To say I’ve been lying all these years wouldn’t be entirely accurate.
I kind of always knew I wasn’t allergic to eggs. I mean, I spend a good 95 per cent of my free time baking, which for the most part means licking spoons and scraping bowls of egg-heavy batter. Technically, if I actually was allergic, I’d be a speckled mass of hives – or worse.
It’s kind of like that awkward period in your life when you know that Santa Claus isn’t real, but you go along with it anyway. Maybe it’s to protect your parents from realizing that they’d left the Sears receipt inside the present, or maybe it’s because you really, really want to hold onto your childhood, but either way, you just stay silent to maintain the status quo.
Well, it’s kind of like that. Basically, when I was a kid I got sick, and my doctor prescribed me a medicine called Bactrim. During those same few days, I also tried eggs for the first time. I hated both. Luckily for me, my body didn’t seem to agree with one of them, and I broke out into a series of itchy, blotchy hives.
My mom, always one to err on the side of caution when it came to her children’s well-being, banned both Bactrim and eggs from my reach. I didn’t complain – eggs were kind of gross and so was the syrupy medicine.
So that’s how I came to claim my egg allergy. No matter that over the past 20 years, I’ve enjoyed innumerable egg-laden cakes and batters. Not once have I even so much as had to scratch an itch afterwards.
I’ll admit I’ve used my so-called allergy as a crutch, letting it get me out of having to try foods that I simply didn’t like, particularly those wretched, fart-smelling hard-boiled eggs that would occasionally get forced upon my plate.
I’ve turned down many attempts by friends and family to get me to try an egg and “see what happens” – and despite what I may have told them, it’s not because I was afraid of breaking into spots. I just never liked the look, smell or taste of them, but to explain that to the rest of the egg-loving world has always been too difficult.
And then it happened. I was fumbling through a cookbook of mine this summer when I stumbled upon a picture of tangy cream cheese sandwiched between two thick and gooey slices of bread, topped off with a sprinkling of fresh berries and whipped cream.
Sweet lord, I thought. This is what I’ve been missing.
It started out slow. First, I made chicken fried rice, and actually made a point of trying the little chunks of eggs. Then I went even further, ordering scrambled eggs with my waffles when my boyfriend took me out for breakfast.
But this recipe is the final straw – the final admission that I, Gilean Watts, am 100 per cent NOT allergic to eggs. In fact, I’m kind of addicted to them. So much that for the past four weekends in a row, I’ve started my Saturday with a great big plate of scrambled eggs. I even crave them at weird times, like at bedtime or at 1 AM on a Friday night.
It’s crazy, I know, to be going on about the beauty of eggs, but they really are my new favourite food. To celebrate my introduction into the world of eggs, I’ve created a recipe for one of the most indulgent egg dishes, French toast.
But this isn’t just any old French toast. I’ve stuffed mine with a velvety mixture of cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, sweet vanilla and a handful of my beloved blueberries. Then I topped it all off with a simple blueberry and maple syrup sauce. Be warned: this recipe is addictive, indulgent, and very, very rich. For a twist, try adding different fruit and berries to the filling. This morning, I stuffed thin slices of banana between the bread with the cream cheese filling and blueberries – it was amazing!
Blueberry Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast
Measuring cups and spoons
2 small mixing bowls
Large pie dish or other wide, shallow dish
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp flour
4 thick slices bread
1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup cream cheese (1/2 brick)
1/2 tsp sugar
Splash vanilla extract
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
In a small saucepan, combine Blueberry Reduction ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until thick and reduced.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk egg, milk, 1 tsp vanilla, flour and dash cinnamon. Pour into a large pie dish. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high and coat with cooking spray.
In a separate small bowl, mix cream cheese, cinnamon, sugar and splash vanilla with a rubber spatula until softened. Spread on 2 bread slices. Press 1/4 cup blueberries into cream cheese filling, dividing evenly among slices. Top each with remaining bread slices. Dip in egg mixture, letting each side sit in mixture for only 3 to 4 seconds. Immediately add to skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to serving plates.
Remove blueberry reduction from heat and stir in maple syrup. Drizzle over top of French toast, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.