Friday, May 18, 2007

Brunch with "The Girls"

This weekend my boyfriend treated me to a trip to Virginia Beach to meet his kids. This might seem like a low key event, but after six months of dating it seemed a little scary. Anyway, day one we were driving through his old neighborhood and I thought it would be fun to see the house in which he lived. As we were driving around the cul de sac, we could see his two boys shooting baskets and his former spouse standing on the driveway....yikes! Worlds collide! Actually, it went surprisingly well. His former spouse was perky and pleasant.

We ended up having dinner with his boys and eighteen year old daughter at a local Italian restaurant. I let the kids know that I was fully aware that dinner with their father's girlfriend was about as appealing as eating bugs as a contestant on "Fear Factor" and that seemed to help. Somewhere between appetizers and the main course, the BF blurted out something about my cooking skills. He invited them to dinner at his place on Sunday night. His two older kids immediately announced other plans were in place already. By the end of the night, his daughter offered to have a few friends over to his place to have brunch on Sunday morning and I agreed to whip up something special. The request was for French Toast. Thank goodness for the Internet...clearly, I did not travel with my cookbook collection and I felt the need to do something a little unique after the build up on my culinary skills. So, here it is:

Grand Marnier, Cheese Stuffed French Toast

12 slices firm-textured white bread
1/4 lb. butter
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp. Grand Marnier or orange juice, divided
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest (rind), grated
1/2 c. pecans, chopped (optional)
8 eggs or equivalent amount of egg substitute
2 1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Strawberry or maple syrup
Powdered sugar (optional)

Butter 1 side of each bread slice; lay 6 slices flat, buttered side down, in lightly buttered 13 x 9 x 3 inch pan. In small bowl mix cream cheese, 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, orange zest and pecans, if desired. Spread evenly over bread in pan. Place remaining bread slices over top, buttered side up. In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, granulated sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier until well blended. Pour over bread slices in pan. Refrigerate overnight. An hour before you are ready to serve brunch, bake bread at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Serve hot with warmed maple or strawberry syrup. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

The dish was a hit. I served it with turkey bacon, roasted potatoes, and pineapple boats with strawberries. The girls had fun and enjoyed the brunch.
“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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