- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.2lzcOnhH.dpuf Nothing but Delicious: November 2012

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

In case you missed it yesterday, here is a little video that Rebekka and I put together for Darling Magazine. You can read tips and tricks for making your own gingerbread house here.

Gingerbread House from Rebekka Seale on Vimeo.

Winter Brunch: Baked French Toast

There is a theory that is often applied in math and science called Occam's Razor, stating that "simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones." This obviously applies to food, too. The more tools, ingredients and time that go into a dish, the more things there are that can go wrong. 

It's true, of course, that a select few things in life are both very complicated and well worth the while, like making a perfect layer cake with french buttercream. But generally speaking, the simplest of dishes never cease to penetrate me to the core (sometimes overwhelmingly), with their intense...goodness.

Food doesn't get much more delicious than french toast, an age-old dish so stupidly simple that it only has four components: custard, bread, butter and sugar. The soft part of the bread soaks up the custard and when baked, forms a fluffy and luxurious texture that contrasts harmoniously with the crunch of sugar on top. It's gently sweet with just a kiss of salt.

Baked French Toast
-serves 4-8, depending on how hungry your guests are
one 16oz baguette
salted butter at room temp
1 2/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
large pinch of kosher salt
1T good vanilla
turbinado  sugar

Preheat oven to 400.

Slice bread into 1" pieces and copiously butter one side, then arrange them, butter side up, in a baking dish. Beat eggs, vanilla, milk and salt together and pour over bread. Let sit for one hour (or if you bread is stale to begin with, over night in the fridge). Remove bread from custard and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover butter with a spoonful of sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and puffed on the bottom. Serve warm with homemade (unsweetened) whipped cream, dried fruit, and honey or maple syrup.

Carrot Honey Pie

I love November 1, the day that it's "okay" for me to start planning what I will eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course I've been planning it in my head for weeks, but today I start for real.
Pie is obviously a must. Pie is so good that when dinner is done, and you don't think you can eat any more food ever again in your entire life, you're like, oh okay, maybe just a small slice (of each type) of pie. Does it even matter what kind of pie? I couldn't say. I've never met a homemade pie I didn't like.

One of my new favorites is carrot honey pie. Carrots are easier, faster and cheaper to work with than either sweet potatoes or fresh pumpkin. The texture they create in a custard is light and silky; they pair stunningly with the delicate sweetness of honey.
Carrot and Honey Pie

1 pie crust  (mine came from Trader Joe's)
1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup plain yogurt or whipping cream*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup local honey
3 large eggs
1t vanilla
2 t five spice
1/4 t kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 400. Microwave carrots for three minutes at a time, stirring after every three minutes, until very soft (mine took about 12 minutes total). Puree with cream/yogurt first, and then add all other ingredients. Bake in a 9" pie plate for 45 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and slightly golden.

* Use plain yogurt if you like less sweet desserts. The tangy flavor of the yogurt will balance the sweetness of the sugar, while the cream will add to it. Do not use fat free yogurt- your pie will crack!