Last weekend, we hosted a brunch for Husband's siblings and our darling niece. This was the first time we've hosted brunch in our new apartment, and we were so excited to use some of our serving pieces that we got for our wedding. I have to admit, we went a little "brunch crazy"--we made a Roasted Red Pepper Strata, a delicious Sour Cream Coffee Cake, a batch of always-tasty Granola, bacon, and Hubby's amazing coffee (courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee). Our lovely guests also brought some fresh fruit for the yogurt and granola, and champagne for Mimosas.
The nicest part about hosting this brunch was making the majority of the food the night before. We wanted to make sure that we could socialize with our siblings and dear Eleanor, so we tried to find recipes that would taste just as good made in advance. It worked out perfectly!
Roasted Red Pepper Strata
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
1 8 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyere (2 cups)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, minced
Saute shallots and garlic in butter in a skillet over medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute. Stir in minced red peppers and half of the parsley. Remove from heat.
Using a 9x13 baking dish, spread one-third of the bread cubes on the bottom and add one-third of the pepper mixture and then one-third of each cheese on top. Repeat this layering three times to use all of the ingredients.
Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and the rest of the salt and pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over the strata. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Take it out, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then bake at 350 degrees until and golden brown and bubbly (45-50 minutes). Sprinkle remaining parsley on top, let sit for 5 minutes, and serve.
This coffee cake recipe has been in my family for quite awhile, and can be made with fresh fruit if you want to make it like my mom does. It's a fool-proof recipe and tastes really, really good.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch spring form pan.
Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, then sour cream. Beat until combined. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and add slowly to the wet ingredients until incorporated.
Mix all of the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread half of the cake batter into the spring form pan, followed by half of the topping sprinkled on top. Spread the remainder of the batter carefully on top of the topping, and then add the rest of the topping to finish.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean with cakey crumbs.
(Can you tell that we adore our niece?)