Friday, September 24, 2010

Challah French Toast

I LOVE challah bread. My first memory of it was in seventh grade when my social studies teacher brought loaves of it to our class while we watched Topol sing in "Fiddler on the Roof."

It was our "ancient civilizations" year and all I could think of was how cool it was to be watching a musical (one film genre which I happen to love) about a Jewish family and eating Jewish food. The community I grew up in had several synagogues and there were always several Jewish kids at my school, so it was nothing new to me, but I still thought it was cool that people could take the day off from school for their holidays and eat special food :) I fell in love with challah bread right then and there and think of it as a treat to this day.

However, now whenever I have challah bread I think and say "hollaaaaa" to myself because it cracks me up. I know it's terribly inappropriate but I can't help it. I took a year of Biblical Hebrew while I was in seminary and every time I was in class I would think the same thing when we'd write or practice pronouncing the Hebrew characters, so I know I'm not the only one who does it :)'re not here to read about my ancient language antics in seminary, so I'll move right along to the recipe for you.

Challah bread makes fantastic French toast because of all the eggs in the batter. It's super fluffy and absorbs all that French toasty goodness right up. Enjoy it this weekend topped with fresh fruit, powdered sugar and maple syrup for a fabulous brunch.

Slice up your bread (day-old is best). Look at all that fluffy happiness. Can you tell I love the word fluffy? :)

Whisk away your egg whites, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Take your challah bread swimming.

Cook in your preheated, cooking-sprayed skillet until golden brown. Try not to stick your head in the pan before it's done.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Don't forget to cook the leftover egg whites and dump them in the middle of your French toast for the extra protein :) YUM!

Challah French Toast - adapted from Whole Foods
Serves 2 very hungry people or 3 normal hungry people

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup low- or non-fat milk (I used skim, but almond or soy would be good too)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • half a loaf of challah bread, sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
  • toppings: powdered sugar, maple syrup and fresh fruit
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg whites, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Spray your skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat on your stove.
  • Working with 4-5 slices at a time, dip in the egg mixture, turn to coat thoroughly, and gently shake off the excess.
  • Cook slices in a single layer in your skillet until golden brown, and flip and repeat on the other side (2-3 minutes per side).
  • Transfer to a plate and stick 'em in your microwave to keep warm.
  • Repeat with remaining bread slices.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, top with fruit and maple syrup, and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Late Summer Eats: Salads and Simple Burgers

Head over to Foodbuzz and check out Project Food Blog! Several of my blogger friends are in the running, so go check 'em out and cast your vote. Thanks also to Maren for her shoutout today - those pancakes look awesome :)

Don't forget to check out the tail end of Tina's 30DSLR. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts and comments over the month. Without going into details, 30DSLR and other things lately have really provoked me (in a good way!) to take a good look at the way I'm seeing myself and everything else right now. Thanks for the perspective check :) We have to love ourselves first before anyone else will (or can!). Life's too short to make a big deal out of everything.

However, I will make a big deal out of the fact that yours truly is now a proud and honored Featured Publisher on Foodbuzz. I'm psyched to be part of an awesome blogger community and look forward to meeting and following more of you bloggies out there!

Okay, on to the real blog post now...

Sadly, summer has come to an end. Fortunately, the weather here in SoCal is nicer than it's been all year :) I love the change of seasons but when it's almost October and I wear shorts and flip flops every day, I'm a happy girl. See happy face below.


I love summertime food, especially all the fabulous fresh produce (especially when it's on sale!). I've taken advantage of it this year and cooked up some tasty recipes, which you'll find in a bit.

I recently finished my Master of Divinity degree at Boston University School of Theology. I transferred there my second year of seminary from Candler School of Theology at Emory in Atlanta, and couldn't have been happier with my choice (although I missed - and still do miss - my ATL peeps!). Something I loved about STH was the fact that it was part of a larger university and I felt much more connected to the university community and the city of Boston in general, than had I gone to a smaller school. There are so many diverse departments and programs BU offers, one of them being its Fitness and Nutrition Center (part of Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences). They offer free nutrition counseling for students (which I took advantage of and HIGHLY recommend if you can get it anywhere), offer a plethora of healthy dining options (Sargent Choice) on campus, and have a great website with dozens of delicious recipes. The one I chose to make most recently was their SALAD. I substituted dried herbs for the fresh herbs, and nixed the onions (since we didn't have any), and it turned out great.

Summer Tomato, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad - Boston University Sargent Choice
Serves 4

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 large red tomatoes
  • 1/4 large red onion
  • 5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • Slice zucchini, tomatoes, and onion into thin half-rounds.
  • Combine vegetables in large bowl.
  • Finely chop herbs.
  • Combine chopped herbs, vinegar and oil in another bowl. Mix well. Immediately pour mixture over vegetables and toss well.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy the next day!

The salad was light, yet satisfying, and couldn't be simpler to make. It's great paired with a heavier main course, like the burgers below!

Thanks, Real Simple, for keeping these burgers real simple to make. Seriously - all you need is ground beef and salt and pepper.

Just form the patties, and season with freshly-cracked sea salt and pepper:

Waiting for the grill:

And wedged taters combined in EVOO and dried rosemary to bake in the oven:
(Shameless plug: I lurrrve my Le Creuset grill pan!) Anyway...cook these babies for 4-5 minutes per side:

Flip once, and as my dad likes to say, wa-LA! (a.k.a. voila for all you Francophones out there ;) ).
I used 93% lean beef to cut down on the fat and they were delicious. I have to admit I had never cooked burgers before these, and I was really happy with how they turned out. It just goes to show that you don't need a lot of fancy ingredients or intensive preparation to make a delicious, healthy meal.

I enjoyed my burger on a bed of fresh spinach, and topped it with tomato slices, guacamole, ketchup and mustard. Yum! We also enjoyed roasted potato wedges and dill pickles on the side. Aaand of course our good friend Charles Shaw poured us a few glasses of Merlot with dinner. Who needs fast food when you can make something cheaper, healthier and tastier at home? Certainly not moi!

Unless, of course, we're talking In-N-Out...I'll be back in a few while I go get some :)

Other yummy eats as of late:

Using leftover burgers to make spicy beef and bean chili. I also added chopped jalapeños to Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (LOVE how easy that stuff is to make) for some tasty cornbread muffins (they ran away from the camera, but send their love from the depths of my tummy).

Spinach salad topped with tuna salad (made with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayo), sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta and Trader Joe's Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:

And last but not least, spinach salad topped with fresh sliced strawberries, chopped deli ham and balsamic.

Mmm...I love spinach :) Have a great week!
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