What the French, Toast?

Obligatory mention of how long it has been since I posted. Moving on!

Hello, loyal and long-neglected readers! Thanks for coming back to… well, to read.

My friends are awesome, and as such I like to take super good care of them when they come over to visit. Bassvocals graced us with his lanky presence for the weekend, and so I got up early and threw together some breakfast for he and Shiny Roommate, and I decided on French toast.

French toast is a really easy throw-together breakfast as long as you have some simple ingredients.

However, the BEST French toast you have ever made in your entire LIFE takes a couple extras.  The below makes at least eight pieces… Let us examine.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 stove
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 microwave
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 soup-sized microwave-safe bowl
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 fork
  • 1 stick butter
  • some brown sugar
  • some cinnamon
  • some vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 pieces of bread (I used sliced Italian bread, but that’s because it was 10 loaves for $10, and how can you resist that?)

Step 1: The secret to frying anything is making sure you fry it in a delicious fat. As such, melt your stick of butter in your microwave safe bowl.

Step 2: Once your butter is melted, mix in some brown sugar— just enough so that it all dissolves all the way, I think I used like 1/8 cup, maybe a little more. Add cinnamon as well, maybe two tablespoons.

Step 3: Take up your mighty fork and beat your 6 eggs in your large mixing bowl. Add some cinnamon, enough that you have a cinnamon swirl in your eggy mixture when you stir it all up. Add a splash of vanilla, and make sure it’s all mixed up nicely.

Step 4: Add two tablespoons of your butter mixture to your frying pan and turn the heat on medium.

Step 5: Dip a slice of your bread into your eggy mixture, making sure that both sides are coated. I usually run my fingers over it a few times to make sure that there isn’t too much egg left on it, or else it gets a weird consistency.

Eggy Bread!

This is what your bread will probably look like when you dip it in the eggy stuff.

Step 6: Place your eggy bread carefully into your frying pan. If there is room for another slice, repeat steps 5 and 6. If there is still room because you’re using like a mondo skillet or something, continue adding as many slices as will fit without touching, but no more than you can monitor. If you need to, add more of your sugary butter mixture.

 

This is the uncooked side of the bread. Woo!

This is the uncooked side of the bread. Woo!

Step 7: Once the eggy mixture starts bubbling on the top of your bread slice(s), count to 30 and then use your spatula to flip the bread slice over. Monitor and make sure that the bread cooks thoroughly, but doesn’t burn. Once it’s no longer floppy and soggy, you are in the clear, so just cook each slice until it is as crispy as you want it.

 

When you flip your bread, it should look something like this. Don't worry if it's darker-- sometimes the cinnamon settles and makes it look all burnified.

When you flip your bread, it should look something like this. Don’t worry if it’s darker– sometimes the cinnamon settles and makes it look all burnified.

Step 8: Take  slice(s) out of pan when finished and repeat steps 5-7 until you run out of bread slices (or eggy mixture). Serve warm if possible.

 

Voila. Dig in, and don't forget to tell us how yours turned out!

Voila. Dig in, and don’t forget to tell us how yours turned out!

Pro tip: If you serve the rest of your sugary butter mixture on the French toast instead of syrup, you may exact a marriage proposal from whomever eats it.

I served mine with fruit salad and sausage links.

Thanks for reading, and as always please remember to comment/like/share/subscribe! Also make sure to try these things out and come back to let us know how they turned out for you.

-Molly

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Cauliflower Mashies

Hey y’all! Long time no post, I know. But it is because I have been doing research!

[read: I have been failing all over the place so that I have something interesting to write about for -you-!]

We’re gonna start with the more basic stuff and get into the more awesome stuff down the line, but let’s just say my skills have begun to grow beyond mere cooking and baking (though those are getting pretty good too!) and have entered the realm of… other stuff.

Cauliflower mashies! These babies taste fresh and light, and while they don’t quite mirror their brother the mashed potato in every way, they’re a darn good replacement, especially for those looking for some lighter fare now that it’s getting warmer outside.

These go great with brats and burgers, steak, certain tofu dishes, chicken… basically anything. They’re an awesome, versatile side and they’re super easy to make.

Also don’t rag on my food-tography. I was yelled at for not having any pictures of the stuff I make (because honestly I just always forget) so… enjoy it, or scorn it in silence!

You Will Need:

  • 1 stove
  • 1 large pot with lid
  • 1 colander that fits inside the aforementioned pot
  • 1 fork
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • water

Step 1: Fill the bottom of the pot with water and balance the colander on the mouth of the pot. The bowl of the colander should go inside the pot, but the water in the pot should not be high enough to get into the holes of the colander. You’re going to be steaming your cauliflower!

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Like so!

Step 2: Chop up your head of cauliflower. Discard the leaves, but otherwise it doesn’t really need to be pretty or cut a certain way, just as long as the pieces are large enough not to fall through the holes of your colander.

Step 3: Turn the burner under the pot on high and place your cauliflower choppings into the colander. Balance the lid over top of the colander.
Image
Liiike so!

Step 4: Let your cauliflower bits steam until your fork can stab through them with very little resistance.

Step 5: Once your cauliflower is steamed properly, empty your pot of its water, shake the water from your cauliflower (over a sink preferably), and put your cauliflower bits directly into the pot.

Step 6: (Do this carefully if you have a teflon-coated pot as you don’t want to scratch it) Take up your mighty fork like the trident of Poseidon and mash the cauliflower. Add butter and pepper to taste, or whatever you do to fancy up your mashed potatoes.

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Step 7: Smash that mash and come back to tell us how it turned out!

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Thanks for reading, guys! As always, like, comment, share, subscribe! Keep your eyes open for more from Molly Stewart Living, coming soon.

-Molly

Pseudo-Jambalaya!

I haven’t written in a while due to my shiny new roommate moving in and all of the preparation and cleaning that goes with transplanting and unwrapping a shiny new roommate. But I am back now, with a recipe I cooked up on accident, again just kind of throwing some things I found in the fridge into a pan and hoping for the best.

This is…kind of jambalaya. There’s no seafood in it (stuff’s expensive!) but it’s still super tasty. You can make it as hot as you like… but I like it hot, so here’s what I did.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For the sauce:
1 sauce pan (any reasonably-sized pan with high sides will do)
1 can opener
1 long spoon
1 can tomato sauce (we’re not talking Prego, we’re talking the $.49 cans you find in the canned food aisle)
1 can tomato paste (get whatever kind you like, I got Italian because that’s the first one I saw)
Garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, and anything else you might want to experiment with… these are your tastebuds!

Step 1: Empty tomato sauce and tomato paste into a sauce pan and turn the heat on low. Stir occasionally, eventually these will blend and thicken properly, just perform step 2 while you wait for this.

Step 2: Shake in a BUNCH of garlic and onion powder, and however much of the other herbs you selected. Stir them in well, then just stir occasionally on low heat. Put a lid over it when not stirring once it is the consistency you like. This will prevent you from cooking out too much moisture AND save your pretty stovetop from tomato splatter when the sauce gets too excited.

That’s it. Literally. Taste it every once in a while once the herbs have had a chance to cook into the sauce and add more if you like, to taste.

For the rest:
1 skillet
1 spatula
1 knife
olive oil
1 pack sausages (I like Johnsonville Smoked New Orleans spicy sausages)
1 onion
1 each red and green bell pepper (I really like these if you couldn’t tell)
Rice, cooked (I usually cook up 1/2 cup to 1 cup of dry rice)

Step 1: Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of your skillet and turn the heat on medium.

Step 2: Use your knife to cut your sausages into slices, thickness depending on how big you want your sausage bites (mine are usually about 3-4 quarters (the coin) thick) and toss them in the pan. Drizzle more olive oil on top.

Step 3: While you let your sausage bits warm up, slice up your veggies. I usually do bell peppers first as they take a bit longer to soften up, then the onion. If you would like to learn how to chop veggies, check out this post. Throw these in the pan, drizzle in more olive oil if necessary. Push things around with your spatula.

Step 4: Once things are cooked and your veggies are tender (but not too squishy), toss in your rice and pour the sauce you made above on top.

Step 5: Turn your heat down low and this all simmer and cook together for maybe 10-15 minutes with a lid on it, stirring occasionally. The longer it sits together, the tastier it becomes. Serve hot when ready.

This is fairly quick and painless to make in the grand scheme of things. Does reheat well (as long as you don’t let someone else reheat it. Someone else who subsequently decides to pour in WATER and let it cook until everything is bland mush. True story.)

Enjoy! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share ❤

-Molly

Sage Advice from Matt the Pirate

I met my dear friend Matt in New Orleans (I promise not all of my stories happen there… just maybe all of the best ones) at a pirate-themed event that was taking place in the French Quarter. I was with the Theatrical Combat Network at the time, performing some stage combat, showing off our costumes and generally playing pirate to the entertainment of onlookers, the Travel Channel, and most importantly ourselves.

Matt walked me safely to my hotel on several inebriated evenings, bought me in the wench auction (all proceeds went to helping restore New Orleans post-Katrina) and gave me a place to stay when my flight home was cancelled. Granted that place was in Texas, but any detour is a short one when the alternative is sleeping in an airport. He also endured my vegetarianism at the time, which allowed me to try many new things, but prevented me from trying other things that were New Orleans staples.

A year or two later, when I was the brokest I’ve ever been, Matt called me up at about 2am and informed me that a flight heading to New Orleans was leaving from Detroit in about 4 hours and that he’d like me to be on it.

My. Hero.

I was no longer veggie, so he immediately ensured that I tried everything I had missed the first time around, and all in all it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on to date.

Anyway! Matt was kind enough to guest-blog for us on the wonders of the underexplored markets just around the corner. Here’s what he had to say…

So, I’m not really a blogger, so pardon my writing. Miss Molly has been nice enough to allow me a guest spot in her blog, so I’m going to do my best to say something vaguely interesting.

Now that that’s out of the way, I do want to talk about a frequently-neglected source of incredibly good, cheap, fresh food: your local Asian market.

I’m lucky enough to live in a community where we have a massive Korean supermarket, but even for those of you not in an area with a big immigrant/east Asian community, I guarantee there is at least one grocery store catering to that demographic within easy distance, if you’re in a city of any size. (Try looking for an H-Mart near you)

“But it smells like fish in there!” you say. Yes, it does, because they’re actually cleaning fish at that counter in the back in front of you. Nothing is frozen, and the prices are probably going to be around 2/3 or 3/4 of what you’d pay for fish at the regular grocery store. Red meat can go either way on price, but fish specifically is a staple for the people they’re catering to, so you’d be silly not to take advantage. Beyond fish/meat, the other big draw for me is produce. Really fresh, seasonal produce is what drives most of these places, and again, at a significantly lower price that you’re going to pay for lower-quality produce in the generic grocery stores in your neighborhood. Bigger variety, too; take it as a chance to try some new things, and you may be surprised at what all you find that you like. The other items you can find at your local Asian grocery are about what you’d expect; a variety of fresh and dried noodles (also great ramen that isn’t maruchan/ichiban, though Molly tells me we’re trying to avoid that), a massive range of both fresh and dry spices, and a surprising amount of American name-brand items at significant markdown over your normal local grocer. The short version is, consider giving a different shopping venue a shot. You might be surprised at what unexpected good things you stumble across, and how much money you could save on items you planned to buy anyway.

Thank you so much for your sagely advice, Matt! I look forward to checking out and posting up some recipes from things I’ve found once I wander to the nearest Asian market.

Guys, while you’re hanging out, check out Matt’s Etsy, on which I was given the honour of writing several item descriptions.

Thank you for reading! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share and if you have anything you would like to contribute, let me know!

-Molly

Nice and Easy – Spicy Tuna and Rice

Like me, many folks don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to making filling, somewhat nutritious meals. I work full time, I go to school full time, I try to maintain somewhat of a social life, and in the midst of it all it’s very hard to avoid drive-thrus and other junk food on my way to and from places.

I’m also on a budget!

This meal isn’t going to make you any skinnier, but it will fill you right up and is quick and easy to make. It has lots of protein, and can have veggies if you choose to add those.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • minute rice (however much you want)
  • a can of tuna (I usually get the stuff in water, the stuff in oil is guh-ross)
  • mayo or Miracle Whip
  • Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (you can find this like anywhere these days, look where the other condiments are– it’s a necessity)

Step 1: Make your rice. Follow the instructions on the back of the box, or basically throw some rice and twice as much water into a pot and put a lid on (2:1 ratio water:rice… so 1 cup of rice gets 2 cups of water.)

Step 2: Open your tuna, drain it, throw it in a bowl, squeeze in a bunch of mayo/Miracle Whip (more than you think you need), then dribble in some Sriracha. Mix. If you’ve never had Sriracha before, just do a few drips and mix it all up, then try it. Add more to taste, but do so very carefully because this stuff gets super hot super fast.

Step 3: Spoon some rice into a bowl. Spoon some tuna-stuff on top. Mix it up if you desire, or don’t. Enjoy.

Other things you can mix in:

  • Steamed (or more likely, microwaved frozen) broccoli
  • Stir fry veggies
  • Anything else you think might taste delicious in your super easy and fast concoction.

And that’s it! Super simple post today, but I hope it finds you well, and I hope you find it delicious 🙂

Keep an eye out tomorrow for another awesome guest blog! Thanks so much for reading and remember to like/comment/subscribe/share!

-Molly

Breakfast Scramble

If you can’t tell, I love breakfast. All the best people do.

This particular breakfast came about one day when I was feeling particularly hungry, and lazy, and had a bunch of stuff that was about to go bad if I didn’t use it, and… well, didn’t have a whole lot else. It builds up quickly to feed a lot of people, stores well for a few days if you end up with way too much, and warms up well– especially in a skillet with a little butter or olive oil.

It also goes particularly well with biscuits and gravy either on the side, on top, or mixed all up together!

You can use whatever you have lying around, really– remember that half of my recipes came from just cutting things up, throwing them into a pan, and hoping for the best. But here is how I did it, add, subtract, or ad lib as you see fit, the best cooking comes from experimentation!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 spatula
  • 1 veggie-chopping knife
  • 1 stove
  • 1 fork

 

  • 1/2-1 tube ground sausage (1/2 is enough for you for a few days, 1 tube is enough for a few people or however you want to slice it)
  • 3-6 eggs (depending on how much you want to make)
  • 1/2 onion (try using the onion you had left over from your breakfast cake!)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper (or both if you like lots of bell pepper)
  • 1-2 potatoes (washed, unpeeled)
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  • Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • pepper

Step 1: Squish your ground sausage out of the tube and into your skillet. I usually cut the tube in half plastic and all, then squish it out of the open end. Keeps your hands fairly clean and saves on hassle. Make sure your heat is on medium and come back occasionally to chop/swish the sausage around the pan with your spatula. Your end result should leave you with small-to-medium chunks, though ultimately how big your sausage bits end up is up to your discretion! (My general rule is, the spicier the sausage, the smaller the chunks I want.)

Step 2: While your sausage is browning, rinse your knife from cutting open your raw sausage tube, then cube your potato(es).  I have another blog post on how to chop veggies that I keep up to date– don’t be too proud to admit if you have trouble with this, it is seriously one of the things I struggle with most in the kitchen.

Step 3: Once your po-ta-toes are all cut up and your sausage is no longer pink, toss ’em into the pan and mix it up. Sprinkle in some Lawry’s if you like (sometimes the sausage is flavourful enough to season the potatoes without any outside help) stir some more, and put a lid on it. This will trap the moisture between the pan and the lid and steam the potatoes so that they cook more thoroughly, faster, and without you having to burn the outsides to a crisp.

Step 4: Leave your sausage and taters to sizzle a bit and chop up your veg (onion and bell pepper.) I recommend checking on/stirring up your sausage between chopping each veggie.

Step 5: Once everything is chopped, throw the rest into the pan, stir again (make sure your taters and sausage aren’t burning– at this point it may be wise to reduce the heat a bit) and replace the lid.

Step 6: Crack your eggs into a bowl, splash in just a little water (turn on  your tap over the bowl, count to two, and turn it off again) and take up your fork to whisk things up.

Step 7: Remove the lid from your pan and stir things around with your spatula again. Then pour in your whisked up egg, turn down the heat, sprinkle in a little pepper (if you like) and just start spatula-ing things around until everything is coated in egg. Stir occasionally, keeping an eye on things and making sure the egg doesn’t burn. At some point here, if you want to add your cheese, you can do that. Stir stir stir until the egg is all the way cooked, then turn off the heat.

Step 8: Dish your masterpiece up into bowls or onto plates or whatever your preference is. Top with ketchup, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, or whatever your condiment of choice, or enjoy without dressing it up! Don’t forget to take pictures and post them for us to admire!

Thanks so much for reading, guys and gals! Don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe/share, and let us know how your cooking adventures are going!

 

-Molly

Hangover Noodles – With Love from Lady Sazarac

I am very excited to announce my very first guest blogger– Lady Sazarac!

This dear friend of mine hails from the steamy south, calling New Orleans home and always dishing up the most mouth-watering recipes when she visits us here in Detroit. Her dinner parties are legendary…

And, like the rest of us, she prefers cooking on a budget.

Though none of us really need a reason to earn ourselves a hangover, there is a festival happening in her hometown that inspired the delicious dish she has so generously elected to share with us. Here is a bit about French Quarter Fest from the lovely Lady Sazarac herself:

While most people are familiar with our heavily marketed festival of debauchery and excess, Mardi Gras, only those in the know come for the Annual French Quarter Festival, a three day celebration of all things New Orleans. Dozens of stages, hundreds of musicians, food vendors lined up on every block, and thousands of people in linen, seer sucker and floppy hats roaming the streets of the French Quarter sipping tasty tasty adult beverages. And it’s all free. Best weekend ever. In honor of the festivities this weekend, please enjoy my following mini dissertation on the greatest of New Orleans traditions, the hungover, far too big a bar tab breakfast.

So, without further ado I invite you to devour her words (and recipe!)

Hi! I’m Molly Stewarts friend Lady Sazerac and I live in the butter and spice drenched world that is New
Orleans. New Orleanians are known for our love of strong beverage and rich food, and often I find that
grocery money is far better spent on a bar tab, so I’d like to share with you one of my all time favorite
hangover curing foods.

When Yankees have a bit too much, they wake up and think fish is a great idea for breakfast and
have bagels and lox. In the dirty south, we like spice and grease. One of the top traditional New
Orleans hangover breakfasts is called Yakamein, a spicy, greasy, savory stew, made out of super
cheap ingredients, and easy to cook in a crock pot. Traditionally served from corner stores or food
carts, Yakamein is such a staple of the New Orleans food world that the “Yakamein Lady” herself Miss
Linda Green was featured by Anthony Bourdain, and won the Food network show chopped. (This is her!)

You will need:

  • A medium sized, super cheap beef roast, with or without bone. You’ll be boiling this thing for hours, so go with the cheapest cut you can find, and make sure it has plenty of fat. If it’s not fatty enough add some bacon to the pot.
  • One small can tomato paste
  • Garlic (fresh if you can)chopped
  • One small onion chopped
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • A hard boiled egg or two
  • Dried shrimp and green onion,  cajun seasoning, soysauce, and a splash of vegetable oil if you like

Put the meat right in the crock pot. Don’t even brown it. Wash your hands. Pour yourself a drink. Throw
in a few bay leaves. Add the onion. Now one or two cloves of chopped garlic. A healthy sprinkle of salt.
Some black pepper. A little bit more red pepper than you think you should. Add the can of tomato paste.
Cover the whole thing in water. Turn the crock pot on. Go out drinking.

Let it cook all night. By the time you get home from the bar it will smell amazing. Stir it, but don’t eat it
yet. Wait til morning.

Wake up. Make coffee. Drink a bloody mary. Make a big pot of spaghetti noodles. Take a few forks and
stab at the meat in the crock pot until it shreds. Ladle some of that beefy spicy greasy stew over your
spaghetti noodles. Put a hard boiled egg on top. Add some hot sauce. Slurp and enjoy.

Protein, spice, carbs and grease. The sublime beauty of a complete meal in a cup, made from scratch.
Plus, this will make enough to feed you for multiple hangovers, and freezes well. (I suppose this would
also make an awesome dinner or lunch)

Thank you so much for contributing, Lady S, I look forward to many more edible entries from you! All my love to you and your beautiful city.

To those of you considering trying this– thank you for reading! Let us know how it turns out for you, and don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe/share!

If there is something that you would like to contribute to Molly Stewart Living, let me know in a comment and I will tell you where to send your stuff!

-Molly

Breakfast Cake!

Everyone’s favourite excuse for not eating breakfast (especially good-for-you breakfast) is lack of time/energy.

NO MORE EXCUSES. This is the easiest and cheapest thing in the world to do, you make it Sunday night and just cut and nuke another piece every day (pairs very well with a delicious glass of veggie juice!) If you find yourself with extra time one morning, scramble your slice up in a pan with some cheese or something.

The name is a little misleading, and the ingredients are super flexible. My recipe is gluten and lactose free, but you can add things like cheese and ground sausage or whatever else you want. Just…make sure to thoroughly cook any meat before you throw it in!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 bowl
  • 1 fork
  • 1 knife capable of chopping veggies
  • 1 cake or pie pan, or a small square baking pan…just make sure it’s smallish and the sides are high
  • 1 oven
  • Non-stick cooking spray (I use Pam baking spray)
  • 6 eggs – ~$1.50/dozen
  • water – free!
  • 1 each red and green bell pepper – ~$.30 each
  • frozen (or fresh– NOT canned, ew) peas – ~$2.00/bag
  • frozen (or fresh) broccoli – ~$2.00/bag
  • 1 quarter onion (cut it in half, then cut one of the halves in half, and put the rest in a ziploc in the fridge for use in something else) – ~$.10/piece
  • Some ground pepper

Step 1: Set your oven to 350 to preheat

Step 2: Chop your veggies up. Let me help, because this is something that I still struggle with, and make people like Bassvocals do at every opportunity so I don’t mess it up or cut my hand off.

Step 3: Crack all six eggs into your bowl and add a bit of water. Don’t drown it, just a splash or two of water will do. Take up your mighty fork and whip it around inside of the bowl until all of the tasty yellow yolks are broken and blended into the clear snot-like part of the egg. Now shake in some pepper.

Step 4: Take all of the veggies you just chopped up and dump them into your egg soup. Stir them up! (Note: I didn’t give an exact measure of peas or broccoli… just add however much you want. I usually add until it’s like there are more veggies than there is egg, but that’s me and you’re the one who has to eat it!)

Step 5: Spray your pan!

Step 6: Pour your eggaliciousness into the pan and stick it in the oven.

Step 7: Set your timer for 10-15 minutes. Check on your eggy cake after 10ish minutes– once it looks cooked and kinda puffy and is firm to the touch/warm all the way through in the center you should be good. If it starts browning on the edges just throw some foil on top until the rest is cooked.

Step 8: Let it cool a bit, then throw it in the fridge with some foil for consumption throughout the week, or dig in and share with your friends right away!

Nice and easy. Remember, you can add whatever you think will taste good. Try different combinations and report back with your findings!

Something else I’ve done in the past is pour the egg batter stuff into the cups of a greased cupcake tin and had mini egg pie things (like crustless quiche!) I prefer the egg cake method because I could never get the timing right for eggie cupcakes, but maybe you will have better luck.

Thanks for reading! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share, and keep your eyes peeled from more from Molly Stewart Living.

-Molly