How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pan d'Nog

Pam and I met in French class, as the world knows, and though she was about 100x the French student that I was, I do like to dabble in the cuisine and language when I can get away with it, and therefore took the liberty of creating the faux French title for this post.

Crescent Ridge ...
But, of course!
This evening's breakfast-for-dinner dinner did not rely on any books. Yesterday I made a large loaf of French bread in our bread machine ("French bread" -- especially when it is shaped like a cinderblock rather than a torpedo -- being American for "white bread for snobby grown-ups"). Even with the help of our dinner guests (delightful BSU students), we had half a loaf remaining. Pam almost toasted some of it this morning, but decided to save it for a French toast evening.

All of our indispensable cast-iron pans (except for the one we reserve for coffee-roasting emergencies) needed cleaning, as did much of the kitchen. So I eased into this meal by doing some cleaning and some pan-reseasoning. The griddle had last been used for cod, so I decided desperate measures were called for.

After scrubbing it a bit, drying it, and seasoning it in the oven with olive oil, I could still make out the cod. I love cod, of course, but not in French toast. So on top of a hot stove, I cooked about a quarter cup of Triple Sec orange liqueur. (I first checked to see that it was 15 percent alcohol, or 30 proof; this is well below the 100-proof level, at which flash fires can occur.) As the liqueur evaporated (and started making the kitchen smell really nice), I added a bit of butter, and got ready to cook.

What I cooked was a modification of my usual approach to French toast. Since we had eggnog in the fridge, it made little sense to mix together its components (eggs, milk, vanilla). It could be used alone as a batter, but I could not resist a couple of small modifications: to a shallow bowl full of nog, I whisked in a glug or two of Triple Sec, a dusting of freshly-shaved nutmeg, and a teaspoon of baking powder.

I then dredged one-inch chunks of the French bread, filling the already-hot griddle with the pieces. I cooked cooked them on medium-high heat, turning a few times. Because I was not certain I had soaked the batter in, I did something a bit unorthodox -- I used a small spoon to poke divots in the bread, and then to spoon leftover batter over each slice. This helped to ensure a nice texture throughout.

Served with local maple syrup, this was a very yummy treat.

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