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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Scrambled Eggs

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

If all you’ve got in your refrigerator is eggs, milk and butter, you’ve got yourself a meal.

There isn’t a single time of day that scrambled eggs don’t taste good! Who knows, this simple meal may become one of YOUR signature dishes.

Here is a list of the equipment you will need to make scrambled eggs:

  • A small cup to first crack the eggs into to check for shells
  • A small bowl to put the eggs in for mixing
  • A fork or whisk for mixing
  • A small sauce pan or fry pan, preferably non stick
  • A silicone spatula
  • Measuring spoons

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For 2 servings, or 1 ½ eggs per person the Ingredients are;

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to your taste

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When you buy eggs in the grocery store, check that there are no broken eggs in the carton.

In the United States, by USDA requirement, eggs come already washed so you can use them straight away.

Begin by cracking each egg individually into the small cup. Check the egg to see that it looks okay and that there are no shells. Then add the egg to the mixing bowl.

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Now add a sprinkle of salt and black pepper (to your taste), and 2 Tablespoons of milk to the eggs. (There is some debate – see comments below – about when to add the salt – before or after cooking.)

Beat this mixture with a fork, or a whisk, in a vigorous elliptical motion until the yolks and the whites are all a nice bright yellow and completely blended together.

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(Graydon, in the comments below, likes to skip all these steps and just mix everything up in the pan you are cooking in!)

Put the beaten eggs to one side, and melt 2 teaspoons of butter over medium low heat in a non-stick pan. If you turn the burner up too high the eggs will cook faster, but you will end up with very watery, soggy tasting eggs. So be sure to keep the temperature at medium-low.

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(Non-stick pans make cleaning up so much easier! However, Non-stick pans can easily be scratched with metal utensils. You’ll need to buy a silicon spatula or scraper. Caution: if you have an old fashioned rubber spatula and not silicone, it will eventually melt when you cook with it.)

When the butter has melted, add the eggs to the pan. As the eggs begin to cook, GENTLY move them around with the spatula so that they cook evenly.

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GENTLY and slowly stir the eggs.

Continue cooking the eggs until they are thickened but still soft.

Some people like really soft scrambled eggs, other people like really dry scrambled eggs. Just keep gently stirring the eggs until they look like what you think the perfect consistency is.

Transfer the eggs to the plate and serve them immediately. (As Jon pointed out in the comments, the eggs continue to cook even when removed from the pan and will get rubbery if left in the pan.)

If you wish, you can add some extra ingredients while the eggs are cooking. For example, try tossing in some chopped ham, sprinkling in slowly as you stir the eggs. Or you might try adding some shredded cheese, or chopped green onion or chives. My favorite addition is chopped parsley.

To find out even more about eggs, be sure to check out my post “How to: Eggs“.

***

Five Second Rule lives!

YIKES! When I was taking the photographs for this blog post I dropped my camera into the egg mixture! I scooped it out and wiped it off. The automatic lens sticks a little but my camera still works! Who knew?

(Although some of the photos do look a bit hazy!)

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Enjoy!

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