Brunch of champions

We had some friends over this morning (well, no, not this morning–we asked people to come at about noon) for brunch, featuring Jim’s lovely rosemary roasted potatoes and my green chile strata (the recipe for which I invented at about 8:15 p.m. yesterday). Also mimosas and Bloody Marys. It went pretty well, and underscored for me this:

I am a hermit. A sociophobe, an alienated individual, a Unabomber with Smashbox eyeshadow and Laura Mercier lipstick. I can be around people and even enjoy myself, but it is damned hard–draining, really–and a few hours of hanging out with the crew pretty much puts me out of commission for the rest of the day. And it’s not that I don’t like the individual people I’m with–if I didn’t, I think I’d be completely unable to smile and/or talk and/or make mimosas–I just need waaaaaay more breathing room and still small spaces than a working, socializing mom of two is likely to get.

So I’m afraid I come off as sort of a wretched bitch. Can’t be comfortable for my guests. So I’m a failure as a hostess, too. Alas…

Does anyone know of any tiny remote islands for sale? A wee cabin with hi-speed Internet access would be a great selling point.

Green Chile Strata
1 loaf crusty bread (sourdough would be really nice, but all we can get here is that "French" stuff that’s pretty much like hot-dog-bun dough with a hard crust around it)
1 lb Italian sausage
1 largish or 2 smallish onions, chopped
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 to 1 tsp fennel, if you like
1 can diced tomatoes, well drained
2 4-oz cans green chiles, well drained
8 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1 to 2 cups shredded cheese (I used "Mexican 4-Cheese Blend," but you could use a mixture of, say, Jack and Cotija)

Tear bread into roughly bite-sized pieces. Line the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan with a single layer of torn bread.

Brown sausage and onions together; drain; stir in pepper flakes, fennel, tomatoes and chiles and heat briefly. Spoon mixture over bread. Top with another layer of bread.

Beat eggs; stir in milk; salt and pepper generously to taste. Pour over casserole. Push top layer of bread down gently to encourage bread to wick up egg/milk mixture. Cover casserole tightly with aluminum foil; refrigerate overnight.

Remove strata from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Heat oven to 375. Bake 45 minutes, covered; remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese; return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, or at least hot, because I don’t think Cotija will really melt. Serve forth and enjoy…

About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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9 Responses to Brunch of champions

  1. Jen Donnelly says:

    Yeah, actually, we once found a site that lists private islands for sale. They start around $2mil but those are the unimproved ones. And really, that’s not such a bad deal. Get a satellite modem thingy and a solar generator and you’d be in business.
    I know how you feel, I am really not good socially and I’m quite shy, until I feel comfortable. I’m always afraid I come across as a snob, when really I’m just paralyzed with uncertainty about what to say next.

  2. Summer says:

    That strata sounds delicious and something I would make for Mike- he loves stuff like that.
    I also love that you used the word “Alas”….
    Oh hey- Did you hear that HBO is creating the “Fire and Ice” books of George R. Martin’s for a regular series show?
    Cannot wait to see who they cast for Jon Snow. He better be hot. I’m just sayin’….

  3. Amy Sorensen says:

    mmmm…the strata sounds delicious. I have to agree with you on the social thing. It’s difficult for me, too. Exhausting. I think that some people have the social ability (Kendell does, in spades) and others have to work at it. Glad you survived your brunch!

  4. Yummmmmmmmmm as for the hostess thing I say you be you beautiful in this world it really is all that matters. Hugs Wanda

  5. Herm says:

    I know just what you mean. And at least you have mimosas; the social thing is only exacerbated by being unable to drink. Though I really love hostessing; it just exhausts me to the point of coma.

  6. Sam Masson says:

    Sounds familiar; remember that part in “Clerks” where Randal says, “I hate people, but I love gatherings. Isn’t it ironic?” Well, I’ve always felt just the opposite… love people, can deal one-on-one, but the gatherings, I can do without. Unless there’s mimosas and bloody marys involved, but that can turn into one of those regrettable star-that-burns-twice-as-messily-lasts-half-as-long situations. Over the holidays, I ran into several people who I remembered from “situation X,” “situation Y,” or “situation Z.” All of them remembered me from the Halloween party in 2005, or the Christmas party in 2004, or the Cesar Chavez Day party in 2003. Quelle embarrassment. I really ought to look into blogging.

  7. Mimi says:

    Difficult for me as well. Although, a couple of Mimosas and I’d not mind ~

  8. Zara says:

    You really shouldn’t be so hard on yourself!!! You are an amazing hostess!!! You are pleasant and intriguing….always. I, as most of your guests, would never think of you in any way other then the clever and talented person you are!

  9. molly jones says:

    for the record you were particularly (sp?) cracking me up on Saturday. It is nice to meet someone with a dark sense of humor. Moving from the east coast I’ve had to keep mine in the closet.. Oh by the way are you guys having date night on Wednesday? Warren is playing at boomers if you feel so inclined I will be there too! I’m anxious to know your opinion of Willa Cather.

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