An Unresolution: French Toast 'B'-Free BLT

When it comes to the world of food, New Year’s day is no time to change your ways. Because after a night of…er, over-indulging, the last thing your body wants come mid-day — when we all rolled out of bed — is the resolved bowl of bran.

Upload from January 02, 2012
No. What your poor body is craving is something equally indulgent, heavy in everything that, well, makes you heavy. And while your best bet may have been to lay off the gimlets and sidecars sooner, it’s too late for prevention now. Now, it’s all about remediation.

Upload from January 02, 2012So today, I’m passing along not the usual happy, wholesome fare. Instead, it’s a post-indulgence indulgence: white bread, cream, eggs and cheese; a super-savoury french toast ‘B’-free BLT; a hangover breakfast.

Or at least that’s what I had intended it to be. But upon putting the recipe together, I realized that perhaps it asks too much of someone who’s hungover: soaking, browning, baking, and more baking — it’s a bit involved. 

Upload from January 02, 2012That involvement is for good reason though, as each step adds considerably to the end result: the soaking makes for even custardy-ness, the browning provides a crisp exterior, the baking prevents the much-dreaded french-toast-sogginess, and the additional baking makes for melty cheese. Delicious. Add some fresh, sliced tomatoes and arugula dressed with garlic vinaigrette, and you have unadulterated happiness. 

Upload from January 02, 2012

So resolve instead to be a better friend, and make it for the party-goers who were — surprise! — still on your couch in the morning. Come next year — which is probably the soonest you should consume this for the second time, given the quantity of heavy cream involved — they can make it for you in return. 

Happy New Year, everyone!
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Savoury French Toast 
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 3-4
Note: The recipe below is a half-version of the original, which was designed to serve 6. Following the recipe, I made three pieces of toast, but found that a single slice was more than enough for breakfast. Next time, I’d make four pieces of toast using the same recipe below and a bread that, when sliced 1-inch thick, yields pieces slightly smaller than the ones you see in the photos. 

Ingredients
1 cup whipping cream (half-and-half should work just fine too)
3 medium eggs
Salt and pepper
4 slices tasty bread, cut 1-inch thick*
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup grated mild, white cheese (Jarlsberg, Gruyere, Ementhal or something similar)
2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 packed cups arugula
Roasted-garlic vinaigrette (below), or another savoury vinaigrette

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, eggs and a pinch of both salt and pepper until smooth. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish and place slices of bread in dish. Allow bread to soak for 15 minutes, then turn over and allow to soak for another 15, spooning any extra egg mixture over the bread. 
 
Upload from January 02, 20122. Heat canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, working in batches, fry bread on each side until golden. Place browned pieces of bread on a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes, until pieces are puffed.** Remove bread from oven, sprinkle each piece evenly with grated cheese, and return to the oven for 3-4 minutes to let the cheese melt. While cheese is melting, toss arugula with 4 tbsp of the roasted-garlic vinaigrette. Once the cheese has melted, remove the french toast from the oven, topping each piece with sliced tomatoes and dressed arugula before serving. 

Upload from January 02, 2012*The original recipe recommends using challah, a sort-of-sweet bread made with eggs. I couldn’t find challah, so I used sourdough as a tasty alternative. Go for a bread with medium firmness —  not so light that it’ll fall apart under the weight of the egg mixture, and not so dense that it’ll leave you ridiculously full. 
**This step helps to thoroughly cook the egg mixture that’s soaked into your bread, ensuring that your french toast is anything but soggy. 
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Roasted-Garlic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup  
A note on timing: Pop the garlic in the oven just before you start soaking the bread, and the dressing should be finished just before it comes time to fry the french toast. Once you’ve pulled the garlic out of the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and it’ll be good to go when it comes time to bake your browned french toast. 

Ingredients 
1-2 whole heads of garlic, skins left on*
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp + 1 tsp mild vinegar (white wine, sherry, or apple cider)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil  
Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully slice off the tops of 1-2 heads of garlic, cutting off just enough to reveal the tops of the cloves inside. Drizzle each head with a generous glug of olive oil, then wrap heads in two sheets of tinfoil and bake, cut-side up, for 20-25 minutes or until garlic is squishy (for a sweeter, more roasty dressing, roast the garlic for an extra 15-20 minutes). Open tinfoil packet and let garlic cool slightly.

Upload from January 02, 20122. Once slightly cooled, squish the garlic cloves out of the skins and into the bowl of a blender or food processor, along with the vinegar and mustard.** Blend everything together until smooth. With the machine running, slowly pour the 1/2 cup of olive oil into the garlic mixture until the mixture is dressing is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Store extra dressing in an airtight container in the fridge, allowing to warm up to room temperature before using.  

Upload from January 02, 2012*As someone who likes a lot of garlic, I was happy using two heads of garlic. If you’re not totally in love with the stuff though, use just one. 
**If you don’t have a food processor or blender, not to worry — simply smush the roasted garlic into a paste using whatever you’ve got on hand, then combine everything in a bowl or lidded jam jar, and whisk or shake with vigor!

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