This weekend Stu and I decided to really challenge ourselves, and our budgets, to lay low. With a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina coming up, we decided to save our spending until we are on vacation.

Friday night we spent the night in with a mix-pack case of Yards brews and Chinese take-out including Kung Pao Chicken, Vegetable Lo Mein, and Garlic Pork Stir Fry. Sure we could have made most of it ourselves, but 20 bucks for two people and a week’s worth of leftovers- you just can’t beat that.

Saturday morning we resisted the urge to head out to brunch at one of the many fine establishments in my neighborhood that often lure us in with $3.00 mimosa’s and hungry-man specials that can cure even the worst of hangovers. Instead I opted to make French Toast right in my own kitchen.

I am normally really terrible at French Toast and had all but given up on trying to make it until catching an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats last week on The Food Network. Mr. Brown dedicated an entire show to the art of French toast, and after that, I knew I had to give it another shot.

My roommate, Lisa, had baked from scratch, her own cinnamon swirl bread and it was the perfect ingredient for a nice thick slice of toast dipped in egg. I looked up the recipe on Food Network online and found it here.

Alton Brown’s French Toast

1 cup half and half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 1/2 inch slices of day old or stale country loaf, brioche, or challah bread
4 tablespoons butter

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

I let the 4 slices of bread that I used sit out overnight on a drying rack. I followed the recipe exactly and added a little bit of cinnamon to the custard mixture. It was by far the best French toast I have ever made and if I say so myself, it was as good, if not better, than restaurant/diner quality. Now that I know the inside tips about what kind of bread to use, letting it sit out, and how long to soak it for, I might change a few things. Probably will not use half and half again, but will switch to whole milk instead. Also might use 2 eggs instead of 3, and not as much butter but just cooking spray instead for a healthier alternative. However, no matter how much of a health-nut you may be, I highly recommend trying this recipe as is, at least once. If not just to treat yourself to a wonderful breakfast, but also to impress sleepover guests as it is really easy to make, and you can make the batter ahead of time.

Try it, really, and enjoy!

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