Day two started out beautifully. Years ago, when my mom came to visit in Atlanta, we had brunch at Sage, where I used to wait tables. She had this amazing challah french toast with mascarpone cheese and strawberries. That dish has been calling her name for a long time. So, we decided to recreate that breakfast- with McPrice twists of course.
My husband loves sweet stuff, so I wasn’t surprised that he was already starting the cooking process when I walked into the kitchen. Half of the blueberries were in the pot, along with a little lemon and a touch of sugar and water.
He reserved some of the berries to add in at the end to provide a contrast in texture. Smart man!
Then, we made a pretty traditional french toast egg mixture with vanilla and sugar.
Next, we mixed the mascarpone cheese with a little bit of honey and vanilla. And it smelled like the perfect whipped cream.
We dunked our day old Italian bread into the egg mixture and got it into the pan.
And then, the edible architecture started happening. Cheese on the first layer.
A little topper…
and the big finish with blueberry goodness.
Now, that was a breakfast of champions! Sweet, tart, golden on outside, soft in the middle- not mushy- and that mascarpone should be illegal. Mmmm. Full and happy, we were off to the beach!
Alright- it was a little chilly in Florida. Colder than I’ve ever felt it in Ft. Lauderdale. But- guess what? It was still 30 degrees warmer than it was at home! So we headed down to check out a local outdoor Farmer’s Market on the Riverwalk and found beautiful local produce for very reasonable prices. I’m keeping that in mind for the next time we’re in town and planning to cook up a storm!
Next, we drove over to what we call “Biker Beach”. I don’t know if that’s the official name. I just call it like I see it, and there are always folks on bikes all over that place. Tatoo shops, some seedy pubs, t-shirt shops with shocking slogans in their windows. Locals of different ages and backgrounds flock to that little nook to hang out without Spring Break partiers, high school kids, or tourists. Haha. We were tourists, sort of. But, we were with a local. So that counts. It makes us feel more like we’re at home- where it’s okay to be who you are and tolerance abounds.
I mentioned Bluefish in my last post. I love this little dive of a beach bar which now has tables outside on the sidewalk overlooking the OCEAN! They have daily fruity frozen drink specials, which I generally don’t indulge in…except on a beachy vacation day! Their bar maiden is not 22 and super tan. She’s in her forties, salty, smart, and efficient. I thank my lucky stars that we happened upon this place.
I can’t wait any longer- I have got to tell you about the Chef Wings. They are a perfectly brilliant combination of Buffalo sauce and this insane Jerk seasoning. Every time the wings arrive at the table, I am amazed by the intoxicating smell and the pool of deliciousness in the bottom of the bowl. A collection of Jerk spices and loads of thyme, all have waved their tiny magic wands over the chicken wings and then lay to rest in the pool of oil in the bottom of the bowl. Pool of oil= not healthy. I don’t drink the pool!!! But without fail, I put down more of those wings than I ever plan to eat. They are so crispy on the outside that it’s an impossibility to imagine the inside being tender. Fake out! It totally is!! Juicy, meaty, oozing with flavor. Un. real. The veggies are fresh, cold, and deserving of their own plate (not pictured). No stringiness in the celery, instead it actually comes away clean when you take a bite. No faded, almost-orange, sad looking carrots. That freshness is the intended complement to a hot, saucy wing.
I didn’t even give the potato skins any props. The skins are wonderful as well. Better than french fries. They are huge, real, loaded, just right. Ah, what a lucky girl I am to be able to dream about such a lunch whenever I like.
You may think that Chef Wings and stuffed french toast satisfied all of our eating needs for the day. Hahaha! Don’t you know me yet?!?!
On the dinner menu, roasted chicken and spinach enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, and spiced up black beans and tomatoes.
I’ve written about the tangy and talented tomatillo before. That’s how my mom knew to put in her request! So I will be brief.
Generally, I make my enchiladas with corn tortillas, but we had flour to work with. No worries. You gotta be flexible in the kitchen. I think that’s why baking vexes me so. Not a whole lot of wiggle room there.
This time around, I added avocado to the salsa- the one I bought at the Farmer’s Market! Avocado adds a creaminess to the sauce, but it also makes it thicker, so I thinned it out with a little bit of water.
Meanwhile, I was roasting a couple of bone-in breasts of chicken along with a few boneless thighs with a spice rub pressed onto each piece.
All we did was shred the chicken and cut the spinach into ribbons.
I just tossed the spinach with the hot chicken to wilt it a little, rather than cooking it down on the stove. I also added a handful of cheese to that bowl to make the filling complete.
Simple as that. Time to build.
Salsa in one pan, and a touch of olive oil in another. First we heated each tortilla quickly in the hot pan. Then, we dunked each tortilla in the salsa verde. Then we added a spoonful of the spinach, chicken and cheese filling to each one. After that, we rolled each one and placed it seam side down in a glass dish. More salsa on top…
and finished with cheese of course.
While the enchiladas baked, we had time to whip up some black beans with flavors that were consistent with the main dish.
And then, Voila! Oh, how do say “Voila” in Spanish? Helo aqui!
Dinner was served.
Pure bliss. Subtle- a wonderful combination of flavors. Not too tangy or too spicy or too anything. Just a fabulous bite every time. I ate one and a half enchiladas. Shhhhh! I couldn’t help myself. They were so melty and- like a quiet party in my mouth.
We had plenty leftover that could easily be frozen in individual portions. Instead, my mom shared the love with her colleagues and caused some ooh-ing and ahh-ing at work. Nothing better than sharing love through food!
Day two of our trip was full of food adventures and some quality time taking in the Atlantic Ocean. My favorite seat is always on the beach, and I think we effectively channeled that calming, peaceful sea of blueish green into our cooking.
Do what you love. Go to your favorite place. Or just spend a few minutes going there in your mind. Then, devote that good energy to creating something that will nourish your soul. It will make you feel good. Guaranteed.