I've posted recipes in the past, but I haven't posted one in quite some time.
The recipes I've posted in the past have mostly been “family” recipes, handed down. This one's a bit different. I originally got it from a magazine and it immediately found a place as a holiday staple. After moving back to the US I misplaced the recipe, but just by luck I recalled that it was credited to The Inn at Ormsby Hill. I sent them an email asking for the recipe and they responded that the chef who prepared it was longer with them, but they took the trouble to forward my email to him and he responded and sent me the recipe. So, many thanks to the inn as well as to Chef Don Burd. I don't know where Chef Burd is cooking these days, but I'd definitely recommend it. He's a terrific cook and a great guy. I'd also recommend the inn. Never been there, but after living in New Hampshire, I can tell you that any inn located in New Hampshire or Vermont is worth staying at.
This might well be the ultimate holiday lunch/brunch recipe. You make it up the night before and throw it in the oven the next morning—the perfect answer to a busy Christmas morning or a New Year's day when you're not necessarily up to standing over the stove. Those are the two times each year that we make it. And believe me, we spend the rest of the year waiting to make it again. It's good. Very good.
Without further ado, Vegetable Cheese Strata:
5 SLICES WHITE BREAD, BUTTERED ONE SIDE
1/2 lB. SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE COARSELY GRATED (ABOUT 2 CUPS)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED RED BELL PEPPER (ABOUT 1/2 PEPPER)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED GREEN PEPPER(ABOUT 1/2 PEPPER)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED ONION (ABOUT 1/2 MED.ONION)
1/3 CUP ZUCCHINI (ABOUT 1/2 SMALL ZUCCHINI)
3 LARGE EGGS
2 CUPS WHOLE MILK
1 TSP. ENGLISH STYLE DRY MUSTARD
1 TSP SALT
1 1/2 TSP DRIED BASIL CRUMBLED
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER TO TASTE.
Butter 8" sq. baking pan, Cut bread in cubes and arrange in pan. Top bread
with cheddar. In bowl toss together vegetables and arrange evenly over the
cheese. In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, and salt and
pepper and pour over vegetables. Chill strata, covered, overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Sprinkle strata with basil. Put strata in pan
in a larger baking pan and add enough hot water to large pan to reach half
way up sides of strata pan. Bake strata in middle oven 1 hour, or until
top is golden, and remove from oven and its "bath"
Cut into 6"squares; serves six.