French Toast with Strawberry Coulis and Fresh Vanilla Whipped Cream

Here is my secret recipe for my world-famous, french toast, complete with strawberry coulis, and fresh vanilla whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy the recipe, and if you make it, post a picture on social media, and tag me! 🙂


French Toast with Strawberry Coulis and Fresh Vanilla Whipped Cream

Total Time: 20 min

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

French Toast:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 slices brioche bread
  • 4 tsp grapeseed oil

Strawberry Coulis:

  • to be updated!

Vanilla Whipped Cream:

  • Âœ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp sugar (optional)

Vanilla Glaze:

  • ÂŒ cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp milk

Garnishes:

  • fresh mint
  • raspberries

Directions:

French Toast:

  1. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, milk, cinnamon, and sugar together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Dip the bread into the batter, letting it sit for one minute on each side.
  3. Heat a medium size pan on medium to high heat. Drizzle in the grapeseed oil, then cook the bread until golden brown on each side.
  4. Remove the french toast from the pan, and let it cool before serving.

Strawberry Coulis:

  1. Instructions will be posted soon! 🙂

Vanilla Whipped Cream:

  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sugar, if using, until the cream forms peaks.

Vanilla Glaze:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.

 

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Pan Seared Branzino with a Celeriac Puree, SautĂ©ed Peas, with an Onion Beet Marmalade

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Pan Seared Branzino with a Celeriac Puree, Sautéed Peas, with an Onion Beet Marmalade

I’m a steak and potatoes kinda guy. To me, there is nothing better than the delicious simplicity of a tender, juicy, seared steak, with a silky mashed potatoes. But this dish comes close! 😉 Which is a lot, considering that before Masterchef Junior, I wasn’t the biggest fan of fish and seafood in general.

Fish is incredibly healthy, and my mom always tried to get us to eat it. I tried to avoid it as much as possible, and when I did eat it, I doused it in sauce, hoping to swallow it down quickly!

With this delicious pan seared branzino, I do the exact opposite! Instead of forcing down overcooked, under seasoned salmon (sorry Mom 😉 !), I love to savor this complex dish, with a tender fillet of branzino, served over crispy peas, and a celeriac puree, topped with a drizzle of onion-beet marmalade!

I picked up this gorgeous whole, branzino from my man RJ at Whole Foods for my Periscope broadcast. I chose branzino for this dish, however you could also substitute it with sea bass, or cod.

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This simple, gourmet dish is perfect for a fancy dinner or an everyday meal! Almost all of the prep can be made before time, like the puree, the peas, the marmalade, and the marinade for the fish. The final step will be to sear the fish.

I cooked this dish in episode 3 of Masterchef Junior, though you may not have had a chance to see it! As soon as I saw the array of fish, I immediately wanted to choose the branzino. It is a member of the sea bass family, and has a mild flavor, ready to absorb the delicious marinade I created.

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I also met RenĂ© at Whole Foods, who gutted and descaled my branzino fillet for me. If buying a whole fish, make sure it has been cleaned out, or clean it out at home, otherwise you’ll be munching on scales!

It’s one of my favorite seafood dishes, and I loved making it for you guys live on Periscope. Check out my live broadcasts every Wednesday at 7 pm EST. Hope you guys make this dish for your family, and tag me if you post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Pan Seared Branzino with a Celeriac Puree, Sauteed Peas, with an Onion Beet Marmalade

Total Time: 45 min

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 35 min

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

Marinated Branzino:

  • 2 Branzino fillets or 1 whole Branzino*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil

*Filleting the branzino is optional.

Onion Beet Marmalade:

  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped beets
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Celeriac Puree:

  • 1 cup roughly chopped celeriac
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Sautéed Peas:

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Marinated Branzino:

  1. If using a whole Branzino, fillet two portions from the fish.
  2. In a medium sized bowl add the honey,  Champagne vinegar, chopped tarragon, salt, and pepper. Whisk until fully combined.
  3. Add the Branzino fillets and marinade for a minimum of 20 minutes, and a maximum of 24 hours.
  4. Heat a medium sized pan, and add the oil in.
  5. Put the fish into the pan, skin side down. Using a spatula, keep pressure on the fish so it doesn’t curl up. Cook the fish 90% on the skin side.

Onion Beet Marmalade:

  1. To make the marmalade, place diced onion, roughly chopped beets, and the white sugar, in a small pan. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

Celeriac Puree:

  1. Roughly chop the celeriac, and place in a pot with milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. Simmer on medium-low heat until the celeriac is soft.
  3. Place the mixture in the blender, and blend with heavy cream, salt, and pepper.

Sautéed Peas:

  1. Bring a sauce pot with water to a boil. Blanch the peas in the water untill the they are slightly soft. Heat a small pan on medium-high heat with the butter.
  2. Add the peas in the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Pan Seared Scallop with a Cauliflower Puree, Basil Pesto, Toasted Pecans, and a FrisĂ©e Salad

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Scallops Pan Seared Scallop with a Cauliflower Puree, Basil Pesto, Toasted Peans, and a Frisee Salad

Can you imagine, that this time last year, I hadn’t ever tasted a scallop yet alone cooked, or created a scallop dish! But here I am, posting a delicious scallop dish for you guys to try! This was the dish that turned me into a die-hard scallop fan.

I got my scallops FRESH from my local seafood market, Bar Harbor Seafood. I actually met a super nice guy there, (shoutout to Jason!), and he was so helpful! He told me a lot of cool facts about seafood. And, while I was sniffing around the market, I ran into a 4 pound lobster! On top of that I had some spectacular fish n’ chips for lunch, that were sooo good!

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I had such a great experience at Bar Harbor Seafood, meeting Jason and getting some delicious seafood. This is what food means to me! It’s all about sharing, learning, and bringing people together.

Check out your local markets. You will not only get the amazingly fresh food, but you might meet some amazing people as well.

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Don’t forget your family too! Invite them to go to the market with you, invite them to cook with you, and enjoy your meal together. There’s nothing better than cool conversation at the dinner table and this delicious and refined scallop dish!

This scallop dish is so delicious! It has an amazing balance of acidity, creaminess, and texture. Believe it or not, this was the first scallop dish I ever had, and I’ve loved scallops since!

This was the dish I created for episode 2 for Masterchef Junior. I also recreated this dish live on my Periscope broadcast last Wednesday! I will be uploading the broadcast on Youtube shortly.

If you missed my broadcast, please tune in every Wednesday at 5:30pm EST as I recreate my dishes from Masterchef Junior. Lastly, if you have any questions, or would like to share your foodie creations, you can email me at zac@zac-kara.com. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions! 🙂


Pan Seared Scallop, with Cauliflower Puree, Basil Pesto, Sugar Toasted Pecans, and a Frisee Salad

Total Time: 35 min

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

Cauliflower Puree:

  • 1 Âœ cup roughly chopped cauliflower
  • Âœ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper

Basil Pesto:

  • 1 cup roughly chopped basil, lightly packed
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1 tbsp granted Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ÂŒ cup olive oil

Sugar Toasted Pecans:

  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • Âœ tbsp granulated sugar

Pan Seared Scallops:

  • 6 scallops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice

Frisée Salad:

  • 1/2 cup frisĂ©e salad*
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or peanut oil

*If you cannot find frisée any other lettuce is fine.


Directions:

Cauliflower Puree:

  1. Place the cauliflower a small sauce pot. Add in the milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. Turn the saucepan on medium to low heat, and boil the mixture until the cauliflower is soft upon testing it with a fork. The fork should glide smoothly through the cauliflower.
  3. Once the cauliflower is soft, pour the contents of the saucepan in the blender, with the heavy cream, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Basil Pesto:

  1. Place the basil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a blender, and begin blending on medium to low speed, depending on the strength of your blender.
  2. Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil until the pesto is smooth. If the pesto is still chunky, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil, until the desired texture is reached.

Sugar Toasted Pecans:

  1. Place the pecans, and the sugar in a small pan on medium heat.
  2. Stir the mixture, untill the sugar disappears, and the nuts are toasted, which will take around 1-2 minutes.
  3. Immediately, pour the pecans from the pan, and set aside in a bowl.

Pan Seared Scallops:

  1. Pat down the scallops with a paper towel, to make sure they are dry. Season the scallops with salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat a medium sized pan on medium-high heat, and add the grapeseed oil in. Sear the scallops for 90 seconds on each side, or until the seared side is golden brown, and the scallop is translucent.
  3. After the first flip, drizzle or squeeze the lemon juice on the scallops.
  4. Remove from the pan immediately and set said on a paper towel lined plate.

Frisée Salad:

  1. Place the frisée in a medium sized bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking quickly.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the frisée and lightly toss the salad.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

 

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Just a few months ago, I was gluten free… and craving my favorite desserts. I tried so many gluten-free snacks, only to be disappointed. I kept comparing them to regular deserts, and they all came up short.

I took matters into my hands, and came up with these absolutely delicious cupcakes. Try them. I bet you that these cupcakes are not only amazing, but can be even better than some regular cupcakes! 🙂


Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Total Time: 45 min

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves: 12


Ingredients:

Gluten-Free Cupcake:

  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend with xantham gum*

  • 3/4 cups sugar

  • 1/2 cups cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • Âœ tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • Âœ cup buttermilk

  • ÂŒ cup melted unsalted-butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup fresh brewed coffee or 1/2 cup hot water with instant coffee

Chocolate Frosting:

  • Âœ cup butter

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 2/3 cup powdered sugar

  • 3-5 tbsp milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend:

  • 1 cup rice flour

  • Âœ tsp xantham gum

  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch

  • 1/3 cup potato starch


Directions:

Gluten-Free Flour Blend:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together. Use as needed in recipes.

Gluten-Free Cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Add cupcake liners to muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the wet ingredients, including the coffee, until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to stand mixer, and mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan until warm then remove and let completely cool before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

  1. In a glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. Add the cocoa powder to the melted butter, and stir together well with a whisk. Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Add the powdered sugar in 4 parts, and add milk alternatively, mixing with a hand mixer or a whisk until creamy.
  4. Finally add the vanilla, then mix well again.
  5. Let the frosting cool completely before putting in a pipping bag. If the frosting is too hard, add another tbsp of milk, and mix until it is creamy again.

Homemade Burger with SautĂ©ed Onion, and Mushrooms, a Homemade Mayo and Tempura Onion Rings

Delicous Homemade Burgers with Tempura Onion Rings

My favorite burger of all time, isn’t a fancy one, filled with obscure ingredients. To me, nothing beats the simplicity of a classic burger, with sweet caramelized onions and mushrooms, a homemade mayo, and crispy tempura onion rings.

I made this on the first episode of Masterchef Junior, and was chosen as the top three of the Mystery Box challenge. This humble burger is sure to impress your family, just like it impressed the Masterchef Junior judges… 😉

Homemade Burger with Sautéed Onion, and Mushrooms, a Homemade Mayo and Tempura Onion Rings

Total Time:  30 min

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

Burger Patty:

  • 6 oz ground chuck

  • 6 oz ground sirloin

  • Salt and Pepper

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil

  • 2 slices of mild cheddar cheese

Sautéed Mushrooms:

  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil

  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly

  • Salt and pepper

Sautéed Onions:

  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil

  • 1/2 cup sliced onions

  • Salt and pepper

Tempura Onion Rings:

  • 1 quart peanut oil

  • 1 onion, sliced into rounds about 1/8 inch thick

  • Âœ cup all-purpose flour

  • ÂŒ cup sparkling water, or soda water

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Salt

Homemade Mayo (optional):

  • 1 egg yolks

  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil

Burger Condiments:

  • Butter lettuce

  • 1 tomato, sliced about Âœ inch thick

  • Ketchup


Directions:

Burger Patty:

  1. Season the ground chuck and sirloin with pepper. Form two burger patties, that weigh around 6 oz each.

  2. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp of peanut oil.

  3. Season the outside of the patties on both sides with salt.

  4. Carefully place the patties in the skillet. Sear one side of the patties for 3 minutes, making sure not to move them.

  5. Flip the patties, then add the cheese. Cook for another 3 minutes, then remove from the skillet and let them rest.

Sauteed Mushrooms:

  1. Heat a small pan on medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and the mushrooms to the pan. After a few minutes, the mushrooms will release a bunch of liquid in the pan.

  2. Continue cooking the mushrooms, letting the liquid reduce completely. Add salt and pepper to the mushrooms.

  3. Once the liquid is gone, continue cooking the mushrooms for about a minute.

Sauteed Onions:

  1. Heat small pan on medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and onions to the pan.

  2. Let the onions cook on medium heat until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Tempura Onion Rings:

  1. Heat 1 quart of peanut oil in a Dutch Oven to 375 F.

  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

  3. Pour in the sparkling water or club soda, and whisk until fully combined.

  4. Dip the onion rounds in the batter, then gently place them in the oil, frying no more than 3 at a time. Fry the onion rings for 15 seconds on each side, or until golden brown.

  5. Remove the onions rings from the oil, and place on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt.

Homemade Mayo:

  1. In a mixer or blender, add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar

  2. Whisk or blend on medium speed until fully combined. Afterwards, slowly drizzle in the oil.