Simplified Chai French Toast with Rosemary Home Fries

by Kelly on April 22, 2011

I love getting together to share food with fellow food bloggers.  There’s a kind of shared understanding that immediately puts me at ease, which as a girl who’s found herself always feeling a bit shy, anxious and overwhelmed in social situations, is something I appreciate dearly.  And yet, on the flip side of the coin, it can also be immensely intimidating.  I mean what do you make for such an audience.  Cooking for foodie friends is one thing, but cooking for food bloggers ups the ante.  It’s not that they’re any less gracious or accepting, but at least for me, when I’m faced with someone whose cooking talent equals or surpasses my own I want badly to create something they’ll find satisfying.

Such was the case last weekend when I had the fantastic Bethany of Bridezilla Bakes over to brunch.  I was incredibly indecisive about what to make.  Frittata or quiche?  Pancakes or crepes?  Just deciding to go savory or sweet was a challenge.  And then finally I decided to stop over thinking it and go for something classic and simple – french toast and home fries.  It was one of those menus I knew would be an easy favorite and could easily accommodate some tweaks to make it my own.  For the french toast, I went with a simplified version of my Chai French Toast.  But beware of thinking that simplified = bland, because that is certainly not the case here.  The great thing about cooking with Chai concentrate (I usually use Tazo because I find it to be the most widely available, but Oregon Chai has a Slightly Sweet version with less sugar than the original that I really enjoy when I can find it.) is that it’s already a blend of so many strong flavors like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, star anise, and honey so as a single ingredient, it goes a long way.  The same goes for the rosemary in the Rosemary Home Fries.  Assertive and earthy, it only takes a little rosemary to make these special.  And as if Chai French Toast with Rosemary Home Fries wasn’t a good enough meal already, I also serve it with a generous dollop of Grand Marnier-Spiked Whipped Cream.  If you have a stand or electric mixer (or even some strong biceps) it’s deceptively simple to make and my experience is that almost everyone appreciates homemade whipped cream, especially if there is alcohol involved.

Simplified Chai French Toast-1

All in all, this is a sumptuous meal.  The orange flavor of the whip cream pairs perfectly with the cardamom, cinnamon, tea and honey of the chai and the potatoes provide the perfect savory counterpoint to the otherwise sweet meal.  This would be perfect for a low key Easter brunch or any given Saturday.

Simplified Chai French Toast
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

-2/3 cup chai concentrate
-1/4 cup whole milk
-2 eggs
-5 thick slices white bread such as brioche or sourdough
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Method:

Pour the chai concentrate in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by slightly more than half, about 5 minutes. (Ideally, you want to reduce it down to 1/4 cup.) Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and eggs. Once the chai concentrate has reduced, slowly stream it into the milk and eggs while whisking. (You’ll want to do this slowly since the concentrate will be hot and doing it slowly will keep it from scrambling the eggs.)

Pour the mixture into a shallow pan like a pie plate or a baking dish and dip the bread slices into the mixture, allowing each side of the bread to soak up some of the mixture.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add as many slices of bread into the skillet as will fit at one time without crowding. Fry until brown on both sides, flipping as necessary.

Rosemary Home Fries
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
-3 medium russet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and cubed
-1/2 medium onion, chopped
-3 tablespoons butter
-1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
-Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the potatoes and onions to the skillet and stir well to coat with the butter. Cover with the lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and add the chopped rosemary and flip the potatoes. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until brown and crisp on all sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grand Marnier-Spiked Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

-1 cup chilled whipping cream
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Method:

Beat chilled whipping cream, sugar, and Grand Marnier until peaks form.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon April 24, 2011 at 11:55 am

sounds like a great breakfast, for a blogger or everyday company :) the chai concentrate is a fabulous idea too, I should keep some on hand to play with it like this!

Reply

Maris (In Good Taste) April 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This is a feast for breakfast and I am bookmarking this recipe.

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Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd April 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I love how you broke down the recipe to its most necessary
components, this seems like something I could actually make on a
morning when I roll out of bed hungry, thanks!

Reply

To Kiss the Cook April 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

That just looks divine. I think I need some Grand Marnier-spiked whipped cream in my life.

Reply

Mary April 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

What a wonderful way to start the day. This looks wonderful and it’s perfect for a holiday breakfast or brunch. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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what katie's baking April 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

i never would’ve thought to make chai french toast, but it
really is a great idea! what a delicious breakfast… might have to
swap that whipped cream out for some ice cream! haha!

Reply

5 Star Foodie April 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm

An amazing breakfast, love the sound of Grand Marnier-Spiked Whipped Cream over that delicious chai french toast!

Reply

Carolyn Jung April 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

As a total carb gal, this would be my ideal breakfast. I often have a hard time choosing what to order for brunch at a restaurant, because if I get waffles or French toast, it doesn’t come with potatoes! And I want BOTH! If you had a restaurant that served this, I’d be there every weekend. ;)

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Esi April 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I like the idea of using chai in french toast

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Sues April 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Ooh I love the idea of a chai french toast. Classic but creative :) Especially when an orangey whipped cream is involved :)

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Mary April 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I think you made perfect choices for your luncheon. The toast sounds wonderful and I’d love to give it a try. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

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Reeni April 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I bet she loved it! I know I would, especially the french toast! I am a lover of all things chai – you’re so clever for using the tea concentrate for cooking.

Reply

Kerstin April 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Love the chai twist! I get nervous cooking for bloggers too and the expectations are always higher when I’m serving non-bloggers who know about my blog, which of course I tell everyone about, LOL :)

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