Strawberry kiwi stuffed French toast: A farmers market-inspired dish

Here in the Northwest, we are so lucky to have such an abundance of yummy fruit and vegetables growing right in our backyards (thank you farmers!) as well as a wealth of talented bakers, canners and ranchers in our communities. Nowhere is this more evident than our local farmers markets.

I love visiting the Moses Lake Farmers Market in the summer months and seeing firsthand the amount of local goodies available to us. I usually walk away with some basic produce and a few specialty items (hello Pies by Ronna!) but I was inspired on my last trip to the farmers market to go beyond that. So I challenged myself to make a meal using as many local ingredients as I could, which technically is two challenges in itself. Side note — I’m not as skilled in the kitchen as I wish I was. However, I was smart enough to land myself a chef for a boyfriend so I wouldn’t have to rely on takeout for the rest of my life. When I told him about my meal challenge, he of course graciously offered to do all the cooking for me. I’m so lucky. However, for this feat I wanted to at least do a majority of the work in the kitchen. And I think I did pretty good on this one.

Sunday brunch is my absolute favorite meal. I think it may be because I can get away with drinking either lots of coffee or lots of mimosas — or both. Either way, I look forward to it each week, so it only made sense that I would create some sort of breakfast dish for this challenge. I set out for the farmers market on a Saturday morning without a grocery list, which is something I rarely do. I figured I would let the food sell itself. And boy, did it ever. I left the market with a package of natural hickory smoked maple bacon from Pure Country Pork in Ephrata, a loaf of English Muffin Bread from Phil and Sally’s Bakery in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, a jar of kiwi jam from Bev Be Jammin’ in Ephrata and some organic strawberries. I thought about doing a simple breakfast of bacon, eggs, fruit and toast. But you know what’s better than toast? French toast! And what’s better than French toast? Stuffed French toast! Yumm! I also stopped by Leprekon Harvest Foods on my way home for some cream cheese for my stuffed French toast filling as well as some eggs and milk. (You might be able to get local eggs and dairy products at your farmers market and if so, I encourage you to do so.)

The next morning, I got right to work. I sliced my bread into half-inch thick slices and set that aside. I sliced my strawberries and put half of them (roughly one cup) into a bowl for my filling. To that bowl I added 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and two generous tablespoons of kiwi jam. Stir until well combined. Now comes the fun part!

Take two slices of bread and fill with some the strawberry kiwi cream cheese concoction, press together and set aside. As my boyfriend told me, you can’t really mess this part up. I put the same amount of filling as I would if I were making an egg salad sandwich if that helps you picture the desired amount. Whisk two eggs, half a cup of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and cinnamon together in a separate bowl. Dunk each sandwich into the egg mixture and be sure to coat each side. Place in a pan and cook until both sides are golden. Top each piece of French Toast with some of the remaining sliced strawberries, powdered sugar and syrup. And that’s it for the “hard” part. Cook your eggs and bacon to your liking ( I love extra crispy bacon and over medium eggs) and dig in!

After you recover from your food coma, why don’t you try your hand at coming up with a farmers market meal. I’d love to see what you come up with! Be sure to share your creations with me in the comments!

(A version of this post originally appeared on my blog, He Cooks, I Eat. Follow me there for more recipes!)

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