Cooking with Angstrom/ Savory French Toast

So, Angstrom has a new favorite word: “Spice.”

He says it when he gets home from daycare and sees the spice rack on the wall by the back door, “Spice!” Sometimes he says it when he gets up in the morning and we’re trying to get him ready to leave the house, “spice, spice!”

We’ve brought it on ourselves, and far from discouraging him, we encourage him to explore flavors. Maybe not on weekday mornings as we’re trying to get ready for work, but in the evenings and on the weekends, we’ll pull out several (3-5, typically) while I’m cooking and give him a chance to smell them and taste them. Often, we’ll follow that up with a chance for Angstrom to help me stir.

Yesterday morning, while Aurora slept in, Angstrom and I made breakfast. He’s obviously not yet to the point where he can crack the eggs or measure the flour, but the kid likes to stir.  You put a whisk in his hands and give him a bowl to use it with, and he’s happy (conversely, take it away from him and he yowls!)  We smelled and tasted cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom.  Ginger tends to be one of his favorites, something he’s apt to gesture that he wants more of.

I have very few points of reference to compare his activities to, but the benefits so far of this approach seem to be that he is typically open to trying new foods.  Even if he’s hesitant at first, he rarely puts up too much of a fight, and in the end has come to enjoy several foods that one doesn’t normally associate with the diet of a man his age (such as the unsweetened cranberries in the thanksgiving leftover-inspired savory french toast he ate for the last couple of evenings), the turnips cooked in apple cider he devoured at three or four meals over the past several days, or the shiitake and crimini mushrooms I enjoy cooking with regularly.

There’s no way to guarantee that the boy’s affinity for food will continue uninterrupted forever, but all signs point to him being an affable kitchen companion for years to come.  In fact, he’s already practicing his knife skills:

I’ve had lots of parents tell me that I shouldn’t get my heart set on having a good eater, that expecting him to like a wide range of foods is just setting myself up for disappointment.  And maybe they’re right, but for now–here’s a quick recipe for savory french toast, Thanksgiving style, that every member of my family enjoys:

Savory French Toast, Thanksgiving Style

Sauce:

  • 1 onion, diced to 1/4 inch
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 8 ounces mixed crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 1-2 Tbl flour
  • Milk as needed (a couple of cups or so)
  • 2 cups diced leftover turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • minced fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • butter or vegetable oil (2-3 Tbl)

Toast:

  • 3 eggs
  • Milk as needed (about 1/4 cup)
  • minced fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Several slices good bread
  • butter

Get a large saute pan hot over medium heat.  Melt the butter or heat the oil.  Add the onion, and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until it has softened and just started to brown at the edges.  Add the garlic and stir to combine.  Stir regularly as the garlic starts to brown a bit (depending on the heat, this will probably be at least another 5 minutes).

Add the mushrooms, stir to combine.  Let them caramelize slowly, turning every couple of minutes.  As they start to brown, add the cranberries, then the flour.  Stir the flour to combine it with the liquid/ oil in the pan, until you can’t see it’s there.  Whisk in milk until you have a sauce consistency, then stir in the diced turkey.

Turn the heat down a little and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the toast.  Add more milk if you need to because the sauce gets too thick, but keep in mind that you can always thin the sauce out but it’s much tougher to thicken it up, so add slowly as needed instead of pouring a ton in at once.

Continue to stir the sauce occasionally, and don’t rush the toast-making too much.  We want the cranberries to cook, and for them to start to burst open as you stir the sauce.

In a pie plate, beat the eggs, then add milk, salt, spices, and herbs.  Soak the bread slices in the egg mixture, then cook in butter over mediumish heat, flipping once (after the first side has browned).

When the toast is ready, add minced herbs into the sauce, then top toast slices with savory thanksgiving-inspired sauce.  Cut the bread into small, finger-friendly pieces for hte smallest of those sharing your table.

2 Responses to “Cooking with Angstrom/ Savory French Toast”

  1. mom Says:

    Hopefully that’s not a French Chef’s knife that he’s using on the Boos block!

    I don’t know whether or not it made a difference with you and your siblings, but you always ate baby food made from the foods we were eating. I wasn’t as adventursome as you are with the spices, but the foods did have some flavor. We lucked out and all three of you were good eaters who were willing to try new foods. Let’s home Angstrom will follow in your footsteps.

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