As many of you probably know already from previous posts, my husband and I don’t eat breakfast very often. I can barely think about eating for at least a couple of hours after I get up, and I’ve always been like that. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I just can’t get into it early in the morning. However, on weekends, when there’s a bit more time to ease into the day, I do enjoy sitting down for a morning meal.
On a recent trip to New York City, Kevin and I visited Eli Zabar’s and picked up a loaf of their fantastic challah bread. After reserving a few slices to snack on plain, I got a hankering for french toast. We had a bag of granola in the cupboard from The Granola Factory, so I decided to whip up some crunchy french toast for us as a treat last weekend. The granola makes a delicious crust on the bread, and, instead of maple syrup, we topped ours with honey vanilla yogurt.
Crunchy Granola French Toast
- 8 1″ thick slices challah bread, or other dense bread
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. milk
- splash vanilla extract
- cinnamon, to taste
- 1.5 c. granola
- 2 T. butter
- yogurt for topping
- Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.
- Crush granola into small pieces and spread evenly on plate.
Set up a french toast assembly line
- Submerge bread into egg mixture, then press both sides of each slice into granola.
- Melt butter on griddle or in large skillet.
- Place coated bread slices in skillet and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
French Toast in Skillet
- Serve topped with yogurt.
This would be great topped with fresh fruit, too!
In the spirit of this day we have established to celebrate love and warm fuzzy feelings, I figured I would jump on the wagon and post an appropriately indulgent breakfast recipe. Kevin and I don’t buy gifts or spend lavishly to show our affection for each other, but we do share some good food (and, I did make him a super sappy video slideshow late last night!). The chocolate cherry sourdough bread adds a little extra level of aphrodisiac to this standard breakfast fare that makes it perfect for a romantic morning (with a mimosa, perhaps? or some Bailey’s in your coffee?).
This bread is from Apple Ridge Farm. For months, I’ve arrived at their farmer’s market stand just after they sold out of the chocolate-cherry sourdough they occasionally bake. I kept hearing about how great these loaves were and seeing chatter about it on Facebook, but my less-than-punctual self was always just a few minutes late to market. So, I was thrilled when they decided to bake one last batch of this unusual flavor for the season. I picked up a loaf and started munching on it before I even left the parking lot (I think bread-loaf munching is a trait I inherited from my father). It was delicious! Not too sweet, chewy, tangy and crusty. All I could think of was how great it would be as French toast. So, even though I am not a huge breakfast maker, I mixed up an eggy custard and transformed some of this loaf into a yummy morning treat.
French toast is one of the easiest breakfast sweets to make. I normally add 1/2 tsp of vanilla, but I didn’t want to mask the dark chocolate and dried cherries in the bread, so I left it out of this recipe. It’s a pretty standard recipe, so use whatever bread you’d like, but if you can get your hands on chocolate-cherry, run, do not walk, to the nearest loaf and buy it to make this meal!
Chocolate-Cherry Sourdough French Toast
- Mix eggs and milk in medium bowl.
- Microwave honey for about 10-20 seconds, or until runny, and whisk into egg mixture.
- Add cinnamon and whisk well.
Cinnamon Custard (if you have extra left over, it tastes good scrambled up in a pan!)
- Melt butter on griddle or skillet.
- Dip bread in egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides.
- Cook bread on butter in skillet for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Serve with additional butter or syrup, if desired.
Chocolate Cherry Sourdough French Toast
Last weekend, we were taking a break from our usual Jumbars breakfasts to let them deal with the restaurant week crowds, and my husband asked for sausage gravy and biscuits (a favorite of his from when he lived in NC). Unfortunately, breakfast sausage is not a staple in our home (we really only eat breakfast on Sundays), so I told him he was out of luck. Well, dedicated as Kevin is when he knows what he wants, he found this recipe and asked me to make it. Of course, I can’t just follow a recipe, so I added some mushrooms and garlic and some different herbs, and the result was amazing! The mushrooms gave the sausage a nice meaty texture, and the seasonings totally allowed it to taste like sausage. I don’t know that I’ll ever make sausage gravy using sausage again!
Sausage-less Gravy for Biscuits
- 2 T. butter
- 2 T. flour
- 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
- 4 mushrooms (Pure Sprouts)
- 1/2 T. dried sage (my garden)
- 1/2 T. dried rosemary (my garden)
- 1/2 T. dried thyme (my garden)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1.5 c. milk (Keepsake Farm)
- 2 biscuits, english muffins or toast
- Dice mushrooms and mince garlic.
- Melt butter in deep skillet or saucepan.
- Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Cook and stir until mushrooms are slightly browned.
- Add sage, rosemary and thyme, plus salt & pepper, cooking for a minute until just fragrant.
- Sprinkle flour over butter and mushroom mixture and whisk until it reaches a paste-like consistency.
- Add milk all at once and whisk constantly until mixture is thickened and creamy.
- Serve over split biscuits, english muffins or toast
Sausage-less Gravy & Biscuits
Today marks the first day of the Buy Fresh, Buy Local-Greater Lehigh Valley Buy Local Challenge, in which we have pledged to “eat more locally-grown foods during the month of September, 2011.” We’ve already switched to 80-90% local, this challenge will renew our commitment and push us towards 100% local, with the exception of the 25th through 30th when we will travel to Maine on vacation (during those days, we’ll be enjoying the local products of the towns we stop in along the way).
To kick off this month’s challenge, here’s a way to enjoy the late summer harvest of juicy pears! I bought a quart of pears from Pappy’s Orchard and wanted to use them for something different. I had recently watched an episode of Next Food Network Star where the contestants prepared poached pears, but poaching is something I’ve never tried and don’t really care to. I was feeling kind of lazy, so pie crust was not an option. So, I rummaged through the kitchen and gathered up some granola and jam to turn into something easy and delicious. What I ended up with is not only pretty healthy but also seriously heavenly. Serve these granola-coated, pie-tasting pears warm with ice cream for a special dessert and save leftovers (if there are any) to serve with yogurt in the morning!
Incredibly simple ingredients for a delightful dessert.
• 4-6 pears (depending on size)
• 1/4 c. strawberry or raspberry jam (I used homemade pectin-free strawberry)
• 1 c. granola (from Jumbars)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Pulse granola in food processor until fine crumbs, then place in shallow bowl or plate.
- Peel and core pears.
- Put jam in bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, adding enough water to make into thick sauce (a few tablespoons maximum).
- Dip bottom 2/3 of pear in melted jam.
Pear assembly line.
- Roll the jam covered portion of pear into granola crumbs and place in baking dish.
Rolling in granola crumbs.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until pears are soft.
- Serve warm topped with ice cream (Keepsake Farm‘s is great!) or yogurt (right now, ours is from Klein Farms).
* Bonus Tip: If you have any extra jam-sauce, don’t throw it away! Mix it with some plain yogurt for a quick flavor and sweetness boost to your breakfast. *