DEBORAH CROMBIE: Just to make certain no one has post-Valentine's Day blues, here's a little pick me up for your Sunday morning. I think I promised recently to share my French toast recipe, and this seemed like the perfect time. And no thinking about either of the evil "C" words--calories or carbs--for another day!
(A small disclaimer--the photo is not mine. My French toast never looks quite this pretty, but this has given me ideas!!)
I first ran across this recipe--or something similar, since the original clipping has long since disappeared--in a copy of Gourmet Magazine. It must have been in the 80s or early 90s, when Laurie Colwin was still with us and writing her regular column. I never missed an issue in those days.
So, with a couple of decades of slapdash adjusting, I think we can call this:
DEB'S FRENCH TOAST
About 5 slices of good grainy bread, cut in half. The bread can be a little stale. It will hold up better in the batter, and it's a great way to use up a good loaf.
Lay the half slices out evenly in a dish. I use a Pyrex 9 x 13 baking dish.
In another bowl (I use a big jug) beat five eggs with a fork until foamy.
Add a cup of milk, half a cup of cream or half-and-half (if you must, but it's better with cream, and remember, we are not COUNTING) and half a cup of fresh orange juice.
Then, put in a big splash--at least a couple of tablespoons, of really good orange liqueur. You can use Gran Marnier. I prefer one called Creole Shrubb, which is a little less sweet and has a bit of spiciness to it.
Mix the ingredients well and pour over the bread slices. Let sit for a few minutes so that the bread can soak up the batter, and make sure all the slices are well covered.
Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of good unsalted butter in a large non-stick skillet. When the oil/butter mixture is foaming, add as many bread slices as the skillet will hold. Brown on one side, turn, and brown the other. Have a warmed plate ready for the first batch as you will need to do a second, adding a little more oil and butter as needed.
Add the second batch of golden toast to the warmed plate. Turn down the heat under the skillet and toss in a couple of handfuls of fresh, washed blueberries (or more.) Cook gently, stirring, until the blueberries begin to break down and release their juice. Pour the hot blueberries over the toast. Serve with warmed real maple syrup.
Crisp bacon makes this an absolutely scrumptious feast.
And after this you will undoubtedly need to take a nap...
This is my idea of the perfect Sunday brunch, served with a big pot of tea and the Sunday paper. REDs and readers, what's yours??