Monday, August 23, 2010

canadian-bacon strata and fudgy brownies

For the past three years I've blogged about our weekends cottaging in Grand Bend with my in-laws. It's always a blast! We love to have the opportunity to get away and spend quality chunks of time with the family. I was expecting Owen last year and this year he was our newest inductee into the get-away. He was wonderful up there sleeping and napping well. Probably from all the work it takes to entertain people. Even though the weather wasn't great, we still managed some beach time. Owen had fun splashing in the water until repeated fistfuls of sand in his mouth spoiled the good time.

I don't know if I've mentioned in the past how much of a food-a-thon this weekend always ends up to be. You see, most of my in-laws are equally passionate about food as I am. We each take care of a meal up there and it's always a great array of well thought out delicious meals. I wish I could go on and on about what we enjoyed, but it would be a little too lengthy for an entry, so I'll cover what we contributed relative to Everyday Food.

Ever since I saw the recipe for the Canadian-Bacon Strata, Grand Bend weekend came to mind. It fits the criteria for a group breakfast. Because the photo isn't telling, I'll explain. It is shingled english muffins and smoked bacon covered with an egg custard.

I have to note that there is a very odd conundrum with Canadian Bacon - you can't find it in Canada. Well, I'm sure it's available somewhere here, but not 3 hours before you leave for vacation. I called every butcher and supermarket being very specific about my request. I'd always have the person on the other line saying, "Yep, we have it!" To which I'd reply, "You're not referring to peameal bacon, right?" Then there would be an agreement that they are in fact referring to peameal bacon. Then I'd attempt to explain what I was looking for and, of course, they didn't have anything like that. So peameal it was. I was a little disappointed about the whole thing because if I'd anticipated this situation it would have been no problem to have grabbed some Canadian Bacon in the US. But luckily it was fantastic with peameal bacon. I thought the cornmeal would somehow not work well with this recipe, but many english muffins have cornmeal anyways, so it was a non-issue. The best thing about this particular recipe was that it's best made the night before. It worked out so well because Nuno and I also made Jam Filled French Toast. Since making it back in March, we have remade it a total of 4 times now, making this the top hit of the Everyday Food book. We never stray from the original recipe, although we have a plan to someday coat the french toast in crushed Corn Flakes or Cap'n Crunch and deep fry it.

I guess before we arrived in Grand Bend there was a conversation about what will Erin bake this year. I think I brought Anna Olson's S'mores Bars the two previous years. They are so decadent! I wanted to bake something, but was a bit limited because of the oven. I then came upon Fudgy Brownies which bakes at 350 (the highest temperature my oven will reach). I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so this recipe is nice for an anytime treat.

This one was a blessing because if I'd made these alone I might have eaten the whole pan! They are very dense and chocolatey. Not too sweet and super-moist. I added walnuts to balance. As a kid nothing made me more angry than when my grandma added nuts to brownies. I always felt like you were ruining a good thing by adding nuts to - oh, any sweet. But I feel differently now because the contrast in texture is nice. I must also note that, opposite to myself as a child, I don't like frosting on brownies.

So I'm a little bummed out that this is our last cottage trip of 2010. But in reflection, I'm so excited that Owen will have the opportunity to grow up summer cottaging. They are some of my favourite childhood memories and continue to be some of my favourite times.

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