We'll be spending our day tomorrow something like this:
Girls and daddy will be making a gorgeous breakfast: Creme Brulee French Toast.
Followed by a trip to the Farmer's Market and then some fun in the sun at the beach. Nap time for girls and reading time for mom, while my hubby shops for dinner goods. Then he and I will prepare our dinner feast. I truly don't mind a bit of cooking on Mother's Day...blame it on my need to always be doing something. We've come up with a brilliant plan for dinner...
Broccoli Salad, Beef Wellington & Lobster Tails
Who the needs a restaurant?
Crème Brûlée French Toasts (From Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 6 servings
1 loaf unsliced white bread, brioche or rich bread of your choice
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur or 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Cut bread into 1 1/2-inch thick, generous slices; a 9-inch loaf should yield 6 slices. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, liqueur, and vanilla extract, if using. If using a vanilla bean, halve it lengthwise and scrape the pulp into a small dish. Whisk vanilla bean with one tablespoon of custard, then whisk in another and a third tablespoon, then pour the vanilla bean-custard mixture back into the main batter. This avoids having vanilla bean clumps that don’t disperse in your batter. Don’t you hate that?
Preheat oven to 325. Arrange bread slices on the smallest rimmed tray that will fit them in one layer (encourages maximum absorption) pour custard over slices. Allow them to absorb the custard for 30 minutes, turning the slices over at one point to ensure they’re soaking it up evenly. [Do ahead: You can also soak them overnight in the fridge. No need to flip them if so.]
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer custard-soaked slices to prepared sheet, arranging them with a smidge of space between each to avoid making one French mega-toast. Flipping them halfway through if you wish, bake French toast slices for 30 to 35 minutes, until a slim knife inserted into the center of a slice and twisted ever-so-slightly does not release any wet custard. Keep warm
until ready to serve.
until ready to serve.
To caramelize the tops:
Either leave toasts on their baking sheet, or transfer to a serving platter. Have ready a small offset spatula and a potholder or trivet to rest your caramel pot on.
Melt remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a small, heavy, completely dry saucepan over moderate heat, stirring with a small spoon or fork until fully melted and the color of honey. Move it over to the potholder or trivet you’d set up and working quickly, spoon one generous tablespoon caramel over your first slice of toast, spread it thinly and evenly with your offset spatula and repeat with the remaining toasts. Because your caramel will continue to deepen slightly in color (veering towards almost-too-toasty) as you work, it’s best to work quickly but carefully. Let no fingers or forearms be harmed in the melted sugar’s path and should a single drop land on the counter or on your towel or on the rim of the plate, do not swipe it. Just leave it until it cools.
[Hot water will melt all hardened caramel and make your clean up job easy. Simply soak your pot/spoon/spatula and all will melt off.]
Serve with fresh berries and if you’re feeling extra fancy, loosely whipped cream. We don’t find that it needs any maple syrup.
Alternative top-caramelizing method:
A really obvious question here would be “But would the broiler work?” The method would be to sprinkle each toast with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and let the broiler do the torching for you. However, my broiler doesn’t work. Never has, so I cannot test this. But, if it’s anything like my attempt (explained in the post) to use a blowtorch, I’m not feeling overly confident about it because the unevenness of the toasts leads to edges singeing before the sugar fully melts. But if you try this method, please report back in the comments as to how it went. I’m sure plenty of folks would prefer to avoid melting sugar.
Broccoli Salad Recipe (from Simply Recipes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound of florets)
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
- 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
- 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas if you can get them)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
1 Bring a large pot of water, salted with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli. 1 minute will turn the broccoli bright green, and leave it still pretty crunchy. 2 minutes will cook the broccoli through, but still firm. Set your timer and do not cook for more than 2 minutes, or the broccoli will get mushy. Drain the broccoli and immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let cool and drain.
2 Combine broccoli florets, almonds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar and honey. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
Beef Wellington Recipe (From Simply Recipes)
- 1 lb beef tenderloin fillet
- Salt and pepper
- Canola, grapeseed, or olive oil
- 1 lb mushrooms (we used half cremini, half shiitake)
- 4 thin slices ham (Parma ham if you can get it) or prosciutto
- 2 Tbsp yellow mustard (we used Coleman's Original English Mustard)
- 7 ounces puff pastry (needs 3 hours to defrost in refrigerator if using frozen)
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
1 Preheat oven to 400°F.
2 Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pan on high heat. Season the fillet generously with salt and pepper. Sear the fillet in the pan on all sides until well browned (hint: do not move the fillet until it has had a chance to brown). Remove the fillet from the pan and let cool. Once cooled, brush the fillet on all sides with mustard.
3 Chop the mushrooms and put them into a food processor and purée. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Scrape the mushroom purée into the pan and let cook down, allowing the mushrooms to release their moisture. When the moisture released by the mushrooms has boiled away, set aside the mushrooms to cool.
4 Roll out a large piece of plastic wrap. Lay out the slices of ham on the plastic wrap so that they overlap. Spread the mushroom mixture over the ham. Place the beef fillet in the middle, roll the mushroom and ham over the fillet, using the plastic wrap so that you do this tightly. Wrap up the beef fillet into a tight barrel shape, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap to secure. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to a size that will wrap around the beef fillet. Unwrap the fillet from the plastic wrap and place in the middle of the pastry dough. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten eggs. Fold the pastry around the fillet, cutting off any excess at the ends (pastry that is more than 2 layers thick will not cook all the way, try to limit the overlap). Place on a small plate, seam side down, and brush beaten egg yolks all over the top. Chill for 5-10 minutes.
6 Place the pastry-wrapped fillet on a baking pan. Brush the exposed surface again with beaten eggs. Score the top of the pastry with a sharp knife, not going all the way through the pastry. Sprinkle the top with coarse salt. Bake for 25-35 minutes. The pastry should be nicely golden when done. (To ensure that your roast is medium rare, test with an instant read meat thermometer. Pull out at 125-130°F for medium rare.) Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice in 1-inch thick slices.
Recipe adapted from this video for making Beef Wellington by Chef Gordon Ramsey.
**Here our my photos:
**Here our my photos: