Friday, December 21, 2012

Pumpkin, Cranberry and Pecan Strata

Pumpkin and Cranberry Breakfast Strata

Pumpkin, Cranberry & Pecan Strata

One of the things I love about stratas is that they can be made the night before.  And, since they take a while to bake, I can pop one into the oven and go out for a morning walk, and find breakfast ready when I get back, tasting like I’ve slaved away for hours, while the house smells amazing to everyone else just waking up. 

This is a great Christmas morning, or brunch solution as it can be made in advance and requires minimal fuss.  I initially came across this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.    

Here’s my version:

7 c. bread – cut or broken into 1 inch cubes (day old french bread is ideal)
½ c. craisins OR 1 ¼ c. frozen whole cranberries
½ c. toasted chopped pecans**
3 eggs
3 c. milk
2 c. cooked and pureed pumpkin OR 1 can pumpkin (15 oz. not pumpkin pie mix)
2 T. orange peel (peel of two oranges grated)
1 T. grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground nutmeg
½ c. brown sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
¾ t. salt

Maple syrup or vanilla yogurt for serving

Spray a 9” square baking dish with cooking spray and spread with half of the bread.
Sprinkle half of the cranberries, nuts, and ginger (fresh) over the bread, and repeat.

In a large bowl beat eggs, milk, pumpkin, orange peel, sugar, salt, spices and vanilla together. 

Pour over bread and cover with plastic or a piece of foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray, and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours. (No longer than 24)

Heat over to 325* and bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 – 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve warm topped with whipping cream, yogurt, and/or maple syrup.

8 generous servings

**Toast pecans in the microwave for 2.5 +/- minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then place in paper or plastic baggie and beat with a rolling pin.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Latkes - Potato Pancakes

Happy Hanukkah!
My family loves these, and while we aren't Jewish, since the calendar has lots of Jewish holidays, we use these holidays as excuses to enjoy these delicious potato pancakes.  

In essence, these are similar to large hash browns, except - tastier.  Especially when topped with sour cream and applesauce - the traditional way to eat them.  

5 lbs. russet potatoes (approx. 8) peeled, and grated - (cover with water while grating to slow down oxidation)
2 medium onions, grated
4 beaten eggs
1/4 - 1/2 c. flour
2 t. salt
Oil for frying

Remove potatoes from water and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible.  If desired, place between paper towels and squeeze to remove water.  
In a large bowl, mix potatoes and onions. 

Heat oil in a frying pan or electric frying pan.

Add eggs, flour, and salt to the potato mixture, and mix thoroughly with hands. 

When oil is hot enough for frying, place 1/3 c. mixture into hot oil.  Spread potatoes out so that it has a uniform thickness. 
Fry for approx. 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy, then flip and repeat.  

Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. 

These are traditionally served with sour cream and applesauce.