Armenian Raisin Bread French Toast

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Raisin French Toast

I love living in Glendale, California, where we have wonderful Armenian bakeries, and lovely little Raisin Breads. They are reminiscent of Panettone. I had one Raisin Bread left over from making Apple Brown Betty, and I was looking for something interesting to make for breakfast this morning. I took the one bread, and using an electric knife, got it into 4 nice slices. You have to get yourself an electric knife for slicing bread. Your bread will last longer, and you can have it whatever thickness you like.

Happy Birthday Mom!

See, this is what you get when you make a good breakfast!


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French Cuban Sandwiches

French Cuban Sandwiches

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When I first came to work in Glendale, California, I was introduced to two things I came to love, Porto’s Bakery, and their Cuban sandwiches.

What is a Cuban sandwich you may ask. Well, a Cuban sandwich has roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread, which is similar to a submarine bread, but it is pressed in something similar to a Panini press without the ridges. If you have never had one, please find a Cuban bakery or sandwich shop and get one. You, too, will fall in love.

My mother used to make Monte Cristo sandwiches when I was particularly well-behaved, or turned in a really good report card. Monte Cristo’s are an older kind of sandwich, basically a ham and cheese sandwich that has been dipped in an egg wash, pan grilled and is served with currant jelly. They can be on any kind of bread, and very good.

When ever I have left over pork roast, I always try to make Cuban sandwiches. But, this time when I had left over pork, I had sour dough bread, which I also love. I decided to combine the two, and have a French Cuban Sandwich.

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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Recipes in this PostBiscuits and Sausage Gravy

When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to another girl, Biba Hughes, who would become my best friend. I dated her brother, I got the father/daughter talk from her father because my father had died, and I was privileged to be in the kitchen with her mother, who made the absolutely best food. One of our favorites was Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Her mother made the best, and still does. Mine is good, but Jeanne Hughes has some mother thing going that just makes hers the best.

With that in mind, and a package of raw bulk sausage in hand, I decided to make sausage gravy for dinner. I will happily admit that I am biscuit challenged, so I just got a package of refrigerated biscuits. No recipe for those here, yet.

Jeanne Hughes usually uses Italian sausage, but I had regular bulk sausage. I still wanted to make my gravy like hers, so I added the missing ingredients, garlic and fennel seed. She also has a secret ingredient that I am about to share with you…

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Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

Recipes in this PostFig Tart made with Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

This has got to be the easiest way to make sweet tart dough. It makes a dough that is almost like a good cookie, just delicious! My food processor is in very poor health, like not working, might be able to be fixed. So, I needed to find a way to make tart dough without using the food processor. I found a recipe at David Lebovitz that looked promising – it required melting butter in the stove. Hey, it’s summer time in Glendale, California, and I didn’t want to make my house any hotter if I could help it.

I figured that I could melt the butter on the stove top, and use the Kitchen Aid mixer to actually make the dough. I was right, it worked out perfectly. This will be my go to recipe for sweet tart dough from now on. Because of the caramelization of the butter and sugar, the crust had a slight caramel flavor and color that was perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.

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Apple Pancake

Recipes in this PostGiant Apple Pancake

So, this morning, Spane was hungry, and breakfast food was in short supply. Usually, I have everything I need to make pancakes, but this time, I had left over apples from making Apple Stuffed Wontons, and I knew they would be really good in pancakes. The problem was they were a little large, and Spane didn’t want to wait. So I made two giant pancakes, one for him, and one for me. They were delicious!

I have always been crêpe challenged. Flipping a giant pancake just seemed impossible to me, so I have stuck with the dollar size variety. But, armed with the right kind of pan, a forgiving batter, and the willingness to try, I was actually able to make a pretty good-looking, although thick, crêpe.

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Hot Dogs Covered with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

Recipes in this PostHot Dogs Covered with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese

This is Spane’s favorite dinner, bar none. I think it’s because I use very good hot dogs, either uncured New York style, or Kosher dogs. I use hot dogs with excellent flavor, and I use sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

This is an old recipe. My best friend Marissa‘s mother used to make these, and I loved them. Marissa told me she was surprised to find that her finance’s mother also made these. Shortly thereafter, when Spane was about 2, I found a very old 1950’s advertisement that had the recipe. I wish I had kept it, just for fun.

A lot of people make this with left over mashed potatoes. I suppose that would be okay, but potatoes lose their airiness when they are chilled, and it’s difficult to make them fluffy again. I always use freshly mashed potatoes, and make them like I would regular mashed potatoes, with plenty of butter and milk.

Please don’t use yellow mustard when making this dish. There are so many different mustards available, and a little experimentation is good for you. If you don’t like very strong mustard, try a brown mustard, or a stone ground mustard. Be adventurous!
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