Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crunchy French Toast

Ever since I moved away for grad school my parents missed me. It’s because I’m so awesome. They decided that they simply had to come and visit. Although I’m not entirely sure that it was just me that they wanted to come and visit, perhaps it was the draw of seeing Wisconsin? The mystery of a state known for Dairy products and beer? Personally I was leaning toward the idea that they were coming to see their favorite (read: only) daughter, but I could be wrong. Wisconsin is not just home to cheese with a love of all things brewed. There is a museum, devoted to one man’s love, of mustard.

Our first trip to Madison, Wisconsin was the conclusion of one very long road trip. Well, I suppose it was the conclusion of the trip for me, they still had to make the return trip (winner!). Fourteen hours in two cars, covering six states, our arrival in Wisconsin occurred around ten o’clock at night. The bed at the Marriott was certainly welcoming and, most importantly, stationary.

The next morning we were greeted with a beautiful summer day. If you have never spent a summer in the Midwest, please take a moment to imagine… The sun is blazing down, the temperature is a warm 80 degrees and the humidity made it feel like you were swimming. August in the Midwest is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. Today, it would be the latter, because today, we were moving furniture.

Nothing can take away from the fact that this was to be a BIG day. Moving into my first apartment, by myself, in a state that I had previously only spent two days. It was just going to be a HOT big day, as temperatures were to slowly creep into the low nineties. Luckily I was only moving into a first floor apartment (just a half-flight of stairs to climb) and my dad and I have enormous muscles. 300-lb desk? Sure, one arm. Boxes full of books? Just pile those on top of this couch and I’ll handle it. We’re huge, really.

After taking a mere four hours to move everything from the U-haul to the fabulous apartment, we took a moment to admire our work (read: collapse on the nearest piece of furniture). Taking another moment to drink a few gallons of water and eat a whole chicken (gotta feed those muscles) we were finally ready to enjoy Madison. Wait, perhaps a nap first…

Many more Madison stories are in your future, but the first thing you must do when getting to Madison, it have some ice cream at the terrace (if it’s past noon, you can have a beer). Nothing is more fantastic after a long days work than getting a bowl of UW ice cream and enjoying the breeze off lake Mendota. The boats sail by, the ducks play in the water and the sun sparkles across the lake. Eat your ice cream, get a little sunburn and relax.

The following morning, after our huge muscles screamed at us for a bit, we decided to hit the restaurant and refuel. This was the beginning of a wonderful tradition, Crunchy French Toast. Every Marriott across the country serves this awesome recipe. Listed as a “healthy option,” one can trick themselves into eating the whole plate (do not do this, eat half, save some for tomorrow). On their subsequent returns to both Madison, and Colorado, my parents and I enjoyed many, many plates of Crunch French Toast.

This is a take on the Marriott’s recipe for Crunchy French Toast. While I know someone who has the exact recipe, they were unwilling to divulge the hotels secrets. I’ll have to try harder next time. The original dish is served with bananas and strawberries, while I decided to serve it with a lemon-raspberry sauce. While these are a good attempt, I will still find myself at the Marriott, eating plates and plates of their Crunchy French Toast.

Crunchy French Toast

4 slices of whole-grain bread approximately 1-inch thick
1 cup Corn Flakes (crushed)
1 cup Egg Beaters
1 tsp vanilla
1 pint raspberries
1 lemon
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan combine raspberries, water and sugar. Heat over medium-low until raspberries begin to break down. Add zest of half a lemon and cornstarch. Turn up heat to medium-high and heat until thickens. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice and heat until desired thickness.

Mix Egg Beaters and vanilla in a shallow dish. Coat bread with egg mixture, allowing to sink in for a few seconds. Coat bread in Corn flakes, pressing down so they stick. Place coated bread on griddle and weigh down with a grill press (or Panini press or weighted pie pan). Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side (or until crunchy and golden-brown).

Drizzle 2 tbsp raspberry lemon sauce over French toast. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar if the raspberry lemon sauce is a bit too tart for you! Enjoy!
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