One of the positives of my job, and admittedly one of the negatives as well, is having to move all over every year or two. You get to experience the local cuisines, and then learn to incorporate it into your own cooking.
We have spent a couple of stints in the lovely little town of Newport, Rhode Island, totaling about a year and a half. Newport is a touristy town with lots of uninteresting, bland, expensive tourist fare. Sure you can get amazing lobster and a broad assortment of seafood, but mostly it is just expensive and not quite Michelin starred meals. One thing they do absolutely right in New England, though, is The Diner.
Couple the diner excellence with the large Portuguese population centered in nearby Fall River, Mass. there is an assortment of diner food you don’t really find elsewhere.
Some of my favorites from my time there were variations on Portuguese sweet bread. The two in particular were French toast and Portuguese Sailor Breakfast Sandwiches. If you are in Newport for any reason, check out Cindy’s Country Cafe for some incredible stuffed French toast made from the biggest Portuguese sweet bread loaves you have ever seen, and Franklin Spa for the Portuguese Sailors or a constantly shifting menu of specials including some outstanding Benedicts.
On a whim, for Saturday morning breakfast today, we decided to come up with an ad hoc version of the French toast. Of course it was made with what we had in the kitchen, which itself is a subset of what we can find here in Japan, and that turned out to be Kings Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls. I know that they are about as processed a food as you can get, but there is something that just tastes so right about them.
Simple recipe as follows:
Kings Hawaiian French Toast
- 6 Kings Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 c. Whole Milk
- 2 T. Honey
Pull rolls apart in groups of two. Use a bread knife to slice them in half like little hamburger buns (also an awesome thing to use when creating your own version of Krystal/White Castle burgers).
Crack eggs into a bowl and add milk and honey. Whisk until everything is combined and there are bubbles on top. If just making regular French toast, I will often add a bit of liqueur at this stage, some butterscotch, amaretto, or another sweet liqueur to add an additional bit of flavor, however in this case, the rolls are sweet enough that it isn’t necessary at all.
Dip rolls into batter. Don’t be shy, let them sit in there for a good little bit and soak up the goodness. Sprinkle with a bit of the cinnamon and place them into a hot pan with a suitable amount of butter already melted in it. I think it works best if you place the cut side down initially and not the rounder part, but that’s just me. Cook until a good crust forms and flip and repeat. It is also helpful to use your turner to flatten them a bit at this stage so the cooking can be a bit more even.
When GB&D on both sides, plate it up, sprinkle some powdered sugar on it, pour some syrup, or just enjoy it with a little bit more butter on top. Serves 2-3.
At a later time, I will tackle the sailor sandwich and stuffed French toast. Otherwise, this is a tasty, simple, completely healthy (yeah right) breakfast, best served with a couple of slices of home cured bacon.