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Whole Wheat French Toast with Apples, Maple Syrup and Cranberries

My challenge? With guests arriving and meals planned, forage the house for local bounty for a simple but festive breakfast. This French toast, using nutty whole wheat bread, and other household staples — local eggs, maple syrup, apples, cider, milk and regional cranberries — makes it easy. 2-3 servings, easily doubled

1 large egg
1 egg white
1/2 cup milk
4 slices whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon butter, or more if needed
about 1 tablespoon sugar
about 1 teaspoon cinnamon
about 3 tablespoons of apple cider
1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons fresh cranberries
confectioner’s sugar, optional

l. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees with a large plate or small platter inside.

2. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a plate with a lip (or shallow bowl). Pour half of the mixture into a second plate. Soak a slice of bread in each plate, turn. Then repeat with the second two slices of bread until all four slices are well coated.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet large enough for all four pieces over a medium-high heat. (Work in batches if you don’t have a large pan.) When the skillet is hot, use a metal spatula to carefully add the bread. Sprinkle the top of the slices evenly with about half of the sugar and cinnamon. When the first side is well browned and crisp, 2-3 minutes, turn, and cook the other side, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and cinnamon and cook, until it is well browned, crispy, and firm, about 2 minutes more. (If you are working in batches, repeat with the second 2 slices of bread.)

4. Remove the French toast to a platter in the oven, cutting it in half and overlapping it if you wish.

5. Add cider, maple syrup and apples to the skillet. Boil until the liquid is reduced to about half. Remove all but 1-2 tablespoons of the liquid to a small bowl and place in the oven. Add the cranberries and cook shaking the pan, until they are coated with syrup and start to pop, about 1 minute. (Taste one, if it isn’t sweet enough on the outside, add a little more syrup.)

6. Remove French toast from the oven. Pour the maple-apple sauce down the center or around the sides. Sprinkle with the candied cranberries. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if you like.

Looking for good incubators for regional food system solutions? Check out the brief Intervale Center report from the Wallace Foundation site, where you can find lots of other informative studies as well. Then temper your optimism, or at least look at what the big guns are up to with Is Walmart the Future of Local Food?

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