Wicked Park woke up this morning to pure, unadulterated sunshine. It was already warm and a little humid and that made the grass smell that much sweeter. I'll admit that my initial impression of the day was not necessarily a charmed one (stepping over an avian corpse on my way to NPR and coffee will do that to a person).
Alas, once I got going, it was clear that today was a day built for a slow brunch outside. Lisa showed up with wine for a light aperitif, Joanna, Damon and Mel brought the bubbles for Bellini's. FYI- a jar of peaches (no sugar added) will blend beautifully. Get that juice into a carafe and you've got mix-your-own Bellini's. And happy guests. Dave even stopped by in full biking regalia with flowers. Catholic guilt that he would not be around to do the dishes.
I knew we were having blueberry banana pancakes so I didn't want to sit over the stove for a savory item as well. Not on a day built for rolling around in the sunshine or taking naps in the shade. Strata it is.
I'll admit on the front end that it was thrown together with about zero regard for method. My cooking has gotten to a point of extreme flexibility and I admit to leaning a lot on things I just know will taste good together. Eggs with veggies is pretty tough to muck up but take the following with a pinch of (seasoned) salt.
Wicked Park Garden Strata
1/2 tsp butter
2 cups cubed French bread
3 TB fresh chopped chives
1/4 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 chopped chicken sausages (we used sweet apple but most flavors would do)
1/2 cup milk (whatever's handy- we use 2%)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
4 oz goat cheese
Optional: chopped red pepper garnish
1) Preheat oven to 375. Butter an 12x9 inch casserole dish and set aside.
2) Evenly distribute your cubed bread in the bottom of the dish. Disperse chives, tomato, sausage and spinach over the top.
3) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs milk and seasoning then pour slowly over the top of the bread, vegetables and sausage.
4) Break goat cheese up with your fingers and sprinkle over the top of the strata. Thinly slided red pepper can be scattered over the top (I had some that needed to be used up and these kinds of dishes are hallowed burial grounds for stranded vegetables).
5) Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and egg has set.
I'm not giving you my pancake recipe because it's not mine to give. I've been making buttermilk pancakes out of the original Joy of Cooking for many moons and am unconvinced that I will ever find better. Pancakes, like egg dishes, are incredible vehicles for stuff. Man alive do I ever love stuff.
This would be a nice experiment to try out over Memorial Day. It's fuss free, as any summer Sunday should be.