orange scented french toast



soak:
to lie immersed in liquid (as water): become saturated by or as if by immersion

Soaking is a magical thing. I love the idea that things can drastically improve by just sitting in liquid.  This idea of idle productivity is particularly appealing to me right now, as I am procrastinating on typing up this MASSIVE outline for finals.

Things that get better after soaking:

  1. T-shirts.  There’s nothing like a soft, vintage, sun-kissed t-shirt.  I recently did a little DIY project, soaking some of my stiff, school t-shirts in a salt water bath for a few days and then machine washing them.  After a few days of soaking in salt water, they were light and soft.  Easy-peasy. 
  2. Legs.  Not quite soaking, but the absorption process is similar — letting thick, minty lotion soak into the skin for a few hours makes such a difference.  Scaly legs put me in an awful mood.  So does lotion that smells old-ladyish.  I’ve recently been obsessed with Seacret Ocean Mist Body Lotion.   No, I am not being endorsed by Seacret, although I’m quite flattered if you thought so.  I get sent stuff like industrial sized jugs of almond butter and oats (not that I’m complaining), not fancy-schmancy body creams and cosmetics. 
  3. People.  No matter how awful of a mood I am in, a soak in the bath never fails to melt some of the angrys away.  
  4. Breakfast.  Ahem french toast…

This is literally just stale bread, taken to unbelievably classy heights by a quick soak in heavy cream and orange zest.  That soak turns a boring slice of bread into an eggy, custardy, zesty sensation!  

I wish more things worked like this.  I wish I could soak in a special bath and come out knowing all of the countries in the world, or maybe I could soak in a magical concoction and emerge speaking fluent Portuguese.  That would be convenient (especially with AP exams coming up).  If I could soak in some sort of magical U.S. history bath, life would be hella easier.

Maybe someday I’ll soak myself in some heavy cream and orange zest and come out extraordinary. Never know!

With love,
Erica


Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup milk *you could just use milk, but cream makes this really rich and custardy
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange
dash of salt
6 thick slices of challah bread (slightly stale is ideal)
butter for cooking
blueberries, syrup, and/or orange marmalade for serving

In a large dish, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, and salt together.

Soak the bread slices in this mixture (about 15 seconds on each side)

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle.

Add as many slices of bread to the pan as will fit — and cook until golden and crisp (about three minutes per side). Repeat until all of the bread is cooked)

Serve with orange marmalade, syrup, and some fresh blueberries!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

vanilla bean ricotta donuts

This is the ideal brunch recipe.  When you’re lazy, sleepy, and expected to whip up a storm, these come together in one bowl, and are done and dusted within 20 minutes.  Unlike Aunt Jemima’s, these emerge from the kitchen to ohhs and ahhhs.  Plus they look oh-so-elegant when served with chocolate sauce and lemon wedges.





I imagine whipping these up on a hazy Sunday morning, wearing an adorable, little striped robe and sheepskin slippers.  There would be sunflowers on my windowsill in a little glass vase.
There would be frothy lattes in Antropologie teacups and music would be playing from a creaky record player.  I’d sprinkle these with powdered sugar, and the air would smell like lemons and vanilla. 



I know these kinds of things exist somewhere, I’ve seen them on Pinterest. 



But in reality, I don’t own an adorable striped robe, nor a creaky record player. In reality, I don’t have jars of sunflowers on my kitchen window sill, rather, I have half a batch of buttercream leftover from my attempt at making a s’mores flavored cupcake. 
 
In reality, I eat these on Tuesday afternoons standing up at the kitchen counter. With a jar on honey in one hand, and my iPhone in the other. 
In reality, I am wearing my dad’s “Old Guys Rule” shirt. 

It’s OK. No problem-o.  Life’s not supposed to happen like it does on Pinterest. 
No one in their right mind has the energy to go pick sunflowers before their first mug of coffee.  Life’s not supposed to be that sensible. I burned my mouth four times eating donut balls that were too fresh from the pot.  Did I learn my lesson? No. I’d totally do it all over again.  See? Nonsensical.
  
I guess life’s kind of nonsensical like that.  It’s messy, fun, and sweet… kind of like these sinfully quick, deep-fried balls of dough dunked in honey. 


With love, 
Erica  





P.S.
If you do happen to have an adorable, little striped robe and a creaky record player, I respect you.

http://blog.nuji.com/


Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
8 oz (1/2 lb) ricotta, whole or skim
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Canola oil, for frying (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Deep-fry thermometer

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add sugar, eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot. Leave at least two inches of space at the top for safety. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium until it reaches 325-375 degrees F.

Fry a test doughnut: Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop a scoop of batter in and turn it occasionally. It should take 3-4 minutes to turn golden brown. Carefully remove and cut in half to check if it’s cooked all the way through. Test another if needed.

Fry the remaining doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the pot; fry in batches. Place doughnuts on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.  Depending on how big you scoop them, this should make around 12 donuts. 

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm with honey, jam, or melted chocolate.


Adapted from A Cup of Jo


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

blueberry french toast casserole

We have been enjoying the last few days in Point Reyes, CA — soaking up the serene, rural atmosphere away from the bustle of San Francisco. Thankfully, the house where we are staying has a well-stocked kitchen, and I had the opportunity to make this leisurely breakfast to enjoy before heading out and exploring the nature and local flavor of the Bay.

There is something very satisfying about cooking at home on vacation. This is probably due to the fact that we have been eating out for almost every meal — and I can savor every gooey, buttery bite of this french toast casserole while thinking to myself “this would’ve cost me $12.95 at a restaurant.”

This is a very simple recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and can be made the night before. After soaking in the fridge overnight, you simply pop the dish in the oven, sit back, relax with a magazine and a cup of coffee, and watch the magic happen as it bakes into this glorious, custard-y, gourmet casserole! Forty minutes later, the custardy mixture that you prepared the night before has  gently puffed into this custardy, light, toasted casserole — complete with golden, sweet caramalized edges. 

The plump little blueberries add a tart, sweet pop to every bite (and how could I pass up buying a big, juicy pint of California blueberries?!) What a
great way to get some antioxidants in your diet, am I right?! 😉  This would be the perfect recipe for an impressive, low-maintenance holiday breakfast or brunch party (because who wants to stay up light making time consuming pastries and cinnamon rolls the night before a party?). Or even just to treat your family to a lazy weekend brunch. 

What’s your favorite lazy morning breakfast?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (use whole milk for a richer taste)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon (I used pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 loaf day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2  cups fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Butter a square baking dish (mine was 9×9). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple
syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Add the bread cubes and mix until
coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared
baking dish. I suggest leaving it in the fridge overnight so that the bread can really soak up the custard, but you could bake it now if you wanted to.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake
for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set. Let sit for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.
Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

carrot cake pancakes

So I told you about that huge bag of carrots sitting in my fridge? I’ve been going to town making all sorts of carrot treats, like carrot cake Lara bars, carrot muffins, carrot cake granola, and a big ol’ carrot cake. But I was forgetting about one of my favorite kinds of cake… pancakes.

These are extremely moist, fluffy pancakes with the warm and spicy aromas of carrot cake.  Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine, probably because it is usually covered with luscious cream cheese frosting.
Although there is no frosting on these pancakes, I made a killer cream
cheese and Greek yogurt glaze to slather on top of them. Cake for
breakfast anyone?

Plus there are a ton of fun add-ins you can throw in these pancakes, I added some big, buttery walnut pieces, some sweet, plum raisins, and topped it all off with some toasty coconut shavings. These are such a fun twist on traditional pancakes (because some one can only eat blueberry pancakes for so long…)
Do you have any funky pancake recipes?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves 

  • 1 egg lightly beaten

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar


  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup

    grated carrot

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese 

 In a bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Combine the egg, brown sugar, carrots, milk and vanilla in another bowl. Stir carrots into dry ingredients until just moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased griddle or skillet. Turn when bubbles form on top of the pancake, and cook until golden brown. For the cream cheese glaze, place cream
cheese, powdered sugar, and Greek yogurt in a bowl and whisk until
smooth. Add water or milk until you achieve desired consistency.

Adapted from here 

caprese breakfast tartines and zucchini fries

 These caprese breakfast tartines speak for themselves: crunchy herb bread from the local bakery, slathered with homemade herb butter, fresh basil, juicy tomatoes, golden, bubbly melted cheese, and topped with a perfect sunny-side-down egg. I like to serve them with a side of perfectly crunchy, herb-y, Parmesan-y baked zucchini fries (one of the French-fries classier cousins…). Instead of explaining to you all how good these are, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
With love,
Erica

butter=melted
tomato-ed
cheese=grated

cheese-ed
cheese= bubbly, melted perfection
egg-ed
parm + panko
baked
crunchy!

caprese breakfast tartines

ingredients:
  • good bread (I used herb)
  • herb butter (this is my favorite recipe)
  • basil
  • tomatoes
  • sundried tomatoes
  • cheese (I used white cheddar, but mozzarella or Gouda would be very yummy too!)
  • eggs

Heat the broiler to 500 degrees. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. Butter the bread and place on a baking sheet. Bake until butter melts (2-3 minutes).
On the non-buttered side, assemble the basil, tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes.
Grate the cheese and sprinkle on the tartines.
Return them to the oven, and broil until the cheese becomes golden and bubbly (keep your eye on them! mine usually take about 5 minutes).
Cook the eggs however you like them best (I like mine sunny-side down) and place one egg on each tartine.

parm-zucchini fries
 ingredients:

  • 3 large zucchini
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (other bread crumbs would be fine too)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut zucchini into thick French-fry-size sticks.
Now make the assembly line. Arrange 3 shallow, wide bowls or pie plates in a row. In the first bowl, mix flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine panko, Parmesan, rosemary (if using), and 1/2 tsp. salt.
First dip zucchini in flour, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg mixture and toss until coated, then coat zucchini in bread crumb mixture.
Arrange fries, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes and then rotate the pans. Continue to bake until panko coating is golden and crisp, 7 to 12 minutes more.

inspired by Oprah.