Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Gather ingredients.

Combine custard filling and bread crumbs.





Spread diced pears over bread crumb/custard mixture.

Sprinkle topping evenly.

Ready to eat.

Baked French Toast with Oat Crumble Topping

Breakfast in our house is usually a quick bowl of cereal or a smoothie, so when I made this recipe, it was for dinner. And why not? Breakfast for dinner has been a staple in our house ever since the triplets were little. Sometimes, the best meals are served with warm Vermont Maple Syrup.

Happy baking, hon.

Ingredients for the French Toast:

9 cups (455 grams) challah, brioche or other soft bread cut in 1-inch cubes, preferably day old (from a large, 1-pound loaf)

butter, for the baking dish

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) whole milk

1/2 cup (118 milliliters) heavy cream or creme fraiche

1/4 cup (60 milliliters) honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Ingredients for the Topping:

1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (30 grams) rolled oats (or use chopped nuts or sliced almonds)

1/3 cup (67 grams) light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup (114 grams) cold, unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into cubes

1 large or 2 small pears, peeled or unpeeled as desired, cored and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Ingredients for the Honey-Vanilla Syrup (Optional):

1/2 cup (118 milliliters) honey

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread bread crumbs out and toast until lightly golden, 7 to 15 minutes. Let cool. (Tip-err on less time since oven is so hot.)

2.  Generously butter a 2-quart casserole or 9 by 13-inch baking dish and fill with bread crumbs.

3.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom and salt until smooth. Pour over bread, tossing well. Press down on bread so it forms an even layer that is mostly submerged in custard. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight (or up to 48 hours ahead).

4.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

5.  Prepare the topping: In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. You can also pulse the topping ingredients together in a food processor if you’d rather. (The topping can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance; store covered in the refrigerator until needed.)

6. Spread diced pears, if using, evenly over the top of the bread, then cover with crumble mixture. Bake until golden and firm, 40 to 50 minutes. If you’d like a crunchier crust, broil for the final 1 to 2 minutes. Or leave the topping softer; it’s good both ways.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup, if desired. In a small saucepan, combine honey and 1 to 2 tablespoons water, depending on how thick you want the syrup to be. Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add seeds to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let the vanilla infuse for at least 10 minutes. (Syrup can be made up to 1 week ahead.) Serve the French toast warm with the honey-vanilla syrup, or maple syrup.

Yield: 12 servings

Source: Melissa Clark for The New York Times



Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues

Chocolate Meringues

1. Gather ingredients.

1. Gather ingredients.

2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.

2. Beat egg whites until they peak softly.








3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.

3. After adding sugar and beating until stiff, fold in chopped chocolate.

Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.

4. Drop tablespoons of meringue mixture onto cookie sheets.








Ready to eat. Sweet!

Ready to eat. Sweet!

Satisfy your sweet tooth!

I should make meringues more often because they are quick and easy, not to mention light and sweet. Even though I chose this recipe as a complement to other Kosher-for-Passover Seder desserts, meringues would work any time of year. At a recent fundraiser Hubby and I attended, gourmet-flavored meringues wrapped and ribboned were handed out as favors. Hmm, I think I’ll file that under party ideas.

Happy baking, hon!

Chocolate Meringues


4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I chopped semisweet parve chocolate chips in a food processor.)


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Coat lightly with nonstick vegetable spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until they peak softly.
  3. Add sugar gradually, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  4. Drop tablespoons of meringue onto prepared cookie sheets or press through a pastry bag with a large star nozzle.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave meringues inside without opening door for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight, to dry completely.
  6. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.

Yield: 25 – 30 meringues

Source:  Everyday Cooking for the Jewish Home by Ethel G. Hofman

Related Post: Lemon Meringues

Coq au Vin Blanc (Chicken in White Wine)

Coq au Vin Blanc

Coq au Vin Blanc






Whenever I receive a William-Sonoma catalog, I study the dishes displayed in the dishes! Coq au Vin is “typically cooked with red wine, traditionally a bottle of Burgundy.” Williams-Sonoma changed this French recipe by calling for a dry white wine. Here’s my take on it:

1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) whole chicken legs (I used chicken breasts.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. (500 g) small white button mushrooms (I didn’t add mushrooms.)
3/4 lb. (375 g) shallots, peeled and quartered
3 Tbs. unsalted butter (I used margarine.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry sherry
1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./430 ml) chicken broth
3/4 lb. (375 g) small baby carrots, peeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. In a large saucepan over high heat, boil the wine until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make a bouquet garni: Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie together the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Set aside.

4. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

5. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms and shallots to a bowl and set aside.

6. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Whisk in the reduced wine and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and braise until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

7. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Using a large spoon, skim the fat from the surface of the liquid. Set the pan over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie.

I love pecan pie. So, why have I only made it a few times in my life? Because I have a house of picky eaters! But in honor of Thanksgiving, and because I won’t be the only one eating the pie, I tried a new recipe. (previous post with different recipe.)

Luckily, I have a good sense of smell and picked up the “take-me-out-of-the-oven-NOW-scent” because the recipe called for another 10 minutes of baking time. The dark brown crust meant my pie could have come out of the oven even earlier. That won’t stop me–I bet it’s going to delicious.  Happy baking, hon.

Gather ingredients.

Gather ingredients.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven.






Pecan Pie


3 Tablespoons  margarine

3 eggs

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (10 -12 ounces) chopped pecans

9-inch pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Melt margarine in a small pan on stove.
  3. In mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add corn syrup, sugar and vanilla, and stir until well blended. Add melted margarine and pecans and mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.
  5. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Pie Crust:  I make my own.  To find out how, click either gluten-free pie crust or regular pie crust.


Red Wine Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Pearl Onions



It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving and the winter holidays turn me into a cooking/rearranging/cleaning whirling dervish! I was looking for a new soup recipe when I came across this one in Hadassah Magazine. It accompanied an article about kosher food trucks, specifically The Cinnamon Snail which travels all over the Eastern seaboard. I like the The Cinnamon Snail’s tagline, “Food to Inspire Peace and Bliss.”

If you have a food processor, the chopping and dicing in this recipe will go quickly. The preparation is worth it because this minestrone is tasty.  Happy cooking, hon!

Red Wine Minestrone with Swiss Chard and Pearl Onions

Gather ingredients.

Gather ingredients.

Almost done.

Combine ingredients in a soup pot.







2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

16 small pearl onions, peeled

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

3 cups vegetable broth

2 cups red wine

1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (juice included)

1 cup ditalini, elbow or small-shell pasta

1 cup drained, rinsed canned pinto beans

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon but I wanted to cut the spiciness. season to your spiciness-taste level)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I used about a Tablespoon dried basil leaves)

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped (I used about half the bunch)

Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic and carrot and continue to sauté until vegetables soften slightly, 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth, wine and tomatoes, bring to a boil, add pasta and boil until pasta is only partially cooked, 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in beans, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, basil and Swiss chard and cook until pasta is al dente, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Makes about 3 quarts.

Source: Street Vegan:  Recipes and Dispatches from the Cinnamon Snail Food Truck by Adam Sobel



Crock Pot Pepper Steak


Crock pot Pepper Steak.

Crock Pot Pepper Steak.

I’m interrupting Series of Blue to bring you dinner. Pull up a chair, sit at my table, and join me for this delicious dish served over a bed of rice. We have lots to catch up on. Afterwards, there’ll be dessert because…well, hon…there’s always room for dessert.

Crock Pot Pepper Steak


2 pound pepper steak strips

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon corn starch

2 Tablespoons cold water

1 beef bouillon cube

1/4 cup hot water

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

dash pepper, ginger and garlic powder

1/2 cup onion chopped

2 large green peppers (or a mix of peppers), seeded and cut into strips

1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes with liquid

honey to drizzle


  1. Rinse pepper steak and pat dry. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook beef in skillet about 8 minutes, turning once, until brown.
  2. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with cold water until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend hot water with crushed beef bouillon cube.
  4. Stir soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, ginger and garlic powder into bouillon mixture.
  5. In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, layer beef, onions and stewed tomatoes.
  6. Pour bouillon mixture on top of layers. Pour cornstarch on top of bouillon mixture.  Add peppers.  Drizzle honey on on top of that.
  7. Cover; cook either on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until beef is tender, or High setting for about 3 hours and then turn to Low for approximately another 2 hours.  
  8. Test beef for doneness and tenderness. Length of cooking time will depend on thin/thickness of steak to be cooked.

Yield:  4 servings.

Sources:  and

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake c/o Ina Garten

Coconut Cake c/o Ina Garten

Satisfy your Sweettooth

I can’t take credit for baking this, but I can for eating it! One of my daughters found this recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home.  I’m not usually a big fan of cream cheese icing (chocolate icing is another matter), but this icing was the perfect complement to the buttery, vanilla cake and coconut shavings. Guess what I’m in the mood for now?

Coconut Cake


3/4 pounds (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pans

2 cups granulated sugar

5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pans

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk

4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Icing Ingredients:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted

6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, then line them with parchment paper.  Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

2.  Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes,  until light yellow and fluffy. Crack eggs into a separate bowl one at a time, adding to butter/sugar mixture one at a time.  Mixing on medium speed also add vanilla and almond extracts.  If mixture looks curdled, don’t be concerned.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine (recipe says to sift together, but I don’t usually sift) flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With mixer on low speed, alternately add dry ingredients and milk to batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife.  Bake in center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester (we use toothpicks) comes out clean.  Cool on baking racks for 30 minutes, then turn cakes out onto baking racks to finish cooling.

5.  Icing:  Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer again, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed.  Add confectioner’s sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).

6.  To assemble, place one layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with icing.  Place second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides.  To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides.  Serve at room temperature.

Tip:  To make in advance, bake cakes and wrap well.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Ice cakes before serving and serve at room temperature.

Want a piece?

Want a piece?


Delicious Fish Dish (and Tartar Sauce)

Baked Cod with Steamed Green Beans.

Baked Cod with Steamed Green Beans.

We recently had dinner at Chez Oskar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I ordered fluke baked with rice and veggies in parchment paper. The dish was so delicious, I tried to replicate it at home. Hon, this is a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants recipe, which means there aren’t exact measurements. The good news:  you don’t need exact quantities to make this healthy Delicious Fish Dish.

Happy cooking!

Step 1.  Wash fish and pat dry.

1. Wash fish and pat dry.

2.  Gather ingredients:  rice, sauteed veggies, spices, parchment paper.

2. Gather ingredients: rice, sauteed veggies, spices, parchment paper.







3. Line glass baking dish with large pieced of parchment paper. Spread rice and veggies on top.

3. Line glass baking dish with large piece of parchment paper. Spread rice and veggies on top.

4. Lay fish on top of rice and veggies.

4. Lay fish on top of rice and veggies.







5. Add a bit of butter, a few capfuls of lemon juice, maybe some white wine and parsley.

5. Add a bit of butter, a few capfuls of lemon juice, maybe some white wine and parsley.

6. Wrap fish in parchment paper.  Bake

6. Wrap fish in parchment paper. Bake.

7. Carefully open parchment, allowing steam to escape.

7. Carefully open parchment paper, allowing steam to escape.

Serve fish directly from parchment paper.

8. Serve fish directly from parchment paper.

Delicious Fish Dish


Fish Fillet–I used a little under 2 pounds of cod in the dish above.  I might try this with tilapia and sea bass, but I’m not sure about flounder or sole which are much thinner.

Rice and Veggies–Cooked rice and steamed or sauteed vegetables. (any rice and whatever veggies you think will go with the fish)

Spices–salt, pepper, ground Sage, Herbs de Provence, parsley or spices you like.

Lemon Juice, Butter and White Wine–I didn’t use white wine in the dish above, but next time I will.

Parchment Paper–enough to wrap fish in


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  (Start at 400 degrees if fish is thick, like cod, tilapia or sea bass, lowering to 350 after about 15 minutes. If fish is thin, bake at 350 degrees F the whole time.)

1.  Pre-cook rice, and steam or saute vegetables.

2.  Wash fish fillet and pat dry.

3.  Line a glass baking pan with parchment paper, making sure the piece you use is big enough to fold over the fish.

4.  Spread rice and veggies on top of parchment paper, sprinkling with desired spices.

5.  Lay fish over rice and veggies.  Sprinkle remaining spices, small scoops of butter (about 1-2 teaspoons a scoop), a few capfuls of lemon juice, and white wine (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup) on top of fish.

6.  Fold parchment paper up and over fish lengthwise, then fold ends.

7.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Lower oven to 350 degrees F and bake for about another 20 to 25 minutes.  Check fish for done-ness and bake longer if necessary.

8.  When done baking, open parchment paper carefully to let steam escape.  Fish will be very hot. Serve directly from parchment paper.

Note:  I started cod at 400 degrees because it’s thick. If you use a thinner fish, then I recommend baking it at 350 degrees F the whole time.)

Tartar Sauce

Here’s how I make quick and easy Tartar Sauce:

Combine approximately 4 Tablespoons of mayonnaise with  2-3 Tablespoons relish, Sprinkle paprika.  Mix and serve.  (Yield–about 2)




Still Chilly Chili

Chili in the crock pot.

Chili in the crock pot.

It might be Spring, but you’d never know it.

Yesterday in Alaska–umm, I mean New Jersey, schools were dismissed early, car windows needed scraping and driveways needed shoveling.  Backing out of my San Francisco-like driveway required expert driving (thanks, Hubby) so that the car wasn’t totaled a few feet from the front door!

Our Arctic Zone weather requires comfort food, and I consider Chili a warmer upper.  Chili also reminds me of skiing, and since I’m the Queen-of-Connecting-the-Dots (see post Toasty Tushy Melts the I.C.E. for more dot connecting), I’ll tell you why.

When you’ve been skiing and you’re wondering if frostbite has set in, Chili is practically required medicine.  I’ve been to ski lodges where plugged in electric cords lead from walls to crock pots clustered on tables.  At lunchtime, simmering chili is ready to serve.  (Skiers are such trusting people!)

We recently went skiing and I decided it would be great if dinner was waiting for us when we came home.  Enjoy this recipe.  Hon, I hope, it warms you from the inside out.

A ski day is a good day!

A ski day is a good day!

I made extra a froze some for another time.

I made extra a froze some for another time.



2 pounds ground beef

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used chopped tomatoes)

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your chili, I used 1 Tbl)

1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Optional:  2 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained; other spices, such as paprika, dried mustard or whatever you want to sprinkle in


1.  In a hot frying pan, brown ground beef.

2.  Place browned ground beef and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 4 to 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, 45 minutes.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Classic Black-and-White Cookies

Classic Black-and-White Cookies

Classic Black-and-White Cookies

Cake or cookie?  Or both?

Black-and-White Cookies are one of my family’s favorites. Whether they’re bigger than your head or bite size, everyone ooh’s and ahh’s at the sight of icing dripping over the edges of the part cake/part cookie dessert. They weren’t hard to make, but they took time and were messy. So, put on an apron, clear the counter, and get ready for some serious Cookie Therapy.

These cookies were so delicious, everyone in my house said, “Just one more.”  This recipe yields a lot of cookies so I froze a bunch. Even defrosted, they were yummy. You know I love a party.  How fun would it be to make these using food coloring on the white icing to match a color scheme?

Happy baking, hon!

Measure ingredients.

Measure ingredients.

Use a paddle attachment to mix ingredients.

Use a paddle attachment to beat until light and fluffy.







Drop batter onto cookie sheet.

Form tablespoon size dough balls.

Bake until

Bake until edges begin to brown.







Spread white icing on 1/2 of cookies.

Spread white icing on half of each cookie.

Spread chocolate icing on other half of cookies.

Spread chocolate icing on the other half of each cookie.






Let icing set

Let icing set.

Classic Black-and-White Cookies


2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter (I used margarine*), at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup whole milk (I used almond milk*)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

Icing Ingredients

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup boiling water

1ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Place flours and baking powder in a bowl and mix well.

3.  Place butter (or margarine) and granulated sugar in a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add milk (or almond milk) and vanilla and beat well. With mixer running, gradually add dry flour ingredients to butter mixture, beat until completely mixed

4.  Form the dough into tablespoon-size balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Transfer to oven and bake until edges of the cookies just begin to brown, about 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with remaining dough.

5.  Icing:  Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl and add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is spreadable but still thick.  Transfer half the icing to another mixing bowl and stir in the melted chocolate. Set aside to cool.

6.  Spread half of one side of the cookies with the white icing and the other half with the chocolate icing. Set aside until the icing hardens.

Yield:  about 6 dozen cookies

Substituting margarine for butter and almond milk for milk made these cookies dairy-free.

Source:  Family Circle magazine