Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Secret to French Toast

I wish someone had to told me this simple trick to making french toast. I came across a Portuguese french toast recipe that included sugar, vanilla and milk. (By the way, french toast is not a French food, neither are french fries, sorry to break it to you.) I had tried french toast variations with milk and vanilla before but why the heck hadn't I thought of sugar? It makes perfect sense; the sugar crystallizes, making a beautiful and delicious crust. Though this is a sweet dessert in some countries, and salty and savory in others (can you imagine topping it with mayo! ew), in America, we top it with syrup, sugar, and eat it first thing in the morning! As it should be... until I'm proven wrong.

French Toast
Serves 4
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

4 eggs
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 slices of bread (preferably day old)
dash of cinnamon
maple syrup

1. Beat together eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla in a shallow bowl.

2. Heat butter on medium heat in a pan.

3. Dunk each side of the bread in the egg mixture and place on the pan. You'll most likely need to do this in batches if you don't have a pan that can hold 12 slices of bread. Only dunk the bread in the egg mixture just before you place it on the pan.

5. Sprinkle some cinnamon on one side of the bread before flipping.

5. Cook until it's light-medium brown on each side. Add more butter if needed.

6. Top with syrup (and powdered sugar if you like) and serve!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Koreshte Qeymeh

It's time to travel back to Iran. This time to make one of my favorite stews Koreshte Qeymeh. "Koresh(t)" is the Persian name for stews. They usually include herbs, meats, beans, grains, and sometimes dried fruit. This koresht has beef, yellow split peas, and my personal favorite home made french fries! As a kid you would imagine that I was not a big fan of vegetables or herbs, but this koresht has french fries! How it could it be wrong, when it feels so right!? Serve this along side with the recipe for Chelow and you'll have an authentic, fun, Persian dish.

Oh, and don't worry about not being able to pronounce Koresht Qeymeh, the Q makes one of those Q/G noises that come from the back of your throat. Fun to say, but difficult to master.

Koreshte Qeymeh
Adapted from "New Food of Life" by Najmieh Batmanglij
6 Servings
Prep and Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 min.

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound stew meat (lamb and beef are preferred), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 tbsp oil
2 whole dried Persian limes. Can be found in a Persian or International market. You can omit but it's best to
      include at least one
1 tsp  salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp advieh (optional, mix of ground rose petals, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin, and
       coriander seeds
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp saffron dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1 pound or 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
1 cup oil for deep frying
1/3 cup yellow split peas
1 1/2 cups water

1. In a non-stick Dutch oven, brown the onions and meat in 2 tbsps oil.

2. Add dried Persian limes, if desired, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Saute for 2 minutes longer.

3. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and bring to boil. Cover and Simmer over low heat for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the advieh, fresh tomato, tomato paste, and saffron water. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.

5. During this time fry the potato sticks in the 1 cup of oil. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

6. Cook yellow split peas in 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp of salt for 30 minutes. Drain and add to the Dutch oven.

7. Check to see if meat and peas are tender. Taste the stew and add seasoning as desired.

8. Serve the koresht on the side of  or on top of the Chelow and arrange the french fries on top. Nush-e Jan!