Posts Tagged ‘toast’

Unintentionally, I’ve gotten a bit behind on this blog lately. It’s time to get back in the swing of things, and get back to making more of Alton’s good eats. Summer heat has hit us lately, so I have been making lots of light dishes (like gazpacho and summer rolls) that do not require turning on the oven. After episode 104, I will officially have finished cooking my way through seven seasons of Good Eats, which will put me at the half-way point of this project; I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there!

French Toast

Alton’s version of French toast begins the night before you plan to have it for breakfast. Prior to bed, set out eight slices of bread, sliced 1/2″ thick; this will allow the bread to dry out overnight.

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Eight slices of bread, set out overnight.

Before bed you will also make the custard by combining 1 C half-and-half, 2 T warm honey, 1/4 t Kosher salt, and 3 eggs. Set the custard in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 and pour the custard into a pie or cake pan.

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Chilled custard poured into pie plate.

Place two slices of the air-dried bread into the custard, soaking them for 30 seconds on each side.

Transfer the soaked slices of bread to a rack over a sheet pan, letting them sit for at least two minutes; Alton says this step is key, as it allows the custard to fully penetrate the bread, and any excess custard can drip away.

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Soaked bread draining on a rack over a sheet pan.

Next, preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Ideally, you want your skillet to be at 350 degrees for cooking, which I was able to check with an infrared thermometer. If you do not have an infrared thermometer, you can test your skillet with some butter; if it foams when you add it to the skillet, it is ready.

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Skillet preheated to ~350.

Once your skillet is hot, butter the skillet and add your two soaked bread slices, allowing them to cook until golden brown on both sides.

While your toast cooks, repeat the soaking/draining steps with two more slices of bread. Transfer the cooked toast to your rack over a sheet pan. Continue soaking, draining, and cooking until all of your toast has been cooked. Finally, place your rack of toast in the oven for five minutes before serving with butter, fruit, syrup, or whatever floats your boat.

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Toast in the oven for 5 minutes.

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French toast with butter and maple syrup.

In the episode, Alton said that the dual cooking method (skillet and oven) results in French toast that is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, and he was right. His French toast is very lightly sweetened and has a richness without being dense. Prepping the custard and bread the night before makes morning prep pretty easy, and finishing the toast in the oven means you can have everyone’s toast ready at the same time – no eating in shifts! Great French toast recipe!

Bruschetta

According to Alton, bruschetta should really only consist of five ingredients:  bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Alton’s recipe begins with slicing a narrow loaf of Italian or French bread on the bias, and about 3/4″ thick. Toast the bread under a broiler for about two minutes per side, or until golden.

While the toast is hot, rub it with a head of garlic that has been cut in half to expose the cloves.

Brush the toast with some good olive oil, and sprinkle on some pepper and coarse salt.

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Bruschetta with soup.

I enjoyed Alton’s bruschetta as a side to a cauliflower soup. Although Alton’s recipe is incredibly simple, it is quite delicious in its simplicity and makes a great side dish. The key with a recipe like this is to use high-quality ingredients. I will caution that this bruschetta packs a big punch of garlic, but I love garlic, so that’s not a problem for me. When I was 15, my mom and I traveled to Atlanta to spectate at the 1996 Olympics. While there, we stayed with a family who shared with us a version of bruschetta they had eaten while in Italy, and that version is still my favorite. For their recipe, you rubbed toasted bread with a raw garlic clove and dipped the bread into good olive oil, followed by grated Parmesan. After that, you topped the bread with a few leaves of fresh basil, a couple thin slices of campari tomato, salt, and pepper. I just like the added freshness from the basil and tomato.

Welsh Rarebit

Although I had heard of Welsh rarebit, I had never eaten it before making it for this episode. Alton made his rarebit in a camp stove by his fireplace, but I made mine on the stove over low heat. Maybe if I were making this recipe in December… Anyway, regardless of your vessel, begin by melting 2 T butter.

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Melting 2 T butter.

Once the butter has melted, whisk in 2 T flour.

Next, add 1 t Dijon mustard, 1 t Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 t Kosher salt, and 1/2 t pepper.

Whisk in 1/2 C good dark beer and 3/4 C heavy cream.

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Dark beer for rarebit.

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Dark beer and cream added to pan.

Once combined, gradually add 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese, a handful at a time.

When the cheese is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, season the mixture with a few drops of hot sauce, to your taste.

Spoon the sauce over four slices of toasted bread and enjoy (Alton prefers rye bread, but my bakery did not have any).

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Welsh rarebit.

Since I have no other Welsh rarebits to compare this recipe to, I can only say that we liked it, though it isn’t a “pretty” meal. The type and quality of beer you use does matter, as the beer flavor is quite prominent in this dish, and I would like to experiment with some other beers to see which works best. To me, this really is a cold weather meal, as it is heavier comfort-like food. It seems like it would be a great dinner after a day of skiing or sledding. On that note, this would also be an easy camping meal. This recipe makes enough sauce for at least eight slices of toast, so I refrigerated the leftover sauce and reheated it gently on the stove a couple days later. This is another easy, tasty recipe, and it was fun to try a dish that I had only previously heard of.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Next up in my blog project was Alton’s recipe for baked macaroni and cheese. Last fall, Alton posted an updated version of this recipe on his web page, and I went ahead and made it, despite knowing it would be coming up later in my project. Yes, I usually try to wait to make the Good Eats recipes until their time arrives in sequence, but last fall was a rough time and I was searching for the highest calorie recipes I could find. Ted had lost 35 pounds from his skinny runner/cyclist frame, due to complications from cancer treatment, so I was on a mission to fatten him up. When Alton’s baked macaroni and cheese showed up in my Facebook feed, it was just perfect timing. Knowing this recipe was good, I was excited to make it again – this time for my blog.

Cheese-wise, you will need 12 ounces of grated cheddar cheese for Alton’s recipe.

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12 ounces of grated cheddar.

Begin by cooking 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni in salted water for six minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water to halt the cooking process.

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1/2 pound of elbow macaroni, cooked for 6 minutes and rinsed under cold water.

Next, melt 3 T butter in a pan over medium heat, and whisk in 3 T flour. Cook this mixture until it is sandy in color.

Add 1 T powdered mustard, 1/2 t paprika (I used hot, smoked paprika), 1/2 C chopped onion, 1 bay leaf, and 1 t Kosher salt, whisking to incorporate.

Slowly add in 3 C whole milk, whisking until thickened, which will take several minutes.

Discard bay leaf. In a small bowl, lightly beat one egg. Temper the egg by whisking in 2 T of the hot milk sauce. You can now add the egg to the pan of hot sauce and it will not curdle.

Whisk in 3/4 of the grated cheese until melted.

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3/4 of cheese being added to sauce.

Fold the cooked noodles into the cheese sauce and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole.

Finally, combine 1 C panko bread crumbs with 4 T melted butter, and sprinkle the buttered crumbs evenly over the surface of the casserole.

Bake the macaroni and cheese at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the macaroni and cheese sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Alton’s baked mac and cheese.

As I said before, this macaroni and cheese is not low-cal, but it is quite delicious. While the noodles remain “toothsome,” the sauce is rich and cheesy with a little bite from the powdered mustard and paprika. The crispy panko topping is the icing on the… mac and cheese? For mac and cheese fans, this is a sure hit.

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

As if one great macaroni and cheese recipe weren’t enough, Alton also has a stove top version of America’s greatest casserole. For this recipe, you will need eggs, evaporated milk, hot sauce, powdered mustard, Kosher salt, pepper, elbow macaroni, butter, and cheddar cheese.

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Ingredients for Alton’s stove top mac and cheese: pepper, hot sauce, powdered mustard, butter, eggs, cheddar cheese, elbow macaroni, evaporated milk, and Kosher salt.

Begin by grating 10 ounces of cheddar cheese.

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10 ounces of grated cheddar cheese.

Next, whisk 2 eggs in a bowl and add 6 ounces of evaporated milk. Add 1/2 t hot sauce, 3/4 t powdered mustard, 1 t Kosher salt, and some pepper.

Set the sauce aside while you cook 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and place it immediately back in the pan, stirring in 4 T butter until melted.

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Butter added to hot elbow macaroni.

On a low burner, add the egg mixture to the noodles, along with the grated cheddar cheese. Cook and stir until the sauce is smooth.

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Alton’s stove top mac and cheese.

Honestly, we thought this mac and cheese was great, especially for the time and effort required. I actually thought this recipe had stronger cheese flavor than Alton’s baked version. I did, however, miss the crispy panko topping. Next time I make mac and cheese, I think I will opt for this version because it is easier, faster, and on par with Alton’s baked recipe – I just might add some buttered, toasted panko to the top. I will be making this again for sure.

Next Day Mac and Cheese “Toast”

In case macaroni and cheese was not sinful enough, Alton decided to make it that much richer with this recipe for fried macaroni and cheese. I made this with leftovers from Alton’s baked macaroni and cheese. Begin by combining 1 C flour, 1 t salt, and 1 t cayenne pepper.

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Flour, salt, and cayenne.

Slice your cold leftover macaroni and cheese into individual servings and coat each piece in the flour mixture. Next, dunk each piece in beaten egg. Finally, dip each slice in panko bread crumbs.

While you are preparing your macaroni and cheese, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees on the stove.

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Peanut oil, heating to 375.

When the oil has reached its temperature, fry the macaroni and cheese slices until golden brown and crispy.

Sprinkle the slices with Kosher salt and hot sauce before serving.

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Alton’s fried macaroni and cheese.

This was delicious. The already wonderful, cheesy, rich macaroni and cheese was enhanced with a golden, crispy fried crust all around. If you have leftover macaroni and cheese, frying it makes an extra special treat, and who couldn’t use a treat now and then?