Winter storm Jonas hit the East Coast pretty hard this weekend. My phone blew up with pictures from my friends and family back home, showcasing snow-covered cars, desolate New York City streets and little ones making snow angels. Yesterday it was a fairly moderate day here in Portland, I even took Cocoa for a walk wearing only a heavy sweater. I have to say that part of me does miss the snow, though. Well, let me rephrase, I miss: being cozy underneath the blankets, stocking up on wine and whiskey, baking during snowstorms, fireplaces, watching Cocoa play in/eat the snow, and the beauty of a crisp, fresh snowfall. However, I do not miss: shoveling, walking a mile to the Path train in the snow, slipping and busting my ass on ice, and the way snow in NYC turns from “how pretty!” to “oh God, everything is now a jet black mixture of slush, dirt and dog poop.”
We actually did get a blanket of snow here in Portland a few weeks ago. It was very pretty, until it turned into 100% ice the next day. The news had a looping segment of pedestrians slipping on the ice and falling; and, since Portlander’s aren’t used to driving in the snow, traveling by car wasn’t much safer. I do like living somewhere that has a change of seasons. Living in San Diego for half a decade was incredible, so much sunshine and t-shirts in winter! But you would never feel like it was Christmas, and you would never experience the magic of fall. In Portland, you get to experience all of the seasons, sometimes even a little snow, and a whole lot of rain. Give and take.
So, since everyone ran to the store to stock up on eggs, milk and bread for the storm, here’s a recipe for what you can do with that! And I know it’s January, and we’re all eating super healthy, and this recipe isn’t exactly diet friendly. It’s more of a special occasion or weekend cheat treat. I made it last month for our 5 year wedding anniversary. It’s so good. You can go back to eating healthy on Monday. You deserve this after all that shoveling.
This citrus and berry stuffed brioche French toast is made with an orange, nutmeg and cinnamon laced custard. It’s complemented by a berry compote (made easy by using frozen fruit – especially because we’re in the dead of winter), and is stuffed with cream cheese swirled with that same compote.
- 2 cups frozen organic mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- 1 medium Brioche loaf, cut into 6-8 slices
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- salt, pinch
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- Combine fruit, sugar, zest and juice in a pot. Bring to a simmer. Once the fruit is warmed, remove fruit with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. This ensures your fruit doesn't break down while the syrup thickens. Thicken the fruit juices and sugar on a constant simmer until syrup consistency, about 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly and combine with the fruit.
- Swirl 2 tablespoons of the fruit syrup into 8 ounces of softened cream cheese. Set aside.
- Combine eggs, milk, orange juice, zest, 1 tablespoon sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Whisk well until thoroughly combined.
- Cut a "pocket" into each slice of toast, starting from the top and working about half way down. Be sure not to cut all the way through. Stuff each slice with about 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture, ensuring it is not coming out of the top or sides and is evenly spread. Melt butter in a saute pan. Coat each side of the stuffed bread into the custard mixture, letting it bathe a few seconds to thoroughly saturate. Cook the bread in a buttered pan until golden brown on both sides. Serve with warm berry compote.