Friday, August 21, 2009

Yummm! Ready Set Breakfast from Down Home with the Neelys

I wasn't going to post another recipe blog this week, but was compelled to after catching an episode of "Down Home with the Neelys" with Chris this evening.

As much as I love cooking, I must admit, I've only just recently started watching The Food Network. I think I like The Neelys the most because hanging out with Chris in the kitchen cooking with him is one of my favorite memories from our life in Corning.

I told Chris that when we move into our own place... the first Sunday we are in there, we should make this to celebrate. Enjoy!

Banana Stuffed French Toast

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 large unsliced loaf French bread, bread cut into 8 slices
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon rum extract
Nonstick cooking spray
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Maple syrup, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted add the brown sugar and pinch of cinnamon. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts into the butter and becomes a sauce. Add bananas and toss together. Let cook until the bananas are soft and incorporated into the sauce. Remove to a bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, add cream cheese and mash with a wooden spoon.

Using a paring knife, cut a 2-inch-long slits in 1 side of each bread slice, cutting 3/4 of way through bread and creating pocket that leaves 3 sides of bread intact. Divide banana mixture equally among the bread pockets.

In a large bowl, add eggs, heavy cream, milk, cinnamon and rum and whisk to combine. Pour mixture into a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish. Put the bread into the egg mixture and let soak for 3 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the bread from egg mixture, using a spatula, letting the excess drain off.

Spray a wire rack with nonstick spray and put the rack on a baking sheet. Put the bread on the rack and transfer to the oven.

Bake the French toast until it is golden brown and filling is hot, about 25 minutes. Transfer the toast on a serving platter and garnish with confectioners' sugar and maple syrup.

Neely's Homemade Hash Browns

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 Vidalia onion
3 tablespoons freshly chopped chives, plus more for garnish
5 slices Canadian bacon, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Grate the potatoes and onion in a food processor using the grater attachment. Transfer to a kitchen towel over a bowl and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

In a medium bowl, add the grated potato mixture, the chives, and the Canadian bacon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mix thoroughly together.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it just starts to foam. Add the potato mixture and using a spatula or wooden spoon, press the potatoes firmly into the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and let the potatoes brown and crisp for 6 to 8 minutes.

Once brown and crisp, carefully invert the hash browns onto a rimless large plate. Add remaining tablespoon butter to pan. When butter melts, slide the hash browns back into the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat until remaining side is dark golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes longer.

Remove to a cutting board and slice into wedges. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped chives.

Gina's Brown Sugar Bacon

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, 8 slices
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix brown sugar, cayenne, and black pepper together in a medium bowl. Add bacon and toss.

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and lay bacon on the rack. Pat any remanding spice mixture on the bacon. Put the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to a serving dish and let cool slightly before serving.

Coconut Hot Chocolate

3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Coconut liqueur
Whipped topping, for garnish
Shaved dark chocolate for garnish
Shredded sweetened coconut, for garnish
Bring the milk, cream, and coconut extract to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and pour into mugs. Stir in coconut liqueur, to taste. Garnish with whipped topping, shaved dark chocolate, and shredded coconut.

For more fantastic recipes and to learn more about Pat and Gina Neely, click here.

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