You guys, I’m two recipes behind on blogging, so it’s time to CATCH UP. Plus it’s Thanksgiving week, and I’ve got a lot of recipes planned to knock out, so let’s hurry up! But first, an update: I started my job last week, and yesterday I moved into an apartment! And they’re both great! And this weekend, after spending Thanksgiving in Wisconsin, Bark Antony and I will be driving back to New York. Country dog moving to the big city! Yikes.
Anyway: Challah French Toast. Still needing to make up for my guilt at taking over Nora’s living room, I told her to pick out a breakfast recipe from the book. She chose challah French toast, of which I wholeheartedly approved. If you saw the picture Gwyneth put next to the recipe, you’d be salivating, too. And I knew the quality of the challah was of the utmost important in this recipe, so we set off to the Chelsea Market in search of high-quality challah.
Shoving through the crowds of screaming children and harried-looking tourists, we finally got to Amy’s Bread, who were coincidentally advertising their brand new whole wheat challah. Surely some higher power was directing this recipe. I requested one loaf, and the lady enthusiastically told me, “It’s the first day we’re offering this! Come back and tell me how it is!” I never did, but if you’re reading this, random lady, it was good. I also procured a couple vanilla beans and REAL Vermont maple syrup in the market, slightly miffed that Vermont maple syrup is just as expensive in the northeast as it is in the northwest. BOOOOOOO.
Challah loaf! So beautiful.
Back at Nora’s, I first had to extract the beans from the vanilla pods. Gwyneth does give me instructions, so I sliced the pod open lengthwise and used a paring knife to extract the beans from within. Now, maybe you’ll all laugh at me (and I’m sure a couple of my more… critical commenters will have a field day with this), but I was expecting vanilla beans to look like, well, small beans. Instead, what came out looked like soggy coffee grounds. Or mud. I had to Google it to make sure I didn’t get faulty vanilla. As cynical as I am, I do genuinely love the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow, of all people, is making me expand my culinary horizons. How unexpected.
For the unaware, these are vanilla pods. Like walking sticks for small woodland creatures.
Vanilla beans on the tip of my knife! Very artsy shot.
Anyway, I mixed the extracted beans/mud with a teaspoon of warm water, which created ghetto vanilla extract. I should have just bought vanilla extract. I then cracked two eggs into the bowl and whisked them, mixing with the vanilla beans. In that, I then whisked in some milk. Basically your classic French toast batter. Nothing too earth-shattering here.
Eggs. Milk. Vanilla beans. Whatever.
While some butter melted in a frying pan, I dredged the slices of challah in the batter and slowly arranged them in the frying pan. On top of each side, I drizzled a small amount of sugar. After the toast had cooked a bit, I flipped each slice and sprinkled some more sugar over the cooked side. Once everything was done, I simply plated, sliced a banana on top of the toast, and sprinkled some powdered sugar on top of the whole thing.
And that’s challah French toast! The toast was good, because the bread was good. I mean, that’s basically what it comes down to. The recipe itself is really basic French toast recipe, with bananas and powdered sugar added. Plus, I guess, the fairly ridiculous addition of the vanilla beans. Yes, it all tasted great, but it’s also not really a… recipe? Or at the very least not really Gwyneth’s recipe.