How to make blue cornmeal pancakes with blueberry butter and baklava French toast

Few things beat cooking with a close friend who shares your love of food.

For Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous, that bond spurred a collaboration in the kitchen. Now, others can get a taste of their food thanks to their new cookbook, “Food Between Friends.”

PHOTO: Julie Tanous and Jesse Tyler Ferguson whip up a recipe from their new cookbook "Food Between Friends."

When the “Modern Family” star first met the recipe developer at a dinner in Los Angeles, they became fast friends through their shared love of cooking. They eventually turned that passion into a shared food blog.

The duo’s highly anticipated debut cookbook brings their blog to life with a focus on the joys of marrying food and friendship while paying homage to their hometowns as they seamlessly merge modern Californian cuisine with the richness of Southern dishes and the intense, peppery flavors of the Southwest.

PHOTO: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous' new cookbook cover "Food Between Friends."

Check out two of their delicious breakfast recipes below and whip up the crispy, sweet and savory — beautifully cerulean blue — pancake and a sweet Baklava French toast with orange, honey syrup.

Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Butter

PHOTO: A stack of blue cornmeal pancakes with blueberry butter.

Makes: 14 to 16 pancakes


1 1/2 cups blue cornmeal

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil

Nonstick cooking spray

Blueberry Butter: Makes 3/4 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup fresh blueberries, washed and thoroughly dried

2 teaspoons blueberry preserves

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch of kosher salt

Maple syrup


In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil until smooth.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold together until just combined. Do not overmix. Allow the batter to rest for about 5 minutes.

Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and grease lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each pancake. With the back of the spoon, gently spread the batter into a 3-to 4-inch circle. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown and the center of the pancake feels slightly firm to the touch, another 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve the pancakes hot with the blueberry butter and maple syrup.For the compound butter, add butter, blueberries, preserves, coriander and salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth.

(Store in the fridge, wrapped in paper or plastic, or in a butter keeper, for up to 5 days; or freeze for up to 3 months).

Tip: Room-Temperature Butter: A stick of butter coming out of the fridge can take a surprisingly long time to come to room temperature. To speed it up, cut the butter into half-inch pieces and leave on the counter; it should be at room temp in 10 to 12 minutes.

Baklava French Toast with Orange-Honey Syrup

PHOTO: Baklava French toast made from Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous' new cookbook "Food Between Friends."

Serves: 4

1/2 cup whole milk
6 large eggs
2 pinches of ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pistachios and walnuts
1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
8 (1-inch-thick) slices of challah, brioche bread, or pullman bread
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a shallow bowl or baking dish, whisk together ½ cup of the orange-honey syrup, the milk, eggs, a pinch of cloves, the salt and vanilla.
In another shallow dish, toss together the chopped nuts, panko and remaining pinch of cloves.
Place 2 or 3 bread slices in the milk mixture, turning to coat well. Let the bread soak for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the type of bread you’re using (sliced brioche won’t be able to handle a long soak). Remove the bread from the milk soak, one slice at a time, and transfer to the dish with the nut mixture. Press gently to adhere the dry mixture to both sides of the bread.
In a large pan, melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When the butter is hot and starting to bubble, add the bread to the pan, 2 or 3 slices at a time, or as many will fit without overcrowding. Cook the bread until golden and toasty on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown and toasty, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter while you repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining bread slices, using the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons butter. Serve the French toast warm with the syrup.

Orange-Honey Syrup

Makes: 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, strained to remove pulp
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into dice

PHOTO: A slice of Baklava French toast.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the honey, brown sugar, water, orange zest, orange juice and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened slightly and reduced to 3/4 cup, 15 to 17minutes.
Whisk in the vanilla and butter until the butter is melted and the syrup is glossy.
Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to use.

“Food Between Friends” is on sale and hits shelves March 9, 2021.

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