In 2005 I decided to start blogging. The main purpose (as with most blogs) was to keep sort of an online diary, but about food. I documented what I ate, what I cooked, my thoughts about food, yadda yadda yadda. The blog covered my move to Los Angeles (where I became more serious about blogging), my eventual move back to San Diego, my hellish daily commute from San Diego to Orange County and my engagement, accompanied by endless posts on cake tasting. Most of the people who commented were friends aware of my online presence, but there was still no sense of community.
Fast foward to 2011. I’m now part of a rich and vibrant food blogging network with fantastic women (and a few men) who are passionate about their blogs and share their recipes, restaurant experiences and sometimes a bit of their personal lives. Recently, a few of us local bloggers have been gathering once a month to socialize and learn from each other. Of course, anyone (especially those who blog) is invited to these events.
When food bloggers meet up, you can bet there’ll be food. For the last meeting, I made creme brulee french toast. When I first started my blog, I sought this recipe after discovering it at a restaurant. While the top of the egg-soaked challah bread looks plain, unassuming and even dry, on the bottom is a decadent caramel sauce. No syrup is needed.
This dish is easy to prepare for laid-back brunches. Pop some bacon in the oven while this is cooking and breakfast is served.
The San Diego Food Bloggers page can be found here and please check out my links to a few food bloggers.
Creme Brulee French Toast
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large loaf challah bread, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice (or bourbon for a spiked version)
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×9 baking dish.
In a saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and maple syrup until the mixture begins to boil and brown resembling caramel. Remove from heat and pour mixture into baking dish.
Arrange bread pieces over caramel. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, salt, orange juice and sugar. Pour egg mixture slowly over bread making sure to every piece of bread is moistened.
Let bread soak up liquid for 10-15 minutes. Place baking sheet under baking dish to catch any drips and bake for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
Serve warm with strawberries and whipped cream if desired.