I’ve been in a bit of food rut for a few weeks. I suppose I could blame the weather or the workload or the PMS. All contributors, that’s for sure, but the truth is that I’ve just had no ambition in the kitchen. I am, instead, longing for deep and dreamy sleep, all through the night. I can’t get enough. It’s a one-sided love affair and I’m on the wrong side.
So, feeling uninspired in cooking, I’ve resorted to boring standbys. Cereal before work. A turkey sandwich and fruit for lunch. Pasta or fish or steak and rice for dinner. Day in, day out.
But this stuck-in-a-rut feeling is passing. I can tell because I woke up this morning in the mood for French toast. But not your average bread-dipped-in-egg combination slathered with maple syrup. No, I had to have something sweet and decadent and fancy. How about stuffed French toast, my sleepy mind wondered. Except I’ve never made it before, I replied. But that’s what the interweb is for, so I dug around and found a few recipes online that seemed, dare I say it, simple enough and oh-so-sumptuous on-screen. I went for it.
Let’s just get this out of the way – this recipe is SO simple. It looks sort of involved, I know, but it’s not and that’s a big deal coming from me, who tends to rush heedlessly through anything that appears even mildly complicated just to get it done. No, no, this recipe is truly quick and easy, even with extra steps that call for slicing bread and dicing strawberries and mashing cream cheese with jam. Of course, one reason I think it’s so simple is because I made neither the bread nor the jam. I had both on hand in the pantry. Is that cheating? Not today!
Now, if you can believe it, it’s almost strawberry season here in New York and I am, not surprisingly, ceaselessly craving strawberries. You know, the ones that taste like actual strawberries. I’m wondering if the unending rain this spring will push back my beloved strawberry season. Is that possible? Probably. In the meantime, I couldn’t help myself, so I scooped up two pounds at my local grocer. I’m sure they’re not local. I promise to work on that when it’s actually possible to purchase locally-grown food here in the newfound wetlands.
Anyway, armed with delicious berries calling out to me even if they did travel from some far-away tropical origin, I decided to add a few tablespoons to the cream-cheese stuffing. I saved the remainders for a sweet topping. Just a bit of sugar and they’re delectable. I filled four slices of bread equally and dunked each slice, thoroughly and generously, in the batter. Yes, I used a mixing bowl and no, I don’t recommend it. Find a shallow baking pan. It’s easier than pushing the bread around the bowl to soak up enough batter.
I chose to fry the bread on a stove-top griddle pan. A few minutes on each side, enough to brown the bread and warm the cream-cheese stuffing, should do it. Make sure the resulting toast is, well, toasty but not burnt. These are perfect alone or adorned. Today, creeping slooooowly out of my food funk, I wanted this dish to look pretty. So I adorned and adorned some more, sprinkling a bit of confectioners sugar on top and dishing out the last of the oh-so-summertime-good diced strawberries. Yes, I do think I have found a bit of inspiration.
Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries
(adapted from www.tastykitchen.com)