The idea of starting a blog has been simmering on the back-burner of my mind for longer than I care to admit. Just a place to keep track of my various kitchen experiments and the flavors that linger in my memory after the meal is over. Every time I fall in love with an ingredient all over again, the post is half-written in my head. But then the moment comes and goes and life moves on. Let’s face it, the first post is intimidating.
But you have to start somewhere, so why not start with breakfast? My mother always told me that breakfast was an important way to start the day, and there was a breakfast a few weeks ago that I can’t stop thinking about. The inspiration was a few nectarines from the farmer’s market–fragrant and gorgeous, but fading fast and screaming to be used immediately. What is sadder than throwing away fruit that used to be perfect, but is now past its prime? So, height-of-summer fruit on a sunny morning, combined with a killer view overlooking the ocean from our weekend rental house, and the opportunity to cook for three of the people I love most in this world, well, that pretty much sums it up.
French Toast with Warm Cherry & Nectarine Sauce
3 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into bit-sized chunks
1 1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved
2 Tbs butter for sauce, plus a generous pat or two for pan-frying french toast
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs fruit jam (I used a lovely peach and lavender jam that I found at the farmer’s market)
8 thick slices of crusty bread (I like to use a country white or light wheat, slightly stale)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
Heat 2 tbs butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add 1/2 of the fruit and cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add 1/4 cup sugar and ginger, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two, until things start to get nice and gooey. Add water and jam and stir well. Bring to low boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes until some water has evaporated and you’ve got a nice syrupy sauce. Add remaining fruit, and cook for another minute to heat through. Total cooking time for sauce should be about 15-20 min. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar in a large, shallow baking dish. Bathe first 4 slices of bread in egg mixture, turning so they soak for a minute or two on each side. Heat a generous pat of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until melted and frothy. Add your egg-logged bread to pan with a satisfying sizzle and cook for a about 2 minutes, until golden brown on bottom, then flip for another two minutes on the other side. Remove from skillet and keep warm in oven. While your first batch is in the pan, soak the remaining slices in egg mixture, and then repeat pan-frying.
To serve, place two slices of french toast on each plate and douse with a few generous spoonfuls of warm fruit sauce. If you feel like getting fancy–and can stand to wait an extra minute before digging in–sprinkle with a little powdered sugar to make it look pretty, and maybe even add a sprig of mint.