Saturday, August 2, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

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When I was a child there were mornings when I woke up and just wanted to be in Nanny's company. Even before I was old enough to understand why, I knew that Nanny was special. There were days that I'd pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school and hang out with Nanny. That meant special food all day long. One of the special things Nanny made for breakfast was french toast. I bet you're thinking that french toast is not that special. Well, her's was different and that's what made it special to me, my brother and my sister. The main difference in Nanny's French Toast was that you didn't put syrup on it. Nanny never had syrup in the house. There were many "American" things that we liked but Nanny would never touch. Syrup was one of them. Her topping for french toast was the same as her topping on her zucchini flowers. Granulated Sugar. These days since we are always watching our fat intake, a sugar topping just isn't practical. Today though, we are honoring Nanny so this is what she did and this is what I did.

Nanny usually used some white italian bread (loaf style sliced bread with some seeds...never wonder bread) but if she had some leftover bread like I did today, she would use that too. Mix in an egg with some milk, cinnamon, a little sugar and vanilla. I had a leftover round Italian bread from Whole foods and I cut two thick slices. I used two eggs since the bread was thicker. When the bread absorbed most of the egg mixture I fried it in a nonstick pan. Normally, I'd use Pam nonstick cooking spray or if I'm feeling like being indulgent I'd use a little butter. But Nanny never touched either of these things. Butter was a forbidden ingredient in her kitchen. It was very rare that she would use it. She claimed she was allergic but we all know she wasn't. She just didn't like it. Nanny used oil a lot. For most dishes she used Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I guess this is why her skin was always so soft. She never worried about her weight...she used a ton of oil but never had any issues with clogged arteries or high cholesterol. I guess this what they call the Mediterranean diet. So back to the french toast. I fried the french toast in a little bit of canola oil until it was a nice golden color. Sprinkle that with some granulated sugar and you're all set! I figured with all that thick bread I should balance it off with a sunny side up egg. Afterall, Nanny did like the combination of sweet and savory!

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Culinary Alchemist said...

I am now absolutely ravenous... Serves me right for reading this before eating some breakfast. Thank you for sharing this one.

Lucy said...

What a wonderful memory you've shared, and boy that breakfast looks might appetizing just right about now!

Pat said...

Hello Michele! So nice to meet you! I love the recipes on your blog. My husband was born in Calabria, Italy and I learned how to make so many of his family's favorites when my mother-in-law was alive. I am always looking for authentic Italian and Italian/ American recipes.
I'm adding you to my blogroll.
I don't blog about recipes all the time but I do write a lot about Brooklyn & NYC

I hope you visit again. Glad you liked the Bail pasta recipe --it's delicious and easy to make.

Corinne said...

That looks divine... Maybe I should have come here first before I made those croquettes for breakfast lol!
With just the two of us, we rarely finish off a whole loaf of bread and usually end up making bread crumbs out of it, which works fine, until you have 2 pounds of bread crumbs jammed in your freezer :) I'll have to try this next time.

Sophie said...

Aww, that's really sweet about you staying home to eat your grandma's food :). When I lived around the corner from my grandma as a kiddo, sometimes I'd ask her to drop me off a sandwich on the way to her work, because no one could make them the way she could! I'm actually a fan of sugar on french toast! I prefer powdered sugar over syrup :D.