Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Breakfast with Rebecca Lang

Here I am, the prodigal daughter – almost back. I can’t say that I’m really back because I’m still stranded in a sea of boxes. Anyway, I’m here now and I have missed you. The past two months have been a blur of packing, renovating and looking for stuff. And I’m still in the "looking for stuff" phase. I will certainly be writing a post about moving and my beautiful new kitchen (that I still can’t believe is mine) soon!

For now, we have pressing matters. Sunday is Easter and I have not even thought about what we are going to eat. I feel like it would be a travesty if we did not have ham. Why is it ham and Easter go hand in hand? Seriously, I have no idea what we will be eating for lunch or dinner as I still cannot find some of my pots and pans, but I do have some ideas for breakfast thanks to Rebecca Lang. I had the pleasure of meeting her last week and watching her demo some Easter breakfast/brunch fare at the Cook’s Warehouse in Atlanta (Midtown). I had never taken a class at Cook’s Warehouse before – and what a treat! That store is heaven for anyone who likes cooking and baking tools and gadgets.

Rebecca Lang is a chef, food writer and contributing editor for Southern Living and the author of several cookbooks. Her most recent is Southern Living’s Around the Southern Table. Rebecca was kind enough to provide me a copy and I have to say, I love this book. The intro begins, “I was a girl fascinated by biscuits, fried chicken and pound cake.” (Hey, me too -- and I still am!) I love how she writes about cooking with her grandmothers, her cherished family heirloom dining room table and the gift of Southern hospitality.

Rebecca has a very warm and engaging manner and her recipes are as down to earth as she is. She showed us how to make her cathead biscuits – made with bacon grease, whole buttermilk and White Lily flour, of course. She ingeniously used the biscuit crumbs in a skillet casserole that was so yummy. (The recipe is in her book.) She spoke of her grandmothers making biscuits and the big influence they had on her life. I really did feel we were kindred spirits –and afterward when we spoke, we discovered that her husband is from my hometown and I know his people. I love how the South is such as a small world!

Definitely check out Rebecca’s book and blog. I will definitely keep you posted on any of her recipes I try. (Country Ham Jam and Tomato Gravy are recipes that definitely must be investigated!) For now, I leave you with the Sausage and Cheese SoufflĂ© recipe she shared with our class. It is a make ahead breakfast casserole and in my current chaotic state, I think I can handle it. I can put it together tomorrow night and pop it in the oven Easter morning while the kids gorge themselves on candy. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and/or simply a glorious spring weekend – and I will be back soon.

Sausage and Cheese Soufflé

1 pound ground pork sausage
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups milk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (Cayenne)
1 pound croissants (about 20 medium) cut into one-inch cubes
Garnish: minced fresh chives

1. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 10 to 13 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Grate cheese on the large holes of a box grater.

3. Whisk together eggs and next six ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in croissant cubes. Add sausage and cheese; stir well. Pour into a lightly greased 13-x9-inch baking dish. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish from refrigerator, and let dish stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until set. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes: 8 servings
Hands-on Time: 20 minutes. Total Time: 9 hours, 15 minutes

Recipe courtesy Rebecca Lang, Around the Southern Table (Oxmoor House, 2012). Special thanks to Gretchen Howard Public Relations for inviting me to attend Chef Lang's demo.

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