Friday, May 27, 2011

Catching up....

On things that I should have posted last week or the week before!

A few Sunday's ago we had friends over for brunch, so this post will be a long one, but it is jam packed full of delicious things.  I thought I would start the post off with some beautiful flowers that I got for the occasion.  The Lilies aren't in full bloom in this shot, but a few days later they were.

Also I got a new flour sifter, and I was really excited about that, even though it's silly.

So I sifted my flour thoroughly.  Then added the yeast to make the dough for the bread.

I was making bread to make Creme Brûlée French Toast .  The recipe is of course from my favorite lady over at Smitten Kitchen.  However my bread recipe is from a cookbook I have here at my house so the recipe will be down at the end of the post.

I love the way the recipe tells you to soak the toast in the mixture, for thirty minutes before cooking them, because it makes it so much better.

After baking the bread with the mixture, you make a caramelized sugar top, just as with creme brûlée.

And now for the grits souffle!!  I will never eat grits again any other way.  This is seriously the best way that I have ever had grits, and I absolutely love it.  I found the recipe one day when I was at work flipping through a magazine.  They come out beautifully fluffy, and deliciously cheesy, with just the perfect amount of seasoning.  Then to top if off, you serve it with a little drizzle of honey on top.  I'm sold.  Like I said, I never want to eat grits again, any other way.

The recipe doesn't call for extra cheese on top, but like the good southern girl that I am, I love my cheese grits, and extra cheesy.

Also the extra cheese on top gives it a little more of a crust on top.

Next in the line up....BACON!  I love bacon.  It's so good.  This bacon made my house smell fantastic.  It was honey and maple soaked bacon.  Yum.

Now, when it comes to scrambled eggs, I am a little bit picky.  I don't like to mix milk into my eggs, and whisk them to oblivion and then scramble them.  I actually like to drop a egg into the skillet let it start to cook, and then start to scramble it.  It is more like a fried scrambled egg.  But since I was having guests, I did mix a splash of milk in, along with salt and pepper, and whisk for a little bit.  But then I cooked it in the skillet with a bit of butter, and made it sort of how I like it, and sort of how most other people eat them.  

I love fresh berries, and they went really well on top of the french toast.

It was so much food and so heavy, that we all go like 1/4th of the way into the meal and were so full we had to take a break.  But there was one thing that was for certain, we all had very happy bellies!

The recipe for the grits was pretty straight forward, 

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup quick cooking yellow stone ground grits
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4 egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
butter for ramekins

(although the recipe didn't call for it, I also used sharp cheddar in the mixture for an extra kick.)

The grits should be real corn ground grits, they work better, instead of the quaker instant ones.  There should be a few different brands of the proper grits in the flour aisle of the grocery.

1.  Preheat oven to 350º , butter 6 1/2 cup ramekins and set aside.
2.  In a heavy bottom 2 qt saucepan, pour water and milk in pan and bring to simmer.  Slowly pour in grits, whisking briskly until well combined.  Add cayenne pepper and salt.  Cook for five minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese (both cheeses if desired) until melted.  Cool.
3.  In large mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff.
4.  Into cooled grits, add egg yolk and cream and stir until mixed.  Gently fold in whites until mixed.
5.  Using ladle, place grits in ramekins and fill 2/3rds.  (Here is where I would add a little extra cheese on top for an added crusty layer.)   
6.  Bake 10-15 minutes (but no more than 15) until puffy and slightly golden on top.
7.  Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

Aaaaaannnnnnddddd now for the recipe for making your own bread for the Creme Brûlée French Toast...

1 Egg 
1 Egg yolk
1/4- 1 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups white bread flour plus, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp butter, diced
vegetable oil, for brushing

1.  Lightly beat together the egg and egg yolk in a measuring cup.  Stir in enough lukewarm water to make up to 1 1/4.  
2.  Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast.  Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the center, pour in the egg mixture, and stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together, then kneed with your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl.  (if the dough still isn't sticking together, slowly and carefully stir in enough water to get the dough to stick, but not making it sticky.)  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
3.  Brush a bowl with oil.  Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
4.  Brush a 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 loaf pan with oil.  turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter, punch down with your fist, and knead for 1 minute.  With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as the pan and flatten slightly.  Fold it lengthwise into 3 and place in the prepared pan, seam side down.  Put the pan into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, until the dough has reached the top of the pan.
5.  Preheat the oven to 425º.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until it has shrunken from the sides of the pan, is golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

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