Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Florida Toast

Good evening everyone! Tonight, I'm falling victim to one of the longest running foodie epidemics - cravings. You all know what I'm talking about, it all starts off innocently enough, you see a TV ad for a certain food item, or you read about a food item in a magazine. The next thing you know, you're thinking "I wonder if I have a recipe for X" one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you're at the store, buying the necessary components for whatever innocuous thing crossed your vision a few days before.

This week, my 'item X' was french toast. (Which by the way, doesn't french toast deserve a spot in the craving hall of fame? It's not usually a 'standard' on the breakfast menu - but it always seems to be made following the "I haven't had french toast in a long time" thought. That sort of regular appearance on the craving list deserves recognition!) I read a recipe for the breakfast delight online and thought to myself - "Hey, I haven't had french toast in a long time" Mistake number one. The "I haven't had X in a long time" is another way to tell your brain "I should have item X soon". Being the avid chef that I am, I naturally had to look up some other french toast recipes, you know - just to see what's out there. One thing led to another and, well, here we are. I'm typing up a french toast recipe and pretty soon, you'll be thinking "I haven't had french toast in a long time" and in a few short days - wham - you're making french toast. I tell you, it's like the gateway drug of food cravings. I apologize in advance for bringing french toast into your homes. If you have small children, you may want to usher them out of the room - All kidding aside, here's this week's first recipe:

The Recipe: Grand Marnier French Toast
Original Recipe Found In: Multiple Online Sources Including Jaime Oliver and Epicurious

What You'll Need:

4 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Half And Half
1/4 Cup Grand Marnier (or comparable orange liquor) or Frozen Orange Juice (Concentrated - Thawed)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Grated Orange Peel
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
8 - 3/4 Inch French Bread Slices (Texas Toast is an optional replacement)
1 Tablespoon Butter

Begin by mixing the eggs, half and half, frozen OJ, sugar, orange peel and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Whisk well until everything is combined. Next, dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, making sure each side is well coated. Place the bread into a 13 X 9 dish or any large pan. Once all of the pieces have been dipped, pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the mixture to absorb into the bread - greatly enhancing the flavor with every bite!

I found it was helpful to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and warm a large baking sheet in the oven. This baking sheet will allow you to store the cooked pieces of french toast, while you're cooking the others. If you're using an electric griddle or a very large skillet - you may not need this option.

After 5 minutes, or when the liquid is completely absorbed into the bread, whatever comes first, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the toast for about 5 minutes per side (or until nice and golden brown). Place the finished pieces on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until everything is finished and ready to serve. Serve with maple syrup or powdered sugar and enjoy!

The Results:

Since I had seen so many variations of this recipe across the web, I knew the flavoring had to at the very least be decent. It was actually a very tasty dish. The subtle undertone of oranges accompanied every bite of the toast (so those who are not citrus fans may want to sit this one out). In fact, it tasted less like french toast and more like toast from a more 'orange centric' state - Florida. (Thus the name of tonight's blog!) All in all, this is an extremely simple and delightfully satisfying dish that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Certainly worth an attempt for those following along at home.

That's all we have for you tonight, I'm back in the kitchen once again tomorrow night with ANOTHER variant on breaded chicken - but this breading is not at all what you'd expect. Be sure to stop in tomorrow evening to see what I've got cooking. Until then,


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