Tuesday, January 10, 2012

marathon brunch 2: butternut squash baked eggs/french toast with roasted banana ice cream and toasted pumpkin seeds/bagel and lox

If you've been reading along, you'll recall that least year, Laura and hosted a brunch to celebrate the New York City marathon, which conveniently passes right by our apartment. If you've never experienced the marathon, it is hard to imagine how much fun it is to stand out there on the street, cheering and high fiving the runners as they run a seemingly super-human distance. It is also particularly great to be able to pause and reflect on their amazing accomplishments by eating ridiculous amounts of french toast and eggs.

In other words, let me tell you what I made for our second annual marathon brunch.

That's boozy french toast (as discussed in my second blog post ever), with amaretto, eggs, milk (or cream? doesn't matter really), a little sugar and some cinnamon. I let it soak in the egg mixture and then baked it in the oven. I served it with fresh whipped cream, candied pumpkin seeds and roasted banana ice cream. Oh, and a little maple syrup. Just in case there wasn't enough deliciousness piled up on there. The roasted bananas get really lovely and caramelized, and because the fruit is so naturally sweet, you barely need to add any sugar. (My only thought is that this might be even better if there was an egg custard base, because it wasn't quite as creamy as it could have been. But I am afraid of egg custards because the only time I tried to make one it broke so I'll take a slightly crystallized ice cream over prolonged stove-top trauma.)

Then, I made another baked egg dish, very similar to the butternut squash, bacon and collard greens one that I made last year, but with a slightly different cast of supporting players to the butternut squash's starring role. I stumbled across a recipe from that crazy guy Brian that wore all the dumb hats and cooked seafood on time on Top Chef for some butternut squash lasagna. It had spinach, butternut squash, lemon, sage, garlic, parsley, bechamel sauce, mozzarella and parmesan, which sounded really good to me. So I took the basic ingredients, swapped out the spinach for kale, and baked it all up with with a bunch of eggs. The flavors were good, but the egg whites took forever to set up, so I threw it under the broiler in impatience, which meant the yolks weren't all nice and runny. That is the one difficulty I seem to have with baked eggs.

Two of the other things that made up this year's brunch menu were Nathan's Deviled Deans and some lovely bagels and lox that my friend Deepti brought. The next day I combined them into a deviled egg, tomato and lox bagel sandwich with capers, red onion and a little arugula. There's not much to say except that that is a brunch sandwich.

Oh, and to leave you with the recipe for the ice cream. Enjoy!

Roasted Banana Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz, p. 72

3 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup pack light brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted, cut into small pieces
1½ cups whole milk
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

Slice the bananas into ½-inch pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring just once during baking, until the bananas are browned and cooked through.

Scrape the bananas and the tick syrup in the baking dish into a blender of food processor. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt, and puree until smooth.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the chilled mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisking will thin it out.

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