A Mountain Brunch
We had to go away for a little while. Not in a "we lost our jobs and it all came crumbling down so we moved back home but the silver lining is that this will be the basis for an incredible unproduced screenplay" kind of going away, mind you! We were out celebrating friend of the show, Maxwell Kanter's birth in the beautiful mountains of Idyllwild, California! And while a weekend in the mountains with friends means hiking, hot tubs, incredible lighting and many many many photos (and, if you're us, and we know you are, some good old quality time with your dear friend's vape pen), it also means SHOW STOPPING MEALS. This is the Rose's Turn, the Lot's Wife, the Being Alive, the Defying Gravity, the Back to Before of breakfast casseroles. A Cabin Show Stopper.
Now, there is an art to the cabin showstopper, which I've delineated below. There's a recipe too, but anyone who's made a true cabin (or beach house/parent's house/out of town friend's apartment) showstopper will recognize the following anticipation building techniques immediately:
- On the trip planning email thread (or Google Doc. And for god's sake, use a google doc. Don't be a heathen), when the question of who's making what meal comes up, go for something unexpected. If you're an avid braised reader, they'll be expecting you to do dinner. RESIST AND SUBVERT THOSE EXPECTATIONS.
- Go for the least popular meal: BREAKFAST. Try to go for the breakfast on the day that most guests are at the cabin. Make something with ample room for leftovers so that late arrivals can enjoy your showstopping creation.
- The goal here is to get attention. Attention that lasts long after your meal is digested by your guests. You want to make something so good that people will continue talking about it multiple meals later. An ideal comment would be "Wow dinner was delicious, all the food was so good, but um, and maybe I've just been hitting the vape pen too hard, but are there any breakfast leftovers, that one was my favorite!"
- Choose something that takes what I like to call "disguised effort". You'll have to work a little bit over a longer period of time, but secretly the cooking is straightforward and easy. The disguised effort comes in the extra time it takes to prepare, so it will look like you've spent HOURS slaving over the dish, when in reality you've spent more time with the vape pen than you ever would with what you've made.
- Remain incredibly casual about your dish even though you know in your heart of hearts that it is fucking delicious and you've done a great job!! Below is a succulent, buttery, rich, cheesy, sausage-y, and all around goddamn delightful breakfast casserole that accomplishes all of the above and more. You'll want to make it again and again but unfortunately it is not HEALTHIEST thing you could repeatedly include in your dietso maybe don't do that? What it IS, however, is the perfect CABIN SHOWSTOPPER. So here she is BOYS! Here she is WORLD! Here's:
THE CROISSANT CASSEROLE TO END ALL CROISSANT CASSEROLES!
IDEAL FOR: A vacation meal that serves a whole group of at least 10, getting attention. Also, look at the ingredients do you really need another reason to make this?
DON'T TRY THIS WHEN: Bae is vegan. It's just not gonna happen.
PAIR WITH: Breakfast fixings!!
Inspiration: H/T to my girl Melissa Clark from the NY Times dining section!
- 6 croissants from the cheap $5.00 box from Vons (you can use the rest for post vape pen eats), split in half lengthwisee
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for baking dish
- 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced, greens reserved
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 8 large eggs (I know)
- 3 cups whole milk (I KNOW!)
- 1 cup heavy cream (I ALREADY SAID THIS WASN'T GONNA BE THE HEALTHIEST THING PLEASE STOP YELLING)
- 8 ounces Gruyère, grated (2 cups) (Who can argue with that? And actually, I had some sharp cheddar in the fridge that I sprinkled on top as well, and it didn't hurt and helped me get even more attention)
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
DAY ONE (aka when you arrive to the cabin!)
1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to see that they do not burn). Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
2. In a medium skillet (or whatever skillet the cabin has!) over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add sliced scallions and sausage meat; cook, breaking up meat with a fork, until mixture is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage, and remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, toss together croissants and sausage mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt and pepper.
4. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. (There is no guarantee the cabin will have one of these so bring your own or check beforehand. Airbnb has this kind of feature for this reason) Turn croissant mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
1. When you’re ready to bake the casserole (AKA wake up a little earlier than everyone else, hit the vape pen, and begin this part of the process. It's great to be up before everyone else because they'll see that you're up "cooking" and be impressed with your disguised effort), heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole.
3. Transfer to oven and bake until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallion tops before serving. DIG IN BABY!