French (Italian) Toast

My mom has always had a knack for turning leftovers into marvelous new meals. This delicious French toast is made with leftover Italian bread. During the week, our day-old bread was used for stuffing peppers, zucchini, or eggplant or for making garlic croutons or bread pudding, but the Italian bread left over from Saturday was used for this special French toast, and my brothers and I always looked forward to it. Although I mainly eat whole-grain breads today, I sometimes buy a loaf of Italian bread on Saturday and save it for the next day, just to make this wonderful French toast. I serve it with pure maple syrup and homemade applesauce or top it with lightly sautéed slices of banana.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat or soy milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 8 1-inch slices day-old Italian bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter or trans fat-free organic margarine

Method

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add the slices of bread and completely coat each slice. Let soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Using a fork, lift out the slices of bread one at a time and arrange them in the skillet. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until golden brown. Using a plastic spatula, turn and cook the other side until golden brown.

I love breakfast. There’s something about starting your day with a piping-hot cup of coffee and some sweet or savory goodness … and no one has better breakfast than Claire’s. If you’ve ever been to the restaurant as it’s opening, you know what I’m talking about-the sometimes bombastic symphony of Beethoven, pots and pans clanging, and staff laughing; the aromatic beckoning of the morning’s muffins and treats; and the light breeze that lifts those delicious smells into the air and down College and Chapel Streets. Whether I’m there for business or leisure, Claire’s is always enjoyable, and I daresay it’s because she’s created an environment where everything is beautiful and delicious.

Emily Byrne, executive director of New Haven Promise

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