Monday, May 21, 2012

Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast

 The Background

Okay, I don’t typically re-post recipes exactly as they are written.  I confess to being one of “those” people who has to try something, dabble with it, fidget with it, fix it, forget it, re-fix it and then… post it.  Typically, if I am searching for inspiration I will hit tons of recipe sites, peruse countless recipes.  I will discredit some poor guy or gal I never met, scoffing at whatever process or ingredient they are using, then find another similar dish and apply recipe one’s thought, to recipe two’s ingredients and combine it with something I think I dreamt up, but was probably bastardized from yet another source.
Not today.  Today, maybe it’s because I was appalled at how long it has been since I posted a recipe, or perhaps because we had this for Mother’s Day brunch and it was “lick the pan” delicious exactly how it was written, I proudly repost… Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast.  And I would like to thank the fine folks at Good Housekeeping for awesome recipe.  Oh, I can’t wait to try other fruit variations with this recipe

The Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) packed brown sugar
  • 5 large ripe bananas, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 (12-ounce) long loaf French or Italian bread, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices (I used Challah – and loved it!)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cup(s) milk
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup(s) sliced almonds or coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
    Read more: Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast - Good Housekeeping


    Making It Work

  • In microwave-safe small bowl, heat butter in microwave oven on High 1 minute or until melted. Stir sugar into butter until moistened. With fingertips, press sugar mixture onto bottom of 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish. (It's okay if mixture does not cover bottom.) Spread fresh or dried fruit over sugar mixture; top with bread slices, cut sides down.
  • In medium bowl, with whisk, beat eggs; whisk in milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slowly pour milk mixture over bread; press bread down to absorb egg mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. (My wife is not a fan of nuts, so we toasted pecans to sprinkle on top rather than baking them into the French toast)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap from baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45 to 50 minutes or until bread is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Note: If you don't have bananas, substitute 3 to 4 very ripe pears or peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced; or 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins.
    Read more: Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast - Good Housekeeping
  • Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Roasted Poblano and Cilantro Pesto

    The Background

    I am revisiting a recipe I posted last January for a Cilantro and Pecan Pesto.  I recently had lunch with my beautiful bride and enjoyed a turkey wrap that had a poblano pesto sauce.  It was pretty tasty and I knew right away that I needed to incorporate this into my own recipe.

    I mentioned in my original post that this recipe is quite adaptable, and I think this is a fantastic variation.  I used cilantro (instead of the more traditional basil) and pecans (rather than pine nuts).  Why?  Well, because this is Texas, not Tuscany; and it’s also what I had on hand! 


    • 1 bunch Cilantro
    • 3 Poblano Chiles, roasted and skinned
    • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
    • 1/2 cup Natural Pecans (Raw)
    • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt - Coarse
    • 1 tbsp. Pepper, Black
    • 2 Garlic Clove
    • 1 Large Shallot, roughly chopped


    For the Poblanos, you will want to grill these either on an open grill or, if you have a gas burner, you can place the chiles directly on the grates of your burner.  We aren’t so much cooking these, rather we just want to char the outside of the peppers.  If you are doing this over a burner, make sure you turn them frequently.  Once the skin is nicely charred, put them immediately into a large Ziploc bag and zip it shut.  This create steam inside the bag.  After a few minutes steaming in a Ziploc, the skins will literally fall right off.  Then you can easily cut off the stems and remove the seeds.  Chop the chiles roughly.

    The food processor will do almost all of the heavy lifting for this dish. I coarsely chop the cilantro and the pecans just to give my processor a bit of a head start. Make sure you use the whole bunch of cilantro.  The stems bring tons of flavor, and should not be discarded, especially if you have a good food processor that will not leave large, stringy stems in the finished product.  In the bowl of the food processor combine the chopped cilantro, chopped pecans, shallots, roasted poblano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic and olive oil. Pulse to combine everything. Once everything is well blended, stir in the grated parmesan.

    So, what can you do with this pesto?  As it is in the recipe, it is great on crackers or toast.  Feeling fancy?  Put a small spoonful on a cracker, top with finely diced tomatoes and sprinkle with additional parmesan.  It is bright and colorful and full of fresh flavor.  Or you can leave it in a bowl as a dip for pita or pasta chips.  If you take a quarter cup of the pesto and thin it a bit with chicken broth, it makes an awesome pizza sauce, top it with grilled chicken, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and shredded smoked mozzarella and let me know when I should be there for dinner! 

    As I mentioned above, it makes a flavorful spread for sandwiches in place of mayo.  Or, you can take a quarter cup of it, again, thin it with chicken broth and toss with some freshly cooked cheese stuffed tortellini and some diced ham for a delicious pasta dinner.  Last idea, how about pounding out some chicken breast or pork tenderloin nice and thin, then smearing a healthy spoonful of the pesto into the center.  You can then roll the meat up, wrap in prosciutto and either broil or grill these for a dinner worthy of honored guests. 

    I am sure there are other great uses for this, let me know if you find a great way to use this pesto!