Oh good morning to you my little organic cane sugar muffins!
I have a real treat for you this morning. But before we get to that, let’s talk about how lame it is that there doesn’t seem to be much going on in town right now with respect to access to good, whole, local food. I know there’s the Winter Farmer’s Market put on by the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society twice a month, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough. And yes, I realize it’s the middle of January (and less than a week ago there was actually snow on the ground. Snow!).
But in a place so wound up about local food issues, you’d think we’d have more available. It’s both infuriating and sad that in order to eat fresh vegetables through out the months of December, January, (and part of) February I have to go to a chain grocery store. Sure, there’s lots of food there. But most of it has been shipped hundreds – if not thousands – of miles to even get to the store. By then it’s lost most of its flavor, most of its nutrients, and has put so many bloody chemicals into the Earth and atmosphere via both growing operations and transportation, all I can taste is oil.
Maybe I should have gone ahead with my plans to grow my own Winter veggies rather than letting my front yard beds lay fallow. There’s plenty to be grown on the West coast at this time of year: chard, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and who knows what else in the greenhouse. Maybe we need more resources allocated to growing local food year round. Maybe we need to pay a little extra to have our CSA boxes out-source some of the space in them to other farmers in the region to encourage their production (ie eggs, meats, honey, etc…). Or maybe I need to just suck it up? Kinda like the cloud below looks like it’s going to do to me! Must get inside…
I’m just sayin – I love me some good, fresh picked local vegetables. And seeing that people on the East coast still have access to a CSA program in January makes me a little sad. Well, happy for them, sad for me. What can we do differently to make local, organic, small-scale food available the full 12 months of the year?
Speaking of local food, treat time! So you wake up to the crisp morning air and the sun is winking at you from behind an ash colored cloud. The neighborhood is humming with silence and the smell of coffee is wafting gently through the house, arousing your senses. You smile. There on the counter is a loaf of bread so fine and delicate it yearns to be eaten. It’s panettone. You think to yourself, “breakfast”. Honestly – there’s french toast… And then there’s panettone french toast.
Panettone is a sweet bread loaf from Italy that’s cylindrical in shape and is usually eaten during the holidays. Ours came from Fol Epi Organic Bakery in James Bay. How did I not know about this place?? It was lusciously moist, tender, and the aromas of vanilla and orange were absolutely intoxicating. I’ll definitely be making a stop by there in the near future. In the meantime, I’ll relive the experience right here…
The Most Delicious & Simple Panettone French Toast
1 Loaf of Panettone Bread (or if unavailable, any "fruity" bread would do - i.e. raisin bread).
1 C Milk.
3 to 4 Free-Range Organic Eggs.
2 Tsp Cinnamon.
Dash of Nutmeg.
2 Pears (or fruit of your choice) (optional).
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and grease lightly; pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees F.
While that heats, whisk together the milk, eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
If your bread isn't sliced, slice it about 1" thick.
Your pan should be hot by now. One piece at a time, dip it into the milk/egg mixture on both sides (no need to soak it - just dip), and place as a single layer in the skillet. Only dip the pieces as they are about to go into the skillet. If you dip them all and they sit waiting for their turn to cook, they'll just sog up and fall apart on the cutting board. Allow to brown thoroughly on one side, flip, and allow to brown on the other.
Once cooked, place in a baking dish and keep warm in pre-heated oven. When all your toast is cooked, serve with syrup, whipped cream, butter, fruit, jams, nut-spreads or anything else you like on your french toast.