Friday, July 29, 2011

Baked French Toast

So, this is my go-to brunch/breakfast meal to serve when I have friends over for play dates.  It is awesome, versatile and easy.  Both kids and adults love it. It's a new staple in my house.  Thought some of you might like to give it a try. It is a great choice for feeding omnivore friends!

Easy Vegan Baked French Toast
Serves 4-6.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 9x13 baking dish (it will also fit in smaller but deeper baking dishes, use what you think will hold the bread covered with the custard, you may need to increase the baking time if you use a smaller dish).

Slice a loaf of one-day old bread (even two or three days old is totally fine) or a large baguette and arrange in your buttered baking dish.  The best bread makes the best French toast. 

In a small bowl, whisk together:
2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer and 2 ½ tablespoons of water. Set aside.

In your food processor, combine all of the following ingredients:
1 package Silken tofu (the aseptic box kind) I use Mori-Nu, the firm or light kind.
2 tsp. Vanilla extract (Penzey’s if you’ve got it)
½ tsp Almond extract (ditto Penzey’s again)
½ cup Maple syrup (you can use ¼ cup if you want it less sweet)
1 tsp Cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon from Penzey’s)
¼ tsp Salt (regular table salt)
2 tablespoons oil (I use organic sunflower oil, you can use canola, or any other kind of oil that you’d like, or you can leave it out, no biggie)
For an awesome banana version: Add two very ripe bananas to this mix.  I highly recommend this version. For other versions, see below!

Blend it all up! Once it is totally smooth, add the egg replacer mixture and blend it some more.  Then, add 1 cup (more or less) of almond milk (you can use soy or any other kind of milk here, but I love almond).  Add the almond milk until your mixture is the consistency of pourable custard. One cup of almond milk makes a pretty thick custard.  If you have very tough bread and need more liquid, use more almond milk so your bread has more liquid to absorb. Give it a final few pulses to combine thoroughly.  Taste it and adjust if you see fit J

Pour the custard over the bread that is waiting in your prepared pan.  You can let it sit and absorb for a while or bake it right away.  If your bread is very hard, I’d let it sit at least 30-60 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the mixture.

Top with small pats of butter (I use Earth Balance), sprinkle with sugar (I use organic sugar), and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and the edges of the bread start to brown. Let sit five minutes before slicing (if you can wait!). Enjoy with fresh fruit, veggie sausages, whatever you like with your French toast! This doesn’t need more syrup or butter added to it upon serving, but go for it if you want to!

Other great variations:

Nutty Version: Add raw walnuts or pecans (halves or chopped pieces) on top prior to baking.  The nuts will toast in the oven!

Fruity Version: Add berries or whatever fruit you like to the layered bread before you pour the custard in.  Strawberries, blueberries, even more sliced banana, I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t work here.  

Chocolate Version: Stir ½ to 1 cup (or more if you like!) of chocolate chips into the custard right before you pour it over the bread. Add ½ tsp of chocolate extract to the other extracts to give it an extra chocolately punch.  Or add orange extract for a chocolate-orange version. YUM.

Let me know if you give it a try.  I am in love with this recipe. 

Have a great weekend!
<3 Dawn

 It is SO good, I can never get a good picture of it! Anyway, you get the idea.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garden Fazool: Over the Top

If you guys remember, in April, I planted organic tomatoes from seed:

Dug a little tomato garden:

And put the one month old seedlings in (this was in May)...

And today, here is what we've got:

Tomatoes reaching over the top of my fence! 

 Tons of little, green marbles :-) 

Starting to redden...

And the figs, you ask? Here's the tree two months ago:

And now?

And it's loaded with figs!

Does anyone have ripe, red tomatoes already? Anyone with ripe figs yet? My figs seem particularly slow to ripen (though that may be a factor of the enormous amount of fruit on the tree at one time, and the coolish summer we've had (until now, of course :-).

Stay cool in this heat! Yesterday it was so hot and hazy that all my pics came out with a fog over them.  It was 103 yesterday, but this was taken in the evening when it had "cooled" to 100

Today, still very hot but a bit more tolerable at about 92 in the shade this morning.

Have a great week!  I'll try to get a food post up soon, I've got lots of stuff to share!
<3 Dawn