We all know how debilitating a bye week can be. My Steelers were flat in the first half of last week’s game against the Broncos after the bye. (I prefer not to thinking about the fact that of all the teams that had bye in that Week 6 – Bills, Broncos, Lions, Colts, Steelers, and 49ers – Pittsburgh and San Francisco were the only ones who lost in Week 7.) In the World Series, we’re seeing what a nine-day layoff can do to a team on a winning streak.
What am I saying other than I have no idea what to use for an intro this week? I’m saying that I made this strata about three weeks ago and when I opened up the pictures, it took me a little bit to remember what I had done. The good thing about football and stratas is that if you remember the basics, ball in the end zone, blocking, bread and egg custard, the rest is up to you.
This week: Breakfast Strata and Reviews of Blueberry Beers – Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat Ale, SeaDog Bluepaw Wheat Ale, and Marin Brewing Company Blueberry.
You will need…
2 1/2 quart casserole dish
Approximately 16-24 slices of bread (Day-old is better, and amount will depend on type of bread used Plan on just under a loaf.)
2 cups of milk
Make your own filling as you go along:
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar, jack, and colby.)
1 large can roasted chiles (Yes, I know there are two in the picture. I over estimated.)
1 minced onion
1/2 pound sliced deli ham (I think at least two of those slices were consumed by TheStarterBoyfriend before I was able to get to the cooking, so it if it is less it is ok.)
1 tablespoon of flour
Really, you can used whatever you want for the filling. Cooked sausage, bacon, just cheese and veggies (as long as they are not watery), you name it. You can also make this sweet strata by using cream cheese and raisins or other dried fruits. It is a good, “whatever the hell we have on hand” type of dish.
The night before…
As always, coat the cheese with the flour.
Butter your casserole dish.
Cut the crusts off of the bread. Save for later to either make crutons or feed the birds. Or be the the person with the skinny toast at a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Chop up ham.
OMG DOUBLE YOLKS AGAIN!!!!!!! I GET MY FIRST EVER A MONTH OR SO AGO AND GET ANOTHER ONE?!??! I SWEAR IT IS NOT FROM THE SAME CARTON OF EGGS! THE STEELERS HAVE TO GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL BECAUSE I AM SO NOT PREGNANT.
I am Willie Parker fast beating the eggs and milk together.
Add some ground pepper to the egg and milk mixture if you are making a savory strata.
Take your crustless bread and make bottom layer in the casserole dish.
Add about half of your cheese…
Layer on some ham…
Add layer of half of your chilies…
You then add another layer of bread. That picture is missing because my camera went wonky. But my birthday is not that far away and I am still hoping for a new camera.
After you have added your second layer of bread, layer on the rest of your cheese, chilies, ham, and onions.
How can anything go wrong with ham, chilies, and onions? I would venture to say nothing could go wrong there. Ever. I should spackle my house with it that mix.
Add top layer of bread to seal your strata. Think of it as a bready offensive line, make sure all the holes are filled.
Pour your egg and milk mix evenly over the strata.
I cheated and used a fork to squish down the bread in areas I didn’t think got enough of the egg mix. You want it soak into the bread as much as possible, which why is slightly stale bread is better.
Cover and put into the fridge overnight. Consider heating up some of the potato leek soup you have on the shelf above it.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour the next morning. (Sorry about the camera lines.)
Serve with fruit salad and watch your team roll over Seattle.
A while ago, we had a discussion in the comments about blueberry beers, so I thought the day I made the strata would be a good time to check out a few. I tried to take notes as we drank and watched football, but that did not go very well. Make what you will of these reviews.
First up: Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat Ale
TSW – Does not taste like blueberry, just smells like it. Now the Bush family is not the worst thing around that area of Maine.
Yammers – Beer for people who do not like beer. Has blueberries in it.
TSB – Too light. KB wuss fest.
Next up: Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale
TSW – Darker. Does not smell like blueberries, but has a better taste.
Jeremy – At least I feel like I might be drinking a beer. Might be Clearly Canadian. Not sure.
TSB – Better, but still not impressed.
Finally: Marin Brewing Blueberry
TSW – Holy crap look at that head. Full taste, which is more than I could say about the other brews.
Jeremy – The head means you’re getting a real beer. We already have a winner and I haven’t even tasted it yet. (drinks) Winner. A real beer.
TSB – Clear winner. (later) What do you mean I have to drink the rest of that crappy beer in the fridge?