5.20.2015

Mother's Day: Lessons and French Toast

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Dear Readers,
It's been so long since there was a guest blog, so I'm not even sure what to say here. But the husband promises (again) to write posts more frequently, starting with this Mother's Day overview. Photos and captions are still 100% KK. 
                                                                                                                                                         
Enjoy,
KK

A cautionary Mother’s Day story is told in my family that goes like this: my dad, in May 1978, at some point decided that the best way to honor his wife for her first year as a new mom would be to buy her a jar of olives.  Simply, a jar of olives.  Traditionally when chided over this, he offers his defense that it was a premium jar and that my mom expressed much interest in the brand at an earlier time.    

Although I didn’t recognize it, this story had burrowed down deep into my psyche and then violently surfaced as I approached my first Mother’s Day for the blog-lady.  At first, I thought, well, you can’t do worse than a jar of olives!  But, then I thought I had to go the reverse route, ensuring this first year was commemorated in as grand a style as possible.  In the end, I pushed these thoughts all away and just asked myself: what would make for a nice day with Karine?

My first thought went to Sunday morning breakfast, nice and quiet-like with just her, me and the little guy.  Karine has a special place in her heart for French Toast (see earlier blog posts), and I thought I could finally make her the toast she’s been waiting for (since, admittedly, there’s always something just a bit off with my recipe in the last decade I’ve tried).  I’d always used old French bread for French toast, which has its merits, but it doesn’t deliver that light, custardy interior I needed.  So, I went to another French kind of bread, brioche, that luckily Pasadena’s Europane bakery offers.  I snuck out at 6:30 am before the family wakes up, purchased the bread, and immediately knew from its lightweight loaf this would do perfectly. From there, it was just a mix of cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  And berries with powdered sugar, of course.    

To accompany this meal, there was my dwindling supply of homemade bacon and hash browns and Mexican coffee.  Adorning the table were a few other things, namely a selection of pastel macaroons, salted caramels (artisan caramels!), and another pop-up card.
I’m not sure where this fixation popped up from, but I have really grown to appreciate the art form. I’ve even studied the tricks of the trade. Let’s just say a good homemade pop-up card has few rivals on a table.  My ambition is still tempered by my skill, but I thought I hit the right mark with this daffodil growing in the spring sun. 

Maybe there’s something realistic about olives, that it playfully deflated the commercialism of the holiday.  Maybe my dad had a surprise gift after, or really brought it the next year.  I just hope that once the olives were gifted in 1978, my mom and dad spent as lovely a day together with their son as we did.  A shaded afternoon at the nearby park, dim sum for dinner, and some Game of Thrones to end the evening.  It might not have been a perfect day, but it was a very nice one.
 I woke up next to this funny face. Sign of a good day to come.
Park life.
  The French Toast was so good, we had it again, for dinner!


Brioche French Toast
Serves 3

6 eggs
½ cup heavy cream  
1 cup whole milk
1/8 cup of sugar
1/8 cup of maple syrup
½ tsp of vanilla extract
3 shakes of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 1-inch slices of brioche
Vegetable oil and butter
Maple syrup, berries, and powdered sugar

Whisk eggs, cream, and milk well to make a well incorporated custard.  To custard, whisk in sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt.  Dip brioche slices for a minimum of 8 minutes up to 15. 

Heat griddle pan and add a pat of butter and 1tsp or so of vegetable oil.  Add French toast to pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve warm and with favorite accompaniments.  Enjoy!