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This morning we said goodbye to two very dear friends over buttermilk pancakes, strata, bacon, and mimosas.  There is no better way to see friends off than by eating brunch; especially when there is champagne, bacon, and maple syrup involved.  We’ve been neighbors for over a year; sharing the driveway, a patio, and a German Shepard.

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One of my favorite tricks when baking is to use the most popular recipe on allrecipes.com.  I’ve found that you can’t go wrong when there are more than 1000 reviews.  Make sure you save the recipe if you really like it though, because it can be the dickens to find it months later.  These buttermilk pancakes were perfect.  If you are making pancakes for a large group, store them in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil at 300 and they’ll be nice and hot when served.

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This is one of the most beautiful couples I know.  They taught us so much and exude joy.  We are truly blessed to have them as friends!

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They are like parents to me.

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We tried something completely different for the bacon.  Instead of cooking it on the stove, be baked it in the oven at 350 degrees F.  I’ve been told that to make the best bacon, you should start it in a cold oven.  This applewood smoked bacon really was something else.

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A lot of photos of me are at the stove.  Kind of funny how that works out when you are hostess of a party.  🙂

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My favorite dish was the mini pepper strata.  I start with a base recipe and add cheese, meat, and vegetables.  I find a lot of inspiration while at the grocery store, just taking in all the possibilities.  The mini peppers held a lot of moisture and were well balanced by chicken sausage and white cheddar cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of mini red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 13 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs half and half
  • 3-4 cups cubed french baguette
  • 1/2 lb Vermont Cheddar Cheese or Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar, cubed
  • 1 lb Chicken Sausage, flavored with apples, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 35o deg. F.  Line a 9×13 baking pan with butter and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan.  Add the yellow onions and stir until all the oil is absorbed.  Turn the heat to medium and cook until they just begin to brown.  Turn the heat to low and add the garlic and peppers.  Saute until the peppers are tender and the onion is caramelized.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and half and half until smooth.  Stir in the vegetables, chicken and cheese.  Add salt and pepper.  Fold in the baguette until well mixed.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until the edges are brown and the egg is just a bit juicy.
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