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Stir Crazy — Holiday Edition

Weekday dinner inspirations: Creme Brulee French Toast and more

Mon | Extra starch, please

Call them kartoffelpuffers (potato pancakes) or latkes, but make a batch tonight in honor of Hanukkah. Start with thawed frozen shredded hash browns and add grated onion. Season with salt and pepper, form patties and saute in oil until crisp on each side. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Tues | Make it easy

Cooking tonight? Hardly. With Christmas galloping toward us, we'll plan on takeout. How about some Greek avgolemono soup with toasted pita and hummus? Go light tonight, for tomorrow we party.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Somehow, the store-bought bird doesn't seem quite dressy enough for Christmas Eve. However, if you're the type of family that has a big buffet after church, slice up several birds and arrange the meat on a platter to be used for sandwiches on soft potato rolls, slathered with cranberry jelly and mayo. Now, that's festive.

Thur | Merry Christmas!

I'm all about a big breakfast after the presents are opened. I make homemade sausage gravy, but buy the biscuits frozen. Fry up some bacon and scramble lots of eggs. When I really want to dazzle them, I make the show-stopping Creme Brulee French Toast (recipe below).

Fri | Holiday hangover

With the ribbons and boxes and good intentions still scattered about the living room, seems like tea and toast should be the only thing we eat today. If you've got leftovers, heat them up. If not, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup are good comfort for the holiday weary soul.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.



SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION

>>Moderate

Creme Brulee French Toast

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1 loaf challah bread

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring until smooth, and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut 1-inch-thick slices of bread, reserving ends for another use. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly as needed to fit. (You may have too many slices; save the rest or slather with butter and eat.) In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring bread mixture to room temperature. Bake, uncovered, in middle of oven until dish is puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool just slightly, about 5 minutes, then invert carefully on a large serving tray. Cover with fresh berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serves 8 to 10.

Source: Cooking Live, Food Network

Weekday dinner inspirations: Creme Brulee French Toast and more

12/20/08 [Last modified: Saturday, December 20, 2008 3:30am]

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