Milkless French toast

A couple of weeks ago I found myself with a day-old baguette and a sneaking suspicion that if I didn’t turn the baguette into something delicious, it would lay moldering in the kitchen for the next week. I had the eggs and cinnamon to make a delicious French toast – but no milk! And there were 2 major reasons why I didn’t want to go to the store to buy some:

  1. I was traveling on Monday and didn’t want the milk to rot in my fridge
  2. Pure laziness

So this recipe was born as a proof of concept – can you make French toast without milk? The answer is yes you most certainly can. Here’s one for all the milkless households out there!

Milkless French toast

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

4 eggs

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Butter

4 pieces bread, preferably thick and day-old

Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. Soak one side of bread in mixture, then flip and soak other side. Make sure the bread is soaked through but not falling apart.
  3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Fry soaked bread until golden brown, then flip and repeat.
  4. Serve with powdered sugar.

I did find that milkless French toast has a stronger egg flavor, and the interior of the bread is less soft. However, the outside is much crispier. I served these with my Syrup Alternative: Healthy Berry Compote and it was the perfect match. So the next time you don’t quite feel like going to the store for milk, give these a try!

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How to make perfectly crunchy grilled bread

It seems almost silly to have a whole post dedicated to grilling bread. How hard can it be? You grab some bread… and you grill it. But how do you get that perfect, crunchy exterior striped with aesthetic grill lines? It needs to crackle as you bite down, be buttery but not greasy, and act as the perfect vehicle for sauces and toppings. It needs to be so enthralling that you forget you’re on a low carb diet and sitting around eating grilled bread.

Continue reading “How to make perfectly crunchy grilled bread”

Chai-infused shortbread cookies

These Chai-infused shortbread cookies have all the earthy spices of Chai tea and buttery richness of shortbread cookies. Tea-infused butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon and all spice create a smooth Chai flavor in every bite.

Fall is just around the corner. Not that San Francisco really has seasons, but you can feel it in the slight nip in the air and briskness in the wind. Plus, Pumpkin Spice Lattes have rolled out in full force, which is probably the most dependable way for a Californian to know that is really and truly Fall.

This time of year makes me think of sipping warm cups of black tea while nibbling on tea cookies. What better way to combine those two than with Chai-infused shortbread cookies? I’ve made Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies before, where I actually mixed tea leaves into the dry ingredients. The cookies tasted amazing, but I felt that this is not the most effective way to get tea flavor into a baked good. After all, tea is made with hot water, so the flavor needs a hot liquid in order to be released. My solution? Chai-infused butter.

The theory and results behind tea-infused butter

My idea was to warm up some butter on the skillet, steep a large number of tea bags, then bring the butter back to room temperature. I’d keep the temperature low enough that the butter wouldn’t brown, but high enough that the tea would be released. Here are my key takeways:

  • You either need many, many tea bags (I used Tazo Chai), or you need to shell out for high quality loose leaf tea. I used 6 tea bags and just barely got the tea fragrance into my butter.
  • You will lose butter in the process – it will absorb in to the tea bags and you won’t be able to squeeze all of it out.
  • Stir the butter frequently unless you want burnt tea butter

All in all though, it went better than I thought it would.

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Chai-infused shortbread cookies

Servings: 24 cookies

Prep time: 1.5 hours

Bake time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

6-8 tea bags or 2 tbsp strong loose leaf tea

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tsp all spice

2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Slice butter and melt on stove over medium heat. Steep tea bags or leaves for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Pour butter and tea through strainer. Squeeze remaining butter from bags or leaves.
  3. Chill butter back down to room temperature in freezer, for about 20 minutes.
  4. Sift together flour, all spice, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Mix together sugar, room temperature infused butter, and vanilla until fluffy.
  6. Slowly mix in dry ingredient mixture until dough comes together.
  7. Shape dough into a cylinder ~1 in. in diameter and wrap tightly in cling wrap. I chose to flatten out the sides of my cylinder so my cookies are rectangular instead of round. Chill for 30 min – 1 hour minimum.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice cookies about ~1/4 in. thick and lay on parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely and enjoy!

The cookies have a wonderful spiced flavor, and it was so fun to experiment with infused butter. I’m excited to try a recipe using high quality loose leaf tea to see what difference this will make! What Fall-flavored items are you excited to bake this season?

Simple Shakshuka

Eggs with perfectly runny yolks float on a bed of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices. The flavorful, rich combination goes perfectly with slices of grilled bread. 

In undergrad, I had a Computer Science theory lecturer who would intersperse his lectures on Turing Machines with exclamations of “I love Shakshuka!” This was the first time I had heard of Shakshuka, and I assumed it was a convoluted CS term. I am now older and wiser and know that Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern / Mediterranean / Northern African dish (exact origin up for debate) made with tomatoes, spices, and eggs.  It’s usually served in a skillet and tastes wonderful with a side of crispy bread. You can’t beat the combination of bread, runny egg yolk, and tomatoes.

Continue reading “Simple Shakshuka”

August wrap-up

August was a month full of sunshine and travels all over the United States. Lately it seems that time passes too fast – I blink and half a year is gone, I’ve flown over 100,000 miles, and I’m left not knowing where all that time went. I am just sitting here GROWING OLD (just kidding… kind of) and wondering where the summer went. But when I take a moment to think, August was filled with wonderful moments with friends and loved, full of good food, interesting places, and lessons learned. Continue reading “August wrap-up”

Coffee cake blueberry muffins

A rich, moist muffin with a tender crumb, bursting with fresh blueberries and topped with a cinnamon sugar crumble – these coffee cake blueberry muffins are the perfect bites of sweet happiness.

I love coffee cake because it’s always so deliciously moist and has that wonderful sweet layer of melty brown sugar and cinnamon in the middle and crumble on top. My dad used to make the boxed version on Sunday’s, and I would anxiously peek at the oven as it baked. I just couldn’t wait to eat a big slice with a glass of milk.  And I love muffins because of the excellent surface area to volume ratio – you get lots of crusty muffin top to go with a fluffy center that can be packed with all sorts of fillings. Continue reading “Coffee cake blueberry muffins”

How to prepare for your first backpacking trip

If you told middle school me that she would enjoy strapping a heavy pack on her back and hauling it up a mountain, I would have laughed in your face. But last summer I found myself doing just that, for 25 days on the Camino de Santiago. As I laced up my boots each morning and tightened the straps of my pack, I found that I felt freed rather than burdened. If all your possessions can fit on your back, you can go anywhere in the world.

Of course, you don’t have to buy a ticket to Spain to enjoy backpacking. My first post-Camino backpacking trip was at state park just an hour drive from my apartment. However, you will need to invest some time and money in preparing for your trip – the right equipment can make a huge difference!

Continue reading “How to prepare for your first backpacking trip”