This post covers a lot of things, all of which revolve around what I ate for lunch today.
First, why I love weekdays off:
- I get to take Doc (the dog) for walks up and around Potrero hill and see how happy he is to trot down the sidewalk beside me.
- Relaxed oatmeal breakfasts with coffee and the Chronicle on my Kindle
- Multitasking laundry with baking, blog-reading, house cleaning and daydreaming.
- It doesn’t matter when I forget to brush my teeth until half way through the day.
- I can eat French toast for lunch.
That last one is the kicker. There are several things that I can only make for lunch when I’m at home. Smoothies have been my specialty of late but there was a time when I made French toast for lunch all the time. Why did I ever stop? True, French toast is something normal people eat for breakfast on weekends and may seem too fancy, complicated, or rich for an every-day lunch. My counterargument goes something like this: bread+egg+milk=French toast.
I know, I know. I’m glossing over all kinds of key components like (for some) sugar, butter and rivers of syrup. There is a time and place for that breakfast. For me, a simpler version is a perfect vehicle for fresh fruit at lunch time.
This is where the strawberries come in. I’m kind of a strawberry snob. I don’t think I could have turned out any other way after growing up in Southern California where dreamily fresh, delicious strawberries grew right down the road. I remember early summer as a time for gorging on half flats of strawberries from roadside stands. My mom knew the best places to buy them. We would pick some up on the way home from somewhere, rush to the kitchen and plunge berries into cold water before devouring as many as it took to decide whether or not they were the best strawberries we’d ever tasted. Sometimes they weren’t that great. Often enough, they were spectacularly sweet and luscious: not too soft but never crunchy and always tasting like summer.
I don’t know how we ate as many berries as we did. I know they went on cereal, ice cream, waffles, and salads. I think my brother and I mostly ate them whole and unaccompanied off of moist paper towels by the sink. My dad dipped strawberries in sour cream and brown sugar for dessert.
Yesterday I brought home this week’s CSA box and immediately dug the little container of strawberries out from underneath the greens. I ran cold water over one, bit into it and closed my eyes. I must have done the same with two or three more. Yum. This is what a strawberry is supposed to taste like.
This morning I had strawberries on my oatmeal. They melted into the hot bowl while I read the paper and drank my coffee – my day-off morning ritual. Afterwards, while walking Doc up and around the hill, I thought of French toast and knew I had to have it for lunch. There was goat cheese in the fridge…and strawberries.
- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- Splash of vanilla extract
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 4 medium-sized strawberries, more or less
- 1-2 oz. fresh chevre
- Beat the egg and milk in a bowl.
- Add the nutmeg and vanilla, blending completely
- Pour the egg mixture into a flat pan or dish.
- Place both slices of bread in the dish, allowing one side of each slice absorb the liquid.
- Carefully flip bread slices after a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spread a little oil or butter in the skillet.
- When the bread has absorbed most or all of the egg mixture, place it on the skillet and cook until browned to your liking, then flip and cook the other side. (I like to cover my toast while the first side is cooking. This helps the middle cook more fully.)
- While the toast cooks, wash your strawberries in cool water (Simply placing them in a bowl full of water is the gentlest way). Cut out the green tops and slice the berries.
- When the toast is done, place one slice on a plate, cover with sliced strawberries and a couple dabs of chevre. Layer the second slice of bread on top of the first (trust me, this helps melt the cheese and warm up the berries). Top this slice with the rest of the berries and a few more smears of chevre.
- Sit down with your meal and relax.