I was so spoiled by all the good food in Japan (both in restaurants and in my parents’ kitchen) that I managed to escape cooking altogether, with one exception. It was entirely voluntary, however—my parents don’t condone child labor…often.
Mom and I found a most intriguing product at Konokuniya (one of the international groceries in Tokyo): Kabocha Squash Toast!
This bread was cut so thick and looked so fluffily delicious that we decided it was meant for French toast. Saturday morning, I improvised a recipe based on various other French toast formulas I’ve seen over the years.
Maple-Ginger French Toast
- 8 slices thick-cut bread (doesn’t have to be kabocha-flavored, promise!)
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Whisk together all ingredients except for bread, beating until smooth.
- Warm a large skillet prepared with nonstick spray over medium/medium-high heat.
- Dredge 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture until thoroughly coated and cook in the skillet for several minutes per side, until browned to your liking.
- Respray skillet as needed and repeat with the remaining slices of bread.
- Serve with additional maple syrup, butter, nut butter, whatever floats your boat.
Lemme tellya, the Japanese do their baked goods right. Not that baking is a cooking technique especially typical in Japanese cuisine, but rather, the Japanese have imported the very best of French breadstuff influence. The kabocha part would be the Japanese contribution to the recipe, of course.
French toast doesn’t often tempt me when competing against, say, pancakes, but given the right bread to work with, there’s no denying it’s a special treat. If by chance you can’t find kabocha toast in your local market (ha), methinks French toasting makes a good way to use up the gratuitous baked goodies that pile up around the holidays. You have to admit, those gingerbread men are begging to be French toastified. I dare you.