Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Savoury Za'atar French Toast with Seared Tomatoes

When I came across the recipe for savoury French Toast in the book Modern Jewish Cooking, I knew I had to make it. My family and I love French toast but I'd never made a version that wasn't sweet. Flavoured with za'atar, the Middle Eastern spice blend that includes toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and sumac, and served with some seared tomatoes, it sounded delicious. Then I noticed the recipe for Challah with Sautéed Leeks and Thyme. What better bread to use for this than a savoury version of challah, an enriched, eggy and slightly sweet bread.
I needed only one loaf so I made a half recipe and shaped it into a simple twist rather than a more involved braid. The classic challah dough was soft but easy to work with and it produced this beautiful golden loaf with a light and fluffy crumb and leek filling swirled throughout. We enjoyed some of it right away and I set the rest aside for a few days to get a little stale (which it never really did!).
The recipe for the French toast called for a standard mixture of eggs and milk,  and za'atar-flavoured butter for frying. I omitted the butter and added the spice blend and lemon zest directly to the eggs. Once the dipped bread slices were cooked and placed in the oven to keep warm, I seared the tomatoes in the pan and added an extra sprinkle of za'atar.

This was a delicious alternative to sweet French toast made even more special by the fabulous leek-filled challah bread. 

The recipe for this wonderful savoury French toast and tomatoes is on page 36 in the book and can also be found here. The recipe for the challah is on page 236 in the book.

I'm cooking from the book Modern Jewish Cooking this month so I'm linking this post to Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Babas au Rhum - Tuesdays with Dorie

This week's project for Tuesdays with Dorie was a small yeasted cake soaked in sweet syrup and filled with cream. 

The batter was easy to make and came together in just over 15 minutes in the stand mixer. I didn't have regular yeast so I used instant yeast. I reduced the amount to 1-1/2 tsp (about 25% less) but even that was too much I think. It has a faster rise than regular yeast but I was still surprised that during its second proof the batter crested the top of the pan (I used a regular muffin tin) in less than 15 minutes(!) and mushroomed over the top during baking. I ended up not with the pretty little spheres I'd hoped for but ungainly looking oversized muffins!
The texture was good....the crumb was fine and delicate but again I think my choice of yeast or the quantity I used was a problem because even drenched in the citrusy-rum syrup, which was quite delicious, I could taste yeast. They did get eaten but this definitely was not one of my better bakes.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Steak and Za'atar Fajitas with Grilled Peppers and Onions

Fajitas are a fun way to get a tasty meal to table quickly and the recipe from the book Modern Jewish Cooking by Leah Koenig is a particularly good one, combining tender steak strips with grilled sweet peppers and onions.
The key to the beef's texture and incredible flavour is the marinade. It includes ingredients you would expect to see - onion, garlic, lime, red pepper flakes, olive oil - and one you wouldn't, the Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar. Made from toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and sumac, it's nutty and earthy tasting with a citrusy tang from the sumac. It's very good with steak but I think it would go well with chicken also.
Warm tortillas, fresh coriander and lime wedges are all that are needed to finish this meal. Delicious!

I'm cooking from the book Modern Jewish Cooking this month so I'm linking this post to Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Simplest Plum Tart - Tuesdays with Dorie

The second selection this month for Tuesdays with Dorie is my favourite type of fruit tart - lightly sweetened fruit baked in a tart crust. Its success depends on the quality of the fruit so I made sure to use only the ripest of Italian plums.
I used crushed speculoos cookies to absorb the liquid. They added such a nice subtle spice flavour that complemented the plums so well that I would love to make this tart with a spiced tart shell. Dorie has a recipe for one in another of her books, Baking From My Home To Yours...maybe I'll try that one next time.

Visit here to see more fruit tarts.