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Overnight Strata for Two

Shouldn't I be posting recipes for fruit desserts, cool summer salads and lovely picnic fare? Yes. And I would if my furnace wasn't running and if were not wearing two layers. And a sweater.

It has been raining for days in Portland and it will continue to rain for days in Portland. This weather is directly due to the Portland Rose Festival that is currently being celebrated in The Rose City. Never fails. Oregon usually has decent weather in September and with all the poison oak turning a gorgeous red in September, possibly Portland should rethink which flora they honor?

The Poison Oak Festival Queen could be crowned with a wreath of these beautiful leaves!

I am sure everyone suffering from heat and wildfires will not be sympathetic to my rainy complaints. It isn't even polite to whinge about the weather as it is completely out of our control. So forget the weather, come on to Portland and enjoy the Rose Festival - the flowers are really pretty with water droplets!

And maybe where you live, the weather is more suitable for this savory breakfast casserole - that needs an oven.

This little sweet and savory breakfast casserole is perfect for using up a stray bit of French bread or Challah and is very versatile. With the added convenience of being made the night before, this recipe is RV-friendly. More often than not, I substitute blueberries for the meat.

A few notes: Since we don't eat pork, I use uncured turkey bacon or sauteed bulk turkey breakfast sausage in this recipe. And about maple syrup... please use pure (real) maple syrup. Always. While I am sure Aunt Jemima is a lovely woman, she (and her friend, Mrs. Butterworth, both owned by Pinnacle Food Groups) does not offer maple syrup. She makes maple-flavored corn & high fructose corn syrup - and calls it pancake syrup. Her fake jug of future diabeticjunk also contains water, cellulose gum, caramel color, salt, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, artificial and natural flavors and sodium hexametaphosphate. Don't eat this stuff! (And yes, I notice the irony of real maple syrup v turkey bacon or sausage.)

2 eggs (or 1 egg and two egg whites)
½ cup milk
¼ cup maple syrup
dash cinnamon (optional)
pinch Kosher Salt
4 slices French baguette or Challah,
     cubed (or torn) into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon*

Optional: additional maple syrup and butter for serving, if desired

Beat the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl with a whisk until smooth. Set aside. Oil or butter the sides of a small 9-inch au gratin dish. Line bottom with half the bread cubes and top with all of the bacon. Pour half the egg batter over. Top with remaining bread and pour remaining batter over all. Using fingers, press down on the bread so the batter is mostly absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove from refrigerator while oven heats to 350°. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until egg mixture has set and bread has browned on top. Remove from oven and let rest five minutes. Serve with additional maple syrup and melted butter, if desired. Serves 2.

*or substitute a little cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage or ½ cup fresh blueberries or raspberries. When using fruit, I also like to add a splash of vanilla to the batter.

If you are interested in a crowd-sized overnight breakfast casserole, see my Stuffed Blueberry French Toast recipe.

I am heading to Seattle tomorrow to attend BlogHer Food 12 (where rain is predicted all weekend). I hope to learn lottsa cool stuff at the conference.

Until my next update, I remain, your rainy correspondent.