'Twas the night before a road trip to visit my dad in Chicago, and all through the house, we were trying to think of something to make for dinner that wouldn't leave enough leftovers to feed a mouse. I have a bit of an issue with leftovers - I make a lot of food. Enough to serve at least for lunch, if not for several days worth of dinner. Kristin suggested breakfast - specifically, French Toast. Yum. I love French Toast, but hers goes above and beyond normal French Toast. The only hangup - we were almost out of syrup. I figured I'd get creative in an attempt to contribute, so I made up a Blueberry syrup recipe on the spot. It turned out pretty tasty.
I took care of the Syrup, and made some sausage for the side. French Toast Master Kristin made the Toast itself, and oh, it was good.
The syrup was pretty simple, ingredient-wise. Blueberries, sugar, and vanilla are the obvious necessities. As for the liquid, I used a mix of juices we had on-hand. We had a really tasty blueberry-raspberry-blackberry juice mix and some OJ in the fridge, so I went for it. The OJ alone probably would have worked fine. Cranberry juice would have worked pretty well in place of the Blueberry mix, too.
Nothing fancy here. Just dump everything into a saucepan. Start off easy on the sugar and add to taste as you move through the process.
Bring the mixture in your saucepan to a simmer. It will get quite frothy for a while. No idea what the chemistry behind this reaction is. In any case, watch for a boil-over. You don't really want this very sugary mixture hitting the burner.
When the froth settles down, it's about ready. You have one of two options, here. For more of a sauce, leave it alone and just spoon the goodness over your chosen target. If you're looking for more of a syrup, blend it up, strain, and return it to the saucepan to thicken with a touch of cornstarch if you like.
I opted for the sauce this time around - the whole blueberries still in the mixture offered a great blast of sweet-tart flavor and some nice texture.
The French Toast
The French Toast portion of the meal was 100% the work of the Breakfast Dynamo seen above.
The ingredients: good, thick bread, preferably a bit stale, milk, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
Eggs come first. Beat them into submission.
Add the milk and beat again until everything is nice and smooth.
Now add everything else: brown sugar (and plenty of it!), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
It won't be smooth. It won't be pretty. It will be delicious.
Submerge each slice of bread completely and let soak briefly to maximize deliciousness. The softer the bread, the shorter a period it needs to soak. For our pillowy french bread, it just took a few seconds. For something denser and/or more stale, give it some time.
Now into the pan! Low and slow is the name of the game. Kristin always grumbles about how slowly she has to cook French Toast to make it really good, but it's so worth it in the end. You want to get it cooked through, not just seared on the outside and untouched in the middle.
After a good several minutes per side, your toast should look about like this.
It's not a bad idea to distract yourself from the difficulty of waiting for all of the toast to be done by cooking up some breakfast sausage. Sausage which, as it happens, is also tasty when it inevitably meets the blueberry sauce.
And soon, the work is done. Constructing a giant French Toast tower is optional, but highly recommended.
Serve everything while still warm, spooning a generous portion of blueberry sauce over the french toast.
Recipe: Kristin's French Toast and Blueberry Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10-20 minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 6-8
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 4-8 minutes until foam subsides.
Optional: Puree until smooth and strain. Add 1/2 tbsp Corn Starch and simmer an additional 3-4 minutes to thicken.
Serve warm over French Toast.
Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat well. Add milk and beat again to mix.
Add brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Mixture will not be smooth.
Immerse bread slices in egg mixture until well-soaked.
Cook slices at medium-low heat in a large skillet until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side.
Serve immediately with blueberry sauce and sausage or bacon.