Cambrian: Opinion

Selam ä! Anybody ready for some sweet, spicy oven-baked bacon?

Tea Cozy’s rich Figgy Pudding.
Tea Cozy’s rich Figgy Pudding.

Schaslivovo Novogo goda; Blwyddwyn Newydd Dda; Amani Duniani; Asomdwoe ä; Selam ä; Here ä; Mutenden; Lumana ä; Nye; Runyararo ä; Emirembe; and Ukuthula ä from the African nations!

Shalom, Salaam, Friede, Mir, Pokoj, Henva, Beke, Sulh, Vrede, Iri’ni, Paco, Ruaha, Iri, Perdamaian, Kapayapaan sa Mundo, Beannachtaí na Féile, Hauole Makahiki Hou; Pas and Pax Vobiscum.

No matter what the language, peace be with you all in the New Year!

It is at this time that we emulate Janus, the Roman god with two faces, one looking forward and the other looking back. Personally, it was a very good year to be in the Culinary Corner, and I have word that it was good for you, also. May 2014 bring healthful activity, nutritious food, and energy to enjoy life to the fullest in our fair village.

But 2013 is not yet over, so here’s one last decadent dish to serve at your New Year’s brunch. Linda Rightmer prepared this for us, and after just one bite I knew it was from Marjorie Ott’s class at Olallieberry Inn. Creative, and downright scrumptious is this:

Crème Brulee French Toast

  • 6 tblsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp. maple syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 loaf sweet bread — sliced about 1-inch thick
  • 3/4 cup half and half, (or 2 percent milk, or almond milk)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

Marjorie adapted this recipe from Fleur de Lac Inn at Lake Arrowhead, and allows for further adaptations. She prepared hers with home-crafted Pumpkin Brioche, but easily substitutes Hawaiian sweet bread, or challah from Trader Joe’s.

Generously grease an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Sauté butter, brown sugar and maple syrup and, just as it bubbles, pour into the dish. Trim the crusts off the bread slices, and arrange them in the dish over the syrup, squeezing slightly to fit.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, salt, orange juice and zest until well combined; ladle over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes, but preferably overnight.

To bake, uncover and bring bread to room temperature; in a preheated, 350-degree oven, bake on the middle rack of the oven 40-45 minutes until puffed and the edges are pale golden. Invert on a platter, and serve immediately. Makes six servings. (If doubling the recipe, prepare two separate 8- by 8-inch batches.)

Sweet and Spicy Oven-Baked Bacon

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound thick-sliced bacon

A fitting accompaniment was this side order. Combine sugar and spices; rub evenly into both sides of bacon strips. Arrange bacon on a rack above a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated, 350-degree oven about 45 minutes; if it darkens too quickly, tent with foil after 30 minutes. It will continue to crisp as it cools on a paper towel-lined plate.

Whets your appetite? Sign up for Marjorie’s classes next year! Call 927-3222.