Friday, May 18, 2012

A Week of Walleye

When I return from our annual fishing trip in northern Ontario, I'll be sharing some more pictures like this.  The big difference is that I'll be taking them with my new Canon Rebel,  (I'll add a recipe or two for walleye, too.)

Nothing like fresh catch of the day, every day. For seven days in a row.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Strata

What do you get when you cross  bread pudding with french toast and throw in a cheese blintz?  If you add some blueberries, you get this Blueberry Breakfast Strata.  She wasn't the prettiest girl at the prom, but she had a good time.

An overload of both bread in the pantry and a freezer full of blueberries from last summer's bounty inspired me to find something to do with them.  Although I really didn't plan to use them together, it was a serendipitous marriage.

There are a couple few things I would do differently next time around -- and I think I can see the grandkids liking to wake up to this for breakfast:
  • I'd use whole cream cheese.  The neufchatel didn't melt as much as I wanted. 
  • I'll toss the frozen blueberries with both a little sugar and flour, because, believe it or not, it wasn't quite sweet enough for me.
  • I'll leave out the blueberries in the syrup topping.  (I love blueberries; I just think plain maple syrup would be better.  PP = personal preference.)
It was a good experiment nevertheless.  And I'm happy to have put the bread to good use, even though the birds may have liked it.  I'm writing the recipe as I did make it, not like I will when the grandkids come.  I can picture studding it with dried cranberries or maybe sprinkling some almonds on top and putting some almond extract in the custard.  Possibilities!

Blueberry Strata
adapted from Kraft Foods
makes 12 servings
8 cups firm (preferably stale) white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 8-ounce package neufchatel cheese, cut into small cubes
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup maple syrup, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Toss the blueberries with  the flour.  Spread half the bread cubes onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with 1 cup of the blueberries, scatter the cream cheese pieces and the remaining bread over all.

Whisk the eggs, milk and cinnamon together until blended.  Add 1/3 cup syrup and sugar.  Mix well and pour evenly over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, remove strata from fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake strata covered for 1/2 hour; then remove cover and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes or until center is set and top is slightly browned.

Bring remaining syrup and blueberries to boil in saucepan, stirring constantly, simmer on medium-low stirring constantly about 1 minutes, stirring constantly.  Serve over individual servings of strata.