It began innocently enough: Demure almond scones served warm from the oven, with a little jam and maybe some clotted cream – perfectly proper fare for breakfast, brunch or tea. A tad decadent, perhaps, but still a fine way to start the day. Then came word of the same almond scones emerging at all hours of the night, dressed provocatively in billows of whipped cream and a slathering of juicy strawberries. When approached for comment, one scone replied: “I may have a soft spot for berries, but I’m no tart.”
Breakfast, lunch or dinner is served! I tossed around some other names for this dish: Leftovers Pie, Crustless Quiche, Make-Ahead Magic for Overnight Guests, Zap-n-Go Anytime Meal Slices. Some of these are better than others, but they all would work. Frittata sounded a little fancier – worthy of the leeks I used in it this time, but it’s not a traditional frittata. It’s also not as heavy as a cream-laden quiche, but I think you get the idea. I’ve made similar versions without the leeks – just a lone, leftover baked potato and some bits from the Christmas ham. That was good too! But leeks work really well here and bring a much-needed glimmer of spring to the table. Continue reading
My younger daughter Sophie would be thrilled to have French toast for every meal, every day of the week. I even made it over a campfire last September, though without the signature Brown Sugar Walnut sauce it was less of a hit. (Suggesting perhaps that for her the French toast is merely a delivery vehicle for the butter/brown sugar sauce.) The sauce is a cinch to make in the microwave, but I didn’t have an extra pan to attempt it over the fire. Maybe next time. (Or – maybe next time I’ll have an important meeting or other serendipitous conflict with Camping Weekend and they’ll have to be content with Dad’s scrambled eggs . . .)
Serve with bacon, Canadian bacon or sausage to help balance the sweetness.
Sophie’s French Toast
Serves Sophie for the day, or 4 regular people (Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (skim, whole or half and half – whatever you like)
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 16-20 1-inch thick slices soft baguette or Italian/hoagie rolls (Here in NJ I like Calandra’s Italian rolls.)
Brown Sugar Walnut Sauce
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar (light is OK if that’s all you have)
- 5 Tablespoons butter (if unsalted, add a good pinch of salt, too)
- ¼ cup (heaping) chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon water
If desired, preheat oven to 350ºF and place a baking sheet inside. This helps keep the cooked French toast warm while you cook the remaining pieces. [Side note: Try cooking bacon in the oven. Less mess, with the added bonus that the oven will be warm and ready for the French toast. Arrange as much bacon as you can fit onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (the parchment aids in clean-up); cook at 400ºF until crisp.]
Make the Brown Sugar Walnut Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave 45 seconds; stir. Microwave another 30-45 seconds or until bubbling and sugar crystals have dissolved. (Check this by taking a little taste.) If too thick, add ½ tsp of water at a time to achieve consistency of thick maple syrup.
Make the French Toast:
In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and vanilla extract.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add bread slices to egg/milk mixture, turning to coat both sides and soak through to center of bread. (This may go quickly with soft, fresh bread or may take a little longer with drier, crusty bread; also note that the more saturated the bread is with egg/milk mixture, the longer it will take to cook.) Add a little butter to pan if desired; with a good nonstick pan you won’t need to, but it’s extra insurance against sticking if you’re not sure. Arrange soaked bread slices in pan – as many as will fit without touching. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. (The toasts will “release” from the pan and flip easily when they’re adequately cooked; flipping too soon may cause them to stick to the pan.) Flip and continue to cook on the other side until toasts feel springy to the touch (another 2-4 minutes more). Transfer to warm baking sheet and continue with remaining bread slices.
Microwave sauce to reheat just prior to serving. Arrange French toast slices onto plates and drizzle with sauce (or serve on the side).