Waffled French Toast With Sautéed Apples, Walnuts and Maple Syrup

Since retiring my mornings have become a time to ease into the day without the rushing that work mornings were filled with. I still have some rush mornings, days that I volunteer I don’t have the luxury of easing, but there are more days of easing than rushing and the mornings I do rush I am definitely OK with it because in just a little while I am going to be doing something I really love and with people I really like. You can’t always say that about work, at least in my past experience that was oft times true.  Easing is definitely something I look forward to practicing. A great habit I wish I had picked up long ago.

A morning of easing can bring about creativity, like this morning. I’ve put off going to the grocery store for over a week now so choices are becoming scarce, food wise. I almost went to the market yesterday when I was out and about but it didn’t happen. And so it was that I found myself this morning wondering what I could put together for breakfast, my favorite meal.

After foraging around in the refrigerator I came up with; an apple, a spoon or two of greek yogurt, a bit of soy coffee creamer, an egg and a heel of seeded bread. I keep a supply of different kinds of nuts in the freezer so I grabbed a hand full of walnuts when I got out the coffee beans, yes I keep them in the freezer too. The menu would be waffle style French toast with sautéed apples, maple syrup and walnuts, topped off with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Apple, walnuts, syrup

A while back I saw an article on making french toast using a waffle iron and I have adopted that idea in preference to just making french toast in a skillet. The toast cooks much faster, since you’re cooking both sides at the same time, and there are all those little indents that are wonderful for holding syrup or butter or what ever you decide to put on top.

To prepare the toast, I use 1 egg with 1/2 egg shell full of milk or in this case coffee creamer, for each piece of bread. Beat the egg and milk/creamer together then pour the mixture over the bread and let it soak in. Turn the bread in mixture at least once so both sides coat well.

DSCN6884Peel and core the apple then cut into 1/4” slices and sauté in a little butter until slightly browned then turn to brown the second side. When the apples are just browned on the second side drizzle a little maple syrup over them and add some chopped walnuts and let bubble a little to caramelize the nuts. Keep warm.

DSCN6888Cook the egg soaked bread in a preheated waffle iron until done. Place on serving plate, top with apple, syrup walnut mixture, top with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

The odds of getting this lucky again tomorrow are right around slim and none so I think a trip to the grocery store today will be high on my “to do” list today.

More French toast ideas can be found at Camp Toast with Maple Syrup Poached Fruit and Trou Pain Perdu.

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Angelcots, The Sweet White Apricot

white apricots

Sometimes when I buy fruit at the Farmers Market the vendor will put a couple more pieces of small fruit in the bag after he weighs what I have selected. A nice gesture but sometimes its something that I don’t like (yes there are fruits I’m not crazy about.) or it might be something I may not have even tried before. That’s what recently happened. I carefully selected some white nectarinesDonut peaches and apricots placing them carefully in my market bag.  After weighing my purchase the vendor popped three small light colored fruits that were shaped like apricots into the bag, saying as he handed it to me, “they are very sweet, you would like them”. I was curious as to what they were but didn’t ask and didn’t think about them again until I was shopping at Trader Joe’s later that morning and saw a plastic container, in the fresh fruit section, with fruit that looked just like the ones I was given, that was labeled Angelcots. Humm, wonder if that could be the same thing he put in with the fruit I bought at the Farmers Market?

sliced white apricots

The difference in color between white apricots and Blenheim apricots.

Turns out it was. The fruit is truly angelic, tasting light, sweet and juicy.  After trying these sweet gifts, I wished I had a lot more than the three I was given.

Remembering the plastic container of Angelcots at Trader Joe’s I made a trip across town to get some and give them a try. Sure enough, they tasted the same and now I had more than three to enjoy. I ate them out of hand as snacks whenever I passed the kitchen counter where they lay seductively waiting for my visits and tried them cut into quarters topped with Greek yogurt and roasted sliced almonds for breakfast. They were gone all too soon but definitely not forgotten. You can bet I’ll be looking to buy more at the market this weekend if I can find them.

I hope you can find them at a market near you. If you do, give em a try. You just might discover why they were named Angelcots.

To learn more about the history of the Angelcot check out this Nov 2002 SF Gate article on Ross Sanborn the passionate pomologist, who after receiving the white apricot seeds from a cousin’s husband who was living and working in Iran in the late 70s, planted the seeds at his home in Lafayette, CA, and as they say “the rest is history”.

Angelcot article link

Bradon’s Choice – Seascape Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate!

Another weekend, another grandson visits. This time it was with my oldest grandson, Bradon. We had a wonderful weekend filled with a variety of activities, including of course, a trip to the Farmers’ Market. This time we went to the Davis Farmers’ Market, a market he and I have traveled to many times in the almost nine years we have been hanging out together. Not to have his younger brother out do him, Bradon also decided he wanted to buy strawberries. There were plenty to choose from. My theory on strawberries is that if there is no “strawberry” aroma and they aren’t red all the way to the stem they aren’t ripe and will not be flavorful and juicy. Using this theory, we looked for the reddest berries and when we found some that looked particularly good; we’d slowly bend down and breathe deeply hoping the “strawberry aroma” would fill our noses. It came down to either Chandler or Seascape strawberries. Fitting choices since both varieties were developed at the University of California, Davis. Bradon decided the Seascape berries were the best. After tasting them, I think he made the right choice. Of course, I’m also his grandma, so I could be slightly biased.

Bradon decided he wanted to dip his strawberries in chocolate. So hunted through my cupboard and found some chocolate chips that we could melt. We added some butter and put it all into a little cup in a waterbath on top of the stove to melt. When the chips and butter had melted, we stirred it until the mixture was smooth, then Bradon dipped his strawberries. He laid the freshly dipped strawberries on a sheet of waxed paper to dry, and impatiently checked them every few minutes hoping that I would say they were ready to eat. I finally did and Bradon taste tested his creation. Needless to say he was very happy with the results.

As with Landon, there were a handful of strawberries leftover so grandma knew just what she was going to do with them. No, I didn’t have any more Panna Cotta left. But, I did have some stewed rhubarb that I wanted to pair up with some strawberries, so that’s just what I did. I also had just enough vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer to make one strawberry-rhubarb parfait. After a few tastes I added a handful of roasted sliced almonds.  It was the perfect combination; creamy, sweet-tart and crunchy. I’d definitely try this again. Since I have a little of the strawberry-rhubarb mixture left, I think I’ll try it for breakfast substituting Greek yogurt for the ice cream and granola for the nuts.

strawberry-rhubarb parfait with roasted sliced almonds

strawberry-rhubarb parfait