Tag Archives: strawberry

French toast with strawberries and goat cheese

This post covers a lot of things, all of which revolve around what I ate for lunch today.

First, why I love weekdays off:

  1. 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.
  2. Relaxed oatmeal breakfasts with coffee and the Chronicle on my Kindle
  3. Multitasking laundry with baking, blog-reading, house cleaning and daydreaming.
  4. It doesn’t matter when I forget to brush my teeth until half way through the day.
  5. 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.

French toast with strawberries and goat cheese

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl.
  2. Add the nutmeg and vanilla, blending completely
  3. Pour the egg mixture into a flat pan or dish.
  4. Place both slices of bread in the dish, allowing one side of each slice absorb the liquid.
  5. Carefully flip bread slices after a few minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spread a little oil or butter in the skillet.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Sit down with your meal and relax.
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Filed under Bread, inspiration and musings, other goodies

Banana-Berry Fig Bread

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Food lingo is interesting. I’m trying to learn the language of bread baking, much of which is French and therefore somewhat comprehensible to me since I took many years of French in school. Assigning names to dishes has it own peculiarities, though.

This bread, for example, contains one too many fruits (or maybe one too many syllables worth of fruit names) to include all of them in a nice-sounding title. Strawberry Banana Fig Bread just doesn’t sound right to me. How many ingredients is too many to include in a dish’s name, anyway? I would say 4. I can’t think of any name that lists more than 3 primary ingredients.
Then there’s the arrangement of those fruit names. Whenever strawberries and bananas are involved, strawberry banana forces itself into our brains.

Strawberry Banana Fig is the preferred order
Banana Strawberry Fig sounds wrong
Fig Strawberry Banana sounds very wrong

Chop the straw- off of strawberry and Banana – Berry (or even Berry-Banana) becomes acceptable.

I can’t really explain any of this. I remember just enough linguistics from school to get all dorky about it every once in a while but not enough to really give an informed explanation for what I find so fascinating.

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I promise this bread makes any naming confusion totally worth it. I was giddy with excitement at the one over-ripe banana I managed to hide from myself this week. It hung out with the other bananas on the counter (I really need a fruit bowl) until enough other ingredients presented themselves and the right recipe came along. The California figs I bought at Costco needed to go into something, asap. I’ve been keeping strawberries on hand at all times since returned to California (t’is the season!).

I’m not out to make fat-free baked goods, believe me. Any whole food is fine with me in moderation and healthy fats are definitely a must. That said, there are several ways to make a quick bread, muffin, cake, or cookie moist and delicious without copious amounts of butter or oil. Banana certainly helps, plus it adds sweetness. Applesauce is another good oil substitute. Yogurt is quite possibly my favorite. I always have a tub of some kind of plain yogurt in the fridge. This week I happen to have Trader Joe’s Plain Goat’s Milk Yogurt. YUM! It my sound weird but if you like goat cheese you must try goat’s milk yogurt. The taste is subtle and the yogurt is creamy without being overly rich. The bread I made today doesn’t taste like goat’s milk yogurt but I like knowing it’s in there.

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Banana-Berry Fig Bread

Adapted from The Daily Garnish

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana
1 cup ripe figs, quartered
1/2 cup strawberries, diced

Combine flours, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Peel the banana and mash it in a separate bowl.
Add the figs and mash them as well (they don’t have to be completely liquified – you can leave some fig hunks)
Beat the eggs into the banana-fig mixture
Add the brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir until completely combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring gently until barely mixed.
Fold in the strawberries.
Pour the batter into one large loaf pan or 4 small loaf pans (I used 2 small loaf pans and 2 tiny baking dishes from my grandmother’s kitchen)

Bake at 350 for 45 min. (small loaves) to 1 hour (large loaf) or until lightly browned on top.
Cool on a wire rack, remove from pans, slice, and devour!

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