Friday, June 27, 2008

Mmm...Canada: Strawberry-Rhubarb French Toast

This post is part of the Mmm...Canada event, hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict.

When I thought of what food screams "Canada!" to me, I aimed for something recent vs. my all-time favourite. The reason? There are just too many Canadian foods that I love to mention.

In Canada, we are so lucky to be able to produce so many delicious things. On my recent trip to the Niagara Wine Country, I got to sample the many delicious wines being produced just a short drive away from me.

When I still lived in London, I loved to go to the St. Jacob's farmer's market to buy maple syrup produced by local mennonites.

And when I visit my hometown now, I'm even more appreciative of the roadside stands where I love to buy my fruits and rhubarb. So that's why, for this event, I decided to make something with Essex County rhubarb.

Essex County is the best place I know to buy fresh, local produce. And it's inextricably tied to "Canada," for me, since I spent the first 18 years of my life there. Growing up in a Canadian small town, to me, meant growing up in Essex County, with its roadside fruit stands and huge farming community. I took rhubarb from Essex County and some strawberries I picked in London and made Strawberry-Rhubarb French Toast.

The recipe itself is pretty basic. I used about 1 cup of chopped rhubarb and only 1/4 cup of chopped strawberries (I really wanted the rhubarb to be the dominant flavour, but you could increase the amount of strawberries, too). I stewed the fruit in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat with a couple tablespoons of water, a few tablespoons of granulated sugar, and a splash of vanilla. I let it cook until the rhubarb released its juices and the fruit was nice and tender. You could add more sugar, but since I was planning on dousing my french toast in maple syrup, too, I cut back on the sugar in the sauce. This made enough for about 2 servings (with about a 1/2 cup of sauce per person). You can adjust it accordingly, if you'd like.

I made standard french toast -- bread dipped in a milk, egg and cinnamon mixture, then fried like grilled cheese (I'm sure you know the drill) -- cut it into halves, and dusted it with icing sugar before spooning the strawberry rhubarb sauce over top. A heap of maple syrup completed the dish.

So, there you have it. A basic recipe with lots of room to make adjustments. With its abundance of local produce, I can't think of any other recent dish I've made that epitomizes Canadian food for me.


Domestic Goddess June 28, 2008 at 3:19:00 PM EDT  

Strawberry and Rhubarb are such a perfect combination...and with so much of both around Ontario in the summer you certainly can't go wrong with this recipe!

Thanks so much for joining in on Mmm...Canada!

Fitness Foodie June 29, 2008 at 8:50:00 PM EDT  

I love french toast. Have not had it in ages, up and out the door these days. This one sounds really delicious, love the strawverry-rhubarb combo. Have a happy canada day!

Anonymous July 1, 2008 at 8:54:00 AM EDT  

MMMM!!!! I have been wanting to work with rhubarb for so long (I never have!) and this seems like the perfect idea!

Welcome to TWD! I can't wait to see what you make!

Kaitlin July 1, 2008 at 10:09:00 PM EDT  

Thanks Jennifer! Thanks again for hosting/co-hosting the event. It's such a great idea--a wonderful opportunity to see what Canadian food bloggers have to offer.

Kaitlin July 1, 2008 at 10:11:00 PM EDT  

Thanks Teanna--bake with rhubarb as soon as you can. It's so great, and since it's one of those things you can only get at this time of year (at least in my area), it makes it extra special.

The Apron Queen July 1, 2008 at 11:58:00 PM EDT  

This looks divine! Nothing better than french toast on Sunday morning.

Stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen for a piece of Maple Walnut Fudge:

Anonymous July 2, 2008 at 11:05:00 AM EDT  

French toast is one of my most favourite foods ever, being the big breakfast person that I am - and you've taken it to the next tasty level :)

Anonymous July 2, 2008 at 2:31:00 PM EDT  

What I would give to have that served to me for breakfast, or any time of the day for that matter. It's not only beautiful, but I can almost taste it just by looking at your wonderful photos.

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