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Dad’s Sunday French Toast

In my mind, I thought that country French cooks didn’t waste anything.  And I think this is why and how French toast must have originated.  By taking what was left over from yesterday, and using to create a substantial meal for today.

So then, French toast must have been made with French bread right?  Oh yeah!

Here in Florida, Publix supermarkets (Where Shopping Is a Pleasure – you know), they have wonderful bakeries.  Not as good as, say, fifteen years ago, but the bakeries are pretty good – and they make great baguettes.

Slice your baguette

Slice your baguette

I took a whole baguette and sliced it on an angle.  I let the sliced baguette soak for a few minutes in custard made of:

Three eggs beaten

¼ cup of whole milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon

(OK, I know you only see two eggs in the picture, but actually used three!)

Whisk all that together in a bowl or casserole dish (something deep) large enough to hold and soak about four of the slices of bread.

On the stove, using a heavy skillet at med/high temperature – place a tablespoon of vegetable shortening and let it melt (or use vegetable oil) and let it come up to temperature.

Soak the French bread in the custard

Soak the French bread in the custard

Drop in the custard soaked baguette slices – fry until just past golden (or as you like it) about two minutes on each side.  Remove and set aside on another ovenproof plate in the oven at 300 to keep warm until all of the French bread is made.

Put two or three slices of French toast on a plate, smear with some room temperature butter and dust with powdered sugar – top with fresh or thawed fruit and drizzle with real maple syrup.  Some pork or turkey sausage pairs well with it.

Happy Sunday!  (OK, OK, if you must, you can make this on Saturday too!)

Fry the French bread

Fry the French bread

Dad's Sunday French Toast

Dad's Sunday French Toast

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Romaine lettuce, salami, provolone, green olives, black olives, red onion, provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, artichokes, ham, salami.

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Note: My Eggplant Parmesan is NOT a vegetarian meal. It is a wonderful blend of Italian meatballs, sausage, cheese, eggplant, and home made sauce.

4 Medium/Large Firm Eggplant

4 Eggs – beaten with a little water

3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumb

Kosher Salt

1 cup Olive Oil

1 cup Vegetable Oil

Left-over meatballs (4), left over Italian sausage (3), and about two cups of left over spaghetti sauce.

½ lb sliced provolone cheese

4 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese

Peel the eggplant and slice them a little more than ¼ inch thick.

Lay the sliced eggplant out on a large platter and generously salt them with kosher salt. Layer the slice and salt them until all of them are sliced and salted. Let them set for about an hour. A lot of dark liquid will come out of the eggplant. Be sure and drain the liquid.

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After an hour, rinse all of the eggplant under cold running water, and then pat them all dry.

In a medium bowl, beat 4 eggs with a tablespoon of water. Pour out 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs onto a large plate. You may need to use more bread crumbs or eggs depending on the size of your eggplant.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

On a large sheet pan (it helps to have two pans) blend the olive oil and the vegetable oil.

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Dip sliced eggplant in egg and then in the bread crumbs and place on the oiled sheet pan. Do this until the sheet pan is full. If you have another pan, do the same process.

Bake the eggplant until golden brown on both sides (about 10 minutes each side). When done, lay the fried eggplant on a large platter lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil. Put paper towel between layers of eggplant to ensure proper drain.

Repeat this until all of the eggplant has been fried and let them cool a bit.

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In the meantime, using a fork or potato masher, break up the meatballs and sausage with some sauce. Then add the rest of the sauce and mix.

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In 9 X 9 baking dish – spread some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

Line the pan with the first layer of eggplant. Next put down three slices of provolone cheese and a little of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Next, spoon on some of the meat/sauce mixture. Repeat these steps until the baking dish is full, or you’ve used up all of the eggplant. Top with any remaining sauce and cheese.

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Bake –covered (I use a sheet of parchment paper covered with aluminum foil) for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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(ok, it’s not a perfect picture, I had to try some!!)

My family loves to make eggplant sandwiches using Portuguese Rolls. Sometimes I will cook angel hair pasta and top with a nice square of eggplant parmesan and extra sauce.

Enjoy. If you have questions, write me at dadcooks at reciperedux dot com.

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Dad’s Potato Salad

3 pounds red potatoes (skins on) cubed to about ½-3/4 inch
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon of celery seed
Freshly ground black pepper

½ to ¾ cup chopped onion – any kind you like – yellow-red-sweet
6 Hard boiled eggs –3 of them sliced in quarters – the rest chopped
Shakes of paprika
Chopped Fresh Parsley

Put the potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Emril calls this “fork tender”. Drain the potatoes in a very large bowl to cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and the celery seed and set this aside.

Chop 3 of the hard boiled eggs and add to the cooled potatoes. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate. When cooled, add the dressing and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a serving bowl (nice for the table) and add the remaining eggs/quartered around the top of the salad. Shake on the paprika and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serve cold.

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Stuffed Cabbage and Perogies

You will need to set aside some time to make this recipe. I usually start in the morning so that this can be for supper. Other times I’ve started this at night, and let it cook all night. Yup… the house smell like cabbage but it smells like heaven!!

large head cabbage or two medium (save the scraps)

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound of ground pork

1/2 cup rice instant rice cooked to yield one cup (a little more if you like)

1 medium onion chopped very fine

2 stalks of celery chopped very fine

2 garlic cloves chopped very fine

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

3 or 4 bay leaves

5 slices of bacon

Cut the core out from the bottom of the cabbage; Place into a very large kettle of boiling water and cook the cabbage pulling off the leaves every 4 minutes or so. Once you have all of the leaves off, with a small knife, cut the large stem flat so that the cabbage leaf is the same thickness all the way down. Stack all of your leaves and let them cool.

Save all of the scraps of cabbage and toss them into the bottom of the large pot that you are going to cook your cabbage rolls in. This is in case any should scald or burn, you’ll only burn the scraps and not the cabbage rolls. But, you will only cook these on low heat, so burning should not be a problem if you pay attention.

Combine evenly the ground chuck, ground pork and the cooked rice. Add the garlic, onion, celery, salt and pepper and blend all of this with your hands so that it is completely mixed together. Scoop the meat mixture into the stem end of the cabbage leaf – lay it on the counter and roll up the leaf from the bottom while tucking in the sides until sealed. By trimming that think stem, you’ve made it easier to roll the leaves and not have to rely on toothpicks to hold the rolls together. (You’ll notice later when the rolls have been cooked that they hold nice and tight). Fill all of the leaves in a like manner. YES – you are filling the leaves with the raw meat mixture – don’t worry, they will cook just fine – and the taste will be magnificent.

In bottom of large pot or dutch-oven, place the cabbage scraps. Arrange layers of cabbage rolls, seam side down – repeat til the pot is full. Pour in the crushed tomatoes then shake the pot so that the tomato liquid settles throughout. Lay on the strips of bacon and toss in the bay leaves. Bring the pot to a slow simmer and keep covered the entire time you are cooking. Once the pot simmers, you will need to cook this on low heat for at least 4 hours. Make sure that the liquid bubbles very slowly. Good food takes time. That’s why your Bobcha was always hanging out in the kitchen… the golomkie (or goo-um-key) took most of the day.

Make a pot of mashed potatoes or perogies and serve with your stuffed cabbage. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with marble rye or pumpernickel bread and butter. ENJOY!

Perogies

If you choose Mr & Mrs T’s Perogies, I boil them as directed on the package. Then I fry them in 3 tablespoons of butter and one large onion chopped. Fry until the perogies are brown and the onions are caramelized and/or crisp. Delish!!!!

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I made a terrific macaroni and cheese – this time I just kind of threw it together but I added a little Dijon mustard.  I also used two cheeses – Velveeta and Cabot Sharp White Cheddar.

8oz. elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8oz.  grated sharp cheddar
6oz. cubed Velveeta Cheese
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9×9 baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally until it is almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, set aside and cover to keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir quickly to make a paste – as soon as it forms add the milk a little bit at a time, so that it all combines without lumps.

Add the salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and Dijon mustard and whisk to combine completely – simmer slowly until it makes a sauce that will evenly coat the back of a wooden spoon.  

Course grate the cheddar cheese and cube the Velveeta and add both to the sauce and blend completely.  Add the cheese sauce to the pot of macaroni and stir until all is combined evenly – then transfer to the buttered baking dish.  Smooth it out, then sprinkle the top with seasoned bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until it bubbles from the sides and the bread crumbs get a bit toasty. 

Serve warm.   This tasted even better the next two days, heated up in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

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We had company from Cincinnati last night and a big request for pizza. Since we follow the dictate of – no meat of Fridays during Lent, I made three excellent meat-less pizzas.

1. Caramelized Sweet Onion and Baby Bella mushrooms with homemade pizza sauce and provolone cheese – got rave reviews on that one.

2. Greek Pizza – with the obvious – homemade pizza sauce, pre-cooked spinach w/garlic, chopped Kalamata Olives (pitted), fried eggplant, and Feta cheese.

3. Pepper Pizza – Slivers of Red and Green Bell Peppers with rings of Cubanelle Peppers – homemade sauce, provolone cheese as well.

I always dust the pizza (no matter what the toppings are) with garlic powder and dried oregano before putting them in the oven at 400 (for 25 minutes).

Try these… they were a real hit last night.

Sorry I don’t have any photos – I was so busy serving – and I might have had too much wine 😉

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