Monday, June 23, 2014

Fairy Godfather French Toast

My fairy godfathers, John & David, gave me this French toast recipe years ago, but I had my own habit with French toast and hasn't felt inclined to try anything new until yesterday. Jeannene and I were both working, me on my 'zine, her in preparation for a big visit from corporate folks. I wanted to make something special to reward us for working on the weekend. So, out came the recipe. It was delicious! It is also adaptable, as you can use any flavor of pudding you like. I want to try butterscotch next! When they gave me the recipe, David suggested serving it with either maple syrup,  strawberries, or peaches. I could see it working well with any fruit and if you're trying to keep it light, fruit has plenty of sweetness!

Fairy Godfather French Toast
1 small box vanilla pudding mix (not the instant sort; you can use the sugar-free variety, as well)
1 c. milk (low fat or even nonfat is fine)
2 eggs
Thickly-sliced bread (although, if you're trying to make this on the lighter side, the Pepperidge Farm Thin bread will work nicely)
Cinnamon (optional)

Mix everything together but the bread. Heat a nonstick skillet with either butter or cooking spray. Dip bread in pudding mixture, then add to skillet and brown on both sides. Serve piping hot!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Salmon Cakes & Scones

Tonight, I'd planned to make chile verde for supper, but by the time I got home, it was too late for a dish that takes 2 hours of cooking. So, it was on to salmon cakes, which are quick, easy, and scrumptious! The Rachael Ray recipe upon which I based my version calls for putting the salmon cakes on the salad, but I thought it would be better with the salad as a side. I also didn't bother buying the various pieces of the green salad base, instead picking up an organic spring mix salad. It worked nicely, cut prep time, and cost a lot less than buying 4 different kinds of greens. It's also a lot less wasteful for our 2-person household. The recommended accompaniment was rosemary & ham scones, which I made just like the recipe told me to make them, aside from switching biscuit mix brands because the store didn't have Jiffy. I am not much of an improviser when it comes to baking. They are truly stellar. I found the recipes in Rachael Ray's Around the Clock Cookbook, which has a bunch of other great dinners in it. A side of a favorite summer fruit (I am pretty mad for stone fruits & cherries) is a good dessert.

Salmon Cakes
1 can salmon (I get skeeved out by the little backbone thingie & the skin and remove it, but you don't have to)
1 egg white
A heaping 1/8th cup of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (the dry sort---and if you don't have seasoned ones, you can also toss in a smidge of oregano & basil, instead)
1 heaping tsp. seasoned salt (the original recipe calls for Old Bay---mine had gone rock hard)
A few drops of hot sauce
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (Italian or flat-leaf is my preference here)
A good grinding of black pepper
1 tbsp. oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix everything but the oil together well. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Form salmon into 2 patties and cook a minute or two on each side, to brown. Pop the skillet into the oven to bake about 8 more minutes. Serves 2.

Green Salad with Orange and Red Onion
1 bag/container spring salad mix
1 orange, peeled & chopped (if you're making the scones, zest the orange first)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. grapefruit balsamic vinaigrette (you can leave this out---I had it on hand)
1/4 c. good quality, extra-virgin olive oil (I look for "first cold press" on the bottle)
Salt & pepper

Mix the greens with the orange and onion. Whisk the oil into the vinegar. Dress and toss salad.
Season. Serves 4-6.

Rosemary & Ham Scones
1 package buttermilk biscuit mix (the size that makes 4 or 5 large or 7 or 8 small biscuits. I used Bisquick)
3 tbsp. finely-chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c. heavy cream
A pinch of salt
2 oz. diced ham (I buy the pre-diced sort and use the rest of the package in eggs, quiche, or what-have-you later in the week)
Zest of 1 orange (she actually directs you to use 1 tbsp)
A little sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix everything but sugar. Make 4 large or 8 small mounds of pressed-together dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 10-12 minutes for large scones or 7-8 minutes for small ones. I was tempted, by the way, to omit the sugar & wasn't at all sure how I felt about the orange zest. They really made for a lovely contrast and I highly recommend them, even if you generally don't favor sweet with meat. I am looking forward to having a second one with a piece of fruit for breakfast!