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Video: Easy holiday brunch

TODAY recipes
updated 12/26/2008 8:37:17 AM ET 2008-12-26T13:37:17

Recipe: Breakfast strata

This dish makes a perfect breakfast, particularly if you have houseguests, for it can feed as many people as you've got! Make as little or as much as you want; use your leftovers; assemble it the night before and then bake it off in the morning while you make the coffee.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 8-9 cups of 1-inch cubed bread (any bread, even rolls, leftover or fresh)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine (if no wine, increase milk by 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/3-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 4 cups arugula leaves, or other leafy green
  • 12 ounces cheese, sliced or grated (pretty much any cheese, Cheddar, Gouda, blue, brie, Swiss, Gruyere, etc.)
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 ounces sliced ham, Canadian bacon or prosciutto, etc.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preparation

Butter a casserole dish, such as a 9x13 rectangular or 10x15 oval.

Add the milk and wine to the bread cubes, and toss to blend and absorb. Pour into the dish and spread level.

Cover the bread with the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.

Spread the pesto over the tomatoes.

Cover with the arugula leaves.

Distribute the cheese evenly over the arugula.

Whisk the eggs well, and pour over the layers, reserving about a cup.

Lay the ham slices over the top, covering the surface. More than one layer is OK.

Drizzle the remaining egg over the ham, and top with the Parmesan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove dish from refrigerator and let sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in center of oven for 40-45 minutes, until bubbly, slightly puffed, and light brown on top. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serving Size

6 to 8 servings

Recipe: Cinnamon-orange baked french toast

Another great assemble-ahead dish. If you're thinking you'd like to make french toast, then think of standing at the stove making one serving at a time. This will serve 6-8 people all at once, including yourself. It's delicious as is, eggy, moist and light, but carry on the tradition, and serve it with warmed maple syrup.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • Bread, cut into 1-inch-thick slices (a mostly white bread is best, country, baguette, ciabatta, etc., crust and all)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or scrape the seeds from 1 fat vanilla bean)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For topping:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preparation

Spread the 2 tablespoons butter over the bottom and sides of a ceramic casserole dish, such as a 9x13 rectangular or 10x15 oval.

Lay the bread slices on their sides in the bottom of the dish in one layer, fitting them in tightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and whisk to blend. Add the sugar, half-and-half, orange zest and salt and whisk to blend well. Pour over the bread and press down on the slices to absorb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Remove dish from refrigerator and let sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the top. Bake in center of oven for about 40 minutes, until slightly puffed, and golden brown on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Serving Size

6 to 8 servings

Recipe: Potato-crusted frittata

If you need something fast to make the morning of, this egg-based recipe is practically a whole meal in itself, with potato, vegetable, cheese and egg components. It utilizes leftovers and makes an impressive presentation.

Ingredients
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, washed well and left unpeeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped cooked vegetables (use leftovers: carrots, peas, broccoli, greens, mushrooms, anything)
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions (cooked or caramelized onions and shallots are great as well)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Gruyere, Swiss, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Chopped herbs or parsley, whatever you have around (optional)
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the potatoes very thinly lengthwise. If you have a mandoline, use it.

Add the oil and butter to a 10-inch nonstick saute pan, and heat to medium-high. Add the potato slices one at a time, fanning them over each other. Place the slices so that one end is pointed toward the center of the pan, and the other end extends partly up the side of the pan. Continue around until the fanned circle is complete. If there is an empty space in the center, cut a piece of potato slice to cover it. Place another pan of the same size over the potatoes, or use a pie pan. Press the top pan down for a minute to flatten the potatoes. Turn heat to medium, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, until soft. (Check with the point of a knife.)

While potatoes cook, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, scallions or onions, cheese and herbs, if using. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove pan from the top of potatoes, and add the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until puffed and golden, and the center is no longer jiggly. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Run a spatula under the edges to loosen. Shake the pan to make sure the entire fritatta is loose.

Place a serving plate over the top of the pan, and flip both over together. Remove the pan. Cut the fritatta into wedges and serve.

Serving Size

6 servings

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