CHAI-INFUSED FRENCH TOAST

The holidays are the perfect time for indulgences, as we all know we only have the allotted time to really let loose.  By the time January roll around, no one wants to look at holiday cookies or turkey dinner.  Luckily, we're right in the thick of it & I'm taking every opportunity to be festive.  This chai-infused french toast is the perfect wintry breakfast to share with a crowd (perfect for Christmas morning).  Hope you all have the happiest of holidays! XO

CHAI INFUSED FRENCH TOAST (Gluten-free) Serves 4-6

  • 8 slices gluten-free bread, cut diagonally (I used UDI's)
  • About 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Dona Chai chai concentrate 
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange sliced bread on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Spread each slice with a bit of coconut oil.  In a small bowl, mix together sugar, almond meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and a pinch of sea salt using your fingers.  Sprinkle about half the mixture atop each slice.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until bread is browned and caramelized.  Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together almond milk, chai concentrate, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt.  Reduce oven temperature to 375.

In a greased 9x9 baking dish, arrange toasts in two even layers.  Pour egg mixture over top and let soak for 15 minutes, pressing down to make sure all bread is being submerged.  Top with the remaining spiced sugar mixture and sprinkle with sliced almonds.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is browned and caramelized.  Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup.

SUMMER CORN & HEIRLOOM SALAD WITH SPICY BREADCRUMBS, GOAT CHEESE & TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE

It's been a busy Summer in terms of cooking.  I have not missed a weekend at the farmer's market & have been chasing heirloom tomatoes along with every single kind of seasonal fruit.  I can say I've pretty much been subsisting on those two food groups exclusively.

For New Yorkers, it's a real luxury to have this much amazing food in season at one time.  I try to explain to my family in California, but they just don't understand.  "There's such a buzz in the air! Everyone is so happy about tomatoes!" We definitely couldn't handle this all year round, it's true.

Besides eating plums standing up in my kitchen, I've mostly been assembling random salads all Summer long.  Since I was raised in Southern California, I have very little food heritage except maybe sprouts on sandwiches and mexican food all day/everyday.  So for me, putting salsa verde on basically a panzanella, is not weird at all.  I highly suggest it - it's my favorite end-of-Summer salad.

SUMMER CORN & HEIRLOOM SALAD WITH SPICY BREADCRUMBS, GOAT CHEESE & TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE (Gluten-free)

This salsa recipe will make a ton & I suggest you put it on anything and everything.  Tacos, hippie bowls, eggs, etc.  You'll thank me later!

Tomatillo Salsa Verde:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, de-husked
  • 1 small sweet onion, halved
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-2 limes
  • 4 scallion stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, de-seeded optional
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro leaves (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional.

Salad:

  • 5-6 slices gluten-free bread, cubed
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 6 oz. heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 radishes, shaved
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add garlic, tomatillos and onion to a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tomatillos are softened.  Set aside to cool.

Once roasted vegetables have cooled a bit, add to a food processor with lime juice, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro & honey.  Blend until smooth & well-combined.  Set aside.

Use the same sheet pan (wipe down if messy) and toss bread cubes with olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper (to taste).  Toast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and extra toasty (not at all soft).

While bread toasts, add husked corn to a large pot.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until corn becomes yellow and tender.  Remove with tongs & add to a colander. Rinse with cold water & set aside to cool.

Once corn has cooled, slice kernels off the cob & add to a platter or serving bowl.  Add sliced heirloom tomatoes, radish, chives & a few hunks of goat cheese.  Season to taste.  Grab a handful of toasted bread cubes & crumble them in your hands over the dish (and leave some cubed, for texture).  Top with tomatillo salsa verde & serve immediately!