This Sunday is Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate mothers, quite typically with brunch. My brother, sister and I have a whole day planned, gallivanting around town taking our mom to all of her favorite places for a food-filled Sunday fun-day! But for those of you staying in and entertaining (whether it’s a large family gathering or just breakfast in bed) I’ve got you. Make your mom sourdough French toast topped with honey lemon ricotta and hibiscus honey and thyme roasted grapes. Show her how much you care!
Sweet, a little decadent, and definitely a far cry from the standard recipe—this dish combines some unexpected flavors that come together in a delicious way. Roasted grapes and ricotta are always a wining combination but rather than just place them atop toast I decided to take it to the next level.
I roasted red grapes in a little coconut oil, some Hibiscus Honey, fresh grated ginger, and a little fresh thyme. I whipped the ricotta with a little honey and some fresh lemon zest. Simple, vibrant, tasty. People also like to whip in a little cream cheese for a richer texture but I didn’t feel the need in this case. The Bee in Your Bonnet Hibiscus Honey has a subtle floral taste that both tart and sweet but very light. It’s a great, versatile addition to my pantry.
So, Mother’s Day is upon us and I’ve taken care of the brunch portion for you! What else do you have planned for this special day? I personally owe my mother a great deal. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it hadn’t been for the passion my mother instilled in me. The women in my family have a long-held tradition of cooking and creating. It’s in in our blood. When I look back on my childhood I am reminded of all the gifts she passed down to my siblings and I.
My earliest memories of her often center around cooking. She’d let me pull up a chair to the stove when I was about five or six to watch and help make dinner. I can vividly recall carefully leaning over the stove, absorbing everything she said and instructed me to do. She would often cook meals she made up in the moment or dishes she learned to prepare as a child with her mother, growing up in Nicaragua.
She inspired a love for food and creating meals worth reminiscing over. I still love going home and eating any dish she’s prepared—mom meals always taste better! There’s some sort of magic present in their hands that transfers to food. I owe a lot of my creativity and culinary improvisations to her knack for taking simple ingredients and working that magic, turning them into comforting, delicious dishes. The kind of food that induces relished eye-closing, silent gratitude, and the occasional mmm.
My mother also taught me about storytelling; about drawing people in and engaging them with palpable imagery and recollections. My brother, sister, and I would beg her to tell us stories about growing up in Nicaragua. About the house on stilts her family lived in. How she would hide beneath it for shade and how it served as a clandestine play place. The time my aunt Sharon fell through the old floorboards while taking a shower, her skinny legs kicking furiously several feet above the ground.
She would talk about waking up before dawn to cook meals with her mother to sell to the townspeople or for a holiday event. She hated waking up early and would sneak bites of food every chance she got. We loved hearing about the fights she got into (she was a true tomboy) and how she’d evade punishment from her mother by climbing the tallest tree in the yard. She would keep us captivated about the prophecy-like dreams my grandmother would have, predicting future events; like when my uncle was bitten by a rattle snake or when my grandfather lost his leg down on the train tracks. To this day I’m still afraid my grandmother will call me warning me not to go outside for a day.
I personally adored all the macabre tales she’d tell us—it is to her I owe my love of horror films and all things morbid. I was fascinated by descriptions of the deceased packed in ice on display in people’s living rooms. About the times she ran with her siblings to the tune of town church bells ringing in the news of someone’s passing—they had to know who in town had died. Or about the time my aunt had the misfortune of standing near a casket at a rainy service when it slipped and flew open, its contents inspiring years of nightmares.
Her childhood sounded so strange and wonderful to us. The world she described was filled with unfamiliar sights and smells and sounds, but she was able to bring them to life with vivid clarity. I’m so grateful when, upon reflection, I encounter those memories of good food, wonderful stories, and my mother who gave us such a vibrant and magical childhood. I love you mom, thank you for keeping us all so inspired.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there reading this!
- Makes 4-6 slices
- For the French Toast
- 4-6 slices sourdough, or bread of your choice
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2-3 Tbsp. butter, plus more for serving
- For the Grapes
- 2 cups red grapes, halved
- ½ tsp. coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. Hibiscus Honey
- ½ tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- For the Ricotta
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 Tbsp. Hibiscus honey
- ½ tsp. fresh lemon zest
- Make the Ricotta
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-combined. You can add more honey depending on your preference.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the Grapes
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine grapes with coconut oil, honey, ginger, and thyme and spread out in a single layer on baking sheet.
- Roast for about 20-25 minutes until grapes are tender and juicy.
- Reduce oven to 250°F to keep grapes warm while making the French toast.
- Make the French Toast
- Preheat oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla until well-combined.
- Pour into a shallow bowl or dish.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Dip bread slices 1 at a time into egg mixture being sure to coat both sides well.
- Let any excess batter drip back into the bowl and place in hot pan.
- Cook for several minutes on both sides until golden brown.
- Place finished toast in the preheated oven to keep warm before serving.
- Repeat with remaining slices of bread, occasionally wiping any burnt butter out of the pan with paper towels.
- Serve French toast with whipped ricotta and roasted grapes and an extra drizzle of honey if desired!
- I used 6 large but thin slices of sourdough bread for this recipe, depending on the size and thickness of bread you use you may use more or less.
- The condensed milk added enough sweetness for me but you can always add a few tsp. of sugar to the recipe.