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Weekday Dinner Inspiration: Crispy Salt and Pepper French Toast and more

Mon | Going meatless

Here at Stir Crazy, we're always fans of breakfast for dinner, but Crispy Salt and Pepper French Toast (recipe below) takes the notion to a new level. This savory French toast, from the cool website Food52.com, can be served with a lovely bowl of berries topped with vanilla yogurt and grated fresh coconut or salty sunflower seeds.

Tues | Melted delight

Make Open Face Crab Melts by mixing up a crab salad of canned crab meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, diced celery and a few shakes of Old Bay seasoning. Pile on split toasted English muffins and top with Swiss cheese. Melt under the broiler. (You can make it with shrimp, too. Either canned or salad shrimp.) Serve with a mixed green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

The Mexican mood runs deep this week, with Cinco de Mayo on Saturday. Get a head start tonight with Spicy Tortilla Chicken Soup. Shred the meat from one chicken and set aside. Puree 2 seeded, soaked ancho peppers (which are dried mild poblanos), 1 peeled onion, 2 tomatoes and 2 garlic cloves. Fry in oil in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups of broth, 4 torn corn tortillas, shredded chicken and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Simmer until thick. Season with salt and garnish with crisp tortilla strips, Mexican cheese, cilantro and lime juice.

Thurs | Seafaring salad

Make Shrimp Scampi Caesar Salad tonight by first making a mess of garlicky shrimp. Saute garlic, and minced shallots if you've got them, in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Don't let the garlic go brown; keep stirring. Add peeled shrimp and a few good splashes of white wine (or chicken broth). Let shrimp cook through and serve over Caesar-dressed Romaine. Sourdough croutons provide crunch.

Fri | Working blue

Grilled strip steaks and baked potatoes are your week's-end reward. I've been on a Creamy Roquefort Dressing kick and make it with equal parts of buttermilk and mayonnaise, lots of crumbled Roquefort, a couple minced garlic cloves and freshly cracked pepper. It's best if refrigerated for a few hours. I serve it over ice-cold Romaine with croutons.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586.

>>MODERATE

Crispy Salt and Pepper French Toast

For the French Toast:

5 eggs

3 tablespoons half-and-half

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 ½ tablespoon green onions, finely chopped (optional)

1 ½ tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

Vegetable oil

Butter

8 (½-inch) slices day-old bread, cut on the diagonal

For the sauce:

Sriracha sauce

Ketchup

In a bowl or baking dish, beat together eggs with half-and-half, salt, pepper, green onions and cilantro.

Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cover the bottom of the skillet with vegetable oil and add a tablespoon or two of butter for flavor.

Dip the bread triangles into the egg batter, drain off excess and place straight into the hot pan. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side — you want to develop a golden-brown color, and the texture should be crispier than traditional French toast.

Place cooked toasts on a paper towel-lined plate or rack to drain.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup and hot sauce to your desired heat tolerance.

Serve toasts warm with a side of the spicy ketchup.

Serves 4 to 6.

Source: Food52.com

Weekday Dinner Inspiration: Crispy Salt and Pepper French Toast and more 05/01/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 4:30am]
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