For so many of us, when it comes to the Christmas holidays, we are so exhausted that we find it hard to get out of bed. The daily hustle and bustle of our everyday lives gets jolted by Christmas spirit — cleaning, entertaining, being entertained, concerts, shopping, volunteering, working, children’s activities. I, for one, LOVE winter mornings when I do not have to be anywhere or do anything and can just relax while enjoying my morning coffee over a good magazine. Then it hits me — guests coming over, children to feed and I would really enjoy something more than my morning oatmeal. My “trick” is prepare the night before so I can have my dreamy, relaxing morning.
Set the table the night before. You will not believe how nice it is to wake up in the morning to see this!
Make a fruit salad, which always looks beautiful and tastes amazing. It can be made the night before (just leave out the bananas until just before eating) and sprinkle with some lemon juice to keep fruit from turning brown. Add interesting fruits like pomegranate seeds, dragon fruit and passion, which that are all in season at the moment.
Have something baked without all the hassle of baking. I know, this sounds like an oxymoron, but here is a great tip: make your dough the night before (muffin mixes work best), and line your tins so all you have to do in the morning is turn on the oven and fill the tins. While these are baking, you are enjoying your first cup of coffee of the morning.
Have your breakfast main ready to reheat. Remember, you are relaxing today and it’s OK to re-heat something you made the night before. Dishes like pancakes, crepes, a strata, frittata and even French toast all re-heat well.
The recipe below is my new “go-to,” adapted from a recipe on the Pillsbury website, but it’s much better with the butter pastry or even phyllo. Instead of the salsa and cilantro, it’s fantastic with marmalade or maple syrup drizzled on it. It is also fabulous with goat’s cheese and prosciutto instead of bacon. It is what I call a showstopper breakfast dish — it always gets rave reviews and is always requested in my household!
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Wreath
4 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper, if desired
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 package of butter pastry
1 cup shredded cheese — your choice
chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
1 cup of your favourite salsa, if desired
Heat oven to 375° F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat about 4 minutes or until cooked, but not crisp, turning once. (It will continue to cook in oven.) Set bacon aside; drain all except 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from skillet.
In medium bowl, beat 1/3 cup of the milk, the eggs, salt and pepper with fork or whisk until well mixed. Stir in bell pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet. As mixture heats, portions of eggs will begin to set. Gently push cooked portions with metal spatula to outside edge of skillet. Avoid stirring constantly. As more egg sets, push it to the edge and place it on top of the already set egg mixture. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.
Unroll dough; cut into 8 triangles. On parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange triangles with shortest sides toward centre, overlapping in star shape and leaving 4-inch round circle open in center. Dough points may hang over edge of cookie sheet. Press overlapping dough to flatten.
Place bacon on each of the triangles. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese onto widest part of dough. Spoon eggs over cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. Pull points of triangles over eggs and cheese, and tuck under dough to form ring (filling will be visible). Carefully brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. With broad spatula, carefully loosen ring from cookie sheet; slide onto serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and salsa.
Wishing you a delicious, loving, peaceful and joyful holiday season and may your 2016 be filled with great food, friends and health!
Lara McCormack is a co-owners of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont.