We had a nice quiet Christmas in the ZenKimchi household. I didn’t even bother doing any herculean feats of cooking. But I did make my Eun Jeong a nice breakfast featuring her favorite, Mammy’s French Toast. Mammy was my great-grandmother who could make any food taste good. She made stuff that we kids would never like anywhere else.
Her slight variation on French toast was always a treat. It didn’t require any powdered sugar or syrup–just lots of butter. And you could eat it with your hands. It’s vaguely like New Orleans-style pain perdu. Pain Perdu, or “Lost Bread,” is a Christmas morning tradition in my family (we are from the Mobile Bay area), made with stale baguette slices soaked overnight in egg and milk and baked in the oven while we open gifts. I didn’t have baguettes on hand, so I did the quicky version. I also thought I’d make use of the tangerines in the house, too, giving it a little Christmas flavor.
4 slices of Bread
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Tangerine Zest
3 Tangerines, peeled and divided into sections
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Lemon wedge
1. Combine the ingredients for the Tangerine Compote in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then bring it down to a simmer until much of the water has evaporated, and the liquid is a little syrupy.
2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla extract, milk and tangerine zest.
3. Heat a pan to medium and melt a pat of butter. Dunk both sides of a bread slice into the egg mixture and cook in the pan.
4. When it starts browning, turn it over. I frequently fiddle with the heat, turning it up and down, removing the pan, so that it doesn’t get so hot that it scorches the bread. When it’s browned, put the French toast on a plate and put another pat of butter on it.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all the bread is gone.
6. Top with the Tangerine Compote. I also added some bacon and a poached egg.
For quick Saturday morning breakfasts, I just make the French toast without the compote or the tangerine zest. The French toast is already sweetened with the sugar in the egg mixture, so pouring syrup over it is overkill. It’s good with bacon and a chilly glass of milk–and Saturday morning cartoons.