Sunday Brunch: Jcarrot Style

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Last year, my freelancing musician boyfriend took a side gig teaching Hebrew school at a neighborhood synagogue on Sunday mornings.  Like, 8:00am on Sunday morning.  I understood his desire to teach and make some extra money, but it frustrated me to relinquish him to a bunch of strangers’ six-year olds during prime pancake and omelet hours.  (Especially since, in my new mostly Shabbat observant life, Saturday morning was also out). 

Luckily, all those early mornings paid off.  The synagogue changed its Hebrew school structure - he now teaches during the week, clearing up Sunday mornings for New York Times reading, bluegrass listening, and – of course - brunch.

This morning, we celebrated with coffee in the Turkish tea glasses he recently found on the street (ahhh, Brooklyn!) and french toast.  Made with leftover challah and organic free-range eggs, and topped with pears softened with agave nectar and ginger, it was french toast fit for The Jew & The Carrot.  Check out the recipe below the jump. 

Now that we have Sunday mornings free, we need more recipe ideas!  I’d love to hear some of your favorite healthy (or more indulgent) brunch meals…

French Toast with Ginger and Agave Nectar Pears
Serves 2

Pear compote with ginger and agave nectar
1 large or 2 small bosc pears, chopped
1 Tbs agave nectar (maple syrup would work too, but might overpower the pears)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 Tbs water
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional)

Note* make the compote first – while it’s cooking, make your french toast.  Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, until the pears soften and soak up the fragrant ginger liquid.  Adjust by adding small amounts of more water and agave, until you reach a consistency you like.  (I like mine a little stickier, like chutney.)

French Toast
Extra whole wheat challah – ideally enough to make 6 slices
2 eggs and three egg whites
1/4 cup organic, low fat milk
pinch of salt
3 Tbs Earth Balance or organic butter

Using a serrated bread knife, cut challah into six 3/4-inch slices, set aside.  In a deep bowl, crack the two eggs and three egg whites.  Add milk and salt, and whisk with a fork until combined.  Pour mixture into a pie dish or 9-inch baking dish.  Submerge bread in egg mixture until it is coated well on each side.  Don’t let it sit too long in the mixture, or it will start to fall apart! 

Melt 1 Tbs of the butter in a skillet until bubbling, but not brown.  Fry egged bread slices on each side until brown.  (You can put the finished toasts on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees or less to keep them warm while you finish).  Add another Tbs of butter and repeat until all the bread is cooked.

Serve warm topped with pear compote and drizzled with maple syrup.   

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10 Responses to “Sunday Brunch: Jcarrot Style”

  1. Anna Stevenson Says:

    oh brunch! how delightful!
    what about that baked french toast recipe — was that yours? oh so rich but oh so good….
    this morning we had scrambled eggs w/ onion and za’atar, and challah toast (my dad calls it hallatosis — typical dad humor). yup, a fully respectable way to start the day…

  2. Karen Says:

    I look forward to Sunday brunches. I like to make pancakes (half whole wheat, half white) using the recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I make a quick fruit compote using a bag of frozen berries and sugar on the stove top. Though we have maple syrup too, I like my pancakes topped with fruit and unsweetened (Seven Stars) yogurt.

  3. Leah Koenig Says:

    Wow – yeah, that french toast casserole is out of this world, Anna! Definitely not on the “healthy” side with a stick of better and cup of brown sugar melted at the bottom…but totally worth the heart attack. p.s. three cheers for dad humor.

    I’m with you on the fruit topping Karen, though I usually sweeten mine with maple syrup instead of sugar so that I get the two-for-one.

  4. David Ilan Says:

    I enjoy making my own challah, and have experimented with adding my own preferences. Like blueberries and maple syrup, it makes a great challah, sweet, and almost pancakey. If I’ve any leftover (almost never) it makes a great french toast, and with a little extra maple syrup drizzled on top, it’s a slice of heaven!
    David Ilan

  5. Stacey Says:

    Thanks for the pear recipe – I love ginger and think I’ll try it next time. I’ll often go for vegan frozen waffles topped with fruit – fresh berries in the summer and sauteed apples the rest of the year. I slice a mix of any apples I have on hand and cook them in a skillet with a little oil, cardamom and maple syrup. For most of the cook time, the skillet is covered and the apples are stirred occasionally until soft enough to serve over waffles, oatmeal, millet, etc.
    For a more time consuming, more ingredients, more dishes to do brunch dish, I can’t say enough good things about the biscuits & gravy from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan With a Vengeance. Served with fresh fruit and greens, it is absolutely the most delicious.

  6. RivkaK Says:

    Stuffed French Toast made with left over Shabbos Challah. Mix ricotta, cream cheese and some vanilla sugar. Put between 2 pieces of challah. Dip in scrambled ( uncooked!) egg mixture of eggs, 1/2 and 1/2 and cinnamon. If you are married to a cinnamon phobic person like I am, make theirs without cinnamon first, then add cinnamon to egg mixture and make yours!
    And………….cause I am a Dixie gal, GRITS, the long cook king smothered in melted butter.

  7. cliftonw Says:

    I like to slice the bread the day before and let it dry in the open before dipping it into an egg batter with real vanilla flavoring. You can add other flavors such as cinnamon, lemon, cardamon, poppy seeds, etc. for those who prefer them.

  8. Susan Says:

    A favorite in our house is crispy french toast. After you dunk your challah slices in your favorite mixture (like eggs, milk, real vanilla, sugar & cinammon)you dredge the slices on both sides in rice crispies cereal before you fry them in a pan. It’s delish! Not as good with cocoa krispies, though – too sweet.

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