Saturday, October 10, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Lost Bread & Berry Compote and Other Lost Things (French Toast)

Monday is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.
Ladies, I fell your pain.
Today I went to the grocery store and we housewives had that “Here we go again…” look.
The woman in the bakery section said she had scheduled her vacation to start next week.
Smart woman.

In the United States it will be Columbus Day.
All you have to do for that is shop the bargains.
Much better.

Autumn can be a bittersweet time.
The leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter.
Here in Canada the geese are leaving.
The big plans we had… all those things we planned to do this year… 
Well, we’re now facing the holidays and all that they involve.
Reality and responsibilities have trumped plans.
There isn’t time to do everything we’d like to do.

Well, sometimes loss is a good thing.
It makes us grateful for what we have accomplished.
And, if we’re honest, grateful that not all of our plans worked out.
Sometimes the surprises were better than the original plans.

There’s a recipe that’s a salute to the good that can be found in something that once was thought to be lost.
It is also known as eggy bread, German toast, gypsy toast, and Spanish toast.
Yes, everyone has had to cope with things that haven’t quite worked out as wished.
Or were past their prime.

The earliest known reference to lost bread is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the fourth or fifth century.
A fourteenth century German recipe called it Arme Ritter (poor knights). 
Also, at about that time, Taillevent had a recipe for tostées dorées.
There are fifteenth century English recipes for pain perdu (French for lost bread).

Trying to avoid carbs?
Frittata is an Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche.
And it’s nice for a dessert or a brunch, too.


Day old bread is better because the stale bread will soak up more egg mixture.
Stale or fresh - do not let the bread sit in the milk / egg mixture too long or the bread will get soggy and start to fall apart.

If you’d like it a bit sweeter, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla.
French toast can also be served with jam, honey or maple syrup; or, if you're serving it as a light lunch, with ketchup or another sauce.

Don’t have time - or berries - to make compote?
No problem.
Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 can of peach slices, drained
Stir the peaches until they are warmed through and the sugar has melted.
Serve on the French Toast.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional).

Both the quickie and regular compote recipes would work with thinly sliced fresh apples, peaches or pears - or a mixture of the three.
Compote is also good on waffles, pancakes or chicken.

                        Berry Compote

Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Stir until the sugar has melted.
3 Cups berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries or all of one)
Toss gently and cook for 3 minutes, until the berries are warm. 
Serve on the toast.

                        French Toast

Place in medium bowl and mix together
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons cinnamon (optional)
Stir in 
2 Cups milk
Beat until blended. 

Melt in a skillet or griddle over medium high heat 
3 to 4 Tablespoons butter
Do not burn the butter.

Dip in milk and egg mixture
8 slices bread- dip 2 or 3 at a time
Place slices on hot skillet.  
Cook bread 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. 
Serve warm with your favourite toppings or Berry Compote.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional).

A dollop of whipped cream would also be nice.

About the sky this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

Starting on October 11and for the next two weeks, you can view the Zodiacal Light, or “False Dawn.” Look to the east.
On October 11before Dawn: you can see the tiny crescent Moon in the east very close to Mercury low in the horizon.

On October 12 there will be a New Moon. You can’t see it, so I hope you are enjoying the “False Dawn.”

On October 13 after midnight you’ll see a multicolored star in the southeastern sky.  It’s Sirius, sometimes called the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major. 

On October 15 after sunset look to the western horizon to see the tiny waxing crescent Moon, Saturn and the star Antares!

On October 16 – The gang’s all together!! In the sky before dawn, look for Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury (Mercury will be closest to the horizon).

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