We have reached that time of year: vacation time. Time for guests. Time to be away from it all. Plenty of extra daylight hours, yet somehow, it's never quite enough. As much as we all love summer time food, it's not always the first thing on our minds. We've got much more pressing issues, like midday hammock naps and icy coolers that won't empty themselves.

Despite having so many activities of obvious precedence, we still have to eat. This is when having a few, foolproof, ready-to-go meals become a necessity. However, as any seasoned veteran of summer time unpredictability knows, you have to be able to adapt. You never know who will be sitting at the table.

That takes a certain type of recipe.

As far as breakfast is concerned, strata is about as perfect as it gets for a no fuss, flexible meal. You can make it ahead of time, pop it in the oven, and you are ready to go. By keeping the strata plain, it is also totally adaptable to anyone's taste. Everyone adds their favorite toppings, and it’s time for breakfast.

Keep it simple, there's a lot of daylight to enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 eggs
  • 8 cups Aunt Millie's Country Buttermilk Bread. Cut into large cubes.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 white onion, small dice, cooked until soft

ASSORTED TOPPINGS

We went with crispy prosciutto, fresh arugula, oven roasted tomatoes + shallot, but the topping combinations are endless! Here are a few suggestions:

  • sausage
  • bacon
  • sauteed fresh veggies
  • caramelized onion
  • smoked salmon, dill and capers with creme fraiche
  • mushrooms
  • ham and leeks

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

 10" spring form pan, or 9"x13" baking dish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Oil spring form or 9 x 13 pan. If using the spring form pan, carefully wrap the bottom in foil.
  3. In large bowl, combine eggs, salt, milk, mustard, and nutmeg. Beat until smooth.
  4. Take 1/3 of the cubed bread and layer the bottom of your prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the onion, and 1/3 of the cheeses.
  5. Repeat twice with the remaining onion, cheeses, and bread.
  6. Carefully pour the egg mixture over bread and cheese. You want to make sure the bread is completely submerged. At this point, you can wrap the strata with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge for the next morning, or you can bake it right away. If you decide to let it sit overnight, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking, while the oven preheats.
  7. Bake uncovered, on the middle of the rack for about 40 to 45 minutes. The strata will be puffy, and golden brown. The center should be totally set (you can use a tooth pick to check for done-ness). Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy!

Lindsay and John Cheesebrew are chefs, caterers, lazy bloggers, mom & dad, and total food nerds who are constantly pushing personal boundaries, with a seemingly endless string of events, and personal projects. They seek to share their vision of community through food with everyone they meet.

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