For chilly mornings that need a little something extra
It's the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and it's cold and grey beyond the panes of my window. As a matter of fact, the rain is coming down in droves, and when I finally swung my legs out from beneath the covers and onto the bare wooden floor this morning, I promptly pulled them back up and safely under the covers. It's chilly, y'all!
Finally, after weeks of prematurely dressing for the season of cable knits and densely wovens, I find myself reaching for a sweater and scarf out of necessity, and not a feeling of confused obligation. It's the moment I've been longing for! Not only because, as a southern California resident, I crave seasons like a plant in dry soil craves water, but also because it signifies the beginning of days spent with family, of Holiday parties, and of efforts being made. It's the time of year when we find ourselves going the extra mile and speaking our hearts more freely. And, perhaps because of the cold, we find comfort and warmth in our friends and family as mush as we do in the balls of thick yarn that cloak us.
I'm three days away from going home, and I've already checked out. My bag is mentally packed (though not physically, of course - that'll happen at 2:00am before a 6:00am flight on Wednesday, at which point I'll undoubtedly forget underwear, my toothbrush and anything that actually comes together as an outfit, but hey, family doesn't care), I've stopped grocery shopping, and I find myself in an emotional holding pattern, just waiting to join in the fun. I'm already sat on the bed, late at night, gossiping with my sister and watching an episode of something scary that will inevitably have her passed out long before I dare close my eyes. (Cue the gentle nudging and the 'hey Alex, you're still awake, right?') I'm already listening to the clinking sound of my dad making the tiniest Manhattans in the biggest glasses, to which the follow up is a chorus of the popular tune 'let's have another!' And I'm certainly already elbow deep, seasoning the cavity of a turkey that'll feed an army, while my mother holds its legs unceremoniously in the air.
So, in an effort to tide myself over and indulge in a morning perfect for caramelized custard and syrupy apples, I whipped out my cast iron skillet and the scraps left over from an evening that ended before the baguette ran out, and made myself French toast. Because, why not.
And because it's the Holiday season, I threw in bourbon. (It's a three hour time change, after all, so even if it's not yet five o'clock here, the rest of my family is certainly breaking out the jiggers and shakers, and I'll be damned if I'm not participating, even if in the abstract.)
For French toast:
Heat your cast iron skillet to low-medium and add the coconut oil and butter to melt. Then add the apple slices, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla and salt to form the custard.
Dunk your baguette slices in the custard and submerge them fully, allowing them to really soak up the liquid. Set them aside, momentarily.
Once the apples are soft, stir in the cinnamon and maple syrup, and cook for a further minute. Then move the apples to the sides of the skillet, add another tablespoon of butter, and place a couple of slices of soaked bread in the center.
Cook the toast until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve with more maple syrup and a little powdered sugar, and then enjoy the heck out of it!
No, I'm not yet able to join in the family fun, but I do take a little pleasure in knowing that the onslaught of bourbon French toast and the like, doesn't happen until I get there. So, as much as I'm looking forward to going home, they're most definitely looking forward to having me.