It may seem a small thing, but having a relaxed, homemade breakfast can make an entire day worthwhile. Breakfast may, in fact, be my favorite meal of the whole day. So this weekend, instead of sticking with the usual bowl of banana-cinnamon oatmeal, I decided to kick things up a notch. Thus my leisure breakfast of choice: French Toast.
It’s odd, though. As much as I love breakfast, I can’t think of the last time I made an anything-but-ordinary meal when it’s just me. It seems second nature to want to whip up pancakes, fancy eggs on toast, poached salmon and goat cheese, etc. with Mr. Baker or friends, but for some reason it’s never occurred to me to put the same time, effort and quality of foods into a breakfast for one. And now that I’m living on my own, and quite full-up with opportunities for breakfast with just me and my lonesome, it’s the perfect time to foster a little self-love and treat myself to a breakfast I’d be proud of sharing with others. I encourage everyone to care for the content and appearance of their meals as much as you would when entertaining. If you’d go to all that trouble for someone else, then certainly you yourself deserve it :)
Having said all that, I have to admit now that it’s really just a poor rationalization for my becoming a food-obsessed recluse. For this reason, and because I have no life, and am a recipe-hoarder, I spent my entire Friday night browsing my favorite food blogs for good French Toast ideas. Everyone had their own twists and styles–true to French taste, Chocolate & Zucchini offered a genuine pain perdu recipe using old Brioche; Smitten Kitchen advocated a sinful alcohol-infused baked creation–but I wanted something basic, not indecently bad for you, and using ingredients readily available in my town, where things like Brioche are altogether impossible to find. So I condensed the essentials from each recipe, curtailing the extravagances, and came up with an experimental formula.
I even allowed myself to splurge and use some of the butter I painstakingly scoured the city’s supermarkets for to grease the pan. And while I couldn’t stop my brain from calculating the amount of Yen I was melting away (literally), what is decadence without some butter? And happily, the results of my abridged French Toast recipe turned out wonderfully! I had to improvise a little by making do with a thinned honey glaze for syrup, but sweet it sweet and the vanilla, cinnamon, and buttery goodness perfectly complemented the toast’s homey pan-fried crispness. That’s what I love so much about baking, how the particular colors of cinnamon-gold and honey-yellow and chocolate-brown seem to enhance the sensual and physical warmth of a just-out-of-the-oven confection. This is also why I am completely convinced that baking in the winter is a necessary, justifiable livelihood.
Although my breakfast was a rather rustic, no-frills affair, I think French Toast is wonderfully versatile and picturesque as a main course or sweet side dish for brunch. Or it could be dinner. Or perhaps a not-so-innocent snack. Without using too much sugar or butter, I’d say it’s a reasonable menu for anytime of the day :)
And without further ado, here it is! A basic but scrumptious French Toast recipe for one:
2 slices old bread
1 tsp sugar
2-3 drops Vanilla
Dash of Cinnamon
1 TB butter
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon.
Dip bread slices in mixture, and let soak for 3-4 minutes.
While bread is soaking, heat half the butter in a pan over medium heat. Place a bread slice in the pan when the butter is bubbly and frothy, and cook until first side is golden, 2-3 minutes. Flip, cook other side, and set aside on a warm place. Repeat with second bread slice.
Drizzle with honey, syrup, powdered sugar, jam, or anything else that strikes your palate’s fancy, and serve immediately.