Sunday, December 26, 2010

Days of Christmas: Breakfast for the family

Merry, merry Christmas everyone! We've made it through the rush of Christmas, family and food and I am getting the chance to sit, relax and look back at the last 48 hours or so. I'll start with our family breakfast on Christmas morning.

I wanted to make breakfast, but I didn't want to be in the kitchen cooking while everyone was opening the gifts from Santa. Everything here is easy and either cooked or prepped in the couple of days before Christmas. The morning of, all you need to do is get up and put the strata in the oven an hour ahead of time. The scones can be made and the citrus salad can be cut up and refrigerated the day before, just add the sugar and allow it to sit and meld while the strata bakes. Brew some coffee or tea, pour some mimosas and enjoy the morning. It was a great start to the day, and it was a chance for my sister and her in law's to hang out with us before they all had to house hop to see all my brother in law's huge family yesterday. Even my niece enjoyed the "chocolate rocks." Usually known as scones.

Green Chili and Cheese Strata


16 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed (I used soy chorizo, tasted just as good wihtout being too greasy)
2 1/2 cups half and half
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 6 1/2x4 1/2-inch slices sourdough bread
1/2 pound shredded hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese
2-4 peppers like poblano, jalapeno or anaheim, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used a mix of poblano and jalapeno)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Butter 8-cup soufflé or baking dish. Sauté chorizo in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to plate lined with paper towels; drain well.
Whisk next 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Place 2 bread slices in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese and half each of chilies, cilantro and chorizo. Pour 1/3 of egg mixture over. Repeat layering with 2 bread slices, 3/4 cup cheese and remaining chilies, cilantro and chorizo. Pour half of remaining egg mixture over. Top with 2 bread slices. Pour remaining egg mixture over and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover; chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake strata uncovered until puffed and golden, about 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Citrus Mint Salad


4 grapefruit (what ever variety you can get a hold of)
6 large navel oranges
8 tangerines

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup sugar
Seeds from 1 pomegranate

Cut peel and white pith from grapefruits and oranges. Cut between membranes to release segments. Combine fruit in large shallow bowl. Peel and sperate tangerines, add to grape fruit and orange.(Fruit can be segmented 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Place mint and sugar in processor. Pulse and blend until mint is finely chopped, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Sprinkle mint sugar and pomegranate seeds over fruit; serve.


2 1/4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
4 1/2 ounces candied ginger, finely chopped into 1/4-inch pieces to equal 2/3 cup or 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup buttermilk

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder, and mix on low to incorporate. zest and butter, and mix on low, untl the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal. Add the ginger or chocolate chips, and With mixer turned to low, slowly stream in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together. Drop scoops of the dough 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until the surface cracks and they are slightly browned.

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