Jan 27, 2013

Podzilla Friday Breakfast

The best thing happened at work last Friday. Our team (Podzilla) began a new tradition of bringing breakfast in every Friday morning. Best idea EVER. Susie, a fellow art director and cook/baker, signed up first and let me tell you, we were in for a treat. The day before she sent out a menu of what she was going to prepare. Yes, a menu of homemade whole wheat cranberry walnut bread, egg casserole with ham and hash browns, and lastly, fresh fruit. Everything she made for us was beautifully crafted and amazingly delicious. Lucky for you and me, she gave me the recipes she used, which I have included in this blog post. Many thanks to Susie for a great start to our Friday morning breakfast!

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Whole Wheat Cranberry Walnut Bread
Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:
Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried with paper towels

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
Stir the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda together in a large bowl.
Cut in the butter cubes using a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form; set aside.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and honey.
Gently stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended.
Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
Spread into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes.
Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
In the meantime, whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over the bread.

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The whole wheat cranberry walnut bread was outstanding. It had a nice texture from the walnuts and some tartness from the cranberries. The simple glaze dressed the bread giving it some sweetness to every bite. Susie also brought a medley of fruits to accompany the bread and egg casserole. Strawberries, green grapes, sliced bananas and blueberries. Can’t get much better than this.

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Last, but not least, the main dish. Susie’s egg casserole was so delicate and fluffy. It was baked to perfection. Very moist, didn’t feel heavy at all. I’ve had my share of egg casseroles and they tend to be very dense, but this was airy and light. Susie prepared it the night before and baked it in the oven the morning of. After the casserole was done baking, she wrapped it in foil and bath towels so that it kept hot during the car ride to work. It was steaming by the time the team broke into it. Genius!

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Overnight Egg Casserole with Ham and Hash Browns
Serves 18

Ingredients:
1 cup (4 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 cup (4 ounces) extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 package (30 ounces) frozen shredded hash browns (such as Oreda), thawed in the refrigerator
16 ounces (2 cups) fully cooked thick ham slices, cut into small cubes
1 can (7 ounces) chopped green chilies
12 eggs
2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Grate the cheeses and set aside.
Sprinkle the hash brown into the pan covering the bottom completely.
Then sprinkle on in layers the ham, chilies, and cheeses; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, evaporated milk, and pepper; pour evenly over the casserole.
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, covered with the foil, at 375º for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Loosely cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Thanks so much Susie for sharing the recipes with Pretty Tasty Things readers. But more importantly, thank you so much for treating us to this artfully prepared breakfast. It was such a delightful morning!

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