Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Party food for penny pinchers!

Easy Strata
1quart half&half
12 large eggs
1tsp salt
pepper to taste
12-14 slices fluffy white sandwich bread
8oz mushrooms, sliced, 1 small onion, peeled and diced, 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced, 1C frozen corn, thawed. (Saute all vegetables except corn in a generous Tbsp oil, until softened)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
12oz sharp cheddar, grated

Whisk half&half, salt and pepper and eggs together in a large bowl until combined. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the baking dish with 6 slices of bread. If necessary, cut strips to fill in any gaps. Combine all of the vegetables and scatter half over the bread. Sprinkle on half the scallions and half the cheese.Pour 1C egg mixture over the bread. Start another layer with 6 slices of bread, cutting strips to fill any gaps. Scatter remaining vegetables over the top, followed by remaining scallions and cheese. Slowly pour remaining egg mixture over the bread. Cover strata and let stand for half an hour.
Preheat oven to 325. Bake strata on middle rack for 50 minutes. Leaving strata on the middle rack, turn on broiler and broil until strata is spotted brown and puffy (About 5 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
This strata can also be made up to a day in advance. After assembling, cover and refrigerate. Add 10 minutes to the cooking time when baking and that's it!

Orange strata with cranberries and walnuts
12oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2tsp grated orange zest
9 large eggs
3C half&half
2Tbsp sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
12-14 slices white sandwich bread
1C dried cranberries
1/2C chopped walnuts
1C orange marmalade
1/4C orange juice

Combine cream cheese and orange zest in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer. Add eggs one at a time to form a lumpy batter. beat in half and half and sugar and vanilla. Batter will still be lumpy, so don't worry. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line bottom of baking dish with 6 slices of bread. If necessary, cut strips to fill any gaps. Pour 1C egg mixture over the bread, then sprinkle with 1/2C cranberries. Make another layer of bread, cutting strips to fill any spaces. Slowly pour remaining egg mixture over the top. Cover strata and let stand for half an hour. Preheat oven to 325. Uncover the strata and sprinkle the remaining cranberries and the walnuts over the top. Lightly press them into the bread. Bake until strata is set and puffy, 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the marmalade and orange juice in a small saucepan. When strata is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes. Serve it with the warm orange sauce mixture. (This strata can also be prepared ahead. After assembling, cover and refrigerate overnight. Add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time and you're done!)

Cheddar puffs
8Tbsp butter
1C all purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1C grated cheddar cheese
1/2C thinly sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 400. Bring butter, 1C water, a big pinch of salt and pepper to taste to a simmer in a medium saucepan. When butter has melted, remove from heat. Add flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon to form a thick dough. Transfer to a bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in the whites. Cool dough to tepid, then stir in the cheese and the scallions. Spoon dough onto greased baking sheets in 1Tbsp portions, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake until crisp and golden, about 25-30 minutes. These are awesomely good!

Tasty scones
1/2C sour cream or whole milk yogurt
1 egg
2C flour
6Tbsp sugar
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/4tsp baking soda
1/2C dried cranberries or currants
8Tbsp butter, frozen

Preheat oven to 400. Whisk together sour cream or yogurt and egg until smooth. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cranberries together in a medium bowl. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Toss to combine. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until dough begins to clump together. Press dough with your hands until it comes together into a ball. Knead the dough 3 or 4 times. Place dough onto a lightly floured counter and pat into a 7 or 8 inch circle. Use a sharp knife to cut circle into 8 triangles. Place them 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Serve these scones with some hot, herbal tea and spread them with preserves for a real treat!

Mulled cider
4 cinnamon sticks
2tsp allspice berries
2tsp cloves(whole)
zest of one orange
1 gallon apple cider

Combine spices and 1C water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour cider into a large dutch oven or stock pot. Add spice mixture to cider and bring to a simmer over low heat. Turn off heat and pour into mugs.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I'm going to make the cheddar puffs for my party, and maybe the orange strata. Can you tell me a little about what strata is?