Monday, September 06, 2010

Breakfast, plow disk cooker and Labor Day street fair

I set out this morning just after 8 a.m. to see what was happening at the Diamond Springs Labor Day Bazaar. Since the Firefighter's Association has centered the street fair around Fire Station 49 on the west end of town in recent years, I walked the length of Main Street before encountering any booths or exhibits. I made a straight line for Charlotte's Baker and Cafe for coffee and a morsel or two for breakfast.

I found chef and owner Carolyn Kumpe and crew busy frying torrijas and enpanadas. While I didn't taste the empanadas, they looked good. She filled them with two or three cheeses and served the stuffed pastries with a lively salsa.

After acquiring my obligatory cup of coffee, Carolyn handed me a paper dish with four gently fried torrijas slices . At a dollar a slice, the Spanish-style French toast made for a quick breakfast. From the first bite I knew I'd found a special treat.

Carolyn featured her torrijas with raspberry and orange blossom honey syrup on a Mother's Day special on News10 last May.

Torrijas are traditionally served at breakfast during Easter in Spain. Like traditional American French toast, torrijas is a popular way to use day-old bread. Carolyn used day-old baquettes, cut on the bias, for hers.

While talking to Carolyn, I saw this shallow outdoor pan. Mounted on a 60,000 BTU propane burner, the pan appeared to be a homemade. It's a cross between the shallow chef's sautee pan and a cast iron skillet.

The cooker was constructed to sit securely on the burner. The last thing you want is to accidently dump hot oil onto the burner. It looks like the cooker was made from of a discarded plow disk. The plow disk cooker can be used as a wok, heavy skillet or pan fryer.

I would've loved to hang around and talk to Carolyn and her cooks. But they were busy and I had to get over to the engine house to held the El Dorado Western Railway crew prepare the new Whiting Trackmobile for the parade at 1 p.m. My report on the parade is found at the El Dorado Western Railway blog.

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