What’s Wrong With Me? A Night Out. A Little Promotion Courtesy of EastCoastVegas. And a Couple of Not-to-be-Missed Recipes!

To Sleep, or Not

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Incredibly decadent slow cooked chocolate French toast

What’s wrong with me? I went to bed at midnight .. yes! M-I-D-N-I-G-H-T! A time BEFORE 3am and I woke up at … 6:23am! Why did that happen? This means that for the next 5 days to a week or more I will be waking up at 6:23am no matter what time I go to bed. I don’t know how or why this happens, it just does. It is as though I wake up, look at the clock to see what time it is and go back to sleep just so I can wake up at the same time I did the day before just for the heck of it. It’s like sleep-waking. I remember nothing of the waking up part to check on the time until that mysteriously magical time when my head says — Ah! It’s 6:23 (or whatever time is the current “wake up” time for me), time to get up!

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It makes no sense. I tried hard to get more than 6-ish hours of sleep, but it just wasn’t happening. Of course, that could account for the reason I spent most of the day reading, knitting, writing, uploading photos and creating recipes and slideshows. I barely moved from the couch, but now it’s time to race around and get ready to head out and meet a friend for dinner.

I am really looking forward to our night out. We haven’t gotten to sit and gab for a few months and it’s long overdue.

Then I’m going to come home … driving in the dark is also something I have not done in months and not something I have ever done in this new, barely used little car I downsized to a few months ago, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. REALLY! I’ll be FINE!

Back Safe and Sound

Here I am again, just where I left myself 3 hours ago — on the couch with my laptop perched on my lap, tapping the keyboard in an attempt to communicate and to make interesting, non-boring sense of things and perhaps provide a modicum of information with a dash of humor laced in.

While dining at the ever-popular Macaroni Grill tonight, friend and I … I have italicized her name because I don’t want to keep referring to her as just any old noun, but I also want to respect her privacy and identity so for now, she will be, simply, friend — the color choice a perfect match for her beautiful hair. I think I will refer to friend’s husband in this color, because of his fiery South American-ness. Yes, this is the perfect, if not a bit labor-intensive way to refer to my friend and friend’s husband. Anyway, it turns out that both are fans of Justopia Cooks on justopia.com and friend is also a loyal reader of this blog. Both of these friends (notice they are not italicized or color coordinated because in this case I do mean to reference a common noun) are well acquainted with my global nomad-esque life and life at AOL and in the 12 years I spent there, the three of us had the fortune of working together for years, mostly outside of the US — India, Argentina and Mexico, to be specific.

We have fond memories of the place and one of the three of us is still lucky enough to be toiling away there, while a 2nd is now working for the parent company and one of us is a couch-sitting, blogging, home cooking show broadcasting, Williams-Sonoma working, eccentric. A motley crew we make, no?

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I didn’t end up using the Crock Pot® It was too small or my All Clad ramekin, so I put it in my beautiful All Clad Dutch oven and slipped it into a 200º ove, which worked beautifully!

Anyway, friend and I were chatting about the show and the blog and it turns out that while friend has mentioned to people that I am out here in the digital world broadcasting part of my life each night from 9pm – 11pm Eastern, full details have not been disclosed. And this makes sense. I had kept justopia.com and justopia.wordpress.com big secrets until just recently. But that’s what friends do — they hold confidences when asked or when it seems the right thing to do.

But now that I have begun to disclose my online whereabouts to anyone that will listen, I gave her the green light to let the legions of AOL employees that I was friends or acquaintances with at AOL somewhere in the span of a dozen years in on my online life. Ok, so there are no longer legions of employees left, but even a few dozen new viewers and readers will make me smile. Hell, tell whomever is leading AOL and Member Services now. As you can see, I don’t pay much attention to those details nowadays. My focus is on Chuck Sonoma, All Clad, Staub, Shun, Breville, and more products and people in the realm of all things culinary and retail.

A Plug from EastCoastVegas’ Twitter Account Tonight!

I was looking at blog stats a little while ago and noticed a few hits from EastCoastVegas’ twitter account. I scratched my head and thought … hmmm… what’s up here and clicked my way to Twitter where I found this little surprise!

Ecv_ii_bigger eastcoastvegas

Tired of Google? I use https://justopia.wordpress.com and love it!

from txt

Any promotion is good promotion as far as I’m concerned. The more people that come to the show and the blog, the more chances of people not eating at McDonald’s and Pizza Hut all the time. Just a little bit of inspiration and initiative and more people might be eating DEElicious food made right in their own kitchens!

And yes, I was disappointed with Friday night’s big announcement on ECV’s justin.tv channel, but it’s yesterday’s news and we are about to embark on a new week where all the fun and frivolity of Mardi Gras and the march to Easter and Spring begin. That said, I think it’s time for me to head out to my favorite food blog and cooking sites to see what I might find for inspiration for a Mardi Gras show. Oh! And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter. I don’t send many tweets, but I do alert as I launch the broadcast each night which many find a helpful reminder.

Oh! Speaking of planned shows … friend had a GREAT suggestion for a pre-Valentine’s Day show. I won’t disclose just yet, but be on the lookout for something fun and in the spirit of cupid and romance for single — or not — Justopians and Justopia.com viewers.

That said, let’s get on with some DEElicious dishes.

Chicken with Lemons, Garlic and Tarragon

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• 4 chicken legs and/or thighs
• 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
• 10 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
• 1 lemon, quartered or cut into large chunks
• 4 cups of chicken stock
• ¼ cup white wine
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon tarragon
• Salt and Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring chicken stock and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. If liquid is evaporating too quickly, cover. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and cook chicken until golden brown on all sides. Remove to roasting pan or Dutch oven, reserving oil in the pan. Remove chicken to the roasting pan, adding garlic and lemon.

Add flour to the remaining oil and stir until light brown in color. Add the wine and stir until combined, then add reserved chicken stock and stirring until lightly thickened. Pour over baking pan with chicken, garlic and lemon.

Roast for 1 hour, until chicken is tender and lemon is well cooked and incorporated into the chicken mixture.

Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 2

Slow Cooked Decadent Chocolate French Toast – Adapted from Crock Pot® Recipe Collection 2/19

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Eggs, Half & Half, Sugar and Vanlla = Custard

• 3 slices thick-sliced bread such as challah or pannetone with
• ½ cup semi sweet morsels
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups half and half
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
• Powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoons toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts
• Lightly sweetened cream for whipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 200º

Whisk eggs, half and half, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Butter large ramekin or other heat-proof baking dish that can fit in a Dutch oven or covered casserole. Place one slice of bread in and add ½ of the semi sweet morsels on top, taking care that the morsels do not spill over the sides.

Layer with another piece of bread, topping with the remaining morsels and top with the 3rd slice of bread.

Pour the egg, half and half, sugar and vanilla (custard) mixture on top of the layered bread and let soak for 10 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed by the bread.

Cover with buttered aluminum foil and place into Dutch oven or casserole. Carefully pour in 1 inch of water. Cover and bake for 2 to 3 hours or until no dough remains on a knife or toothpick when inserted. The French toast will rise like a soufflé and quickly flatten once the cover is removed.

Dust with powdered sugar and add nuts. If you are feeling more decadent (it’s hard to believe it could get any more-so, add fresh whipped cream!

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9 Responses

  1. King Cake for Mardi Gras!

  2. Hi Justopia. I want to take a moment to leave a hello note here. Even though I’m not able to watch your broadcast each night, I do manage to drop in for a while a few times each week. And I try to check out your blog daily. Good luck with everything. I hope to chat again soon.

  3. Hi Codi,

    Thanks for dropping in to say hi and for stopping into justopia.com. Hope everything’s good on your end.

  4. Hi Codi,

    Thanks for dropping in to say hi and for stopping into justopia.com. Hope you have a great week!

  5. Hi Gemini,

    I’ll have to take a look at a recipe. I had one of those once a few years ago, but have not made one yet.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. I wasn’t able to catch the show when you cooked this, it looks lovely. I am so glad I have discovered you 🙂 and am learning lots. Thank you for allowing us into your home and life for wonderful treats, and stories. See you online!

  7. Hiya Sissy,

    Thanks for the comment. The French Toast was not done on camera. I saw the recipe and decided I just “had to make” it yesterday so I put it in a slideshow and included the step by step instructions. It truly was decadent and DEElicious! I could only eat 6 bites. LOL

  8. We call that “bread puddin” here in the deep south . . .I will be making a King Cake this week . .

  9. Hey there Baker,

    So, bread pudding slow cooks like that? Does it get all puffed up like a soufflé? It was fun to make.

    I am going to try a King Cake as well since there have been a few requests. I had one a few years ago but didn’t love the airy, dry texture. I think I will make one with a cream cheese filling and see how it comes out.

    Thanks for checking in!

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