French Toast with Berry Butter
(photo from Pioneer Woman Cooks soon to be replaced by my own)
I don't need to tell you how times flies. One moment we will be starting a new work week and then all of a sudden here it is Friday again. Our group has now reached #21 on the list of Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers. The past few months have flown by as we experiment with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list" so far. Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire. There are even a few bloggers on the list. We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman.
I finally had a weekend off and decided I needed some R and R and crossed the border for a shopping spree into the state of Washington. Just saying "cross the border" makes it seem like there are exciting adventures to tell. What is more therapeutic than being in the kitchen? Well...shopping of course!
If you drive directly south through the valley and into the United States the landscape changes inch by inch to desert. While parts of the desert have been reclaimed through irrigation and are lush with vineyards and orchards, the tiny rural towns are surrounded by cactus, rolling dunes and tumbleweeds. The Sonoran desert chain, whose roots start down in Mexico, take over in these furthest Northern reaches. This desert landscape has you thinking that the Lone Ranger and his sidekick Tonto will come riding over the sunburnt hills chased by a band of black clad desperadoes in an old black and white western. "Hi-ho Silver!!!" Is that a cowboy sporting pistols on both hips ready to challenge me to a duel, twirling his moustache and intimidating me with his sinister glare. He lifts his brow seductively. "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?," I say in my best Mae West sexy voice.
Enough with the fantasies, but it is true enough that as soon as you cross the border street signs and store fronts are now in English and Spanish (and sometimes only Spanish) as opposed to English and French here in Canada. It really does make you feel like you could be in Mexico and not the State of Washington. This language influence and the "desert feel" will truly have you believing you could ride the range with the best of them. Through the apple orchards of Northern Washington state? Of course! The Mexican influence is due to the influx of Mexican migrants who moved up here to work in the orchards many years ago. I often drive across the border just for an authentic meal at one of the Mexican restaurants or to have the opportunity to buy Mexican ingredients for cooking not available at home.
In the Okanagan Valley (spelt Okanogan) in northern Washington the spaces are open, the hills barren and covered with sage brush and not only do I have shopping on my mind but a few foodie adventures brewing that I will tell you all about later. What better introduction to our next game changer, the Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, who has become extremely successful with her tales of ranch living in her home in Oklahoma. Ree grew up on the grounds of a country club in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She left Oklahoma to attend college at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she majored in journalism and then gerontology. Ree planned to attend law school in Chicago and live in the big city, but her plans changed when she met and married her husband, Ladd Drummond, a fourth-generation member of a prominent Osage County cattle ranching family, whom she refers to as "the Marlboro Man." She moved to his ranch north of Pawhuska, and they had four "punks." Her photos are intimate, color-saturated images of her family, the ranch animals, and the comfort food she cooks which portray a life so lush and pastoral that you want to climb right in. Millions of unique visitors to her blog a month agree!!!I am a huge fan of her self-taught photography since it gives me hope that I can someday become a good self-taught photographer, if I ever develop a routine where I can take the time for this hobby.
One of my favourite well-travelled bloggers Mary of One Perfect Bite invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year. Gourmet Live brought out a list of the 50 most influential women in food...Fifty women game changers. Some are chefs, some are food writers, and some are women who are passionate about the creative process. You could certainly add or detract women from this list, but no matter what these women have all influenced us in one way or another. Being a woman and passionate about food myself I wanted to explore and join Mary on this journey and not only learn from the masters but recreate some of their dishes to better understand what has shaped and molded them into who they are today. In doing so I have learned more about myself, and have learned more than a few new recipes and techniques. My cohorts for this adventure can be found below.If you would like to join in please contact Mary. This is an informal event and you have the flexibility to follow along when you can. We post every Friday.
We have reached #21 on the list of 50. What have we been up to with this weeks Women Game Changer......
More Than Burnt Toast - French Toast with Berry Butter
Joanne of Eats Well With Others
Claudia of A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Susan of The Spice Garden - Beef Noodles Salad
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed - Chicken Scallopine
Heather of Girlichef - Tuna Melts
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Pollo Asado and a Chicken Taco Recipe
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Cinnamon Toast
Sue of View from The Great Island - Frito Chili Pie
Linda of There and Back Again - Citrus Butter Cookies
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Ree’s Fresh Peach Crisp with Maple Cream
Nancy of Picadillo - My Favourite Meatloaf
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits - Quesadillas de Camarones
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Lemon and Garlic Shrimp
Now on to the recipe "pardners"..........
**French Toast with Berry Butter**
- 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1 loaf crusty bread: baguette, French loaf, etc.
- 4 whole egg yolks
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- zest of one lemon
- maple syrup for serving
- sifted powder sugar, for serving (optional)