Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birthday Brunch Redux

This past week was a little light on activity for me because I was completely distracted by my birthday! That's right, my birthday was this past Wednesday, September 16. In celebration of my birthday and the birthday of a dear friend (Mickey), I hosted brunch at my house last Sunday. A week later (today) I'm finally getting a chance to post pics of the tasty treats that went with some bottomless mimosas :)

Me, Mickey and Jenn a while back - two of my close friends!

Turkey Sausage & Cheese Strata

* 1 large (20 ounce) loaf Italian or French bread, cubed
* 1 cup cooked turkey breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
* 1/2 large onion, chopped
* 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, or 1 garlic clove
* 1 cup sauteed mushrooms and red bell pepper
* 3 Tablespoons butter
* 3 1/2 cups skim fat milk
* 12 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
* 2-3 Tablespoons spicy grain prepared mustard
* 2 cups total shredded cheese; combination of gouda and smoked cheddar
* Sprinkle of Herbs de Provonce
* 1/4 c. of Panko

How To Make Strata Breakfast Casserole

1. Spray a 9" X 13" baking dish with vegetable spray. Set aside.
2. Cook sausage until done. Drain on paper towels.
3. Saute the onion and garlic together in butter.
4. Saute mushrooms and red bell peppers until just tender.
5. Place half the cubed bread in the prepared baking dish.
6. In a large mixing bowl, whisk or beat cream, half & half or milk, eggs, salt, pepper and mustard until foamy and blended well. Remove from mixer and add cheese.
7. Layer half the onions, veggies if using them and bacon or ham on top of the bread.
8. Pour half the milk and egg mixture over the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread and all the toppings, finishing off with the remaining milk and egg mixture.
9. Press the mixture down with clean hands until all the bread is soaked. Sprinkle with herbs. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, press again, and refrigerate the strata at least 8 hours or overnight.
10. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 65 - 80 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. During the last five minutes, sprinkle the top with panko. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. Be careful, the strata will be hot.
**Serves 8 - 10 main size portions, or 15 -20 brunch size servings.

This recipe is an old one my mother has made many holiday mornings, it's tasty with ham instead of the sausage and you could sub just about any veggie you can think of for the mushrooms and bell peppers, same for the cheese. It was a huge hit. We enjoyed the strata and our mimosas and then later had a sweet treat with these delicious chocolate coconut macaroons.

The backstory here is that earlier in the week I had met my father at Whole Foods for lunch and we got some chocolate coconut macaroons for dessert, they were so good that I became slightly obsessed with finding a comparable homemade version. I've got a few recipes I'd like to try other than this one but this was really tasty and so easy I'll definitely make it again.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
*4 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*3 large egg whites
*1/4 cup cocoa powder
*3/4 cup granulated white sugar
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the coconut and melted chocolate, making sure the coconut is well coated. If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
4. Place small mounds (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing several inches apart.
5. Bake for about 15 or until the macaroons are shiny. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.
**Makes about 20 Macaroons


Katherine Aucoin said...

Big Happy Birthday!!!! Looks like you had a feast. I;d love to find that breakfast strata for my birthday brunch!

Kerstin said...

Happy Birthday!! Sounds like you had the perfect brunch celebration!

Angie's Recipes said...

Happy Birthday! The chocolate macaroons are terrific!

Angie's Recipes

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

Happy Belated Birthday!! What delicious eats!! I haven't eaten a strata in so long. A forgotten food I need to re-visit. The cookies look yummy too.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday! The celebration brunch sounds excellent! I would so love one of those chocolate macaroons right now!

Chef Fresco said...

Happy belated birthday! That strata sounds delicious!

Grace said...

well, happy belated birthday to you! celebrating with brunch is a great idea, and the strata sounds perfect. the macaroons are lovely, too--i've never had a chocolate version, but it'd clearly be superior.

girlichef said...

OH! Happy (late) Birthday :D Those macaroons...mmmmmm!

Chef E said...

Happy belated Birthday Hornsfan... I was just catching up with your mom on facebook and hope all is well!

Gloria Chadwick said...

Happy Birthday, a little late! Your brunch looks totally delicious. Just wanted to let you know that the Hatch chile round-up has been posted... with all 7 of your recipes. Thanks for sharing. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

Happy Belated Birthday greetings! Now this is how I want to celebrate - strata and chocolate macaroons! Savory and sweet . . . delicious!