Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Ladies of 1969

This is my second year catering a brunch for a group of women who all graduated from Gardiner Area High School in 1969, one of them being my mother in-law. The menu stayed the same this year upon request. I guess that means they enjoyed it the first time around!
The first dish is a baked french toast with a pecan praline topping. This is a Paula Dean recipe so you know it is going to be really rich!
Baked French Toast with Pecan Praline Topping
Food Network
Serves 6-8

1 loaf French Bread
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread over bread as directed above.

Up next is Elaine's Christmas Morning Casserole. Elaine was my mother's best friend and the funny part of this is that Elaine went to the same high school as these ladies although she graduated a couple years ahead of them.

Christmas Morning Casserole
Elaine Melvin

6 Slices Bread, Cubed
12 Eggs
2 Cups Half and Half
½ # Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 # Sausage Meat
1 tsp Dry Mustard

Line 13 x 9 casserole dish with bread. Sprinkle sausage meat of bread. Add layer of cheese. Combine eggs, ½ & ½, mustard and salt & pepper. Pour over other ingredients. Let soak overnight. Bake @ 375 for 35 – 45 minutes.

Brunch would not be brunch without blueberry muffins. Made with Maine blueberries that I froze over the summer. I made them mini so the gals wouldn't get full on them.

Easy Wonderful Blueberry Muffins
My own recipe
Yields 6 huge muffins or 18 mini muffins

¼ Cup Butter
½ Cup Sugar
1 Egg
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 ½ Cups Maine Blueberries
1 Cup Milk
2 Cups Flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until combined. Mix in dry ingredients followed by milk. Carefully stir in berries. Bake 350 25 minutes.

I also made a faux Cloud 9 salad. Cloud 9 is the restaurant in a hotel in Augusta. They serve their salad with an orange ginger vinaigrette but I used Brianna's Strawberry dressing.

Faux Cloud 9 Salad

Mesclan Greens
Bleu Cheese
Candied Walnuts (made by cooking sugar with some orange juice then tossing in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and then baking until caramelized.)
Top with fruity dressing of choice.

For dessert I bought chocolate cups and filled them with a lucious chocolate mousse.
Chocolate Mousse
Hershey's Recipes
Serves 8
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa
2 cups (1 pint) cold whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly.
2. Mix sugar and cocoa in large bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until well blended.
3. Spoon into dessert dishes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish.

And lastly I made a fruit plate with oranges and grapes. At this time of year it is so hard to get fresh fruit. Even the oranges weren't great yet and clemmies don't slice very well.

To sugar the grapes for garnish I mixed egg white with some water, brushed that over the grapes and sprinkled with sugar. Let dry to harden.

1 comment:

Megan said...

That french toast recipe just might make an appearance at my New Year's Brunch! Looks excellent.