Q. Can you recommend an easy-to-serve egg casserole that would complement my Mother's Day brunch? Also have you ever heard of "oven pancakes"? I'm looking forward to impressing my guests. Thanks for your help.
- Tara D.
A. Tara, this is something I'm not used to - somebody is actually planning ahead (unless your e-mail was sent to me last year and I am just now getting around to it).
It sounds as if you want to prepare a great all-American Mother's Day brunch. Speaking of all-American, you might believe, like I used to, that Mother's Day was actually created by some American greeting card company. Here's a little story that proves how I help give Americans a bad name.
When I lived in California, I was doing a promotion for an airline company. Each month, I would go to a different country and collaborate with a local chef; I would prepare American cuisine and they would showcase the food from their countries. Our cooking demonstrations were filmed and inserted into the in-flight video for the airline company.
One Saturday in May, my flight from San Diego connected in Miami and landed the following morning in Santiago, Chile. My first dumb American action was asking what time it was so I could set my watch. (It was the same time as Miami.) I couldn't believe I flew 12 hours and didn't have to change my watch!
Dumb American Action No. 2: I was dressed for a beautiful summer day and ended up freezing because I didn't realize it was winter.
Dumb American Action No. 3: After checking into the hotel, I was introduced to their chef. With my interpreter's help, I asked him when would be a good time to come down and begin cooking. "Not today," he informed me, "We are extremely busy since it is Mother's Day." My non-Einstein reply? "You guys have Mother's Day?" My interpreter's translation of his animated response was, "How typical. You Americans think you create everything! Of course we have Mother's Day!"
Not being smart enough to be embarrassed, I went up to my room where I watched the local soccer game while I ate the Chilean version of a cheesesteak sandwich. If you're not too ashamed to take recipes from a big dumb American, I am sharing a strata recipe that would be a great dish to serve for your egg casserole. I've also thrown in a recipe for oven pancakes. If you need some recipes for another great American holiday, let me know. *
OVEN PANCAKES cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 eggs, beaten approximately 2 minutes until lightly golden
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup fresh blueberries, or use frozen thawed blueberries
After beating the eggs with an electric handheld mixer or stand mixer gradually add the flour to the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter, salt, lemon juice, zest and almond extract. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter into a greased or sprayed oven proof skillet or a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in a preheated 420-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed in the center.
Cut into wedges. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar, and melted butter.
This makes a marvelous brunch dish with bacon and fresh fruit. It is easy to make and fun to serve. Make sure you plan to bring it directly from the oven to the table.
15 thin slices of bread
1/2 cup melted butter
cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup good sliced olives
cup sliced canned artichoke hearts
2 1/2 cups milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
9 large eggs, slightly beaten
Brush butter onto the bread and cut in fingers. Layer in a greased glass loaf pan (approximately 9-by-13), alternating the bread fingers with the cheeses, olives, and artichoke hearts. Add seasonings to milk and mix together with eggs. Pour over bread mixture and let stand in refrigerator overnight.
Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and puffed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.