafe du Monde? Central Grocery for muffuletta! My “go-to” food places were almost entirely skimmed off of Boots in the Oven. In a perfect world, I’d have been able to meet my blog sister. One day. Until then, I will take her eating suggestions in NoLa!

There was a bit of a line, but we made it through in about 20 minutes. And they take credit cards! Win! From here on out, all of the photos are courtesy of Albany John.
It was $14.50 for a whole muffuletta – these were premade, or being made quickly to accommodate the line. There are a few tables and stools in the back to nosh.

Hello, muffuletta! Sesame-seeded gigantic bun/loaf of bread.
I have so much excitement!! Muffuletta about to go in my mouth!

It was pretty tasty, though I think it could have used a little more filling. The bread ratio was pretty high, and uniformly squishy. The fillings inside were an awesome combination – olive salad, what seemed like some gardinera, and a bunch of different meat slices. Reminded me of an Italian sub with more stuff on it, but with squishier bread.

We walked around the French Quarter for a bit – saw this youth marching band rehearsing by a church.
And then we were off to Cochon Butcher on our way out of NoLa. It was easy to find parking near Cochon Butcher.

Inside our senses were regaled with cured meat-goodness. True story, our recently moved Chef Tanner worked with the owner of Cochon in his New Orleans days.
Albany John got a grapefruit cocktail and I got a Pecan beer. I swapped with him – the cocktail was so refreshing and tart. Bitters and such.

Charcuterie plate ($14) The pinky/tan plop in the foreground is a rabbit pate (or something like that). Tasty. The lardo on the left was ok, but I liked Chef Tanners better – his was a little more flavorful. The other cured meats were awesome. I’ve kind of forgotten them already. Sadness. But they were delicious on my tongue.
Boudin! This side portion was only $3! Awesome casings, and kicky mustard. I like boudin. It’s a sausage with rice in it.
This. Get this this this. It’s a quinoa side salad and I need to figure out how to make it at home. $3 for a refreshing cold salad with roasted califlower, scallions, and AWESOME. The cauliflower lent a nuttiness and… I want some more RIGHT NOW.

Really liked Cochon Butcher, and the next time we visit, I wanna eat at Cochon proper.

On our way out, Margarita gave us a tour of the neighborhood she grew up. Cute area. And we saw a place selling oysters. They sell oysters for $30 for 30 lbs, or $50 for 100 lbs. DUDE! Bro picked up a 30 lb sack. We got ice and such for the ride. S’cool.

These guys were fresh and covered in mud. They are of various shapes and sizes, and I think in warmer weather it would be fun to grill them.

Bro took to oyster shucking quite well. Mmm, so meaty and plump.
Oh, and they picked up some gulf shrimp. Look at how big those guys are! No preservatives or anything. So briny and good.

Bro & Albany John also cheffed up some baked oysters. A tasty way to end our day in New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler, indeed!