Crunchy Crispy French Toast with Rice Krispies

Once upon a time my husband and I would go for brunch every weekend. When we were in Toronto this was easier to do because the options were seemingly endless. In fact I actually made little chits with names of places I wanted to try and threw them in a mug and we would pick one out every weekend and go. That obviously was before the move to the ‘burbs and the babes. Now a brunch out is an occasional treat so when I want something a little less ordinary I better make it myself. I have had a cornflake crusted French Toast at School Bakery & Cafe in Toronto and thought that perhaps I can put my otherwise abandoned box of rice krispies to use here. A little googling showed that this is indeed a thing. This small modification takes the same French Toast I have had a million times into the realm of fun, and who doesn’t want a little bit of fun? 🙂 Because it is so basic I hardly have an exact recipe for it, but here are ‘guidelines’, modify as you please!

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Oh and not to sound corny, but I used a French Loaf for my French Toast and the combination of light-crispy-crunchy cereal and the airy loaf is a thing of beauty.

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Cardamom Crumb Muffins

I heart cardamom – in tea, traditional desserts, or even on it’s own. It occurred to me the other day that I don’t actually bake anything in which cardamom is the main ingredient. I add some to my baked oatmeal, but there it is part of an ensemble and does not shine alone. When I saw Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins I decided to adapt it slightly to fit the bill. My cardamom loving self may increase the cardamom next time, but my taste testers liked it as is.

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Zucchini and Corn Pancakes

You know how when the sun shines fiercely down and you feel a mild burning sensation from its rays – I love it. I revel in it, I embrace it, and let’s be honest it is the only reason that I am not deathly pale for a few months of the year. And those days are here – woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a warm weather baby, born in the desert, raised in a hot city by the sea. I was not designed for winters. And rain? Rain in my mind was a stupendous deluge that is heavy and oddly warm and lasts for a few days, just enough to flood the streets, knock out the power, and inspire my mother to go on a ‘pakora’ frying frenzy.

Point is welcome back Mr. Sun, you have been sorely missed! Warm days are here again and for Zara and I that means playing outside every day and after hours of being outside a curry does not always cut it. These Zucchini and Corn Pancakes – they really do. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, but I came across it on the lovely Girl Versus Dough blog here. Check out her amazing collection of recipes and drool worthy photos!

I have been making Zucchini Latkes for a long time, but the secret to a good latke is draining the moisture out of the zucchini which means it does take some time. These zucchini pancakes were a breeze though, took me 15 minutes to throw together, and made for a lovely dinner with some salsa and sour cream. They are also part of my continued efforts to get Zara to try something new – I wish I could say she wolfed a stack down, but she ate one without complaining and for my tot that is practically a miracle.

When I made some for myself I snipped very small pieces of green chillies on top and loved that touch of spice. If I was not making them for Zara as well I may have felt the urge to add a liberal dose of hot sauce. Feel free to add those in or omit, whatever floats your boat.

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Scones

Sometimes I really let my kid down. Like this morning when she requested scones and I quite foolishly asked her what shape. Turns out I don’t quite know how to make a train shaped scone.  It really is something when a two year old looks disappointed in you. Anyway, turns out that by the time I made them she was quite over them. Probably because they weren’t train shaped.

These scones were easy peasy and quick. I made a pretty basic version, but I imagine you can make all sorts of variations on them. Next on my agenda? Lime zest and toasted coconut flakes, orange zest and white chocolate chips and lemon with crystallized ginger. I suppose there is a bit of a citrus theme here, but after a long fall/water of earthier flavors I am ready for a little more brightness.

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Breakfast – Aalu, Chana, and Poori/Bhatura

So I don’t know about you guys, but we have seen a whole lot of rain in these parts. It has been either overcast or pouring for the better part of the last few days which is enough to make me wonder why on earth I was looking forward to spring! Anyway, on a day like today I thought a nice traditional breakfast is in order.

Halwa poori is the quintessential Pakistani breakfast, the kind that no one makes at home, but will pick up from the nearest ‘restaurant’ if you can call it that. Although it is called halwa poori it breaks down something like this. You get one large serving of aalu chana (potatoes and chickpea curry), several pooris (soft, thin fried bread), and a smaller portion of halwa (essentially dessert). Halwa shmalwa I say, it is all about the pooris and the aalu chana.

My friends and I were talking about it just the other day and I thought I would give it a shot at home. Brace yourself – this has been a three recipes kinda morning. For two of them I give credit to my friend Vaish whose blog you can find  here. She calls it chana bhatura. I used regular chickpeas instead of the black kind because that is all I had and am not entirely sure what amchur powder is so I skipped that. Below is my (slightly) modified recipe, for the concise version please check out her blog, I have included a little more detail in mine for those who, like me, are a little bit more challenged in the kitchen. Also traditionally Pakistani pooris do not have yogurt, but Vaish’ bhatura did and I wanted to try it as written. I am so glad I did because as a result the pooris stayed soft even when they cooled down a little.

What I loved about this breakfast was that although the flavors of the dishes were different they went so well together. The back of the mouth heat of the chanas along with the tangy sour flavor of the potatoes was so delicious. And the bhaturas? Those slightly crispy, but soft and fried, but not greasy things? Sigh. Love.

On a practical note this breakfast easily serves 4.

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My Kinda Oatmeal

When I was young we would spend the summers in Pakistan with my grandparents. My grandmother – well intentioned soul – would make us eat ‘porridge’. My memories of it may be skewed by the fact that I was a kid and by definition not open to anything new, but I remember it being a soupy gluey somewhat sweet mess. By the way, attempting to pour the oatmeal down the drain is not a good idea especially in a house full of people. Getting caught is far from pleasant.

The memory of that porridge/oatmeal stuck  with me for a long time and even while I was in college at good ol’ Washington and Lee I did not touch the stuff. Now years later, being the responsible role model of a mom that I am (laughing as I type this), I have gotten over that and try to eat oatmeal on a somewhat regular basis.

This variation of it though is by far my favorite for obvious reasons. For one, who doesn’t like to have cake for breakfast? For another it is just so good and in a happy coincidence good for you as well. Lastly – and this is a big deal for me – all I need to make it is one bowl, one measuring cup and a spatula.

These days it is not in heavy rotation here, but when it is I dial back the butter by a tablespoon and cut the brown sugar down to 1/3 of a cup. The original recipe is from Joy the Baker and can be found here. I have made only one real change. Since Zara usually eats this and I often make it in mini muffin tins I find that using quick oats along with rolled oats helps it stay together. I also don’t mix anything into it – the original recipe calls for dried cranberries – but instead top it with whatever is handy. Oh and cinnamon and I are friends, but not best friends so I usually put closer to half a teaspoon. Feel free to put a whole teaspoon 🙂

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