The guys at the Lake House are each responsible for cooking one night a week and Momma takes a night too. Most of them double up or get outside assistance. Last November, I offered to take a night of cooking, which was eagerly accepted. When my friend Matt came back from the Philippines, he and I decided that we would cook together. This could either be disastrous or a great exercise in humility for both of us. Well, in order for it to be either of those, we actually have to cook together. Most Thursdays Matt is fulfilling a family obligation and I am left cooking on my own. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind cooking alone. In fact, it's easier. But it's always nice to have input and help (of course when I ask for it). This week, Matt told me he was available to cook with me and this is how the conversation went:
Matt: French toast for dinner tonight. What do you say? I'll pick the stuff up on my way home from work.
Me: Sounds good, get bacon too! Do you need a list?
Matt: Isn't it pretty easy? Eggs and bread?
Me: Yeah, but I want to check some stuff out to make it extra awesome.
(I'm grateful Matt puts up with my neurosis and is far more humble than I when it comes to cooking. I should learn from him)
And so this is what happened:
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST!!!
Have you ever heard of something so delightful??
It was surprisingly easy and makes me second-guess all those fancy restaurants that serve it where I am in awe. They are respectable in their own right, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of tastiness considering the amount of work put into it.
Here's the ree-sipe:
2 loaves of fresh Italian bread
2 pkgs cream cheese
frozen strawberries in their own juices (with or without sugar added)
3/4 C half and half
1.5 tsp vanilla
Instructions: Get the cream cheese to room temperature and defrost the strawberries. Slice the loaves of bread into 1.5" slices. Using a small paring knife, make a slit in the slice of bread. We did it on the bottom for appearance sake. Mix about 3/4 cup of the strawberry mix in with the cream cheese. Mix it well, you don't want to be chewing on chunks of straight-up cream cheese. The sweetness of the strawberries cuts the savory-ness of the cream cheese. Using a spoon, stuff the heck out of the slices! You don't want to put so much in that it's spilling out the bottom... it'll compromise the look and integrity of the stuffy-ness.
Once all your slices are stuffed, whisk the eggs, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla together. Dip each slice, on both sides, in the raw egg mix. Let them sit for a few minutes. We had to let them sit for awhile because we took great care in frying them in a smaller pan. This allows them to soak up the flavor of the mix and makes it more delicious.
Set your pan to medium to medium-high. You need to be careful to not make your pan too hot because it'll cook the outside of the bread and you'll have to remove it before the egg-soaked insides are finished cooking. This creates mushiness and grossness. Put a tablespoon of butter in the pan before each batch to prevent sticking and make it so much healthier. When it's cooked on one side, flip it over. Duh.
We served it with bacon and syrup. It probably didn't need the syrup but, being the sugar-fiend I am, I included it.
For the record, this does NOT feed 7 hungry men and me. I should've gotten another loaf of bread. But it was a hit! It's not for the faint of heart or the dieter, but it sticks to your ribs and makes you smile. I promise.