Savory French Toast

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Boy do I love breakfast! My husband often teases me, saying, “Your eyes open in the morning, and you ask, ‘What’s for breakfast?” On our honeymoon I woke him up at 6:30 in the morning asking him to call room service and order our breakfast.

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast foods. I would ask my mom to make it for me all the time as a little girl. I love that rich, eggy, buttery taste. As much as I love french toast with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, sometimes I don’t want anything sweet at breakfast, and I am trying to incorporate more veggies into every meal. I found this amazing rustic whole wheat bread in the markdown section at King Soopers last week. The crusty bread was screaming to be made into french toast. The wheels started turning in my head, and I wondered if I could make a savory version. After a quick Google search I realized that I was not the first person to think of turning this normally sweet breakfast dish into a savory one. Here is the version I came up with. The balsamic glaze really makes the dish. You can find it in most grocery stores (even Walmart carries it). If you can’t find it or don’t want to buy a whole bottle of it, it is really easy to make your own. See the recipe for it below. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

6 slices of crusty day old bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup feta cheese (or Parmesan cheese)
1/2 tsp. of your favorite dried herb (I used thyme, but basil would be yummy too!)
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 ripe Roma Tomatoes, chopped
Balsamic vinegar glaze

In a shallow, flat bottomed bowl or pan (a pie plate works well), beat eggs, milk, cheese, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Warm 1 tsp. of olive oil in a frying pan. Dip 3 slices of bread into the egg mixture and coat on both sides. Place in pan and cook over low/medium heat until the bread is crisp and brown on both sides and egg is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and pieces of bread. You may have to occasionally stir the egg mixture to reincorporate the cheese so that each piece of bread will have cheese on it.

In a medium-sized saute pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat over medium heat and add zucchini and red onion. Saute until the onions are translucent and zucchini is tender. Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through.

To assemble, place one piece of french toast on each plate. Top with 1/6 of the zucchini/tomato mixture and drizzle balsamic glaze over the top. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

Balsamic Glaze (adapted from Allrecipes)

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.

How to Roast Peppers

It is Hatch Chile Season in Colorado!!! I can’t wait to make a green chile smothered burrito. When peppers are on sale, I buy a bunch of them and roast them. Roasting peppers brings out their sweetness and adds a smokiness that really enhances their flavor. You can roast any kind of pepper. The cost of roasted peppers at the store is outrageos-especially when the process is so simple. All you need is your oven, a cookie sheet, and a plastic bag! *See Note Below

Turn your oven on to broil at High heat. Place peppers on a cookie sheet. Use an old one that you don’t care about or line it with aluminum foil because the juices from the peppers ooze out as they roast, turning into a sticky, black mess.

Roasted Red Peppers 1

Broil the peppers until they start to turn black. Rotate the peppers and broil until that side turns black. Continue this process until all sides have been charred. Remove peppers from oven.

Roasted Red Peppers 2

Using tongs or oven mitts place hot peppers in a plastic bag and seal. Let the peppers rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the skin of the peppers to loosen.

Roasted Red Peppers 3

Using your fingers, peel off the skin of the peppers. Be careful as they will still be quite hot. Remove the stem and seeds. Cut in strips or leave whole. I like to leave mine whole and freeze them. Roasted peppers go great in dips (like Roasted Red Pepper Hummus), eggs, enchiladas, and pasta.

Roasted Red Peppers 4

*You can do this over a grill too. Just char the peppers on all sides, then follow the rest of the steps to remove the skins.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I am obsessed with Greek food! My Italian grandparents on my mom’s side fostered my love of good Mediterranean fare. Although I didn’t grow up on hummus, I became an instant fan when the hummus craze kicked in several years ago. I’ve tried many different recipes to varying degrees of success. I’ve found that the ultimate hummus has tahini in it, but at $5/jar, it isn’t something I always have on hand. I ran across a recipe from Penzeys Spice a few years ago that I love. It does not have tahini, but the flavor is still really good. Grab some veggie sticks or pita chips and dig in!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
*adapted from Penzeys Spice Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained or rinsed
1/2 cup roasted red pepper (about 1 large)
5 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP water
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If needed, add another tablespoon of water or olive oil to reach the desired consistency. Sprinkle with more paprika and oregano and drizzle a little olive oil on top to serve.

I like to eat mine with carrots or celery or baked pita chips. To make the chips, cut a pita into wedges. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, or until toasted.