Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Breakfast at Stephanie's" A Deliciously Decadent Morning with the Girls!

I recently invited some girlfriends over for a morning of delicious recipes from "Savor the Moment." Breakfast on Sunday is probably one of my favorite meals of the week and the girls were sweet enough to come on over to Chez Miskew and help me out with some dishes from "Savor the Moment's"  decadent Bread & Breakfasts chapter!

I went with a "Breakfast at Stephanie's" theme, giving everyone their own tiara and a CD with songs from Audrey Hepburn movies including "Moon River Cha Cha" from Breakfast at Tiffany's, a new favorite, and "Think Pink" from Funny Face - perfect tunes for chilling out on a Sunday morning. We also wore our tiaras throughout breakfast - I think Holly Golightly would be proud!

The menu consisted of Honeydew Mimosas (pg. 101) followed by a buffet of Ham and Cheese Strata (pg. 102), French Toast Baked in Honey Pecan Sauce (pg. 97), and Tropical Fruit with Mango Cream (pg. 107). Fortunately, most of these recipes could be made the night before and popped in the oven shortly before the girls arrived - gotta love that!

The Ham and Cheese Strata is a mouth watering mixture of French Bread, ham, Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese, eggs, half and half and Dijon mustard that you can assemble the night before and bake in a springform pan for about 1 1/2 hours. I cut the ham into thick cubes to give some nice texture to the strata. When you pop the springform off this baby, it is a sight to behold! Golden brown, crispy edges studded with chunks of ham and melty cheeses - YUM!  And it tastes as good, if not better, than it looks.

The French Toast Baked in Honey Pecan Sauce was also delicious with its praline topping and accompanying Honey Butter. I'm not the biggest French Toast fan but I reeeeeally liked this recipe. Maybe it was the fact you could also do most of the prep the night before, but I think it had more to do with the flavor combo. The French bread "marinates" overnight in a mixture of eggs, half and half, brown sugar and vanilla and awakes to a warm reception in a 350 degree oven where it bakes atop a mixture of butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and pecans until puffed and golden brown. The result is some pretty phenomenal French toast with the perfect amount of sweetness.

In light of the previous two recipes, I thought I should probably throw in a token "healthy" dish to ease the guilt so I went with the Tropical Fruit with Mango Cream. As it turns out, this recipe calls for most of my favorite fruit including mango (obviously), nectarines, kiwifruit, pineapple and honeydew melon. It also called for passion fruit which unfortunately was not to be found in Delray Beach this particular day. Also, for the Mango Cream, in lieu of the kirsch, a clear, colorless fruit brandy made from distilled cherries, I used Chambord, a raspberry flavored liqueur, and it turned out just fine. This is the only dish of the three you will be making the morning of, since neither the fruit nor the Mango Cream holds up too well overnight. This dish also made a beautiful and delightfully colorful presentation and the fruit with the Mango Cream definitely had me going back for more - delicious!

My husband, Steve, was kind enough to rock out some fabulous batches of the Honeydew Mimosas for us girls. They were delicious and a beautiful, light green color that went down veeeeery smoothly - thanks, Hon! All in all it was a fun and delicious Sunday morning. Thanks to Carrie, Lee Ann and Reagan for your taste-testing help and for wearing tiaras throughout the entire breakfast. I've included the recipe for the Ham and Cheese Strata below, but you're going to have to buy a copy of "Savor the Moment" for the rest of the deliciousness. Enjoy!

XO,


Ham and Cheese Strata (pg. 102)**
1 loaf French bread, cubed
1 pound ham, cubed
1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 green onions, chopped
15 medium eggs
2 egg yolks
4 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Combine the bread, ham, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and green onions in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half and mustard in a medium bowl. Pour over the bread mixture and stir until moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or longer.
Stir the mixture and pour into an oiled 10-inch springform pan; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 to 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, covering with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Place on a serving plate and remove the side of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve. Serves twelve. 
**Better me than you cooking tips!
-  I baked the strata at 350 degrees so it could bake in the oven with the French Toast. It cooked for about 1 1/2 hours
- I cubed the ham into big chunks to give it some nice texture
- Be sure to run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the strata before unlatching it

18 comments:

  1. michelle gumprechtAugust 29, 2010 at 11:00 PM

    that strata looks amzing!!!!! Have to try to make that!!

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful recipe for the Strata! Having the girls over for food, fun, & fellowship is always the absolute best! Cherry Kay

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  3. I love your blog! I, too, am a Junior League of Knoxville member... though our cookbook is not as good as yours :) I used to live in Honolulu, and THAT JL cookbook had some really good stuff! I think make-ahead brunch items are awesome, and I love love love your "Breakfast at Stephanie's" theme! I'll definitely be following you!

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  4. Oh, I feel like I was there! What a fabulous Sunday morning! That strata looks and sounds amazing as do the Honeydew Mimosas! Thanks for following my blog - can't wait to read more of your adventures - you're in the home stretch!

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  5. It sounds like the perfect way to start the week, or any day for that matter. I especially love the savoury strata.

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  6. What interesting things you have going on here, and congratulations on your recent anniversary! Your brunch party looks like it was lots of fun and all the dishes look scrumptious. The tropical fruit with mango cream is especially enticing! I'm a big strata fan, and one of the things I love about it is how endlessly versatile it is. I make a fall version with leeks, sausage, and sage that is one of my favorite comfort foods. Thanks for following my blog - I'll be following yours as well!

    eggy

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  7. Bonjour Stephanie!
    A lovely theme for a breakfast with the girls. Everything looks delicious!
    xoxo, B

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  8. Hi,
    What a fabulous blog! I also joined you and I am sure aI will spend a lot of time enjoying your little corner. Wish I could have been at your Sunday brunch with the girls; great photos.

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  9. Love the theme - the photos - and just the fabulous energy from this post about Sunday breakfast with the girls. Our girlfriends are definitely precious to us - and honoring each other like this is one of life's greatest pleasures. Beautiful!

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  10. Loved ur great recipes here !!

    - Smita
    littlefoodjunction.blogspot.com
    (fun food ideas for picky eaters )

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  11. Stephanie...what a wonderful way to spend quality time with your girlfriends.
    The brunch looks exquisite!
    Starta...is a great dish which believe it or not has still not been made in my kitchen.

    Ciao for now and have a fabulous week,
    Claudia

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  12. Oh my! Breakfast at Stephanie's sounds like a pure delight! I'll have some of that french toast please.

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  13. I think stratas are the perfect answer to busy holiday breakfasts and brunches. We have one every Christmas morning...
    Fun girlfriend get together, Stephanie!

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  14. What fun!! The food looks great! Especially the french toast! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Yum - cheesey goodness. I am now sad that I have never worn a tiara at breakfast!

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  16. Good gravy that french toast looks amazing! My specialty in the fall is making cinnamon bread pudding.

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  17. Mango cream sounds amazing, love the photo of the fruit bowl! :)

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