Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How To Make French Toast

print recipe card posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

French toast is one of those “Happy Foods” that bring a smile to everyone’s face. It’s that perfect weekend breakfast food that just makes you feel like you’re celebrating.

You probably have the basic ingredients — eggs, milk, sugar, butter, and bread – sitting in your kitchen right now. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract to your next shopping list and you’ll be ready to make French toast. (All sorts of different flavored extracts can be found near the spices/baking ingredients at the grocery store.)

Plain white bread is traditional, but you can also try using a braided bread (challah), croissants, whole-wheat and rye bread for French toast.

(For a quick review on measuring, check out my video on How to Measure Food)

The following ingredients are needed to make French toast:

2/3 cup of whole milk

4 large eggs

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

¼ teaspoon of salt

Using a shallow bowl whisk them together (or blend together with a fork).

The egg mixture should look like this before you start dunking the bread.

Dunk each slice of bread into the egg mixture just before you add the bread to the fry pan.

Make sure both sides are fully covered.

This step could take a little practice. Leave it too long and the bread disintegrates; not long enough, the bread doesn’t get coated.

Melt 1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add however many slices of bread fit in the pan without squishing everything together.

Cook the bread until it is golden brown and then flip it, preferably with a spatula. Let the other side cook until golden brown as well.

Serve it immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar or maple syrup.

Enjoy!

***

P.S. I often get asked questions about the “Shelf Life” of foods. The USDA, a trusted source, offers some guidelines:

This general link to Safe Food Handling Fact Sheet from the USDA will lead you to several charts on food preservation including:

Food Storage

Home Canning

Food Shelf Life

Also,
Food Product Dating
which includes things like

A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.

A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.

A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

Lastly, when in doubt, throw it out!

Cheers,

Kathy

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How to Make Pancakes

posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Pancakes are eaten all over the world. Here at startcooking.com I have three different recipes which you can choose from to make pancakes:

  1. Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Scratch (video)
  2. Crepes With Nutella (video) (Crepes are a very thin, flat pancake)
  3. From a box mix (today’s photo-tutorial)

If you make crepes or pancakes from “scratch” you will need: flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, butter, eggs, and vegetable oil. If you are just learning how to cook, all of these ingredients are in fact, an important part of a well stocked cupboard.

BUT, given that this is startcooking.com I’m going to show you how to make pancakes with a box mix.

Before buying the box mix, check the ingredients necessary to make that particular box mix. Some require only water. Some want you to add eggs, milk and sometimes vegetable oil to the box mix. Don’t leave the grocery store until you have read the back of the box of your pancake mix!

This particular mix requires only water. (The directions on the back of the box are usually done very well; often including a picture drawing of what to do!)

Using a medium size bowl, measure out the pancake mix into the bowl; be sure to level off the top of the measuring cup.

Now add the water. Use a glass measuring cup with a spout. It will make measuring and pouring the water easier.

Blend it all together with a whisk or a fork until everything is just combined. (No vigorous beating here!)

Preheat a large fry pan on medium heat for about one minute.

You will know when the pan is hot enough when you drop a few drop of water on the fry pan and they dance and sizzle! (There is a good visual of this in my Stir Fry Video)

Once the pan is hot, add 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil.

You could use butter, but butter burns more quickly than vegetable oil so it can get a bit tricky if your pan gets too hot.

Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop up some batter, hold the cup about 2-3 inches from the surface of the pan, and pour the batter into the pan.

Try and make them nice and rounded. You could mush it around a bit with the back of a spoon to try and get them rounder. It may take a little practice! I like to make about 3 or 4 pancakes at a time.

Tempting as it is to make one giant pancake – I wouldn’t recommend it: it’s really tricky to flip!

There are lots of different topping you could add at this point.

Chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, and raisins are some sweet options. For savory pancakes try shredded cheese or cooked bacon.

All you do is sprinkle your extras onto the uncooked side of the pancake. This way, everything gets evenly distributed. (Some recipes will have you add the extras to the batter but I prefer to sprinkle them on the top.)

Let the pancakes cook until you see all little bubbles on the surface of the pancake.

Using a spatula take a peek on the underside to see if they are ready to flip. They should be beautifully browned.

Now cook the flip side until it is nice and brown. The flip side never gets quite as browned or looks quite as good as the top side. The flip side takes only about half the cooking time of the first side.

Don’t keep flipping the pancakes. Flip once and that’s it!

You can keep your pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until you have finished cooking them all.

There are of course many different types of syrup you can pour over your pancakes, but my favorite is good old fashioned maple syrup!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • One box of pancake mix
  • Vegetable oil
  • Syrup

Optionall Ingredients:

  • Blueberries
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Raspberries
  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Cooked bacon

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Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

What a treat! Everyone knows it’s a celebration when you are served strawberries dipped in chocolate! Learning how to make them isn’t difficult but may take a bit of practice figuring out how to dip and not drop the strawberries in the melted chocolate!

Buy medium size berries – two bites is the prefect size. As beautiful as those giant ones are, they are too hard to eat!

Gently rinse the berries in cool water…

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…and then spread them out on a clean dish towel to dry.

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Let them dry completely before you start dipping. Not a drop of water should be left on the berries.

In addition to dipping the strawberries in chocolate, you can also dip the edges in coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles or nonpareils. (Those are those colored candy dots in the photo above.)

Eight ounces of chocolate will cover about 12-14 medium-large strawberries. You can use any type of chocolate you prefer – dark, milk, semi-sweet or white chocolate.

(Note: A block of white chocolate is a lot tastier than “white chocolate chips, which are only “chocolate flavored” and not the real thing!)

If you are using a chocolate bar or a block of chocolate, chop it into small pieces…

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…and then put the chocolate in a small microwave safe dish. Melt it, in the microwave, for about 1 minute and 30 seconds on medium. (Don’t cover the dish!)

When melting chocolate chips, they will not really change shape that much until you give it a stir.

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The goal is to slowly melt the chocolate, not bring it to a boil. If it still isn’t melted, continue melting in 15 second increments in the microwave. Stir the chocolate. It should be smooth and have no lumps.

 

Once the chocolate is melted, start dipping.

Try to cover about 2/3 of the strawberry with chocolate. It looks prettier than covering the entire strawberry.

Then gently dip the strawberry into one of your additional toppings.

When you do the dipping, be sure to hold back the green top so that it does not get covered in chocolate.

If you are having difficulty holding the strawberry, skewer it, just under the green bit, with a toothpick.

You are less likely to drop the strawberry if you hold it with a toothpick. (There are all sorts of chocolate dipping tools for sale as well.)

Put the dipped berries on some wax paper to set. They should be stored in the refrigerator, and eaten at room temperature, within 24 hours.

Enjoy!

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