Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Location: Top O' the Hill Country TX
|Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 10:53 pm Post subject: Breakfast Party
|Breakfast time can be party time
If breakfast had a mind of its own, and sometimes it does, it would feel neglected.
Every other meal offers a chance to call friends over and enjoy an impromptu feast. Breakfast? No.
There must be an etiquette somewhere that this meal is family only. Maybe it’s the pajamas, bleary eyes and tangled hair. Maybe there’s no way we could face a party at 8 a.m., at least not without a few gallons of coffee.
So, let’s throw out the tradition and consider the benefits. A breakfast party is unusual enough that you don’t need any of those crazy and often dumb party themes. The theme is built in and for real.
The meal usually is over quickly, freeing up the rest of the day for important things, such as napping.
And the entire repast is made a day ahead, leaving you with one chore — put it on the table and unleash the thundering herd.
You might find your friends are ready for this giant step. On weekends, a lot of people opt for breakfast as a major meal.
Indeed, breakfast is true to its name. We’ve fasted for at least eight hours (OK, only one midnight snack). We’re ready to eat in a major way. So why not?
We must look across the Atlantic for party breakfast foods. In Europe, breakfast often is the primary meal of the day, a fortification for the four hours before lunch. Europe is the mother continent of the breakfast party.
Folks often walk around early in the morning, stopping at houses with the most fabulous aromas streaming out the windows.
Europeans offer a well-versed notion of the “proper breakfast.” It’s not a tepid Pop-Tart or a frozen waffle. They look for eggs combined with meat and vegetables, breadstuff such as muffins, fresh fruit and one amazing dessert that tops everything.
A strata is a sheetlike layer of rock. An egg strata from Hungary is a sheet of layers of all the things that go well with scrambles eggs. Cheese, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms — they make a strata a total eye opener.
You’ll need some muffins or bagels for the breadstuff. Fresh fruit can be sliced oranges and grapes with vanilla yogurt for dipping. All this builds anticipation of the grand finale, a formal Austrian torte.
This would be a Linzer torte, the sweet reputation of the city of Linz. Every cafe in town has them in various fruit flavors. “A Linzer for every Linzer,” they say.
This recipe is as old as it is ingenious. It is the world’s first torte, with a recipe that dates back to the 16th century. Its crust is shockingly good, made mostly of ground, toasted almonds. The filling is crafted from dried fruit hydrated in a sugar sauce and sherry. It is served in small wedges because it is so rich.
All of these may be procured or made in advance, even the strata. Refrigerate it in the raw overnight and bake just before your guests arrive to set a wonderful aroma in the house.
Serve everything buffet-style on your kitchen table. There is no need for formal china. Set up a coffee, tea and juice station nearby. Then step back and watch your friends joyously break their fasts in a frenzy of table grazing.
12 white bread slices, shredded
1 1/2 pounds pork sausage, bulk
1/3 cup green onions with tops, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers from jar, diced
3 cups milk
1 cup white cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon tarragon or oregano, dried
The day ahead, grind bread in a food processor to a fine crumb. Grease a 9-by-12-inch baking pan with butter. Press the bread crumbs across the bottom and on the sides.
Brown sausage in a skillet. Add onion and green pepper and cook to soften. Drain. Then stir in mushrooms and spread mixture over breadcrumbs.
In a bowl, lightly beat eggs and milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper and oregano or tarragon. Pour over sausage mixture and top with shredded cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
Uncover and bake 10-20 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.
CLASSIC LINZER TORTE
2 cups whole almonds with skins, toasted and cooled
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Toast almonds in a dry skillet until slightly browned. Cool and grind in food to a smooth texture. Add remaining ingredients and process until a dough ball forms.
Remove ball and separate into balls 1/3 and 2/3 sizes. balls. Place first between plastic wrap or wax paper and roll to a 10-inch disk. Roll the second one the same way into a 12-inch disk.
Refrigerate the disks, still wrapped, for at least 20 minutes. Dust a 10-inch spring-form pan with flour. Place the larger disk over the pan and press to form, the bottom first and then the sides. Bake until browned about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Then cool.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
8 ounces dried fruit such as apricots or cranberries
1/3 cup sherry
Heat water and sugar to dissolve. Add fruit and simmer 20 minutes until liquid becomes a syrup. Cool and blend in food processor until slightly chunky.
Smooth filling into the baked crust in the springform pan. Retrieve the smaller crust disk from the refrigerator and cut into half-inch-wide strips. Place in lattice fashion over filling.
Bake in 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes. Top should be golden brown. Allow to cool somewhat and release from springform pan. Slice when cool into 16 wedges.
Have a mice day.
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