A batter or egg dipped bread fried until golden and often served with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Often found as a substitute for pancakes. Particularly good using fruit breads or cinnamon bread. A nice accompaniment is a cream sauce made from raspberries, whipped cream and cream cheese for thickness and served with fresh berries on top.

Southwestern French Toast:

Wash and toss fresh mesclun (salad greens) with freshly squeezed lime juice and a dash of salt and cracked black pepper.

Cut a loaf of sourdough bread (or another light bread) into cubes measuring approximately 1.5 inches squared. Into beaten egg, add finely chopped chipotle peppers (tinned work well). Heat a griddle to medium-high heat and coat with a mixture of butter and extra virgin olive oil. Add some of the cubes to the bowl of beaten egg and fold them into the egg, using your hands to ensure that they are completely coated. Lift a handful from the bowl and drop them, one at a time onto the heated griddle. If they get away from you, don’t worry about it – you can always separate them with…..um…..(one of those tools called by different names in different parts of the world)….an egg-lifter or a spatula, or a putty knife – whatever it is you use to lift eggs with. Cook until golden-brown, turning on all sides to ensure even cooking.

Lay a bed of seasoned mesclun on a plate and arrange the golden cubes on top of it. Please don't waste your time making a project out of piling them, thereby turning the architecture of food into something impossible to eat without creating a mess. Dust with salt and fresh cracked black peppercorn before serving. The addition of cilantro would also be very good.

"She was so wild that when she made French toast she got her tongue caught in the toaster."
Rodney Dangerfield

French toast will cause your fans to sigh, ooh, la-la'. The milky nutty aroma of browned butter will bring people to consciousness and sleepy eyed smiling to plates heaped with french toast. Serve them up with sides of country ham, thick sliced bacon and fresh ground sausages hot from the griddle. The best french toast starts with good breads. I would suggest an egg bread, baguette, sourdoughs or fresh homemade bread. The flavored breads are those that are slightly sweet and the texture is plentiful and dense to soak up the egg and milk mixture. The absolute best for a golden crispy outside and a custard-like inside.

Some French Toast History

Daniel Rogov tells a brief story about the origins of French toast:
    First made at a roadside tavern not far from the city of Albany in 1724, there are few dishes more truly American than the breakfast favorite known as "French toast". So American is the dish that very few can understand why it is not called "American toast", "Albany Toast" or even "New York State toast".

    The confusion comes about because the owner of the tavern at which the dish was invented had a very poor knowledge of grammar. When Joseph French decided to name the dish after himself he should have written his invention as "French's toast" (that is to say, the toast of French). Because he did not know how to use the possessive apostrophe, however, the dish appeared on his menu simply as "French toast". In short, the dish has nothing whatever to do with French culinary history but in the two hundred and seventy years that have intervened, no one has taken the time to correct the grammatical error.

From further back in time another tells, French toast isn't French. It comes from a Roman cookbook, dating back to 1000 or 2000 B.C., and titled "Apicius on Cooking."

The toppings are plentiful. Everything from the raspberry sauce and exotic mango to the humble blueberry and drizzles of homemade butter-pecan sauce. But this year for Easter morning breakfast my family will wake up to the Real McCoy! Hardwick Sugar Shack Pure Maple Syrup from Worcester County Massachusetts. It's light amber color in a beautiful bottle shaped like a maple leaf. Grade A says the tag made in small sugarhouse near Quabbin Reservoir and sent to us from Peace Frog! Everyone in the family has sampled its wonderful lightly sweet flavor and we can't wait to feast on it Easter morning, with biscuits and gravy and lots of scrambled eggs! So hear ya go from our family to you and yours some favorite French toast recipes I gathered over the years:

French Toast Sticks

If you've ever had French toast at Bob's Big Boy you may be curious as to how it's made. Take slices of Texas toast and and cut them into one inch pieces. Dip into a dozen or so beaten eggs. That's it, no milk or anything else, all eggs. Deep fat fry in a fryer until a deep golden brown. Serve dusted lightly with powdered sugar.

Cinnamon Buns French Toast

Slice a large cinnamon roll into three cross sections and dip into a batter of three whisked eggs then grill in a skillet for 3 to four minutes on each side until golden brown. This recipe comes from the kitchens at Coco's Bakery Restaurant where my husband works.

Fluffy French Toast

I like to substitute sourdough bread for this recipe sometimes because the tangy flavor is a nice contrast with any sweet toppings I might use. My favorite is a honey spread a lot like the one Mr Loo made for me when I was little girl. Beat flour, sugar, salt, milk and eggs with hand beater until smooth. Soak bread in egg mixture until saturated.

Heat butter in skillet until melted. Cook bread until nicely browned about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Note: To make a honey spread for French toast, pancakes or waffles, beat ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup honey in a bowl with a fork. Sprinkle in a little nutmeg.

Oven French Toast

Heat oven to 500º. Butter cookie sheet generously. Beat eggs, milk, sugar and salt with a fork. Heat cookie sheet in the oven for one minute; remove from oven. Dip bread into egg mixture; arrange on hot cookie sheet. Pour any remaining egg mixture over bread. Bake until bottoms are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn bread; bake until golden brown,about 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Helpful hint:What I like about this recipe is that it can be done ahead the night before. After dipping and arranging the bread in an oblong baking dish ,13 ½ x9x2 is a good size. The sides of the bread will overlap a little. Drizzle any remaining eggs mixture over the bread then cover and refrigerate, both no longer than 24 hours. Bake on the pre heated cookie sheet as directed. Use a pancake spatula to flip. It keeps the saturated bread from tearing.

Thank you for the sensational gift Peace Frog!

Sources

Strat's Place - Daniel Rogov - French toast:
www.stratsplace.com/rogov/french_toast.html

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