Comfort Food 202: French Toast, Hash Browns & Scrambled Eggs

diner breakfast

My husband needs comfort food right now, and there is nothing better than a diner breakfast to soothe a troubled mind. I’m talking challah french toast, hash browns, and scrambled eggs.

My husband is very, very particular about his french toast, hash browns, and eggs. You would think that there is no need to explain how to make these basic breakfast items, but my husband thinks otherwise. Too often, he thinks, cooks get breakfast food just plain wrong, wrong, wrong.

french toast

French toast, for example, must never ever be soggy in the middle, decrees my husband. I was raised with french toast that was all custardy in the middle. It has taken me years to figure out how to make it for my husband so that it is both eggy and bone dry on the inside.

Here is the secret: lots of eggs, hardly any milk at all. For four thick slices of french toast, beat three eggs with just a tablespoon or two of milk. That’s it. No sugar or vanilla or anything else is needed. If you use a very eggy and sweet challah there really is no need. Soak four thick slices of challah in the eggs until they are all absorbed. Then heat a lightly greased pan on medium and cook on both sides until golden.

As for the hash browns, I believe in using day-old baked potatoes. Skin them, dice them, and saute them in butter on medium for a long, long time, until they get crusty and brown. Occasionally replenish the butter in the pan as they cook.

The more butter they absorb, they better they are, but don’t put so much in at one time that they are frying in a puddle. The pan should just be lightly  coated with butter.

A minute or two before serving,  add salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika and toss and cook a little bit longer.

As for the eggs, the secret is a lightly buttered pan, medium heat, and cooking them until set, but still slightly moist and almost runny. The residual heat from the pan will continue to cook them after you take the pan off the heat. This prevents them from being all dried out and tough when you serve them.

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