Breakfast 1/30/22

Challah French Toast with bacon

The Northeast had a blizzard over the weekend, so we were obligated BY TRADITION to have French Toast for breakfast. The tradition, of course, stems from the long-standing habit of New Englanders to run out and stock up on milk, bread, and eggs just prior to a major snowstorm, since we all remember The Blizzard of 1978 like it was yesterday. Even if we didn’t remember it, the local media have no problem reminding us about it every time we get a snowstorm. Blogger friend Adam Gaffin, who runs Universal Hub, even has a French Toast Alert System that he trots out every time there’s a snowstorm, and this weekend’s stormwas an unprecedented 5- SLICE alert.

We tend to use challah or brioche for French toast, if we can get it. Supermarkets around here have wised up and make challah when the weather threatens, some stores even making it in square loaf pans without the braiding, to make better French toast slices. The loaf we were able to get in the pre-storm frenzy was braided. Texas Toast bread will do in a pinch, as well.

My wife used a method she was on a recent America’s Test Kitchen segment where you pour the custard into a sheet pan, dip the slices there, and then bake the whole pan, flipping once, and finishing in the broiler. It worked pretty well. You can see that the final product doesn’t have some of the color variation you usually see on French toast slices, but it did brown under the broiler nicely, and wasn’t too mushy on the inside.

Our town got about 14 inches of snow, which is a decent amount but not a record-breaker. Boston itself got just shy of 24 inches, which was a record. No word on how many loaves of French toast were consumed, but it was probably a wicked lot.

Breakfast 12/31/21

Cinnamon French Toast. scrambled eggs, bacon

Breakfast on New Year’s Eve Day was at a longtime Salem diner stalwart, Dottie & Ray’s. Plenty of places to get a good diner breakfast in this town, which suits us just fine. This place changed hands a year or so ago, so for those of you who remember it as a less-than-stellar experience in the past, you might give it a try now.

It’s not fancy, to be sure. But I think fancy sometimes overpowers what should be a straightforward meal. When we go to breakfast, I am often torn between getting something sweet, like pancakes or French toast, and something protein-heavy like bacon and eggs. And too often if you order one of those “hungry man” type entrees that have both, there is too much on the plate to make much of a dent in. So this was just about the right speed for me – three not-too-thick slices of cinnamon swirl bread, a couple of eggs, and a couple of slices of bacon. I ate it all and had plenty of room for our NYE feast that evening.