Here at the A Couple Bites HQ, we try not to take life too seriously. Sometimes people might think we are a little crazy. I refer you to last week, when we decided on Thursday night to commit to participating in The Food Experiment New Orleans (on Sunday) with nothing more than an idea. Yeah that's right - we had less than three days to test and prep a dish for up to 250 people. Not to mention the fact that we could not touch our kitchen until after 4PM on Saturday because our house was on the Preservation Resource Center's Shotgun House Tour. Crazy I tell you, but the event was sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery so we knew we would get free beer. Mmmmm, tasty beer...
Okay so we were not just motivated by beer. The event benefitted the charity Edible Schoolyard NOLA, which has a mission to change the way kids eat, learn and live by "integrating hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school learning experience, culture, and food programs." It is a very worthy cause and we were proud to have helped make this event successful for them.
The Food Experiment in New Orleans was brunch themed. Many of you know that Lindsay loves her ice cream, so it needed to be an essential part of our dish. How exactly do you make ice cream part of brunch? Make Sour Cream Ice Cream and use it as a topping over Baked French Toast and Fresh Strawberry Compote. The idea came together pretty quickly and Lindsay gets all the credit. Saturday night was spent prepping strawberries and French Toast while we listened to the noise of the ice cream churning. After baking the French Toast on Sunday morning and taking a few test bites we packed up the food and schlepped over to the Howlin' Wolf for the main event.
Since the event was centered around brunch, the entries varied widely. We tasted Blue Crab Perogies, Grits, Greens & Pork Belly, cupcakes and even Poached Pears. The competition was stiff. In the end we did not win over the hearts of the judges or the crowd (even though we had a lot of fans), but we did manage to gain the admiration of the founders Nick and Theo who had their own award for what dish they considered best captured the spirit of The Food Experiment. The award was their "Coolest Prize Ever" a custom made longboard skateboard from Bustin Boards.
Now I am going to go kill myself on the streets of New Orleans...
Since this is a blog about food I guess we can share our #winning recipes.
Baked French Toast
Recipe inspired by a Baked French Toast recipe by Paula Deen
- 1 large loaf French Bread
- 8 large Eggs
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Orange Extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- Dash Salt
- 1/2 pound Butter
- 1 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Chopped Pecans
- 2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Slice French Bread into 1 inch slices (approximately 20 slices). Butter the interior of a 9 x 13 flat baking dish and arrange slices in two rows of overlapping slices. In a large bowl, combine eggs, half & half, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, orange extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Whisk until blended. Pour mixture over bread slices covering evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine Praline Topping ingredients into a bowl and blend well. Spread topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden brown.
Serve with maple syrup or the Fresh Strawberry Compote below.
Fresh Strawberry Compote
- 1 Pint Fresh Strawberries
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Prepare strawberries by removing stems and dicing into small chunks. Place strawberries and sugar into a saucepan over medium to high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer a smoother texture, use an immersion blender to partially blend the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in Vanilla Extract. The compote can be served warm or cold.
Head over to Scoop Adventures for the Sour Cream Ice Cream recipe.