Congrats to author Roger Naylor, whose new book, Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers, has gone to press! Look for it this fall. Photo by Rick Mortensen.
This baked French toast is served by the Big Yellow Inn Bed and Breakfast in Cedar City, Utah. Carolyn Niethammer chose it for her New Southwest Cookbook. The inn typically serves it with berries and sour cream on top; poached apple slices or other fruits are also delicious. Take your cream cheese out of the refrigerator in time for it to soften so you can spread it easily on the bread. For best results, use good quality bakery-style bread rather than the spongy kind.
Decadent French Toast
16 slices firm bread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Cinnamon and granulated sugar to taste
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup maple syrup
6 large eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
Sour cream for garnish
Spread 8 slices of bread with cream cheese and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Top each with another slice of bread. Cut “sandwiches” in half diagonally.
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup. Cook over low heat 5 minutes until dissolved. Transfer mixture to an 11 x 17–inch baking pan and spread to cover the bottom. Add sandwich halves to pan. In separate bowl, blend together eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour over bread. cover and let sit 45 minutes or overnight in fridge. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Uncover and bake for 30–40 minutes, until the top layer has browned and the bottom sugar-syrup mixture has caramelized. Remove pieces to plates or platter, flipping so caramel side is up. Top each serving with berries and a dollop of sour cream.
Chorizo is Mexican spiced sausage usually served for breakfast. Making it with turkey adds the healthy benefit of lower fat but gets your family started off with a protein-filled meal. Serve for breakfast with eggs and tortillas. From Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. Cookbook, by Jean Neubauer.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Santa Cruz Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Santa Cruz Green Salsa
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced onion
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and break up to an even consistency. Add the vinegar, spices, salt, chili powder, salsa, and water. Mix well and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to blend flavors. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, and cook 15 minutes. Strain out any fat and serve hot.
This refreshing twist on lemonade, from Carolyn Niethammer’s Prickly Pear Cookbook, will help you get through the last blast of summer heat. Steeping the lemons rather than squeezing them is not only easier, it produces a more complex flavor as the final juice includes lemon oil from the rind.
Prickly Pear Lemonade
Makes 4 servings
4 or 5 lemons
6 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent sweetener)
1/4 cup prickly pear juice or syrup
Scrub lemons and slice 1/4-inch thick. Place in a large heat-proof bowl or pitcher. Bring water to a boil and pour over lemons. Stir in sugar. (Use less if you’ll be adding prickly pear syrup, more if you’ll use juice.) Let sit for 4 hours. Strain off juice and add prickly pear product. Taste and correct for sweetness. Refrigerate or serve immediately over ice.
By Ross and Susan Humphreys
We’d like to point out a correction and addition to Walter Parks’s fascinating account of his travels in Cuba earlier this year, which was posted here in February.
An important name was inadvertently omitted, for which we apologize. When this year’s Literary Havana tour visited the Teatro Bertolt Brecht, the distinguished actor and director Pedro Ángel Verá also addressed the group. Trained in the former Soviet Union under a student of Constantin Stanislavski, Mr. Verá offered unforgettable insights into the Stanislavski method as well as the development of Cuban theater over the years.
Another important bulletin: Our friend and tour leader Tom Miller has just announced the formation of another People to People tour, Literary Havana V. The link has complete details, including this year’s itinerary and costs. This special opportunity to experience the culture and people of Cuba should not be missed.
Coyote Buttes in Paria Canyon–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona. Photo by Kerrick James, www.kjphotosafaris.com.
The city of Kingman, Ariz., is ready to celebrate Historic Route 66; The Mother Road; America’s Main Street; the legendary trail followed by seekers, adventurers, grifters, hippies, vacationers, and other assorted characters during the heyday of road tripping in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
The Historic Route 66 International Festival, August 14-17, will feature classic cars, music and films, food, and the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future Conference. Roger Naylor, author of the Rio Nuevo title Kicks on Route 66, will be speaking at the conference on Saturday at 2 pm.
Kingman is located approximately 150 miles west of Flagstaff on I-40 (or on Route 66).
I am making this delicious dessert from Janet Taylor’s The Green Southwest Cookbook for a dinner party tonight. Unlike your run-of-the mill sweet and bland pudding, this one will hit your taste buds with the tart zing of limes and spicy bite of ginger, with just enough honey to make it pleasingly sweet. This healthier version uses tofu instead of cream, butter, and eggs. If you don’t like a strong ginger flavor try using a little less.
Mexican Lime–Ginger Pudding Parfait
2 cups raspberries and/or blackberries
1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
1 package (12.3 ounces) Mori Nu Silken Tofu (any firmness)
1/2–3/4 cup local raw mild honey
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1 teaspoon umeboshi plum paste (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 teaspoons powdered arrowroot or cornstarch
1 tablespoon lime zest, plus more zest for garnish
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Using a mesh strainer, rinse and drain the berries. Sprinkle them with evaporated cane juice, toss, and set aside. Place the tofu, honey, lime juice, plum paste, and ginger in a blender and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the arrowroot or cornstarch and blend for about 1 more minute. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Place the mixture in the top of a double boiler. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to simmer. Frequently stir the pudding until somewhat thick, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the boiler. Stir in the tablespoon of lime zest and the vanilla. As it cools, the pudding will thicken. Using an 8-ounce wine glass or parfait glass, place a few berries in the bottom, cover with pudding, add a few more berries, and cover with pudding. Top it with lime zest, mint leaves, and more berries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Note: A heavy saucepan may be used in lieu of a double boiler. Set the saucepan over medium heat, pour the pudding mixture in the pan, and bring to just under boiling, stirring continuously. Don’t boil! Turn heat to low; continue cooking and stirring until the pudding thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and tablespoon of lime zest.