banana · bread · breakfast · brunch · brunch ideas · burger · burger patty · french toast · fresh bread · ripe bananas · stuffed

Fresh Bread Smells and Stuffed Food Smiles

fullsizerender-21This weekend I spent some time remembering the smell  of fresh bread walking down the streets of Paris. Since lately I’ve been on this kick of eliminating artificial preservatives I decided to do some research and make my own bread at home, bring the smell of Parisian bakeries to my home. So, I started with one goal in mind, dinner. Ever since last summer, I’ve wanted to try to duplicate the a delicious pork burger I tried at Yard House while visiting Southern California. So I decided to take this pork deliciousness to another level and make some brioche buns for it.

I found a recipe on The New York Times Cooking page. The recipe makes 6-8 buns so since I was only cooking for two I ended up making my own brioche loaf with oats and flax seeds on the side. The outcome? Two beautiful golden brown buns and a delicious loaf of bread with pretty hues of gold and oat shimmer.

I utilized my fresh bread in two different ways: for dinner and brunch the next day. It has been a while that I’ve wanted to make bread so I’m super excited that I got over my fear of yeast and can make it now whenever I want. Note: The only challenge with making bread is time. The amount of time the dough needs to rest is what may discourage, but believe me when I tell you that it is worth it!

img_5467My version of the burger from Yard House: A fresh brioche bun burger with a pork patty stuffed with mozzarella cheese, blueberry ketchup, non spicy candied bacon and spinach.  I think I liked my version much better. Perhaps it was the fresh bun or the pork burger patty that I stuffed with mozzarella cheese; all I know is that I am adding this one to my must-have burgers this summer.

The next day I was looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. There were two things I absolutely needed to use, 2 ripe bananas that have been begging me to use them before they go back and my fresh loaf of bread. I’ve probably never mentioned this, but even though my boyfriend loves everything I make, there is one thing that he’s never liked and that is my french toast. Now, maybe it’s because I enjoy a good challenge or perhaps my competitive nature kicked in, but today would be the day to make him change his mind. Honestly, the thought of my french toast not satisfying anyone has bugged me for years!

My strategy going in was to use the loaf of bread (you can’t deny the power of homemade), stuff it with a banana and maple syrup mix (2 ripe bananas and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup), and revamp my egg mixture. img_5466I replaced my old egg mix with this: 2 Eggs, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar, a splash of almond milk ( which I made a couple of days ago), a pinch of nutmeg, 1 tsp of vanilla-bourbon extract and a splash of heavy cream. First I cut slices of the loaf of bread, about 1 inch. Then I cut down the middle to create pockets for the mashed bananas/maple syrup mixture. Once I stuffed the bread slices, I dipped in my new and improved egg mix. I buttered a pan and cooked in medium heat for about 5-8 minutes making sure each side is evenly cooked.

Once done I sprinkled with some powdered sugar, fresh blueberries and maple syrup. img_5463-1

These were absolutely delicious and just in case you’re wondering I wasn’t the only one to think so. Yup! after all these years, the french toast redeemed themselves! Ah, the sweet smell of victory is almost as good as the sweet smell of fresh bread. Or is it?

banana · banana pancakes · birthday breakfast · blueberries · blueberry pancakes · coconut · from scratch · pancakes

A Perfect Pancake Batch Match

You’re probably thinking, “Is breakfast all you eat?” Let me assure you that while I absolutely love my morning meals I do not have it all day every day, even though I would totally be fine with that. This has been an unusual eating week, but from it did come some good ideas that I will be producing and sharing soon. In the meantime, I want to tell you about some pancakes I attempted from scratch for the very first time. I usually buy the pancake mix because I thought it would be faster or produce fluffier pancakes but I was wrong. Making pancakes from scratch takes the same amount of time, makes fluffy pancakes AND I don’t have to worry about added preservatives or unknown ingredients listed on the box of the pancakes mixes.

This time around I made two types of pancakes: banana-coconut pancakes and blueberry pancakes. It was my boyfriend’s birthday weekend so I gave him the choice. Can you guess which one was my pick? The blueberry of course, but then again I knew he would pick banana so no risk for me there!  Having just made banana nut bread a week ago, I thought I would give his pancakes a different kick by adding some sweetened coconut flakes. You just wait and see what I did with that.

The first thing I did was mix an egg, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 ¼ cup of almond milk (you can use any milk type) and 3 tbsp of melted butter together then set that aside. I combine 1 well rounded tbsp of cane sugar, a pinch of sea salt and 3 tsp of baking powder. With a hand mixer I combine all the ingredients until mixture was fluffy (fully is the word of the day, can you tell?). I mashed 3/4 of a banana in a bowl and set aside about ¼ of it to slice for the finished pancake. Split the batter in half and pour one half in with the mashed bananas. To the remaining half of the batter add ¼ cup of blueberries. *Make sure the blueberries are not wet when you add to the batter so they don’t all settle on one side of the cake. This is especially important when you make some kind of fruit muffin or cake so the fruit doesn’t just sit at the bottom of the pan. It will give your cakes even fruit distribution throughout.

Melt butter on a flat pan and cook your pancakes until all its pretty dimples are exposed. That’s when it’s time to flip. Not before and not after. Trust that the batter is cooking without constantly doubting and lifting the pancake “just to make sure”. Believe me, I know this feeling all too well.
Once each side is golden serve the banana cakes by placing the banana slices on top, sprinkling sweetened coconut flakes and drizzling maple syrup on top. Yum-Mee! I also recommend fresh strawberries along with the slices of bananas to give it a bit of a tropical flair, but it seems not everyone is into strawberries as much as I do. (WELL!)

To my blueberry batch I added fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries on top and drizzled with maple syrup. You can use any of the three, but I like the combination of all the fruit as it adds tartness and variety to each bite!