I have to start this recipe by saying that I love breakfast foods. Eggs Benedict… pancakes… french toast… hash browns… sausage… waffles… bacon… you get the picture. I could have breakfast-for-dinner at least once a week (although my husband much prefers to limit breakfast foods to “breakfast/brunch time”). Because of this love affair I have with breakfast, I enjoy creating different sorts of recipes that showcase some of my favorite options, especially when I can incorporate wine into the mix. The best of both worlds, right?
This recipe was created for my dear friend, Stephanie, who’s having a difficult time eating full-size servings of food these days. To tempt her into eating breakfast one day, I came up with the idea of having small crouton-size bites of french toast that she could eat with her fingers or dip into a fruity sauce. It was a big success, so I thought I would share this special recipe with everyone here. I’ve named this recipe in her honor because without her, I wouldn’t have thought to make this delicious breakfast dish in such a unique manner.
I started by cutting up a few slices of whole wheat bread into bite-sized cubes. Using my memory, I blended an egg (you can absolutely use egg substitute if you prefer), some milk (I like using almond milk if that’s on hand), some white wine (I used Vidal Blanc last time but use whatever you may have in your fridge… just decrease the amount of sugar if you’re using a sweeter wine), a sprinkling of sugar (as desired), a touch of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon (to taste). Using a wire whisk, beat the egg mixture until it’s just becoming frothy. I wanted something that would taste light, so I opted to whip the mixture until it was light and airy. I then tossed the bread cubes in the egg mixture until all the cubes were soaked with the egg-y-yumminess. When you’re ready to cook the toast bites, melt a pat of butter (and a touch of olive oil if you’d like) and transferred the toast bites to a very warm saute pan to cook. Note: don’t crowd the pan, so feel free to do this in two sections if necessary.
In the meantime, using a small saute pan (or sauce pan), melt a pat of butter and add a handful of blueberries, Feel free to use whatever berries you have on hand or prefer. We had quarts of blueberries in the fridge, so they were the natural choice when I was creating the sauce to go along with these toast bites. As the berries begin to warm and pop open, add some red wine (I went around the pan twice with a lovely Pinot Noir… again, because that’s what was in the fridge. If I’d had a different red wine available, I might have changed to that one instead. Use what you have and what you enjoy!) sprinkle some sugar to sweeten the sauce, and I decided to add a dash of cinnamon, to mirror the taste from the french toast bites themselves. Allow the sauce to cook until it reduces and thickens. If it gets too thick, add a little more wine… if it’s not thick enough, feel free to add a little more sugar. This is a Use The Force sort of recipe… make it your own!
You’ll notice that there are also some bites of sausage on the serving plate in the photo – we had turkey sausage that needed to be used (and it was a good source of protein), so I browned the sausage until it was crispy and delicious. It’s not a prerequisite… just another flavor to temp my dear friend into eating more than she had planned.
Sometimes, you’ll find that you need to expand your horizons when it comes to feeding your loved ones. If someone isn’t feeling particularly well, feel free to play with your recipe to tempt them into eating something tasty and good for them. It’s not about who’s doing the cooking or even about how they’re cooking… it’s about the love that is conveyed by the simple act of feeding people.
As you cook, may you enjoy the challenge and turn it into an expression of love. That’s what it’s all about…