This is a random Saturday cooking post, inspired by my friend Jami Gold, who told me recently to blog about what interests me. Well, food interests me. A great deal. While I’m driven by my stomach I’m also a very picky eater. (Example 1: I won’t eat cute meat, no venison, obviously no rabbit, no veal. Example 2: I won’t eat meat that contains any bones, fat, sinew, veins, or other things that remind me it was once alive.) On top of that I didn’t grow up with a ton of money, so the idea of wasting food, any food, is pretty abhorrent to me.
Which brings us to Banana Stuffed French Toast, Tada!
When bananas start to turn brown or have black spots I won’t eat them (see? Picky.). Instead I peel them and freeze them, hoping to turn them into something acceptable later. This is one of those acceptable things. The recipe for two servings is:
1 thick piece home made bread, (having a bread machine makes it easy to be a bread snob) cut into two pieces about 3 inches thick by 5 inches long
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (Or regular vanilla extract. I thought the powder was better for a while, but I’m waffling on that.)
Use the butter (less than a tablespoon) to grease the inside of a small glass baking dish. Combine the milk, egg, and spices. Pour into the dish, put the bread in, turning to coat. Drizzle with a small bit of honey, turn once and drizzle the other side. Cover and refrigerate until morning.
In the morning, remove the bread pieces and pour out any remaining egg/milk mixture. Return the bread to the glass dish. Preheat your toaster oven (or your real oven but, wow, is that a waste of energy for two slices) to 350’. Pop the bread into the oven for about 20 minutes.
2 bananas, frozen (they don’t have to be frozen, but if you’re using fresh adjust the cooking time)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all of the above in a microwave safe bowl, preferably a deep one. Microwave for 3 minutes (at which point it should be boiling). Remove carefully (the hot liquid will splash), and whisk into submission. If you like the filling ultra smooth toss it in the blender set to purée, but be warned it comes out looking like baby food.
Just about now you should hear the ding from your toaster oven. Remove the bread slices. Place on a cutting board, making sure the bottom of the slice is facing up. Cut each in half lengthwise.* Transfer the top half, cooked side down, to a plate. Generously cover with banana filling. Now transfer the other half, cooked side up and make a Banana Stuffed French Toast sandwich. Garnish with strawberries, heated jam, or hot maple syrup.
*For the more adventurous cooks: cut a slit in the bread, on the side, going about halfway into the bread to form a pocket. Fill a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with the corner cut off with the banana stuffing. Stuff the pocket of the bread with stuffing, arrange on plate so that the stuffing side faces the diner.
I’m considering slicing the bananas instead of mixing them the next time I make this. I think it would make the presentation nicer (and Iron Chef taught me that presentation is 10 points). I’ve also thought that some black pepper might enhance the sweetness a touch (gasp no!). I know that sounds risky but it works with strawberry fillings. Oh and I’ve made this with different types of bread, like French Brioche and Challah bread. Any other suggestions?