So it turns out that I have some younger readers who are interested in cooking. I have a couple of words of wisdom for you.
Fellas, fellas, fellas...
Mother's Day is fast approaching.
Now, the pre-holiday stress might not be bearing down on you like a 747 about to land at El Alto in La Paz, but just like those airliners it's coming in twice as fast.
If your giftometer is pinned at zero, have no fear. I have an old stand-by recipe that my 3 1/2 year old, William, helps me make for his mom. Even those with a fear of frying can do this with never using a skillet. Give it a try and I promise, the only thing you'll say it's missing is William gently slapping you on the face at 6am to tell you it's time to put the French Toast in the oven. At full volume.
So much for letting Sara sleep in on her birthday.
This year for Mother's Day, we'll pull out the old trusty French Toast recipe again. The recipe varies depending upon whether I have half and half, or whole milk, or heavy cream on hand but it usually goes something like this.
For those of you groaning "French Toast?!?" A)William can do this. I am sure that you gentlemen will be able handle this with the greatest of ease. After all, you don't need a step stool to reach the top of the counters now do you? B)You're telling me you have something better planned than French Toast? (hook me-up!) C)It's time to pull those big boy pants up over your boxers, wash your hands, and get down to repaying the hours of labor your mother put into bringing you forth into this world. Little did she know she'd be spending most of her time cleaning, swatting, and missing your cute little butt.
Here's my first piece of advice you might take with you. Ask questions. My second and frankly more important piece of advice: listen to what she says. The third is pretty simple, and it's usually where most of us men fall short because we were too busy congratulating ourselves for actually listening... REMEMBER WHAT SHE SAID.
Write it down, record a voice memo, or omg txt urself. I don't care how you do it. Update your Facebook Status with it for all I care. C'mon do it!
Does she like chocolate? Pumpkin? Oranges? Maple Syrup? Berries? (Ugh, you, my friend are outta luck if she doesn't eat wheat, dairy, or is vegan... Close this. Now! Run to the chopper! Go to JC Penny's and get the 'I love you mom' necklace. It's your only hope.)
Whatever her response, and she may say she likes anything you make, try to narrow her down to one choice. It'll sure make it easier on you... and her when she goes out to buy all of the things that you'll need. This will feed four nicely. (You might even have some leftovers for Todd.)
5 eggs (three if you don't plan on dropping any on the floor.)
1 loaf of unsliced Challah bread (Egg Bread)
pint of whipping cream
1 cup Whole milk
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar (Omit if your mom chose Maple Syrup)
1/2 cup of whatever ingredient she said she liked (1 cup if Berry)
Your phone to read what she told you.
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (Omit if Berry)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg (Omit if Berry)
(Optional - Vanilla Bean Paste)
If you can use a bread knife, cut your loaf of Challah in half, set aside the other half for later use, and then into 1 1/2"-2" cubes. If it's pre-sliced bread, take out half of the bread and then maybe cut each slice into 6 pieces. If you are not allowed to use a knife, ask someone else to help you accomplish this task. William has been known to do this by hand. It's pretty funny to watch, but when I tried to cut some of the Titanic sized pieces down to SS Minnow size, he looked at me as if I was destroying his piece of art. It still baked up and tasted fine. It just looked like a pile or three of trains were hiding under the French Toast.
I wouldn't put him past it.
Set aside your works of Cubism, and grab a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour your sugar into said mixing bowl and crack the three eggs into it. Crack your knuckles or do a couple of baseball stretches before you grab your whisk. You are going to mix your sugar and eggs until either your arm falls off or they become light yellow in color. Ask your mom for some breathing exercises. If you're using Maple Syrup, just whisk the eggs alone.
Once you get to that light yellow color, add in your spices, and a tsp of Vanilla Bean Paste if you have it. Whisk that up for a minute. Breathe or switch arms, just don't let your older siblings see you sweat. Add in 1 cup of whole milk, one cup of heavy cream, and whisk until you cry or 30 seconds, whichever comes first.
Don't get all crazy and see how long you can whisk this (you know who you are) you might get sweet butter if you do this for, like, forever.
If you're using pumpkin puree or maple syrup, add this in now and whisk for another 30 seconds or so. If you're wiping "sweat" from your eyes, go wash your hands before you grab the bread. Add in the chocolate chips, or berries now. If you're getting crazy and going with Cocoa Puffs or Fruity Pebbles, hold off and put those in the following day.
(picture out of order, but
really, who will notice?)
Gently stir in the bread so that it has a chance to soak up all that yummy goodness. Cover it with plastic wrap or throw it all in a Gladware container put the lid on it, and refrigerate overnight. Clean up your mess. When your whisk (if it's stainless steel) and mixing bowl (stainless too?) are dry, put them in the freezer. Call it a 'science experiment' if your mom's not too sure about this.
More advice: This usually works for all matter of things that you feel might need to be put in the freezer or stored for a bit.
The next morning make sure your oven rack is in the middle and that there isn't another rack above it. Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab that stick of butter peel down half of the cover and rub it all over a 9" x 13" baking pan. Think mom with a sunscreen stick (butter) and your face (the pan) at the beach (beach?) Can you tell that this is William's favorite part? Poor, poor butter! Now pour your bread and egg mix into it. When your oven is up to temp (ready) put your "French Toast" in the oven.
This will bake for 35-45 minutes. It will rise and poof up, your edges of the bread should turn a golden to dark brown. In the mean time, grab your frozen bowl and whisk, and pour in your remaining cup of heavy cream and a tsp of vanilla bean paste, if you have it. Whisk away young man until it makes a small peak or mountain when you pull out the whisk. Your hands will be nice and frozen. Obviously, you won't care one bit!
Let the French Toast cool for 10 minutes. Grab a CLEAN plate, scoop out a large serving of the French Toast and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle extra berries, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, or whatever crushed dried cereal you think goes best with your masterpiece to garnish.
Your mothers have my number if you need help. Call me, I'll hand the phone to William, and he'll help walk you through it tough guy.
EDIT: I did 1" cubes for this one because it was for a potluck. I didn't have very "thirsty" bread and ended up using 3/4 of a 1lb loaf of Challah, instead of the 1/2 as written above to soak up more of the custard mix. I also had some cream cheese that I put on top before baking (see what I mean about always doing things a little bit differently?) I don't like cooked strawberries so I used those for garnish. Here I used 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries, and 1/2 cup strawberries (which you could put in the toast. If you wanted to. Eww.)
Sara ran off with the dish, so I couldn't get a "Hero" shot of the final product. I'll post one up on Mother's Day. It'll be completely different, and just as yummy.