(Becky, the Mama.)
I was faced with a true dilemma. We were packing up to vacate our vacation the next morning, our condo cupboards were almost bare and I still had to create something for this food blog. Normally, I love these conditions. They make me feel like a contestant on the show, “Chopped,” where chefs are forced to create a 5 star meal out of five unlikely ingredients in a basket. Say, pickled pig’s feet, Lucky Charm’s cereal, passion fruit, Worcestershire Sauce, and edible fern fronds.
My “basket” was not as challenging as that list, but I was at the end of our book deadline for We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook. (Lord willing, it will be turned in by the time you read this!) The manuscript was absorbing every available brain cell leaving me with precious leftover neuron’s kitchen creativity. My available list of ingredients were: mustard (2 kinds), Ranch Dressing, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Bread and four iffy apples.
I put the list on my Facebook status, asking for help. Within seconds my brilliant daughter came back with, “Do you have any eggs?”
“Yes, I have one egg,” I replied
“Butter or oil?”
“I have about a tablespoon of butter and plenty of olive oil.”
“Then how about a French Toast Peanut Butter Sandwich with Warmed Jelly Syrup?”
What can I say? My daughter is brilliant. And thankfully, since I am not a contestant on “Chopped,” I am not required to incorporate Ranch dressing, mustard and iffy apples into this recipe.
I had just enough stuff to make two French Toast PBJ Sandwiches for our final morning of vacation, and they turned out, well….. quite fabulous, actually. Greg loved it and said, “I’d definitely enjoy eating that again!” It’s a fun way to fancy up a PBJ for kids, or when you are hankering for something a little sweet as a midnight snack with a glass of ice cold milk. We often do “breakfast for supper” on Sunday nights, and this would be a perfect recipe for those occasions, perhaps served with some sliced oranges and bananas.
One half a sandwich was plenty filling for me, so if you make this for light eaters or children, one portion could easily feed two.
French Toast PB Sandwich with Warm Jelly Syrup
Serves 2 hungry people, 4 kids or light eaters
4 slices bread
2-4 T. peanut butter
¼ c. Jelly, Jam or Preserves (I used blackberry)
1 T. milk (dairy, almond or soy)
1 T. Butter
1 T. olive oil
Optional: 1 T. powdered sugar
Put butter and oil in skillet and heat until bubbly and melted, stirring to mix them. (The oil will help the butter keep from browning and burning.) Beat one egg with the milk in a shallow wide bowl. Make two peanut butter sandwiches, using as much peanut butter as you like. Dip the whole sandwich, both sides, into egg mixture and place in skillet. Do the same with the second sandwich. Turn over when one side is golden brown.
While the French Toast Sandwich is cooking, place jelly or jam in an oven-proof bowl or measuring cup. Heat for 10 seconds at a time until it is hot, melted and the consistency of a thick syrup.
When sandwiches are cooked on both sides, move to a plate and carefully cut at a diagonal, propping one corner up on the other for a nice presentation.
Sift a little powdered sugar over all, if you like. (Alas, I had no powdered sugar in my “basket.”) Slowly pour the hot melted jelly in a zig zag pattern over the French Toast Sandwiches and serve warm.
I have been working out fairly consistently since last August, thanks to the encouragement of my good friend Ingrid. I get up by 7:00 am (a great feat for this non-morning person) and meet Ingrid at a local gym at 8:00 where we exercise while solving the world’s problems and…often talk about great food. (Perhaps this is why the pounds aren’t just dropping off of us?)
Here’s our conversation from last week, both of us huffing and puffing on ellipticals, side by side.
“Becky!” says Ingrid. “I was visiting my friend in California who is a vegan, like your daughter. And I came up with the best recipe for a pizza.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Well, you start with a pizza crust and then sprinkle it with almond cheese.”
“Does almond cheese tastes good? Because I think soy cheese tastes like shredded rubber bands, and I’ve been looking for a good vegan cheese to use when I cook for Rachel.”
“It does! And it melts. Then you cook some garlic and onions in a pan with a little olive oil until they just start to brown and caramelize. Put these on top of the almond cheese, top with a few unsalted pistachios and — hey, Becky, why did you stop walking on your machine?”
I looked down and sure enough, I was so caught up in Ingrid’s description, that I’d completely frozen, thinking of nothing but how those flavors might taste together, my head in a pistachio-caramelized onion pizza cloud.
“Sorry,” I said, resuming my exercise. “What can I say? I brake for food. Even descriptions of it.”
After our gym session, I didn’t even change out of my gym clothes before heading to Whole Foods and gathering the ingredients. I chose garlic Naan bread instead of pizza dough because I was in a hurry to try this feast.
Let me just say, this new pizza recipe may cost me a few extra miles of exercise.
And it will be totally worth it. You have to try this!
2 pieces Naan Bread (I love Whole Food’s Garlic Naan Bread. But it is not vegan, so if you want to be pure vegan here, you may want to use Whole Food’s pizza dough.)
1-2 T. olive oil, divided
1. c grated almond cheese (or Mozzerella cheese, but if you are a vegan and haven’t tried almond cheese, it is the best tasting vegan cheese I’ve tried thus far)
1 red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts
Using a grill pan and a little olive oil, grill the Naan bread on both sides until it is crispy and has light golden grill marks. Set aside on a heavy duty cookie sheet or clay pizza pan.
In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic in a tablespoon or so of olive oil until onions have started to caramelize but still have a little bite/crunch to them.
Put 1/3 cup grated cheese on each piece of Naan. Top each with half of the onion-garlic mixture. Sprinkle each pizza with 2 T. roasted, unsalted pistachios.
Bake at 375 until cheese melts. (The almond cheese takes a longer to melt than does “real cheese,” and I actually ended up nuking the pizza in the microwave a few seconds to get it to “melty” consistency. It is much better than soy cheese, very good –but not as yummy as the Real Mozerella McCoy.) Cut in wedges and serve alongside fresh fruits for a light supper or beautiful appetizer to go with your next wine party!
*Besides being handy behind a stove top, Ingrid is also a social media whiz, and serves as a social media consultant for my husband’s literary agency. (Click on her name to read her most recent article on blogging tips.)