With warm weather finally coming for a visit, sweet boy and I have really been craving lighter meals. We’ve put the hearty winter stews and heavier comfort foods to the side in favor of more fruits, fresh veggies, and things like this ^ for breakfast 🙂 French toast makes my heart smile.
Funny story. (Here she goes again.)
Over the years of The Front Porch Gourmet, I’ve told you countless stories about mama being such a wonderful cook. She truly was. She could fry a chicken better than anyone I knew, bake a flawless chocolate pound cake, and her chicken salad was out of this world. What I may not have told you was how fantastic she was at breakfast.
When my BFF Libby and I would wake up on Saturday mornings to get ready for dance class, she would always “fix” us breakfast. It was usually scrambled eggs, grits and toast with grape jelly. Sometimes apple jelly if she was feeling really bold. It doesn’t sound fancy, and it wasn’t. But, there was something about the way she made her eggs and grits that to this day, I still cannot quite duplicate.
Well, one morning, mama decided to get adventurous. When she called me for breakfast, I excitedly jumped up from the Smurfs and ran to the kitchen. There on the plate sat a lonely slice of what looked to be smooshed, greasy toast. I looked at it. I looked at her. She looked at me. We looked at the object on the plate. Hmm.
“I tried something new. It’s called French Toast. They put a lot of butter on the bread and fry it in a pan,” she said. By “they” I assumed she meant French people, and keep in mind, her version included no eggs, no vanilla, no toppings, no nothing…except butter, bread and cast iron.
Again, hmm. I still was completely unsure of this, but she seemed so proud of her new find for breakfast, I wasn’t going to disappoint her. Still very hesitant, I went to grab my plate and give it a shot. Before I could take the first bite, mama yelled, “WAIT!!! Here! …they eat this with syrup!” Now I am completely mortified. Somehow we had achieved paper thin, fried, smooshed, greasy bread now swimming in maple syrup. Sweet Baby Jesus, someone please toss me a pancake.
I managed to get it all down, but it clearly wasn’t one of my all time favorites. Bless her heart, I think something was lost somewhere in translation of that “recipe”. To her credit, it’s not easy to recreate something you’ve never had nor ever seen before just by some words on paper. The great thing about mama though is she was never afraid to try.
Mama “fixed” this French toast several times over the years and it wasn’t until I delved into cooking on my own that I learned French Toast was much more than buttered bread fried in a pan. Imagine my surprise the first time I saw real French Toast. So THAT’s what she was trying to make!
I guess you could say, I “fixed” it. …and just wait until I tell you about her “Ho-Cake” 😉
Vanilla French Toast with Blueberry Pomegranate Salsa
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbsp. butter, more if needed
- 6 thick slices of Brioche, Challah or Texas Toast, a little stale is preferred
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. good vanilla
- zest from one orange
- juice from one orange
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
For the salsa:
- Seeds from one Pomegranate
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 pear, diced
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, I used orange vanilla flavored balsamic
- 1/4 cup honey
In a large mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together except the bread and salsa ingredients. Place in a shallow bowl or pan, such as a pie dish. Set aside.
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Dip bread slices into the egg mixture. Fry on each side until golden brown.
In a separate bowl whisk honey and balsamic vinegar. Add fruit and toss to coat. Serve with French Toast and syrup.
Y’all, life is just too short to eat ugly food.