sunday mornings: french toast

Handsome and I are fans of lazy weekend mornings.  Frequently Saturday mornings aren’t as lazy as we want them to be.; we have errands to run, martial arts classes to attend, other details of our lives that need attention.  Sundays, though, are for laziness.

The particular Sunday on which this breakfast was made was particular lazy.  We slept until eleven, starting talking about breakfast at noon, and eventually ate breakfast close to three.  (Part of this delay was due to the huge line at the grocery store when Handsome ran out for milk on Super Bowl Sunday.)  We discussed the usual bacon, eggs, and toast breakfast, when suddenly I had a craving for French toast.

French toast is one of the first “from scratch” meals I learned to make myself.  My stepdad used to make French toast with regular Wonderbread and he taught me how to beat the eggs, mix in the milk, dunk the bread long enough so that it soaks up the egg mixture, prep the skillet with butter, not get the heat too high, and the proper way of cutting it into triangles.  Some of my best grade-school memories are helping my stepdad in the kitchen when he made French toast.  I felt capable, helpful, and close to him.

Breakfast was always my stepdad’s meal.  I was an impossibly picky eater, but he could fry eggs, whip up pancakes, or enlist my help in making French toast and I was happy to eat whatever he put in front of me.  Part of the reason for that may have been that I got to help; thinking back over my experiences with food in my childhood, the meals I liked best were the ones I got the help make.  I always got to help make French toast.  I think that breakfast was the most successful meal for my sister, too.

When I got older and had a job that required me to be at work early on Saturday mornings, French toast with my stepdad stopped being our tradition.  I am sure he still made it, and I’m not sure he ever thought of it as a tradition he had with me, but there weren’t very many opportunities once I was a teenager for us to make breakfast together.  But I still think of him every time I get the urge to make French toast.

This is essential his French toast recipe, and probably resembles a host of other recipes available.  I’ve never looked one up, and I don’t know the exact measurements of any of the ingredients.  This recipe is about procedure and trusting the procedure to yield the desired result.

You will need:
Several pieces of soft bread (I used a grainy variety, which yielded a nice nutty undertone)
1-2 tbsp butter
2 eggs (one egg per person)
Several splashes of milk
About a quarter cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
A couple shakes of cinnamon

Heat a skillet over medium/ medium-high heat.

Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Dunk pieces of bread into the mixture, and turn the bread until completely coated in the egg mixture.  Leave the bread a few seconds so the  egg mixture really gets into the bread.

Melt the butter in the skillet.  When the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, place the egg-soaked bread into the skillet.  Repeat for other pieces of bread until the pan is full.

Cook several minutes on each side.  I tend to err on the side of a cooler skillet, closer to medium, so it takes about five minutes per side.  When the bottom side is spotty brown, flip the bread.  When all pieces are done, cut them into triangles using the sharp edge of the spatula.

Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup, or…

Adapt this recipe from 17 and Baking for a berry syrup!

For the berry syrup, my way, you will need:
About 1 cup frozen raspberries or other frozen berries
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

Rinse the frozen bits off the berries.  Warm the berries over medium heat in a saucepan or skillet.  Use a spatula or spoon to smush (yes, that is the technical term) the berries as they warm and the heat breaks them down.

When the berries are hot, and just before your French toast is finished, pour the maple syrup into the berry mixture and mix well.

Top French toast with berry syrup and enjoy!

(I found that the berries I used overwhelmed the maple flavor, so I think it might be interesting to either use equal parts syrup and cooked berries, or to warm some maple syrup and stir in a few tablespoons of your favorite jam.  Something to experiment with.)


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