From my recipe contributor: Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer, blogger, and journalist with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed “schooners”). From an office full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork, she’s writing her first book, a memoir of her parents’ journey in raising 14 children, and her own lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company.
I come from a long line of breakfast lovers and early morning risers. One of fourteen children, I vividly remember the smell of bacon frying downstairs and large stacks of pancakes baking as my mother prepared for a new day. In a way, I believe it was calming for her to count on 4 cracked eggs, a dash of vanilla, flour, and milk all mixed together in a pyrex bowl. A ritual of sorts. A common thread laced throughout sleepless nights, new babies, birthdays, and moves along the east coast.
In all those mornings, I grew to appreciate the world of early risers and the art of cooking the very first meal of the day. Greeting the sun with a pot of bubbling oatmeal on the stove, or baking blueberry muffins as the rain trickles down the window panes. There is something therapeutic about it and I believe my mother had it right.
Mornings + breakfast spell home.
//BAKED BAQUETTE FRENCH TOAST with BLUEBERRY SAUCE
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
powdered sugar for the top
blueberry sauce (see below for recipe)
warm maple syrup
warm maple syrup mixed with warm honey
Trim 1/2 inch off of each end of the baguette and feed scraps to the dog. Slice baguette in half. Cut into serving-size pieces (4-5″ long). Place bread cut-side up in an ovenproof dish and butter the top of each piece. Don’t overlap the pieces.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs. Add milk, vanilla extract, orange juice/zest, and salt. Whisk until foamy. Pour over bread. Flip the pieces around every 10 minutes or so to make sure both sides are soaking up the liquid . Leave in the liquid for about 30 minutes total. You want the bread to be wet but not soggy and falling apart. When you bake it, the bread should be resting in a small pool of the liquid but not drowning in it. You might need to pour off a few tablespoons of the liquid if the bread doesn’t soak most of it up.
Make sure all pieces are cut-side up. Sprinkle turbinado sugar all over the top. Bake until the bread is puffed up and golden (30-40 minutes). You might need to throw it under the broiler for optimum crispy crunchy caramelized beauty. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and eat right away (but it does reheat nicely). Serve with optional toppings listed above.
3 cups blueberries or blackberries
pinch of salt
Place sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat. Swirl it around by the pot handle to keep it cooking evenly. When it starts to smoke and turn light brown, toss in the blueberries. Careful. It might spatter a bit. Stir until blueberries have released their juices (2-3 minutes). Take off the heat and stir in the salt and lemon juice. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve over ice cream. Or cool completely and drizzle over yoghurt. It keeps in the fridge for a week. It will keep for a few months in the freezer.