Every year I hold two big brunches: one during summer, and the other during winter when I'm home on break from school. It's a massive undertaking, one person cooking for sometimes thirty-five to forty people, but in the end, I'm left with an excuse to eat copious amounts of bagels and belgian waffles. Plus, there's nothing more relaxing (or repulsive, you be the judge) than napping off a food coma in an air-conditioned house at 1:00 PM on a Sunday.
You'll notice that usually the menu doesn't change at all whenever I make brunch, because
1) I need to justify the purchase of a waffle maker, and
2) I don't mess with something that isn't broken.
(Recipes for Belgian Waffles, Oeufs en Cocotte, and Vegetable Cream Cheese)
And here was my approximate schedule for those who ask how I pulled this off...
Go shopping for the big stuff at Costco; sausages, nice plates, berries, butter, heavy cream, eggs;
place an order for mini croissants at the best bakery ever (Au Couer de Paris)
Family vacation in SLO
Go to the Asian Market, Albertsons, and Party City for everything else I need
Cousin's birthday celebration at Cham Sut Gol (all you can eat korean bbq)
Saturday Night (9:00PM~1:00AM)
Make waffle batter, saute leeks and bacon for eggs, make fruit smoothies, cut fruit and assemble
platter, make vegetable cream cheese, make spice muffins, macerate berries for waffles, whip the the cream, clean the kitchen, and conk out
6:15 AM: groggily wake up and realize that I didn't take out my contacts last night hence my eyes
being glued shut. Profusely moisturize with eye drops before brushing teeth and getting
6:30 AM: assemble all 50 individuals oeufs en coccote; empty the dishwasher
7:15 AM: go pick up the croissants, buy smoked salmon from whole foods, and pick up bagels
8:00 AM: realize the spice muffins are bland, so make a quick cinnamon butter; assemble smoked
salmon platter; continuously wash dishes so the kitchen stays clean
9:00 AM: set up the buffet and all the tables outside; bar with champagne, juice, and plastic flutes
9:30 AM: sear and slice the sausages and tent under foil; put the breads, jams, spreads on the table
10:00 AM: realize I have nothing left to do so watch tv for 45 minutes; realize that the Pioneer
Woman is a terrible show
10:45 AM: Put the oeufs en cocotte in the oven
11:00 AM: Start making waffles; guests start to arrive; take the eggs out; put the waffles in to warm
and crisp up slightly; heat up the sausages as well.
11:15 AM: Eat, and then clean
1:00 PM: Food coma nap
See... it's easy!
While I absolutely adore a plate of waffles, french toast is just as delicious in my book. I remember my mom used to make it using wonder bread as a kid with lots of cinnamon, and over time it evolved from skinny slices of eggy goodness to fat little bricks.
I usually don't go out of my way to measure the ingredients I use in cooking, which becomes a fault on my part when it comes times to post them on the blog. Usually I use whatever just looks right, so I apologize for any frustrations in advance.
no syrup necessary
Torching these babies does wonders- it adds an important textural contrast to the soft, eggy toast, while that burnt caramelized top adds an edge to the sweetness of the syrup. I was also a big fan of the orange and almond combo.
okay, maybe a little
or a lot
One Year Ago: Toronto Part 1: Cora's, Toronto Part 2: Shopsy's
challah or any other kind of egg bread, thickly sliced
eggs (I usually use a ratio of half whole eggs and half egg yolks)
half and half or milk (about twice as much as the amount of egg used)
a teaspoon or two of cinnamon
brown sugar, to taste
granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
pinch of kosher salt
splash of grand marnier
a teaspoon or two of orange zest
strawberries, chunked into large pieces
dash of kosher salt
sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon of orange zest
a couple tablespoons of orange juice
splash of grand marnier
For the strawberries mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Dry out the challah slices on a rack on the counter overnight. The morning after, whisk together the eggs, half and half, cinnamon, brown sugar, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract, grand marnier, and orange zest to make a custard. Briefly dunk the slices (no more than 30 seconds, or it will fall a part in the pan), and griddle in butter over medium to medium high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar on the french toast slices, and brulee with either a blow torch or under the broiler until a golden crust of hard sugar is formed on each slice. Serve immediately with the berries and maple syrup.