Tag Archives: cheese

Ciabatta French Toast with Warm Apple Maple Syrup

This recipe for Ciabatta French Toast with Warm Apple Maple Syrup has been silently taunting me for a few months.  First of all, anything with McIntosh apples has me at hello.    Second, these are stuffed with Gruyère cheese, a pale yellow cheese similar in flavor to Swiss, so the combination of the savory and sweet flavors in the dish peaks my interest.  Slices of ciabatta bread are stuffed with the cheese, soaked in an egg and buttermilk custard seasoned with nutmeg and black pepper and cooked in a skillet until golden brown.  The French toast is served with a thickened syrup cooked of apples and shallots.  There is something very homey, almost holiday-ish about this recipe.  The combination of the cooked shallots, apple and ciabatta reminds me slightly of Thanksgiving stuffing (not that it tastes that way, it just reminds me of it!)  This is not your mom’s French toast which probably has puddles of melted butter and maple syrup (albeit delicious!) but insteads appeals to a more savory palette.   Looking for something different for brunch?  Look no more!

 

The ingredients:

Wisk together apple cider and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a skillet and add shallots, cooking until soft. 

 

Add in the apple cider/cornstarch mixture, apples and maple syrup to the shallots.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cooking until apples are soft.  Set aside to cool.

Cut a deep slit into the ciabatta bread and stuff with Gruyère cheese.  (I used individual ciabatta rolls because that was what my grocery store bakery carried.)

In a shallow dish, combine milk, buttermilk, nutmeg, egg, egg white, salt, and pepper.  Place cheese-stuffed ciabatta slice (one at a time) into the mix until coated on both sides.  (If using ciabatta rolls like I did, slice a thin layer off the top and bottom of each roll first to expose the inside of the bread for better coating.)

Melt butter in a skillet and add two ciabatta slices at a time, cooking until golden brown.  Repeat for the other two slices.

Serve french toast with apple/shallot maple syrup and top with toasted pecans.

 

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Shredded Gruyère for slices
  • Ciabatta rolls for bread

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

 

Two-Pepper Rigatoni and Cheese

Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is nothing new to me.  I never even tried boxed macaroni and cheese until I was in college.  I remember saying “Why would you buy boxed macaroni and cheese when you can make it from scratch?”  My mom always made it from scratch on the stove and she never baked it in the oven or covered it in bread crumbs.  Now that to me is how macaroni and cheese should be. 

That being said, this Two-Pepper Rigatoni and Cheese is not like my mom’s.  But I was willing to give this a try because it reminded me of the most delicious jalapeño pepper pasta dish I had early this summer at Amis, a restaurant in Philadelphia.   So, I thought this might be a good make-at-home substitution.  I’ll be honest, it isn’t.  BUT I have to admit that it’s probably my fault.  In typical Shannon-fashion, I used reduced-fat cheese instead of the full-fat cheese the recipe calls for.  Therein lies my problem.  If you’ve ever made cheese sauce from reduced-fat cheese, you’ll probably know that it tends to get gritty when it melts and doesn’t have that smooth creaminess that comes from real cheese.  I knew better.  Looking past that, I think I have come to decide I’m not particularly fond of pickled jalapeños.  If I were to make this dish over again, I think I would use a fresh jalapeño pepper and sauté it with the red pepper instead.  And, of course, I would use real cheese.

There are a lot of dishes that can be made into “lighter” dishes without sacrificing flavor…macaroni and cheese, in any form, should not be one of them.  Lesson learned!

The ingredients:

Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain.  Melt butter in a pan and sauté chopped red pepper.  Once softened, add the red pepper to the drained pasta and set aside.

Using the same pan used for the pepper, add in flour and milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once milk is thickened, stir in both cheeses, pickled jalapeños, and salt.

Carefully pour the cheese sauce over pasta and red pepper.  Stir to combine and add in green onions.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish coated in non-stick spray and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 375°F.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat rotini for rigatoni (my error!)
  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Reduced-fat 4-cheese Italian (a wedge of fontina at my store was over $13!  Yikes!)
  • Breadcrumbs for white bread

Overall Rating:  So-So

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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