YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


A Toast to Breakfast

March 18, 1993|ABBY MANDEL

Ina Pinkney and Elaine Farrell have a restaurant that is so cozy, comfortable and cheery it seems like some fantasy home kitchen. Open only for breakfast and lunch, Ina's Kitchen in Chicago is the sort of place you'd like to linger all day.

Ina's French toast, crusted with cinnamon-sugar and served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and berries, is the best I have ever tasted. The toasted Gruyere, red cabbage and caramelized apple sandwich is pure pleasure. The caramel bread pudding is terrific for dessert.

Cooking these recipes is the next best thing to going to the restaurant itself.

Two slices of bread are served on a plate, cut diagonally, lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and garnished with a half cup of diced fruit or berries, tossed with sugar, lemon zest and julienned fresh mint. Maple syrup is served on the side. The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled; keep cooked slices warm in 250-degree oven while finishing the rest.

FRENCH TOAST AT INA'S KITCHEN Oil Granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 large egg 2/3 cup milk 1/2 tablespoon vanilla 4 slices white bread Powdered sugar 1 cup cubed fresh fruit or berries Lemon zest Julienned fresh mint Maple syrup for serving

Lightly oil griddle or heavy skillet. Place over medium heat.

Combine 6 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon on plate. Set aside.

Mix egg, milk, 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and vanilla in shallow dish. Dip bread in mixture, coating both sides. Dredge both sides in cinnamon-sugar mixture, shaking off excess.

Brown bread on both sides on griddle, about 5 minutes per side. Cut bread in half on diagonal. Place 4 halves on serving plate. Press powdered sugar through fine sieve to dust toast to taste, then garnish with fruit seasoned to taste with lemon zest and mint. Serve immediately with maple syrup. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about: 495 calories; 478 mg sodium; 114 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 83 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 0.14 gram fiber.

These sandwiches would be perfect for brunch. The apples and cabbage can be cooked in advance and gently reheated on a stove top or in a microwave oven before the sandwiches are assembled. Ina's serves two sandwiches per plate. For many, one or 1 1/2 sandwiches will be enough, especially with the delicious fat-free potato salad.

TOASTED GRUYERE, RED CABBAGE AND CARAMELIZED APPLE SANDWICH 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large red onion, thinly sliced 1 (1 1/2-pound) head red cabbage, quartered, cored, thinly sliced 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 3/4 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, sliced 1 tablespoon sugar Dijon mustard 16 slices hearty rye bread 16 thin Gruyere cheese slices

Heat 4 tablespoons butter in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is sizzling, add onion. Cook until tender, not brown, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add cabbage and vinegar. Cook gently, covered, until cabbage is tender-crisp, about 12 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sugar, caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Cook gently 5 minutes longer, stirring often to prevent burning. Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Gently reheat on stove top or in microwave oven before assembling sandwich. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Toss apple slices with 1 tablespoon sugar in large bowl or plastic food bag. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When butter starts to brown, add sliced apples. Cook until golden and tender-crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Gently reheat on stove top or in microwave oven before assembling sandwich.

To assemble, spread Dijon mustard to taste on 8 bread slices. Cover mustard with warm apple slices, dividing evenly. Cover apples with cheese slice. Divide warm cabbage evenly on remaining 8 slices. Place cheese slice on cabbage. Leave sandwiches open-face for cooking. Close sandwiches after cooking.

To cook, heat griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease griddle. Fill griddle with open-face slices that will pair together after cooked. Cook, covered with foil, until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Close each sandwich, press lightly together. Turn sandwich over and place on baking sheet. Keep warm in 250-degree oven while cooking remaining sandwiches. Serve sandwiches warm with Sweet-Tart Potato Salad. Makes 8 sandwiches.

Each sandwich contains about: 340 calories; 707 mg sodium; 39 mg cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 46 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 1.34 grams fiber.

SWEET-TART POTATO SALAD 4 large red potatoes 4 green onions, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar Salt Freshly ground pepper

Cook unpeeled potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender, about 17 minutes. Remove from water and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Los Angeles Times Articles