Building block of a brunch that says “I love you”

I woke up the other day feeling blue. I didn’t want to get out of bed, because I had the feeling that blue mood was going to stick with me all day long. I just couldn’t face the idea of dragging myself around and being down all day. Do you ever have one of those days?

But I was also kind of hungry. And the idea of lying in bed getting hungrier became even more unappealing than the idea of walking around in a funk. So I hopped up and decided to kill two birds with one stone.

I marched on into the kitchen and I made myself the kind of brunch that says, “I love you.” A Valentine’s weekend, Mother’s Day, breakfast-in-bed kind of brunch. I made it just for myself. I took time and care and if I owned a bud vase, I would’ve put a rose in it.

I didn’t take any pictures of this brunch. Nope, I ate it while it was hot (a rare experience for a food blogger, as I’m sure many of you can testify) and I cleaned my plate. And after I ate it, I felt so much better. (And sleepy, but that’s an expected side-effect of a great brunch.) I felt ready to be in the world, to go through my day, because I felt warm and full and loved.

Yesiree, that was some brunch.

The cornerstone of my brunch-of-self-love is an amazing recipe for vegan French toast from Vegan with a Vengeance. I use fabulous Udi’s gluten-free bread (contains a small amount of eggs) for my bread, and I add a few extra tweaks that aren’t called for in the original recipe. The French toast recipe uses chickpea flour to attain its incredible, eggy texture – an ingredient which your average vegan might puzzle over when coming across it, but this gluten-free baker was more than prepared! I actually prefer this to regular French toast – it has that delicious custardy texture and crunchy brown exterior without actually tasting like well-cooked eggs, which I always found a little off-putting.

“Fronch” Toast
This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moscowitz. It really depends on having bread with a decent texture (it doesn’t have to be great, but that stiff rice bread isn’t going to cut it). If you’re GF but not vegan, you can use fabulous Udi’s. If you’re vegan but not GF, you can use a nice sourdough. If you’re vegan and GF, hopefully you’ve either sourced or make yourself a wonderful bread. If you do know of one, let me know!

Several slices of decently-textured bread. Stale bread works, too!

1/2 cup rice, soy, or hemp milk (original recipe calls for half soy creamer, half milk, but I’ve never used it, and I’ve never missed it here)
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. chickpea flour
1 t. vanilla (my addition)
A generous sprinkle of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg (my addition)

Canola oil

In a large bowl with a wide bottom, mix together milk and cornstarch, stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir in chickpea flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stir until chickpea flour is mostly dissolved (small lumps are okay).
Heat a skillet (I like well-seasoned cast iron, but nonstick should work, too) over medium heat. Add enough canola oil to create a thin film across the pan.
Soak your bread slices in the milk mixture. Flip them over, making sure the bread is saturated.
Transfer well-saturated slices to skillet. Cook each side for about two minutes, or until each side has browned a bit. Finished slices should be golden with flecks of darker brown.
Serve immediately, with maple syrup.

Serves 1-2. (I’ve halved the recipe from the original. You may still have some batter left over – it keeps quite well in the fridge for a few days.)

Do you know what you *don't* want to do? You don't want to cook your French toast using a Dutch oven as your skillet, because all the good browned crust will stick to it and you'll be left with sad, holey little pieces of bread.

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