What is French Toast and where did it get its name? I’m sure just about everyone has had French Toast sometime or other, it is after all a popular breakfast food and is featured on many restaurants’ breakfast menus. But I everyone knows its origins or how it got its name.
Some version of this popular breakfast fare has been around for centuries. Yes I said centuries. And why not? All French Toast is bread that’s been soaked in a milk and egg mixture and then fried. We know that milk and eggs have been a food staple through out most of civilization.
According to Apicius a collection of recipes from the 5th. Century AD the dish we know as French Toast was around during the Roman Empire. Their version called Pan Dulcis, was bread soaked in a milk mixture then fried in oil or butter. In the court English of Henry V during the 15th. Century “Pain Perdu” was all the rage. The name which was in French literally means “lost bread” because it calls for soaking hard or stale bread in a milk and egg mixture then frying it. The French still call it Pain Perdu to this day.
So how did it come to be called French Toast in America when clearly it didn’t originate in France? Well legend has it that a New York innkeeper named Joseph French created the dish in 1724 and sold it as French Toast. It’s believed he meant to call it French’s Toast but he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe.
Whatever you call it and whatever its origins French Toast is delicious and actually very simple to make. Of course there are now different versions of this simple dish including IHOP’s Stuffed French Toast and Denny’s Fabulous French Toast. I actually make Creme Brulee French toast on Christmas mornings!
I look at French Toast as a blank canvas. You can have it just with syrup and butter, and that’s delicious! Or you can embellish it with fruit, whipped cream, jam, nutella, or whatever else you can think of. But before you can embellish you’ll need the basic recipe. I prefer to use day old french bread, but really you can use whatever bread you have on hand. But do try to avoid using freshly baked bread as it tends to be too soft and will fall apart when soaked in the liquid mixture. Once you’ve got the basics you can add toppings or even add ingredients to the batter. So here’s the basic recipe!
Basic French Toast
6-8 slices of day old French Bread or whatever bread you have on hand
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
Butter for frying and for topping
Fruits, jams, whipped cream, etc. for toppings (optional)
Beat Eggs, Milk, and Sugar together until well combined.
Stir in vanilla.
Melt a pat of batter in a skillet.
Dip both sides of bread slice in egg mixture until soaked.
Lift bread out of liquid and let excess liquid drain off.
Place soaked bread in skillet and cook until first side starts to brown.
Flip over and cook other side until brown.
Place in serving dish and serve immediately.
Serve with butter and syrup or whatever topping you like.
For years now I usually write about travel on my Wednesday articles. Lately due to the worldwide Pandemic travel has become difficult and many times ill advised.
Many of us have chosen to stay home this summer perhaps planning our next trip whenever we feel safe enough to venture further away from home. In our case I’m not really sure when that will be, specially since cruising is one of our favorite vacation travel. Sadly the cruising industry has canceled cruises thru September and will likely cancel cruises thru fall and possibly the rest of the year.
Yes we’re sad and even restless. We haven’t been able to visit our daughter and her family in Italy since last fall. And yes we miss traveling. That’s why I’ve been trying to bring a little bit of our travels in to our home. What better way to “re-live” some of our favorite vacation spots than thru food. I’ve decided to share some of our favorite cuisine which we discovered during our travels. Because isn’t food a big part of traveling anyway?
So for the next little while on my Wednesday post I’ll share a recipe for a favorite food we discovered during our travels. I hope it will inspire you to try something different and maybe make plans to visit one of the countries!
Today I’ll share this Piroshki recipe. Piroshkis are very similar to American meat pies, British Pasties, Middle Eastern Fatayer, and even Empanadas from Mexico, Spain, and other Latin countries.
Piroshkis are a popular street or comfort food in Russia and the Ukraine. They’re fried or baked oblong buns (I prefer the fried) filled with a variety of fillings including beef, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese. In Russia they’re considered a main course when eaten with a soup or salad. It’s often served with sour cream.
Today I’ll share a recipe for Beef or Chicken filled Piroshkis. They’re not too difficult to make and if you’re not used to working with yeast breads this is a fine recipe to start with as it’s fairly simple.
Meat Filled Piroshkis
Ingredients for the dough:
4 cups flour
1 Tsp. Active dry yeast
1/4 Cup warm water
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Lb. Ground Beef, Turkey, or Chicken
1 Large Onion very finely chopped
1/2 Cup Mushrooms very finely chopped
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Pepper
2 Tbs. Fresh Dill
1 Tsp. Dried Dill
1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic – minced
Oil for frying
First prepare dough as follows:
Dissolve yeast in the warm water and place in a warm place until it’s frothy – about 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan on low heat pour in milk and let warm up.
Whisk in the eggs, oil, sugar, and salt. This mixture will be warm and lumpy.
Remove from heat.
Place 1/2 of flour in bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand). Using the dough hook gradually stir in the milk mixture until fully combined.
Alternately add yeast mixture and rest of the flour, be sure you mix well between additions.
Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to sides of bowl. You may have to add some more flour (1 Tbs. spoon at a time) to get the dough to the proper consistency.
Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. About 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
When dough has doubled in size place the ball into a lightly floured surface.
Pinch of pieces of dough to form a ball about 2″.
Flatten dough and using a rolling pin roll each ball into disks about 4″ in diameter.
Place a heaping Tbs. of filling in the center of dough. Form filling into a line across the diameter. Fold dough over meat and pinch both ends to seal.
Place filled piroshki on to a sheet with the seam side down and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
Heat enough oil in a pan deep enough so that the piroshkis will be at least halfway immersed in oil.
Place piroshki in hot oil seam side down. Fry until golden brown.
Gently flip over and fry other side.
Drain cooked piroshki on paper towels before serving.
I Recently made a batch of Riesling Marinated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream Filling to use in my Pavlovas. The left over I used in my mini Trifles but found that I still had left overs. So to use them up (I hate waste) I decided that they’d be great with crepes. I made Strawberries & Cream Crepes!
These Strawberries & Cream Crepes have that lovely Mascarpone Cream filling and the marinated strawberries; then topped with delicious Riesling Marinated Strawberries. They are amazing! They’re great for dessert or breakfast. They’d also make a great addition to any brunch!
The crepes are really simple to make, they taste just like the crepes you’d find on the streets of Paris! I’m serious! Best of all you can make them ahead of time; just heat them up and fill before serving or even freeze them to use much later. Just remember to place a sheet of parchment paper in between each crepe to prevent them from sticking together.
This post contains affiliate links
So here’s what you’ll need to make these lovey Strawberries & Cream Crepes.
Crepes – recipe below
Riesling Marinated Strawberries – Click here for the recipe
Mascarpone Cream Filling – Click here for the recipe
Fresh Strawberries for garnish (optional)
Fresh Mint Leaves for Garnish (optional)
2 Cups Milk
3 Tbs. Butter – melted
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 Cup Flour – sifted
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until batter is smooth, about 30 seconds
Refrigerate batter at least 30 minutes (you can even leave it overnight)
Spray 8″ frying pan or crepe pan with cooking spray.
Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and rotate pan to spread batter to pan edges to form a circle.
Cook over medium low heat until top looks dry.
Gently flip over and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stack until ready to use.
Cook remaining batter and keep stacking until done. Place parchment paper between crepes to keep them from sticking together.
Assemble the crepes just before serving.
Fill each crepe with 2 heaping spoonfuls of cream filling. Place cream near the bottom edge of your crepe and spread to form a line across. Spread filling to about 1/2″ from each edge.
Spoon a few marinated strawberries on top of cream.
Roll crepe into a log.
Plate 2-3 filled crepes side by side.
Add a dollop of cream on the crepes and top with either fresh or marinated strawberries, and a mint leaf is desired.
Drizzle some of the syrup from the marinated strawberries over the top and serve.
Strawberries & Cream Crepes
Strawberries & Cream Crepes
Waking up to the aroma of freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a sure way to get everyone out of bed and onto the breakfast table.
But who has the time to wake up at the crack of dawn to start a batch of dough? Not me that’s for sure! But I do love my cinnamon rolls so I found a way to make them fresh without all the work. Really! These cinnamon rolls are super easy to make, it uses frozen bread dough! Now how cool is that?
You can take them out the night before and let them rise in the fridge. In the morning you just have to put them in a pan, brush them with cinnamon butter (I use the Chef Shamy spread you can buy at Costco) and pop them in the oven. In a very short time your house will smell like cinnamon!
I like to either glaze each roll with a thin glaze or if I have the ingredients make a cream cheese icing for them.
Here’s the recipe!
24 frozen bread roll dough
Chef Shamy Honey Butter Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Flavor
1 Stick butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 Tbs. Ground Cinnamon – mixed together to make a paste
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbs. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Place frozen dough rolls on a parchment covered tray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Roll 2 rolls together to form a ball and cut 4 slits from top to bottom, but don’t cut all the way thru.
Place this into a greased muffin tin. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You will have 12 rolls.
Spread the Butter Paste on top of the rolls and also in between the slits. It’s best to do this with clean hands so you can get the paste deep into the slits.
Cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with baking oil.
Let the dough rise until it’s double in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap and place risen rolls in the oven and bake about 15 minutes.
Gently remove from muffin tins and brush the tops with glaze or icing.
Mix glaze ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. Glaze will be slightly thicker but not icing consistency. Spread this on warm rolls before serving.
If you prefer ice with your favorite cream cheese icing.
Serve warm and don’t forget to brew some coffee!
Are you looking for something simple and easy to add to your Thanksgiving menu? Try these delicious Corn & Cheese Fritters! They’re easy to make, you can mix up a batch in about half an hour!
Corn & Cheese Fritters make a great snack, appetizer, side dish, or even a light meal! Garnish it with chopped chives or green onions and serve with a dollop of sour cream! Super yummy! I guarantee your friends and family will love them!
Here’s my recipe for the delicious Corn & Cheese Fritters. This recipe makes about a dozen 2″ fritters and can easily be doubled to make more.
One thing about these fritters, you want to fry them up nice and crisp so don’t make the patty too thick. When the Corn & Cheese fritters are too thick the middle doesn’t cook well and you end up with a raw batter center, yuck!
1 1/2 cup flour
1 large can (15.25 Oz. size) corn kernels
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheese, preferably cheddar, monteray jack, or a combination of both
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbs. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
Oil for frying
Sour cream & chopped chives or green onions for topping
Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil to the flour mixture.
Mix well until all the flour has been incorporated. Batter will be very thick, do not water it down.
Heat about 1/2′ oil in frying pan.
Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil. Lightly press down on each patty to spread it out and thin the patty to about 1/2′ thick.
Fry until golden brown turning each patty as the first side brown.
Drain on paper towel.
Serve garnished with chopped chive or green onions and a dollop of sour cream.