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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meatless Twofer: Maple French Toast and Enlightened Broccoli Salad with Kohlrabi and Cabbage

While most people spent yesterday with friends and family, likely gathered around a grill and a pool, we spent the day together at home, soaking up the last summer we'll have just the two of us.  We had a relaxed day and prepared some easy seasonal food together, some of which I'd like to share with you.

We had a little visit with Ceci before getting the weekend started.  She's pretty cute, and starting to explore the vast world of solid foods!

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After hanging with this girl and her momma, I stopped downtown to grab supplies from farmer's market.

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I got some fragrant strawberries.

DSC02649and some bulging blueberries before setting home to make breakfast.

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We are big into breakfast around here.  I eat a big bowl of oatmeal or yogurt and granola each weekday morning and always make elaborate and sometimes indulgent larger breakfasts on the weekend.  Often times this includes some of the pork that we purchased from the Stamps Family Farm, but it takes very little effort to make a special breakfast that doesn't include any meat.  This weekend, I made a quick batch of french toast to use up some of Simone's delicious bread, some local eggs, and fresh market berries.

Be sure to slice the bread thick enough for it to hold up under the weight of the eggs, but not so thick that the liquid doesn't soak entirely through.  This technique works best if your eggs and milk are at room temperature, so leave them out on the counter for 20-30 minutes before starting.

Maple French Toast

serves 2

4 slices of bread (best if it's a couple days old and on the dry side)

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 c. milk

1-2 tbsp. butter for the pan

berries and butter  to serve

Mix the liquid ingredients together in a container with a flat bottom.  Add the bread, giving the liquid enough time to soak through well on both sides.

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Heat your cast iron skillet to medium and coat the base with butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the slices to the pan one or two at a time.  Most importantly: don't move the bread once you've set it down.  If you do, you'll disturb the crust.  As long as you let the eggs solidify, they will not stick to your pan.

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Flip.

DSC02663Pull once the eggs have cooked through.  It should make a nice edge, like this:

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Repeat until you have enough french toast for everybody.  Take a big bowl of your cleaned berries

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and pile em on.

DSC02678You should probably throw on an extra pat of butter and drizzle of syrup, too.

DSC02677Easy, fast, and healthy, and definitely special enough for any weekend breakfast.
DSC02675Around dinner time we started thinking about grilling, and we also started thinking about the vegetables that were sitting in the fridge waiting to be used up.  I've started keeping a list of the produce that we have on hand so that I can quickly reference it when it's time to meal plan.  On my list last night:
broccoli
kohlrabi
cabbage
(did you realize that these are all the same plant?  Me neither.)
While this abundance of green vegetables can seem daunting, I knew that I could turn them into an easy raw salad to eat as a crunchy side for all the rich grilled goods we'd be eating.  I thought about a slaw (seen enough of them yet?) but then remembered that broccoli salad that we see around this time of year.
That broccoli salad uses mayonnaise as its dressing base and includes bacon.  This one skips the mayo and meat, and makes use of the cabbage and kohlrabi, two vegetables that grow in abundance here through much of the summer.  Thankfully the cabbage provided some much needed texture contrast to the salad, and the kohlrabi contributes an earthy green flavor that complements the sweet dressing.
I quickly blanched the broccoli florets because it makes them much easier to chew and a beautiful bright green.  You should only dip them in boiling water for half a minute, otherwise they'll turn green and mushy.
This dressing is light and easy, and you can use any sweetener you have on hand, though I think the honey added a very nice flavor.  It's a light alternative to the traditional rich mayonnaise dressing and lets the vegetables shine through.
Enlightened Broccoli Salad
2 kohlrabi
1 small head cabbage
1 head broccoli
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2-2/3 c. golden raisins
dressing
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
salt and pepper
Begin with your kohlrabi.  Remove the stems and leaves.
DSC02686Peel
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and slice into matchsticks.
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Take your cabbage.
DSC02690Slice it in half and remove the core. Then shred it.
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Cut the broccoli into florets and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds or until bright green and then plunge into ice water.  Or steam the florets for 30 seconds.
In the bottom of a big bowl, make your vinaigrette by combining all ingredients except the oil, and then slowly pouring in the oil while stirring.
DSC02695Add all your veggies and the raisins to the vinaigrette and toss.

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Wait until just before serving to add the sunflower seeds.  This salad tastes best served cold or just at room temperature.

DSC02711Enjoy with your favorite grilled stuff.

DSC02724Now go outside and have a cookout, ok?

DSC02702We had just a little meat.

DSC02705And some grilled peaches.

DSC02715To a summer of outdoor cooking!

I'd love to know, how did you incorporate vegetables into your plans this weekend?  Did you go meat free?  Or just increase your veggies?  Let me know in the comments.  See you Thursday!

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