Thursday, February 14, 2008

break out of my shell

I have been looking for just the right recipes to break me out of my food rut I am currently in. I think I have found them too (thank you epicurious!). How delicious do these look?

Three Cheese Fondue with Champagne (epicurious)
I seriously need to dig my electric fondue pot out of the box it for the first time. Yes, I received it as a wedding present (I registered for it and I was damn sure I was going to use it!) but I have yet to use it. I did take it out of the box actually, now it has a home on a shelf in the pantry. He has made great friends with the Kitchenaid mixer and the Cuisinart food processer. I did hear a rumor that they were blackballing the cotton candy machine though. Bullies.
Anyway....who doesnt like fondue? Show me someone and Ill bet you that they are a communist. Only commies dont like fondue. It is extremely easy and fun to eat! Who doesnt like an interactive meal (besides the commies)? I think this is what makes Benihana so famous, entertainment value. Well, that and the fact that you know the cooks didnt spit in your food b/c you asked for no msg and light oil.

4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 7 ounces)
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 ounces)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 French-bread baguette, crust left on, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and white pepper. Place over candle or canned heat burner to keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Creme Brulee French Toast (epicurious)
This recipe really makes me want to be in a New England B&B. How amazing would it be to come downstairs after the most peaceful night of sleep and to find this beauty on your breakfast plate? Truly amazing. Now, who wants breakfast?

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
an 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread (or you can use a baguette) challah would be perfect
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve hot French toast immediately.


Amy said...

Why yes, Amanda, I would love to come over and help you enjoy these deliciousnesses...

Michelle said...

And me too!