Tag: brunch

Chico Malo – Nana’s Drunken French Toast

While visiting friends in Phoenix, we had brunch at Chico Malo. For now, it is just the local Mexican/South American restaurant around the corner but keep an eye on this one. The Group that owns it is about to explode on the scene. Chico Malo literally means “bad boy” in Spanish. The menu is only good things but with a bad boy edge. The food was AMAZING!! Each item on the menu sounded better than the next. I loved that they aren’t trying to re-invent who they are with a whole new menu, for brunch.  There are things like burritos and Chimichangas and in some cases, they turn those up.

Everything we ordered was great, but I can’t get my mind off the Nana Marcella’s Drunken French Toast. I’m going to do my best to duplicate. The presentation was so beautiful and the melding of flavors so incredible. The long pieces of baguette and caramelized bananas were stacked as if building a campfire. I learned from the menu that the bread had been soaked in a tres leches bath that not only enhanced the flavor but softened the tough crust to make it easy to cut with a fork. The 5-spice butter was the perfect balance of flavors to cut the fat in the butter while giving a blend of spices that danced all around my tongue, finally landing at the back with just a hint of heat. I had my idea of what the spices were but a quick visit with the General Manager confirmed allspice, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon.

These two hints gave me the start I needed to play mad scientist in the kitchen. I mixed eggs into the tres leches bath and I let the bread soak overnight. I did the same thing with the butter.  I played around with amounts of each spice until I felt they all shined but the heat from the cinnamon was what you remembered. And so, I began.  A couple of things I would be sure of before I started. When cutting your baguette, make sure your pieces will fit comfortably in the pan. You want them long but not so long that they fall apart when they are in the pan. Have everything you need to “build” the dish ready to go before you start cooking. This dish is better served hot, so don’t waste time getting everything together at the end. I noticed when I looked at the picture of the recipe again that there is a pool of tres leches under the toast then syrup. I ordered the Aged Rum Syrup and piloncillo from Amazon. You can probably get the piloncillo at a Latin market and make your own rum syrup by adding rum to maple syrup and reducing until the right thickness.

This dish was such a decadent start to the day. It was rich and the Mimosa I had helped to ease the richness. This is a great breakfast to share or even multiply for a breakfast buffet.


Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
Print Recipe
Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
Print Recipe
Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Ingredients
5-spice butter
Garnish
Servings: but share
Instructions
  1. Slice the baguette, lengthwise, about 1/2" thick
  2. Whisk together milks and heavy cream with eggs.
  3. Soak bread in mixture for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Cream together spices and salted butter. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together extra condensed milk and heavy cream. Set aside.
  6. Heat 1 T. vegetable oil and 1 T. butter, in pan, over medium heat. If you have a griddle it is better.
  7. Cook bread until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
  8. Flood serving plate with extra cream/milk mixture.
  9. Stack "toast" upward, as if you were building a campfire, over sauce.
  10. Place sliced bananas on "toast" and sprinkle, just bananas, with granulated sugar.
  11. Using a kitchen torch, caramelized sugar on bananas.
  12. Pour some aged rum syrup over whole dish and add a dollop of 5-spice butter on side of plate. Grate some extra piloncillo over whole dish.
  13. Serve immediately!
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A Grown Up Pajama Party!!!

On February 17th, the Today Show did a piece on hosting a sleepover as a way to keep kids occupied during the Siberian Express. It made me think, even though 2015 is already filled with some great occasions; weddings, graduations and births; why not do our own pajama party for grown ups?!

I’m already excited! Lets start by inviting everyone in their coolest pjs. I love www.punchbowl.com They have such great and unique selections for invitations and once you customize your invite, they email them for you. If you like an old-fashioned touch, and want to send printed invites, I like www.paperculture.com

My favorite part, of course, is putting together the menu. Let’s do breakfast foods and trick them out for an evening party! No breakfast party menu would be complete without a Mimosa or Bloody Mary so break out your finest recipe and make a couple of pitchers. A Bloody Mary Bar is always a fun way to get your guest’s creative juices flowing. You could even have a contest for the best, worst and most creative Bloody Mary. Make your own Bloody Mary Mix, I’ve added one for you to try, if you don’t already have a favorite, and leave all the ingredients out for your guests to personalize their drink and for the contest. Be sure to have a couple of flavored salts to rim the glass. If you need more inspiration go to www.foodiecrush.com Heidi has some awesome ideas!

There’s a restaurant near me that makes an amazing Brunch Carbonara. Instead of long pasta, they use orzo (a rice shaped pasta) and they put a poached egg on top instead of mixing it into the sauce. This is a really sophisticated way to incorporate breakfast into a dinner menu.

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A sleep over staple is pizza. So for fun let’s do a Pizza Frittata. It is so yummy!

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I feel like we have to have something sweet to finish it off and of course what’s more breakfasty than Rice Krispy treats. I’m sure you have a favorite recipe you love. An old friend of mine told me the real secret is a freshly opened box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies.

Great! We have invitations, food, and drinks. Let’s have some fun! If you have a friend that is handy with a movie-editing program, have them cut together scenes from classic movies with sleepover scenes. There are movies such as Pillow Talk and Pajama Game but even Grease has a great sleepover scene. You can project the movie loop on the walls.

For our party I had everyone send over their top five party songs and hired a DJ to play them in the mix with other fun dance music. If you have a group that will get up and dance on their own, you’re set. If you feel like your friends might need a little motivation first, ask your DJ if he has party dancers. You can even call a local dance school and see if any of their students would like to help to get your guests moving. You only need them for an hour or so. Once the party gets going your guest will be on their own.

I think it is fun to give your guests a little gift at the end of the night. Krispy Kreme will do a two pack of donuts and you can add a package of instant cocoa mix or a small carton of milk. Another cute idea is to do hangover prevention kit. Be sure to include a packet of Tylenol, small bottle of water and a cookie.

Be sure to send me pics of your party using the hash tag  #pajamaparty.

Good Night!

 Brunch Carbonara

6 ounces pancetta, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound orzo

5 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-salt broth)

1/2 cup cream

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 Tablespoon thyme

salt & pepper

6-8 eggs, poached* or fried


In a large pan cook pancetta over a medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Leave one tablespoon of the fat, in the pan.

Add the butter to the pan and cook gently until it just starts to brown. Pour in the orzo, and stir until toasted and coated well. Pour in 4 1/2 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender but al dente and the stock has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. 
Stir in the cream and add the frozen peas, bring back to a simmer. Toss the pancetta into pan, and add half of the Parmesan cheese and all of the thyme. Stir well, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the remaining stock so you have a nice creamy texture. Turn off the heat. Toss with half the remaining cheese. Top with eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with remaining cheese.

 *If you haven’t yet mastered the poached egg, you can use fried eggs. I l am really enjoying the trend of crispy eggs, fried in olive oil.

 

Pizza Frittata

4 Italian sausages

½ red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 scallions, sliced, include some green

½ cup sliced mushrooms

6 eggs

2 Tablespoons water or milk

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon dried basil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 Roma tomato, sliced thin

Pepperoni slices

¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler

Cook together sausage and bell pepper, for about 5 minutes. Break up sausage with a wooden spoon.

Add garlic scallions and mushrooms. Cook until sausage is cooked through and veggies are tender. You can add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, if needed.

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, water and seasonings. Pour over sausage mixture in skillet and cook until eggs are set and top is almost dry. This should take 10-12 minutes.

Arrange tomato and pepperoni slices on top, like a pizza. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Broil until frittata is puffy and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

You can slice wedges, like a pizza or serve whole on a warmed plate.

Bloody Mary Mix

1 good size lemon

1 good size lime

16 ounces Tomato Juice

8 dashes Tabasco Sauce

2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish

16 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

Squeeze the lemon and lime wedges in a shaker and then drop in. Add the remaining ingredients and fill rest of the way with ice. If you are adding the vodka ahead of time, add 1 cup quality vodka.

Shake to mix thoroughly .

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