Every now and then I'll come up with an idea that I think is totally original only to find someone has beat me to the punch. Nonetheless here is how I developed the initial idea, changing the method of preparing classic French toast. I have to confess to a serious addiction. Cooking shows! This idea came from watching three of Bobby Flays shows; "Brunch at Bobby’s" showcased Bobby cooking French toast in a waffle iron; in a "Throw-down" episode he sandwiched two pieces of French toast to make stuffed French toast and I remembered another episode making Chicken and Waffles. Suddenly everything came together! But why stop there; the ideas for filling are endless. Make it your own!
8 slices thin sliced firm bread
1 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp sugar
Here are some fillings I have thought of or you can come up with your owwn -
Filling 1: "New York Cheese Cake" flavored cream cheese (I found some white chocolate), sliced fresh strawberries
Filling 2: "Chicken in Waffle" breaded chicken tenders sliced thinly on the bias
Filling 3: "The Elvis" peanut butter and sliced banana
Prep your filling(s) and reserve. If you want to try the chicken, make sure it is fully cooked before it goes into the waffle. Heat up your waffle iron. Beat the eggs in a flat wide dish then add milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
Brush or spray waffle iron with oil. Dip first four pieces of bread and place on the waffle iron then add filling to the center of each waffle. Do not over stuff! Dip remaining pieces of bread in the egg mixture and position on top of filling. Close the waffle iron and cook until nicely browned. Hint - The steam will start to subside. Serve immediately. Serves two to four depending on appetite.
One of the first dishes I learned to make was French toast. Over the years I have gradually changed the recipe, adding spices, sugar and vanilla to the mix; but with the use of the technique of Translation opens a multitude of new possibilities. Since I am concentrating on form; how can I change the form of French toast? I found some mini spring-form pans at my local kitchen shop and this idea naturally developed. If you do not have these mini pans you may use any small cake pan or even large muffin tins may be used. You may even go a step further and make your own form using a can that has its top and bottom removed (just remember to remove any sharp edges). Let your imagination run wild experimenting with different types of bread or perhaps even using leftover donuts or cinnamon rolls cut into pieces. You can further customize your creation by adding fresh or dried fruits, chopped nuts or even bits of chocolate.
4 Slices of Bread (preferably day old)
4 Large Eggs
1 Cup Half and Half
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
pinch Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
Maple Syrup or your favorite toppings such as fresh strawberries
Optional: Dried fruit such as raisins and or chopped toasted nuts
2 Mini Spring Form Pans
Round Cutter slightly smaller than Spring Form
Baking Sheet pan with parchment paper or Silicone baking sheet
Cut a circle slightly smaller then the spring form pan out of two of the slices of Bread and dice the rest into ¾ inch cubes. You can optionally cut four circles and use one for the top and one for the bottom but I prefer just two so the dish is a bit more rustic looking.
Beat eggs in a bowl with half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.
Preheat a skillet to medium heat add a small amount of butter. Dip the round cut pieces of bread in the egg mixture and brown on one side.
Place the rounds browned side down into the spring form pans. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and fill the spring forms with the moistened bread cubes (if you have cut extra circles for the top, finish with the tops browned side up. Optionally you can also add toasted nuts, chocolate pieces or dried fruit such as raisins to the moistened bread cubes).
Bake in a 325 degree oven until done (about 30 minutes).
Variation - Use a small circle cutter (I use my cannoli form) to create a well in the center which can be filled with fruit, nuts, and preserves and into which warm syrup could be added.
To assemble unmold each and serve with your favorite toppings, or my favorite, a good quality warm maple syrup. Serves two or cut each in half for four smaller servings.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.