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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Best Egg Breakfast Casserole

As I have mentioned before, the kitchen is not my natural habitat and when we purchased our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, my wonderful women friends came to the rescue with recipes they loved. My friend June Jones gave me a recipe for a dish that she calls ‘Brunch Eggs’ and it has become one of my favorites and a favorite of guests who stay at our inn. This is a dish that June makes for her family on Christmas morning and I always think of her when I make it. I have made a few changes and when you have made it a couple of times, you can easily alter it to make it your own.

This is a favorite type of breakfast dish for innkeepers because it can be prepared the night before and cooked in the morning. You can use almost any kind of hearty bread but I prefer to use Challah which is egg bread or brioche. I find that it gives a wonderful, rich texture to this dish.

Brunch Eggs
Serves 4-6

Farm Fresh Eggs
3 c. of plain croutons ( I use challah(egg) bread)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese and a bit more for top of dish
6 slightly beaten eggs
3 c. milk
¾ tsp. salt, ½ tsp dry  mustard
Dash of lemon pepper (I use Trader Joe’s)
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 bunch scallions sliced
4 slices of cooked & crumbled bacon

Grease a 10x6x1 ¾ inch-baking dish with butter or spray with butter flavored Pam.  Toss cubed bread with cheese and scallions and place in baking dish. Crack eggs in a separate bowl and add milk, salt, dry mustard, lemon pepper, onion and garlic powder, and whisk together. Pour over bread cubes and cheese. Sprinkle top with a little more cheese and bacon. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes, till set. Can easily be doubled and baked in a larger pan. Serve with herbed tomatoes and fresh fruit.

Note from Jan: I have used seasoned croutons in this dish, which gives it a different and more salty flavor. If you use French bread or egg bread instead of prepared croutons and cut it into cubes, the dish is more like a soufflé. You can add many things to this dish to make it different each time you make it so experiment and Enjoy!

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

French Toast With a Twist

This recipe was given to me many years ago by our wonderful friend Rebecca Brooks when we bought our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. It is a guest favorite and one of the few non-savory breakfasts we serve.

Plummer's Sugar House
This mildly sweet toast is made with Challah bread which is an egg bread that some people call brioche. You can buy it at your local grocery store or bakery or use home baked. It is sweetened with orange juice and does not have any sugar added. Some of our guests prefer it with nothing else on it but many do love the fact that we serve pure Vermont maple syrup, which we have sent down from Plummer’s Sugar House in Grafton, Vermont.

Macadamia Nut French Toast
serves 8 - 10

8 eggs
2/3  cup milk
1-1/3 cup OJ
2 tsps. vanilla
dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 stick butter
8 to 10 slices Challah bread
Approx. 1 cup Macadamia nuts, chopped coarsely

The night before serving, beat eggs together and then mix in next 4 ingredients.  Slice the bread into 1 inch slices, and arrange in a pan just large enough to fit the slices.  (Often, a 9 X 14 is good for this.   It’s OK to use 2 smaller pans.)  Pour the mixture over the slices, turn once to coat, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt the butter just until it is soft. Brush the butter onto the foil-covered sheet making sure the surface is well covered.  (You can also use Pam)  Arrange the bread slices on the cookie sheet so they don’t touch each other. Spoon the chopped nuts evenly on each piece.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the nuts start to brown.  Serve at once with maple syrup.

When the toast is first removed from the oven, it will be nice and puffy. If it sits very long prior to serving, it will settle down a bit. However, it is still delicious. 

Notes: The above are the basic proportions. This recipe can easily be doubled, dependent on how many slices of toast you want to make.  It is very rich, so one slice per person is often all that is needed.  When you prepare the bread the night before, you want to have enough liquid to allow the bread slices to become soaked, so after you pour it over the bread, there still should be some liquid covering the bottom of the pan you soak it in. The next morning, it should all be absorbed. You will get a feel for it after you make it a few times.   

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts