A friend recently asked me if I had some unusual recipes for Sunday brunch. Of course, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes and omelets form the backbone of the all-American brunch, but she wanted a few unusual dishes.
I love breakfast foods, especially when eating out. During the late 1980s, my husband and I spent a week at Rowell’s Inn in Chester Depot, Vt., where innkeeper Beth Davis was famous for her sausage casserole.
The British enjoy big, fancy breakfasts that often include kippers, York ham, rashers of bacon, sausages and grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. Did you ever wonder how the continental breakfast got its name? It refers to those Europeans, particularly the French, who breakfast on croissants and coffee. Thus, many American hotels adopted the practice of serving juice, toast and coffee as their version of the continental breakfast. Some hotel chains have a club floor where the continental breakfast also includes fruit, cheese, bagels, assorted muffins, Danish, coffeecakes, cold cereals and yogurt.
In the South, grits and country ham take center stage. I love grits. I enjoy them as a side dish and baked as a souffl� with cheese.
The Hershey Hotel takes pride in offering chocolate-chip pancakes, which I found delicious and not at all sweet. Their secret? The cooks use buttermilk pancake mix, which I think cuts the sweetness of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
There are a number of schools of thought about home fries and hash-brown potatoes. Some people like chunky slices; others prefer small cubes or shredded potatoes. I like to add saut�ed onions to hash browns because they give the potatoes a delicious flavor.
When friends come for Sunday brunch, I set out an assortment of cut-up fresh fruit such as melons, oranges, clementines, pineapple, apples and pears and juicy ripe strawberries, along with plain or vanilla yogurt for dipping. Pitchers of fruit juice are set next to the tray. My husband Edward takes orders for a bloody Mary or a mimosa, a mix of fresh orange juice and champagne. Fresh-brewed coffee and an assortment of teas are always on offer.
Here are recipes for Sunday brunch.
Do-Ahead Egg and Sausage Bake FromBetty Crocker’s Bisquick Cookbook
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup original Bisquick
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Grease a 2-quart casserole. Cook the sausage in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until no longer pink. Drain.
Mix sausage and remaining ingredients. Pour into casserole. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake, uncovered, about one hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cheese Grits Souffl�
From Good Old Grits Cookbook by Bill Neal and David Perry
For the grits:
1 cup stone-ground grits
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the souffl�:
1 large clove garlic, crushed through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Dash of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
4 large eggs, separated
To make the grits, pour them into a large bowl and cover with water. Skim off the chaff as it floats to the surface. Stir the grits about and skim again until all the chaff has been removed. Drain the grits in a sieve.
Bring the water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and slowly stir in the grits. Cook at a simmer, stirring frequently, until the grits are done — they should be quite thick and creamy — about 40 minutes.
Remove the grits from the heat, then stir in the butter. Set aside.
To make the souffl�, stir the garlic, pepper sauces and cheeses into the grits. Let cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep 2-quart baking dish.
Beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and stir them into the grits. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold them into the grits. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until lightly browned and well-puffed, about 30 minutes.
Note: You can use quick grits found in grocery stores in place of stone-ground grits. The amount of liquid is the same but the grits cook quicker. Follow the directions on the package.
From Hershey’s Chocolate Treasury
2 cups buttermilk baking mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini chips
Combine buttermilk baking mix, milk and eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in the mini chips. For each pancake, pour 2 tablespoons batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Bake until bubbles appear. Turn and bake on the other side until lightly browned. For thinner pancakes, add 1 tablespoon of milk to the batter. Pancakes should be at least 1/4-inch thick.
Serve warm with butter or margarine. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or top with syrup.
Makes about 18 pancakes.
Hash-Brown Potatoes with Onions
4 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
Enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Imported sweet Hungarian paprika
Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and add the onions. Blend well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and onions and saut� until the potatoes are golden and the onions still a bit translucent. Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and paprika.
Note from Phyllis: You can make hash browns using leftover boiled potatoes. Just slice them and saut� them with the onions. You also can shred the potatoes in the food processor and proceed with the recipe.