Friday, October 2, 2009

Plate Lickers: Berry Baked French Toast Edition

I like using words like "edition" and "installment" in post titles because it infers that the entry is part of a greater cause. As though there was a plan and an editorial calendar. Or real sentence structure. That sort of thing.

In reparation for denying you actual writing as it applies to established grammatical rules, I have brought you some French toast. It's a chilly Friday morning and I'm much better at communicating with food poker face required. I could never be a card shark, let's just say that.

After having a thoroughly stunning weekend in San Francisco at BlogHer Food and getting my virtual girlfriend time in with a bunch of fellow food-communicators, I've been tired. Tired and busy. Too tired and busy to cook much with the exception of a rebellious night when I started making panko crusted chicken with pesto at 10pm. With polenta and broccoli. I may have put the leftover broccoli in the freezer by accident but everything else came out and it made me feel better, as chopping and stirring is wont to do.

Then I got word that Friday (today) could be a recharge day. A day to breathe in the cooler fall air and hang some pictures and drop off dry-cleaning. And go apple-picking, my favorite autumnal activity. Jaimeson arrived last night and I woke up this morning feeling as though an exercise in gratitude was in order. Dear Universe, thank you for reminding me to inhale and exhale with enthusiasm. I also owed J for the dinner I came home to last night. Man does not fool around with roast chickens.

So here is my exercise in gratitude- using the leftover baguette from dinner and some odds and ends around the house to make Berry Baked French Toast.

1) I am grateful to have affection in my life. This was dinner last night. Love is love and that is the necessity. But affection and sweetness have been around this house in spades lately, both in person and in spirit.

Preheat oven to 375. Slice bread about 1/4 inch thick and laid in a lightly buttered dish. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and brush the tops with a basting brush. In a separate bowl, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup of milk (skim is fine), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, any remaining butter. Whisk and pour over the top of your bread, ensuring all is covered. Let sit for 10-15 minutes till most egg has been absorbed. I had about a tablespoon of raspberry sauce leftover from Molly's birthday cake so I dotted across the top of the bread. Last step pre-oven? Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar over the top.

2) I am grateful be invested in projects on every side of my life. I work hard because I love it. I love it because it's something I wanted to do before I knew it could be a profession. Even personal projects like redoing "my office" (I'm sitting in it now!) or learning how to make a terrine or putting together one ridiculous Halloween party...puts my insides aflutter in a good way.

Berry sauce. My fridge has gone empty. My cabinets have gone empty. But my freezer? Stocked for just such an occasion. Two handfuls of frozen mixed berries in a saucepan, then covered with 1/2 cup of orange juice and a couple glugs of maple syrup. Medium heat to a good simmer. Reduce it by a third and add a 1/4 cup of sugar if you really like the sweetness, though I don't find it a necessity. Remove from heat.

3) I am grateful to be on the move. A four hour flight to San Francisco or a 40 mile drive to southern Wisconsin, there is relief in the movement. The human equivalent of opening the windows to let the new, fresh air in. I'm too much of a homebody to be a true gypsy but there is life in other places and I hear they have macaroons and pie materials.

Bake the toast for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and slightly risen, souffle-style.
4) I am grateful to be learning my limits. That doesn't sound terribly romantic but giving myself a few basic rules is going a long way. I need 7 hours of sleep. I need vegetables. I need kisses. I need cat food and the presence of canned tuna fish does not indicate that I can push off going to the store for another day.

Enjoy at the kitchen table and don't be shy with the sauce. Although if you're moderate, the leftovers would do magic to a bowl of ice cream or even Greek yogurt. Plate licking is fine, it's your house and you get to make your own basic rules.


Jessica said...

This looks delicious!
Have you thought about submitting something like this to the Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking Contest, just launched by Brighter Planet? They have a whole section on leftovers, and reading this post made me think this recipe would fit right in.
Check it out here:

nicoleantoinette said...

"Dear Universe, thank you for reminding me to inhale and exhale with enthusiasm."

Can you please staple this to my face?