Crusty Country French Toast

Crusty Country French Toast
Everyone needs a good French toast recipe in their pocket. Especially if you are a home baker (or are married to one) and always have a stale butt-end of a loaf of bread on your counter. Matt makes bread all the time and it’s this really amazing, crusty, rustic sourdough that we plow through, typically, with only the tiniest bit on the end that dries out brick-tough that we give to our dog. But occasionally, he will make two loaves and I will have a bit more than I can use in a week. I wanted to have a French toast recipe that I didn’t have to look up – one that was easy to memorize – for just such occasions. I wanted it to work with a bread as crusty as a non-enriched loaf can get. (Enriched refers to added sugar, oil or butter that makes bread soft like sandwich bread, and makes bread less apt to get rock hard when it goes stale.) Matt just uses his sourdough starter, flour, salt and water. It makes an amazingly chewy, crusty bread, but it’s not exactly conducive to a pb&j for a little person.

This recipe will work with bread that is really tough and even soft bread like challah (the ultimate French toast bread).¬†The difference is the soak time. If you’re using really soft, not-so-stale bread, just leave it in the mixture for less time. I left this bread in the mix for almost an hour, flipping them over after thirty minutes. I got up early to feed a baby, then she went blissfully back to sleep, so I had an hour ūüôā So the French toast had that sought-after custardy interior that is very easily obtained by using a softer loaf. Whatever bread you have, this recipe will work. Tuck it away for the weekend and try to memorize it – it’s worth it.

Country Bread French Toast Country Bread French Toast with Bananas

Crusty Country French Toast

8 thick slices of stale bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (you can honestly use whatever milk you have, but the richer the better, obviously)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla extract – I like vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8th of a teaspoon of almond extract

A few tablespoons of butter for frying

Preheat your oven to 200F.

Arrange the slices of bread in a 13×9″ dish and squeeze them in or cut them up into smaller pieces if you have to (or work in two batches if you have a smaller dish). Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and whip up till very well incorporated. Pour mixture over the bread and let the bread soak it up for 10-30 minutes per side, depending on the staleness of your bread. If you’re using a soft bread like Texas toast, just let it soak a few minutes per side until it oozes out if you poke it. For a rustic loaf that’s near crouton-consistency, let the slices soak for a good thirty minutes per side. If you have lots of leftover mixture (the thickness of your bread will determine this), you can save it in a sealed container for a week and use it again next weekend. Or just makes lots of batches and freeze the leftovers to pop in the toaster on another day!

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and work in batches, frying the toast until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Keep the toast in a single layer in your oven to keep warm until you’re done cooking the rest. Serve with melted butter and your favorite topping. Shown below with my homemade peach preserves – hooray for summer! ūüôā

Crusty French Toast

Dark Chocolate Cherry Pie Biscuits

Black Cherry Chocolate Biscuits
Dark chocolate and cherry – a pretty perfect desert combination. I regularly make dark chocolate oatmeal for Olive and myself and I will stir in dried cherries almost every time. There’s just something special about the tart zinginess of the cherries combined with the rich, deep earthy heft of dark chocolate. I’m just full of adjectives tonight. This baking project was a fun one – Olive and I were watching Tangled on a Sunday afternoon and I decided to bake something fun. A while back, Joy the Baker had this really fun baking competition and one of the challenges were these amazing apple pie biscuits. I remembered the recipe seeming like it wouldn’t work because it was too sloppy and wet, but they turned out incredible. (And there’s wonderful step-by-step instructions for how to do her biscuits, which you can apply to this recipe as well.) Fast forward to my version of this recipe and I felt the same way all over again – that there would be too much juice from the cherries for this recipe to work the same. And honestly, there was a bit more juice than with the apple version, but nothing a little draining didn’t fix. These were fun, decadent and great for breakfast during the week!

They also look so white because I had recently bought expensive, pasture-raised eggs made by chickens with PhDs and I didn’t want to waste one on making an egg wash for a few biscuits. So I brushed them with heavy cream. ¬†Not as pretty, but it saved an egg from not getting to fulfill its destiny of becoming a fried egg on my toast the next morning.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscuits Cherry Chocolate Biscuits

Dark Chocolate Cherry Pie Biscuits*

For the cherry filling:
2 cups fresh, pitted cherries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
squeeze of lemon

For the dough:
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until they are all incorporated and bubbling and then stir in the cherries. Mash them around (I use a drink muddler) and let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the extract and a squeeze of half a lemon and add a pinch of salt. Stir around and let it cook for one more minute. Drain off all but about 2-3 tablespoons of liquid (cherries give off more liquid than the original recipe’s apples, but you don’t want NO juice) and set the mixture aside to cool while you make the dough.

To make the dough, mix the flour and butter together with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is broken up into small pea-sized bits. Stir in the sugar and then make a well in the center of your dough. Add the buttermilk and with a fork, stir together until combined. The dough should be soft and moist, so use a bit more buttermilk if needed.

Use all-purpose flour to dust your work surface. I ignored this step in the original recipe and the bottoms of my biscuits tasted sour because they were in dusted with self-rising and there’s baking powder in self-rising flour so DON’T BE LAZY LIKE ME and just get out the all purpose to dust. It isn’t that difficult.

Spoon the dough onto your floured surface and gently pat it into a small rectangle. Dust the top with a little extra flour and roll out into a rectangle about 7 x 10 inches. Arrange the cherries over half the long side of the dough and carefully fold the other half of the dough over the filling, crimping along the edges to seal in most of the filling. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it will be messy. If you have cracks, just gently pinch them closed and carry on. You want to have about a 6 x 8 inch rectangle when it’s all said and done, so just pat it into submission. Cut into 12 squares and place on prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the biscuits with a beaten egg that was not raised by monks and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired (I just used sugar since cinnamon didn’t fit in with the flavor profile I was going for.)

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown and serve right away. The sugar topping will melt if you store these in a plastic bag on your counter throughout the week, so it’s best to eat these the same day or store in an air-tight container.

*adapted from Joy the Baker

Cheesy Potato Fritatta

spanish tortilla with scallions
It’s the middle of the week. ¬†There has been a loss of momentum. ¬†Or maybe you’ve just gained yours? Either way, you have no idea what to make for dinner and all you have are some leftover potatoes. Do you also have eggs? Everyone has eggs. ¬†Do you have an onion?¬†¬†Maybe some cheese? ¬†A bit of salt and pepper and olive oil? ¬†Then you’re set. ¬†And dinner will be marvelous. ¬†And filling. ¬†And comforting. ¬†You don’t have to make things complicated to make them delicious and I can’t count how many times I’ve declared, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!” only to be humbled by actually finding something, and not only something, but something truly delicious. ¬†How lazy I can be sometimes! ¬†This meal was inspired by¬†a book called An¬†Everlasting Meal, which is a sort of love-song to making the most out of everything you’re given. ¬†It saved my family from take out with this simple recipe and I will certainly make it again!

potato egg fritatta

Potato Fritatta

2 small potatoes (about 2 cups, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices)
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheeses (can be omitted without any damage done)
salt and pepper
3 eggs, beaten (four if you add the cheese, like I did)

Heat oven to 375F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil and add the potatoes and onions. ¬†Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, slightly covered, until the potatoes are soft. Strain the potatoes and onions out of the pan and put them in a bowl. ¬†Reserve the olive oil from the pan. ¬†Let the onions and potatoes cool and then add in the cheese, beaten eggs and more salt and pepper. ¬†In a 10″ non-stick skillet, add some of the oil from your other skillet and make sure all the sides and bottom are nicely coated. ¬†Pour the egg/potato mixture and cook over medium heat on the stove until the bottom looks set. ¬†Transfer the pan to the oven and let it finish cooking until the top is slightly puffy, about 15 minutes. ¬†Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a serving plate. ¬†Serve with sour cream, chopped chives or scallions and hot sauce! This dish is great warm, room temp, or even cold. It would be a super easy lunch on the go or weekend breakfast. ¬†

Double Dark Chocolate Waffles

Double Dark Chocolate Waffles
The chocolate cravings have gone overboard. ¬†I really blame it in all seriousness on pregnancy. ¬†When I’m not pregnant, chocolate is good and fine, about on par with every other sweet. Not pregnant, ¬†I don’t think about it outside of seeing it, I don’t dream up ways of using it to its maximum potential in breakfast foods, and I don’t think that it’s “needed” to get from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. successfully. ¬†When pregnant…well, all those things suddenly become priorities. ¬†Like on Labor Day, I got up and looked up a basic buttermilk waffle recipe and then thought of the maximum way I could choco-fy it. ¬†And I did. ¬†Yes, I’ve had a similar waffle recipe on this blog before, BUT it wasn’t as good. ¬†These waffles are fluffier, less dense, and the chocolate chips remain melty like a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie during your entire breakfast. ¬†So. ¬†I’m not sorry for seeming repetitive. ¬†If you’re pregnant, I’ll understand if I get a thank-you note in the mail later this week.
Double Chocolate Buttermilk Waffles
I topped these in three different ways and they were all good: melted butter and powdered sugar – easy, and the most cookie-like experience. ¬†Butter with maple syrup: most waffle-like experience, but I’ve always felt that syrup on a chocolate anything is too much. ¬†Turns out, it’s not. ¬†And three: fresh raspberries all over the suckers. ¬†Chocolate dipped fruit, anyone? ¬†They were all good. ¬†Dress it up, dress it down, this will be your new craving.

Double Chocolate Waffles
Double Dark Chocolate Waffles
makes about 12 Belgian-style waffles

2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat your waffle iron. ¬†In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk until fully incorporated. ¬†In a smaller bowl, whip up the wet ingredients. ¬†Gently whisk the wet into the dry until just combined. ¬†Fold in the chocolate chips. ¬†Cook waffles to the waffle-iron’s suggested time (mine has a handy little light that goes off when they’re done) and keep in a 200 degree oven while you cook the rest to keep them nice and warm and crisp on the outside. ¬†Serve with powdered sugar and melted butter, or whatever. ¬†It really doesn’t matter – it’s all good.

Baked Chilaquiles – an amazing breakfast on a beach in Mexico or in your own kitchen

chilaquiles with egg
I remember this one year, my friend Cali, actually paid me to go to Acapulco, Mexico and shoot her wedding.  We had moments like this:IMG_8371bridegroom
It was also the hottest I’ve ever been in my life, so I went ahead and cashed her check. ūüôā ¬†However, there were extremely enjoyable moments, and one of them was having chilaquiles for breakfast, along with various fresh-squeezed juices. ¬†I had never had chilaquiles before (pronounced: chee-lay-quee-les) and it was a bit of a revelation. ¬†Tortilla chips softened with a rich tomato or chili or black bean sauce, mixed with tender bits of chicken and plenty of cheese. ¬†This is actually a pretty typical breakfast for Mexico. ¬†That may be ignorant of me to say, as I’m sure they have cereal, too, but when we got to go back with Cali and Alex to visit ¬†Alex’s home in Mexico City a few years later, (um, yeah, we’re lucky to know them) it was pretty common to see things we’d associate with dinner, served for breakfast. ¬†Like enchiladas or tostadas. ¬†Not everything had to have an egg on it like we feel compelled to do, here. ¬†Case in point: our version of chilaquiles sure enough had eggs on it. ¬†However, it’s a delicious addition! ¬†Matt made us this breakfast and I shot the picture, so once again, this is a true Family Meal kinda post. ¬†We all contribute in different ways throughout the week and I’m always so happy when he has a plan for Saturday breakfast!

chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs

chilaquiles
Baked Chilaquiles*
serves 6

10 oz thick tortilla chips
1 – 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
3 serrano peppers, seeded and roasted
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2  cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste,about 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack or Mexican Chihuahua cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scoop tortilla chips into 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

In the oven, place seeded serrano peppers, cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast until blistered.  We did this under the broiler.  Take out and let cool.
Coarsely puree tomatoes and serrano peppers¬†in a food processor or blender. Heat oil in large saucepan; add onion and saut√© until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute, then stir in broth, tomato puree and salt. Heat to boil. Stir in cilantro. Set mixture aside. ¬†In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and scramble the eggs and a half teaspoon of salt till they’re almost done. ¬†Remove from heat. ¬†Pour the sauce over the chips; coating them evenly with the sauce. ¬†Layer the almost-done scrambled eggs on top of the sauce. ¬†Sprinkle with cheese and bake until lightly browned on top and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with extra cilantro and a few extra chips on the side.

*adapted from Rick Bayless’ recipe,¬†Chipotle-Baked Tortilla Casserole

Chicken and Waffles with Molasses Butter

chicken_waffles010
Easter Sunday was a bit low-key for us this year. ¬†I had a wedding to shoot on Saturday so we couldn’t go out of town to be with family and we didn’t have time to prepare the feast we normally do. ¬†We typically like to have brunch-type foods when we know it’s going to be just us because breakfast is usually easy to throw together in less than an hour after church and, well, who doesn’t like breakfast for lunch?!

A few months ago I ran across a wonderful yeast waffle recipe that you mix up the night before and let it sit out on your counter to get all bubbly. ¬†Sounds strange, but it imparts such an amazing sourdough, yeasty flavor to the waffles which helps balance the pure sugar you typically use to drown the waffle. ¬†Matt and I have had a slight obsession with the Southern¬†dish¬†of chicken and waffles and every where we go where it’s on the menu, we always feel the dish falls a little short of the expectations in our mind. ¬†The chicken should be juicy, super crispy, salty and flavorful on its own and the waffle shouldn’t be too heavy – it should be light, airy and buttery with just enough sweetness to give that perfect balance of flavors. ¬†A lot of waffles are too heavy, too bland, too sweet or the chicken is an after-thought – dry or not seasoned. ¬†So, taking matters into our own hands, we used the amazing recipe for Korean fried chicken that we did at the Super Bowl and paired it with a yeast waffle recipe and the combination was juuuuuust right.
chicken_waffles008
I added my own sentimental flair to the dish. ¬†Growing up, I distinctly remember at family gatherings, often at¬†Sunday lunches, my Pappaw would request molasses and then he’d take a large chunk of soft butter and whip the two together into a smooth paste for his biscuits. ¬†I thought it was odd, but as far back as I can remember, there has never been a food strange enough that I wouldn’t try it. ¬†I immediately began to imitate his method and loved the tangy sweetness of the molasses butter on my biscuits, too.

This Sunday as I was thinking about Easter and family, I had my Pappaw on my mind because just a few days ago, he underwent extremely intense cancer surgery and was, up until yesterday, still in pretty critical condition in ICU. ¬†I thought about our family get-togethers when I was young and Pappaw’s love of biscuits, molasses and black coffee and thought for our brunch, what better accompaniment to our waffles, which beg for that salty/sweet balance, than his molasses butter? ¬†It was an amazing addition to the waffles and it may be my new favorite topping instead of maple syrup. ¬†Matt wasn’t convinced, but then again, he doesn’t have the memory to go along with it. ¬†And food is so much more than just ingredients on a plate. ¬†If you have a story or a face or a memory of light streaming in from the window across a little dinette set in your grandparents’ kitchen as you slather biscuits with creamy molasses, it’s bound to become your new favorite thing. ūüôā

chicken_waffles006

Korean Fried Chicken Strips

Kosher salt
3/4 cups corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 pounds chicken strip tenders
2 quarts peanut oil or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vodka

Combine 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a large bowl and whisk until homogeneous. Add chicken strips and toss until every surface is coated. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, shaking vigorously as you go to get rid if excess coating. Transfer to refrigerator and let rest, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes and up to overnight.

When ready to fry, preheat oil to 350¬įF in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer. ¬†We used a wok on the stove.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, flour, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until homogeneous. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

Add half of the chicken strips to the batter. Working one at a time, lift one strip and allow excess batter to drip off, using your finger to get rid of any large pockets or slicks of batter. Carefully lower chicken into hot oil. Repeat with remaining strips in the first batch. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate strips as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with kosher salt. Keep warm in a 175F oven while you fry the remaining chicken.

Yeast Waffles*

1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more melted butter for the waffle iron
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (from 2 envelopes)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the milk, 1/2 cup melted butter, flour, yeast, eggs, agave and salt and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until the batter is very puffy, about 2 hours at room temperature (or refrigerate overnight, which is what we did since we wouldn’t be using it first thing in the morning).

Preheat the oven to 250¬į. Preheat a waffle iron and brush it with melted butter. Gently stir the batter to deflate it. For each batch, fill the waffle iron about two-thirds full (the batter will spread and rise); brush the waffle iron with melted butter as needed.

Cook the waffles until golden crisp. ¬†Keep the waffles directly on your oven racks to keep warm and crispy until you’re done cooking them. ¬†I find that using a traditional sized waffle iron works best than a Belgian waffle maker because sometimes the Belgian waffle irons are too deep for the batter to rise into every crevice. Also, from the two different yeast waffle recipes we’ve tried, I prefer cooking them from room temp if you leave the batter out on your counter, as opposed to keeping it in the fridge. ¬†The batter seems lighter at room temp than cold, so you may want to test that out for yourself. ¬†Both are delicious, but I felt the batter at room temp was thinner and more of that super crisp, light texture I wanted.

*from Food and Wine magazine¬†but I think I prefer the recipe from Smitten Kitchen better. ¬†They’re almost the same, but she uses a little less flour.

Molasses Butter

Dark Molasses
Unsalted Butter – room temp

Use equal parts butter and molasses and whip together until completely mixed.  Spread on waffles before topping with chicken strips.  I added a drizzle of maple syrup on the chicken and then salted it to make the salt stick better.

Crustless Asparagus Quiche and the End of All Dieting

asparagus custard

I was first introduced to a savory custard by the wonderful food blogger, Helene Garcia of French Foodie Baby.  The first savory custard I made was her leek and chive flan and I was a bit afraid at first because we just have ingrained in our minds that custards and flans are supposed to be sweet, but this was a very happy and luxurious surprise.  Basically, in American terms, this is a crustless quiche.  Only waaaaay better of a texture than the quiche of your childhood.  Please do refer back to my quiche post on how its texture should be.  I was happy that it was such a silky texture and that Olive could eat it just fine with her limited spoon wielding skills.

I stumbled upon this asparagus and bacon custard in a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat, which I’m reading and working my way through the steps to reshape my life and my patterns of eating. ¬†The book presents a bit of a strict start (a cleanse, which I don’t think is totally necessary for success, just optional) followed by three months of self evaluation of the patterns you’ve made over the years and ways in which you could cut back without feeling deprived. ¬†After three months, by the book, you should only be HALF WAY to your goal weight. ¬†If you are, then she advises to add back a few more pleasures and get on with your life! ¬†If not, then keep going with the plan, making additional adjustments if necessary.

I’m happy to have finally found a book that doesn’t restrict you, doesn’t say that a particular food or food group is bad, and doesn’t push supplements. ¬†I’m DONE with that vicious cycle of crash dieting and then giving up, gaining back and doing it all over again because every new diet makes a new promise. ¬†Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? ¬†I found myself having an epiphany the other day that a diet that promises you’ll lose all the weight you need to lose in a few weeks will only work if it only took you a few weeks to gain that weight.¬† And like me, I’m sure most of us with serious weight issues have struggled a BIT longer than weeks or even years with our weight. ¬†So why does it not register in our minds that in order to keep a good, healthy weight, we should logically change the way we do things for 10-15 years at least? ¬†Personally speaking, I’ve struggled with my weight for about twenty two years and most of that time was wasted, going through diet after diet that restricted too much, left me wanting and frustrated and ultimately, feeling like I am a loser and can never succeed.

After 11 days of following this book and eating what I personally feel was a bit too indulgent of a menu, I’m down seven pounds. ¬†I know what you’re thinking: all water weight, and besides, wasn’t she just preaching that weight loss shouldn’t be sudden?! ¬†You’re right, it shouldn’t. ¬†But for one, I have a lot to lose and the more you have to lose, generally, the quicker you will drop pounds (at first). ¬†Second, I’ve completely cut out all snacking and all second helpings.¬† Man, that adds up to a lot with just those two bad habits! ¬†Especially if you snack several times a ¬†day! ¬†The only other thing I’ve given up has been cream in my coffee and that, for me, was the biggest challenge because I love my coffee. ¬†But, for these first three months of “readjusting” how I do things, I don’t consider it that much of a burden to give up roughly 200 calories a day that used to be dedicated to cream in my coffee! ¬†I have even started to prefer it black with just a little sweetner (stevia, for those concerned). ¬†I haven’t been stressed about working out – I just have been taking more walks and enjoying the new, cooler fall weather and I’ve been pulling a few weeds here and there. ¬†This is my new life. ¬†I was done with diets a few years ago, but I was still engaging in bad habits. ¬†It’s hard to undo years of emotional eating, but I’ve found that the distraction of Olive is a grand one. ¬†Or, if I just HAVE to ingest something in the afternoon, I make a cup of cinnamon tea (it’s naturally sweet) and get productive!

This custard recipe was breakfast for a few days last week. ¬†Again, I know what you will say. ¬†This has cream, eggs, bacon AND it’s in a “diet” book? ¬†Yep. ¬†Moderation + Fulfilling Meals = Success. ¬†Moderation + Drab, Restrictive Meals = Failure. I really recommend you picking up this book IF and only if you are done yo-yo dieting, ¬†if you like to cook and you are ready to stop restricting yourself and feeling guilty for eating things like butter. ¬†I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope that I can encourage some of you to stop the fad madness and just start “eating real food, not too much, mostly plants.” (from the omnivore’s dilemma) ūüôā

Asparagus custards

Asparagus Custard (crustless quiche, if it makes you feel better to call it that)
makes 6 – 1 cup ramekin servings

16 asparagus spears, tough ends cut off and peeled
4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 sprigs chives, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Boil the asparagus in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Chop each stalk into a small dice and set aside.  Saute the bacon in a nonstick frying pan till crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl (reserving some chives for garnish). Pour the egg mixture into individual ramekins. Sprinkle in the asparagus and bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the custard is set but not dried out.  Serve with pieces of toast, crackers, or with some fresh fruit and enjoy your day!