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FOODIE: Challah at Me!

Note: this food was gone in less than 4 seconds after taking this picture – JBaker

This Sunday was a rainy, drizzly affair in NYC. But I had a great time chopping it up with five good friends over brunch. The key to being able to actually entertain and enjoy your guests is doing simple dishes that can be done ahead of time and don’t require you to cook each dish to order. Horrified at the idea of flipping dozens of French toast slices through a hangover, I prepped the French Toast Bread Pudding the night before and then threw together the sauce, salad and eggs the morning of. The cooking on the day of brunch took about an hour, leaving plenty of time for chatting with my friends. Here’s the brunch menu I served:

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Challah ‘French Toast’ Bread Pudding

2 10-12 oz. loaves challah bread sliced into ½-inch slices

3 cups half and half

8 eggs

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 stick butter

Arrange challah slices in well-buttered 13×9” baking dish. Combine the next seven ingredients, pour over the bread slices. Top casserole with brown sugar and remaining butter. Let sit for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes. Cut into 12-15 squares and serve with Pear and Elderflower compote.

Pear and Elderflower Compote

1 33.8 oz. bottle of Looza Pear Nectar

½ cup sugar

2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

2 tbsp lemon juice

Reduce the pear nectar and sugar over medium heat until 1/3 of the original volume, about 15 minutes. Once it has reached the desired consistency, about that of pancake syrup, add the lemon juice and St. Germain. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Above: Miko, the official Parlour Canine Representative was a satisfied customer…

Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Havarti

8 eggs

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup minced chives

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp butter

5 oz. havarti cut into ½ inch cubes

Whisk together eggs, cream, salt and chives in mixing bowl. Melt butter in non-stick skillet over low heat. Add egg mixture, stir slowly as curds form, for about 5 minutes or until eggs reach desired doneness (I like my eggs soft scrambled). Add cheese cubes once eggs reach desired doneness and remove from heat. Stir to incorporate cheese. Serve immediately.

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Refreshing Herb Salad

½ lb. Mesclun greens or baby arugula

¼ cup finely chopped scallions

¼ cup finely chopped dill

¼ cup finely chopped shallots

¼ cup finely chopped chives

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Toss greens and herbs together, set aside until the meal begins. At the table, dress greens with lemon juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress with olive oil and toss until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with feta cheese if desired.

Let me know how yours turns out!

– Nichelle

Check out the rest of Nichelle and the rest of the ladies’ adventures in cooking here.

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  • thanks the recipe, especially the french toast bread pudding. i love bread pudding. whenever i wanted a quick dessert that i didn’t have to make myself, i used to get the bread pudding at applebee’s. it was sooo good. it tasted like they sauteed the squares in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon & nutmeg and served with vanilla ice-cream. your recipe sounds like the much better home-made version. yum! can’t wait.

  • oops…thanks for…