Working from home has its benefits and one of them is being able to plan a breakfast meeting in your own backyard.
Last week I held an editor’s meeting in the great outdoors. No sterile company conference room or institutional cafeteria for us.
Since we’re a new company, the purpose of this meeting was for everyone to meet each other and share notes on how best to get started with the work at hand. Everyone learned from each other and I believe the seeds of friendship were sowed amid laughter and free flowing conversation that lasted more than two hours.
That’s right, a two-hour meeting that was productive and fun. I like to think the food (see below) and music (Beatles) had something to do with that.
Here’s the menu:
Vegetable and Cheese Strata
Fresh fruit bowl
Lemon/Cranberry Scones (OK, I bought these. No recipe here) with butter and strawberry jam.
Fresh Iced Tea
Vegetable and Cheese Strata (Recipe from the Feb. 1991 edition of Gourmet Magazine):
- Ingredients/Shopping List:
- Onion (1 1/2 cups, chopped)
- Scallions (1 cup, chopped)
- Mushrooms (3/4 pound)
- Olive oil (3 tbsp.)
- Red bell pepper (2, about 2 cups, cut into thin strips)
- Green bell pepper (2, about 2 cups, cut into thin strips)
- Italian bread (About 1 loaf; enough to measure 9 cups, cut into 1-inch cubes)
- Extra-sharp cheddar cheese (10 oz or 2 1/2 cups, grated)
- Parmesan cheese (1 cup, grated)
- Large Eggs (12)
- Milk (3 1/2 cups)
- Dijon-mustard (3 tbsp.)
- Tabasco (6 or 7 dashes or to taste)
What I did:
Cook the onion, scallion and mushrooms in oil over low heat, stirring until the onion is softened.
Add bell peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring for 10-15 minutes or until liquid evaporates and peppers are tender.
Arrange half of the bread cubes in a buttered shallow (4 1/2-quart) baking dish.
Spread half of vegetable mixture over bread cubes and sprinkle half the cheddar and half the parmesan cheese on top.
Arrange the remaining bread cubes over the cheese layer.
Top with remaining vegetables and then the remaining cheese.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, the milk, the mustard, the tabasco, and salt and pepper. Then pour this evenly over the strata.
Chill the strata covered, overnight.
Let the strata stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking it in the middle of a 350-degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until it is puffed, golden and cooked through.
This recipe serves 8.
Find more recipes in the Food section.
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(Above: This is the bold flavor of gingerbread in one of the lightest pancakes you’ll ever eat.)
A friend on a skiing trip in Vermont raved about some gingerbread pancakes she ate at a restaurant up there. I emailed the place to see if they’d be willing to share the recipe with the RootsLiving community. But alas, they wouldn’t give it up.
So I did some searching and found this recipe in a cookbook I was given for Christmas this year: “Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty.” I made them for dinner tonight and found them to be very light, fluffy and brimming with gingerbread flavor.
- All Purpose Flour (1 1/4 cups)
- Baking Powder (1 tsp.)
- Baking Soda (1/2 tsp.)
- Kosher Salt (1/2 tsp.) (I’m sure if you don’t have Kosher, regular salt will do.)
- Ground Cinnamon (1 tsp.)
- Ground Ginger (3/4 tsp.)
- Ground Cloves (1/8 tsp.)
- Large Eggs (2)
- Dark Brown Sugar (1/4 cup, firmly packed) (regular sugar works fine too)
- Unsulfured Light Molasses (2 tbsp.) (optional)
- Unsalted Butter (2 tbsp, melted, plus more for serving)
- Brewed Coffee (1/4 cup, at room temperature)
- Canola Oil (enough for cooking)
- Pure Maple Syrup (For serving. I didn’t have pure maple syrup so I used Aunt Jemima Original. I know, sacrilege!)
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Step 2 In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
- Step 3 In another bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, coffee, and 1/2 cup of water.
- Step 4 Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Don’t overwork it.
- Step 5 Get a frying pan hot enough so that water flicked on it will sizzle and skitter across the surface.
- Step 6 Brush a light coating of the oil over the pan and then pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto it. Cook pancake until bubbles form on the surface (about 2 min.). And then flip it over until the bottom is golden brown (about 30 seconds to 1 min.)
- Step 7 Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
- Step 8 Serve hot and with plenty of butter and syrup.