A Snowy Day Strata

December 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Melissa Graham


What ever happened to Christmas? I’m not sure exactly when it happened – the expansion and equal compression of the holiday. Nowadays, the Christmas decorations go up even before the Halloween ones come down. On the other end, the holiday seems to come to an abrupt halt (like the pulling of the arm off a record player mid-album). All of that shopping and planning discarded in a momentary storm of torn wrapping paper. The twelve days of Christmas have been compacted into twelve or so hours. The evening of Christmas ends, our heads hit the pillow, the holiday is over and we’re on the next thing.

Not so in our house. The Christmas spirit arrives late here – the tree put up only days before the 25th, the cookies baked within hours of the holiday – but it remains for the full 12 days. To honor our family tradition, I’m going to dispense with the typical year end lists and other New Year’s miscellany, and instead give the holiday its due.

I love when Christmas falls late in the week, Friday being ideal. With the snowy weather, it’s the perfect time to hole up in our cozy basement giving the little locavore time to play with his new toys and for me the opportunity to clean up the scattered mess that Christmas generates – torn tissue, ribbon remnants, and cookie crumbs. We also have the time to enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch – an opportunity that doesn’t arise much in December. Hot coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, Bloody Mary’s, and a savory bread pudding using the rest of Floriole’s delicious yeasted corn bread.

Sausage and Cheddar Strata

5 cups cubed yeasted cornbread or brioche
½ pound bulk pork sausage
4 large eggs
1/3 cup 2 % milk
1/3 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 cup grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly toast the bread until firm, but not browned. Cook the sausage until it’s no longer pink. Whisk together the eggs, milk, tomato, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Scatter the bread in a medium casserole dish. Stir in the red pepper, cheddar, and sausage. Pour over the liquid ingredients and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the eggs are just set in the middle.