The semester I spent in Hong Kong, I lived in this tiny, sun-drenched studio just big enough for my bed — it had a bathroom, and a kitchen with two burners that couldn’t heat up at the same time, and a little stretch of hardwood floor, and a bed that took up the rest. It was so compact that pulling back the curtains soaked the entire apartment in light. You could sit in bed and touch every wall if you tried. I totally loved it. It was a me-sized, luxuriously slothful haven, where I ate in bed and studied in bed and pretty much never left my bed if I was home. When Bowl #2 visited, we had Thanksgiving dinner in bed — bowls of Indomie, frozen dumplings, and KFC takeout propped up on nothing but law books and prayers that I wouldn’t spill soy sauce on my sheets. Student living at its finest.
Since then we’ve graduated to bigger things, like living rooms and occasionally eating on tables, but when Evencki so graciously sent me these gorgeous linens, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to revisit those student days. Breakfast in bed is a rare occasion around here — Bowl #2’s normal breakfast is a mug of black coffee with a side of black coffee, and he’s such a super light sleeper that I couldn’t sneak up on him with a tray of pancakes to save my life, but I had a day-old batch of this bread (sub this challah dough) just waiting to be French toast-ified, and we had these impossibly cool and crisp new sheets to luxuriate in, so he indulged me this Valentine’s Day.
I’ve actually been meaning to share this French toast for almost a year now, which is a little crazy to me. It’s pretty much all I want in a lazy weekend breakfast — eggs, bacon, cheese, carbs — all rolled into one, and it’s perfect for breakfast in bed. The custard in the French toast keeps bed crumbs to a minimum, and wrapping all your usual breakfast suspects up into one plump challah jacket makes for neat but decadent eating. Plus, you can slice up and stuff these the night before, then all you have to do in the morning is brew a pot of coffee, whisk up the egg mixture, dip, fry, and serve. (And, if you’re a weirdo like me, douse it in maple syrup. Somehow I love maple syrup on my savory foods. But I won’t blame you if you opt out on that count.)
Hope you’re all having wonderful weeks, and wishing you a little bit of sloth and extra time in bed in the near future!
- 3-4 rashers bacon
- 3-4 very thick-cut (about 1-inch or more is ideal) slices of day-old bread (I used this no-knead challah made with this filling)
- about 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheese of your choice -- I substituted a handful of shredded smoked Gouda; Gruyere would also work wonderfully)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper as desired
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2-3 tsp reserved bacon grease (from above), for frying
- maple syrup for serving (optional, but I love it)
- Cook the bacon, either by baking or pan-frying, to the doneness of your liking. To bake, simply place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400 degrees and let heat for 10-15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered. (Keep an eye on it for the last 5 minutes to ensure it doesn't burn.) To panfry, lay the bacon in a single layer in a cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook until crisp, flipping as necessary. Reserve bacon fat for frying the French toast. Let bacon cool briefly, then chop into small pieces and set aside.
- Use a serrated knife to cut through bottom crust of each slice of bread, slicing almost to the edges, to make a “pocket” for the cheese and bacon.
- In a small bowl, mix shredded cheese and cooled bacon until combined. Stuff each slice carefully with your desired amount of the bacon and cheese mixture.
- In a shallow bowl large enough to hold the bread slices, whisk the egg, milk, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper until well-combined. Soak each slice of bread in the egg mixture until both sides are well-coated.
- In a cast-iron skillet, heat 2-3 tsp of the reserved bacon fat over medium heat with the minced garlic until the garlic crackles. Add the soaked bread slices and fry until golden-brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately with extra bacon, if desired, and plenty of maple syrup if you're so inclined.
The amount of bread you need will vary depending on the size of your slices -- I used a squat challah, so we made four slices, but you might just need two from a larger loaf.