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Posts Tagged ‘great croissant French toast recipes’

Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

Well, my tree is half up and my Thanksgiving dinner came off without a hitch.  I’m about to put up my feet and take the morning off. With Thanksgiving arriving long into the month I’m feeling the push to put up my Christmas decorations before it’s time to take them down.

“Ridiculous” is the word Rick uses when referring to the amount of Christmas boxes we brought in. Humbug is his mantra and he sings it loud and proud.  Actually, he loves Christmas but it’s the hectic pace of it that wears him out. Most men in my life over the years have chosen to take a back seat when it comes to decorating, so I shall hum along to Christmas music making a happy afternoon for myself bringing the holidays to life in our living room. Not long after we brought in the boxes I spotted Rick up on the hill deep in animated conversation with a male neighbor. Arms waving, both men were shaking their heads and nodding. When I asked what they were discussing, he said our neighbor’s wife had pressed the poor man into service putting up the outside lights. Flogging is too good for the woman. I feel neither of us ladies fared well in that conversation.

As much as I love all the things associated with the holiday season, the holidays come with all the little family undercurrents as well as the flickering lights and tinsel. If you take a look at the majority of the movies made on the subject, Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter, for example, or Christmas Vacation, families are not always depicted seated around the dinner table in a Currier & Ives pose.  In most families there’s Uncle Bert who is overly fond of his gin, or Cousin Gwen who tirelessly offers cooking advice, though never cooking anything herself not originating at Stouffer’s.

I love our family, with all their delightful imperfections. Dysfunction, so they say, breeds good writers and artists.  That being said, my name should be on the best sellers list any day now, or my paintings hanging in the Louvre.  My daughter says coming from an eclectic family such as ours prepared her for whatever came her way in life.  Ahhh, at last a legacy. I must say I believe, if you’ve never experienced a ripple in the water you’re probably not going to be prepared to handle a hurricane. Susie’s pearls of wisdom.

Over the years I’ve left my mark when hostessing. I’ve cooked the turkey with the giblets tucked inside. I’ve written about the year my cocker spaniel stole the turkey carcass off the bread board, dragging it in a greasy line down the hall carpet to be finished off under my son’s bed.

When living in the Bay Area in the 1980’s I had twenty plus coming for dinner on Christmas.  An hour after putting the bird in the oven I opened the door to find nothing but a lot of cold and a mighty pale bird. Quite sure family and friends were anticipating something more exciting than a tuna sandwich, my frantic phone calls to neighbors yielded an offer of an oven two blocks away from friends going out of town. It was a blustery day at best. Outside my kitchen window houses and livestock floated by in the torrential downpour. Pajamas and raincoat on, I loaded the bird in the back of the station wagon and chauffeured it to its new home. Every half an hour following I hopped in the car and drove off down the street to baste it. This scenario was repeated with the green bean casserole, my mother’s favorite, the rolls, and the pies. The microwave and the oven top were used for the rest.  By the time I sat down to enjoy the beautiful meal I looked like I’d just medalled in the breast stroke.

Another time, I had the mashed potatoes in a large stock pot to keep warm. My sister-in-law popped in to help. Tasting the potatoes she said they needed a little salt. Up to my neck in sweet potatoes, I pointed in the direction of the salt shaker. Giving it a vigorous shake the top came off depositing the entire contents of the shaker liberally atop my freshly whipped potatoes. Now, I’ve put potatoes in soup or stew to absorb the salt, but never put salt on the potatoes to absorb the potatoes. Gravy makes everything better, believe this.

In fourth grade my family was invited to dinner by a lady who I referred to as Aunt El, though there was no common blood between us. Never married, El was a rather eccentric retired lady who shared her sprawling single level home with three beagles and a talkative mynah bird. The general aroma of the dwelling reflected it’s inhabitants.  El had been a proficient legal secretary in her time and a woman not shy about offering her opinion on just about any subject. Housekeeping not her strong suit, my mother hesitated at first. El’s crusty exterior hid the huge heart beating below the skin, and as her younger brother, Al, was having his turkey that year with other inmates in state prison, and his daughter finishing off a stint in rehab, my mother finally capitulated. Our family was kind of being sent in as fifth quarter subs so El wouldn’t have to share her turkey with Winken, Blinken, Nod and Lady Chatterly (that would be the mynah bird). It was an interesting dinner to say the least. A self professed disaster in the kitchen, she didn’t make a herself out to be a liar. The inner temperature of the turkey was questionable at best, but nobody died from it thankfully. Frozen peas were the vegetable of choice, which would have been a fine choice had Eleanor managed to actually cook, or at a minimum defrost the peas before serving. Trying to capture one with with a fork was like trying to ladle soup with a slotted spoon. Dinner over, rather than placing the dinner plates in the dishwasher, she set them on the floor for the anxiously waiting beagles to lick clean, undoubtedly a practice she’d done many times before.  I can’t swear to it but I believe my mother actually sprayed her mouth with the small bottle of Lysol she’d been liberally sprinkling about.

I’ve been privy to others mistakes when responsible for dinner along with my own.  There was the time we arrived several hours early for dinner at a first time hostesses home. Women will most times grab an apron, and pitch in.  It’s the nature of the beast. A woman in distress in the kitchen sends out pheromones to those of her kind like a brave signalling another village with billows of smoke. Is that politically incorrect? Probably.  If so, I apologize. At any rate dinner lingering about an half an hour out, and growling stomachs being heard across the room the novice cook casually inquired when she should put the potatoes on. Eight hands went into motion at the utterance of that statement and somehow potatoes were peeled, boiled, and mashed as quickly as a Disney Studio special effect. In the end it was a beautiful meal.

No matter how it turns out, our families are part of us with all the angst and love that entails. So, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving wherever and whomever it finds you with!

Croissant French Toast and Ice Cream Custard Sauce

Ice Cream Custard Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 scoops ice cream (vanilla, butter pecan, almond flavors or my favorite sweet and salty caramel pecan)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour and sugar in large saucepan. Stir in cream until smooth consistency. Cook, stirring constantly, over med. heat until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook for 2 mins. Remove from heat.

Whisking constantly add small amount of hot filling to egg mixture. Add the rest of egg mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 160 degrees on instant read thermometer. Remove from heat and fold in ice cream until melted. Cover and cool. Serve over French toast.

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar

Combine blueberries and sugar in saucepan. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 mins. Allow to cool.

French Toast

2 Tbsp. butter
4 croissants (staled slightly), split
4 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Powdered sugar

Whisk together eggs, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla.

Heat butter in large skillet or griddle of med-high heat. Dip croissants in egg batter. Brown on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar.
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