Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pain Perdu

Have I got a fun blog entry for you today!

First things first- lets take a look at some of the fun flowers blooming in my front yard:

I have a few pretty pansies as well, but they were a bit camera shy...

And, the pot with garlic and basil isn't much to look at right now, it's just three green stalks surrounded by a sea of tiny baby basil plants. When there is more to see I will try to get a picture of them for you too.

Moving on! Look at this fabulous apron my Grandma Spranger made:

I love love love it! It wraps all the way around my body and then the string has a little opening that it gets threaded through so I can tie it in the front. And it's cut a bit higher than most aprons, perfect for this messy cook (I have a tendency to drip on myself when taste testing things).

Here's the best part of this- my Gram made one for my mom and this one as a test run of a new pattern. She sent along a note that told my mom to give it to a friend. My mom chose to give it to me. (Insert sweet squishy comment here) So thank you Gram for my new favorite apron, and thank you Mom for choosing me as your friend :)

Finally, tonight's supper- pain perdu. YUM.

Basically we've got glorified french toast with fresh berry syrup. Oh my goodness. It was phenomenal. We had some sausage to balance the sweet with a bit of savory. Since the windows were open, a few of our neighbors who were outside asked what I was making. When I told them, they informed me it always smells so good when I am cooking. It's always nice to hear your cooking smells enticing :)

I suspect that the syrup would be amazing over vanilla ice cream. (And I mean real vanilla ice cream, the kind with little black flecks of vanilla bean in it.) Hmmm...

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Pain Perdu
Serves 8
270 calories per serving

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
16 (1-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette
1/4 cup butter, divided*
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
2 cups fresh raspberries**
1 cup fresh blackberries**
1 cup fresh blueberries**
1/2 cup fresh strawberry halves**
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in a large shallow dish. Pour milk mixture over bread, and let stand until milk is absorbed (about 2 minutes).

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Arrange 8 bread slices in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is golden brown. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 8 bread slices.

Combine 2 cups water, wine, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat. Add fruit to pan, stirring well to coat. Serve sauce with bread slices. Sprinkle each serving with powdered sugar.

* I omitted the butter because I made my french toast my non-stick griddle.
** 4 1/2 cups mixed frozen berries would work equally well here in place of fresh.

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