I had a roommate once who called me a food snob, and I don't think I've ever recovered. Maybe that means she was partly right? Hm. I'd rather she'd have called me a "foodie," but she didn't (alas), and if she were here tonight at our kitchen table she would be eyeing my dinner plate and rolling her eyes.
Because this French toast is nirvana.
And I added lemon juice to my strawberry jam before I made it into strawberry syrup. (The little touches matter, really they do! They make all the difference.)
But. It all started with this book, A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg, creator of the food blog Orangette. She's a not-so-distant relative of the chef I'm working with down at the Common Good these days, Chef Arnold. He claims the French toast recipe on page 39 is a bit of a mix-up: Oil was the understudy for Butter, but Butter was sabotaged before it went onstage and Oil unjustly replaced it.
Don't fry your French toast in oil, let the butter do it's part! Arnold says. There's a trick. And you've got to ask me for the trick because I won't tell you. That means you have to email me, folks. And you want to. Because this French toast was the seventh heaven. How much more can I say? Despite the fact that yes, I used slices of leftover chocolate sourdough bread from Zingerman's Bakery (shipped as a Bread-of-the-Month gift from my grandma), and no, this is not immediately accessible bread and to suggest you go out and buy it would be slightly rude...well folks, the French toast recipe still stands. Because I made it 3 days ago with a different type of leftover bread, and it was still nirvana-ish. I moaned, if you really must know. Just like my father does when he tastes my mother's Burgundy Beef. (Foodie-ism is genetic, you see).
Without further ado, I will satisfy your hunger with a slightly different recipe I made last night: it's Baba Ganouj, a take on a Middle Eastern appetizer. Courtesy of The New Moosewood Cookbook. I'd never made Baba Ganouj before, and I consider myself wholly converted. Hummus has a new workout buddy.
Baba Ganouj ("Ga-NOOSH")
40 minutes to prepare, yields 4-6 servings unless you eat it over rice or as an accent on soup.
a little oil/ or parchment paper/ or silicone baking mat
1 medium (7-in) eggplant
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (1/2 - 1 tsp from a jar)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame tahini
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup firm yogurt (Greek would do well)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
Firstly: preheat your oven to 350 F and prepare a baking pan or dish, either lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat, or oiling it just slightly.
Secondly: slice your eggplant the long way and place it face-down onto the pan. Bake for about half an hour or until the skin looks a bit wrinkly and peaked. That means it's tender. Cool the eggplant until you can handle it comfortably.
Thirdly: Scoop out the eggplant pulp and put it in a blender/food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, black pepper, yogurt and cumin. Blend together until smooth and creamy. Use less yogurt for a thicker consistency. Add salt to your liking. (I found the eggplant had plenty of flavor, and didn't need much salt).
It's up to you: if not eating right away, put it all in a bowl and cover tightly, refrigerating until ready to serve. When ready (chilled or not), serve with carrot sticks, pita crackers, tortillas, mixed into barley...however you think sounds good. It's food. Do what you want.