Two things happened recently: my husband quit his comfortable and well-paid job with lots of benefits, and I ruined a batch of cranberry-lemon bread because I was distracted by the short person who was removing all of the knobs from the bookcase while I was baking.
When Huzzybee first told me that he was leaving his job for another one that paid half his corporate salary I began to obsess about finances, and not the important ones. Never did I think how are we going to pay our mortgage? How will we afford preschool? Yes, I am planning on going back to work, but I am not kidding myself into believing that finding a job is going to happen overnight. Instead I immediately began plotting out my food-hoarding timeline. You see, I am an unfortunate combination of things: project manager, pessimist, compulsive eater, and (when I am stressed) angerball. You bet I made a doomsday spreadsheet of all the storable bulk food items and survival gear we would need for when our little family inevitably ends up living underneath a freeway overpass. The week before Huzzybee left work I went to Costco and bought 10 pounds of dried lentils.
Back to the cranberry-lemon bread (I promise the job-quitting and the breakfast strata are connected to each other). This bread that I made was a version of the cranberry-orange bread that I usually make for brunch or a quick breakfast. It came from the oven warm and smelling heavenly. I fed some to Small Boy and he immediately started crying. Huzzybee took a taste, spat it out, and declared it to be “sugar free”.
So I forgot to add sugar. Given our present finances and my food-hoarding tendencies, I determined that this sour-tasting loaf wouldn’t be wasted. Thus came forth the sweet breakfast strata. I really wouldn’t advise making this strata unless you happen to have a loaf of cranberry bread that was made without sugar because otherwise you are making a lot of work for yourself. Make a quiche instead.
1 loaf of failed cranberry-lemon (or orange) bread (or if you don’t happen to be an absent-minded baker like me, some other kind of dense bread with low sugar content)
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
By now you may have noticed this is not part of a balanced breakfast. This strata can easily moonlight as a dessert. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees f. Dice your failed loaf of bread into pieces about 1 inch square and spread them out on a baking sheet so that none of the pieces are touching. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and let the bread dry out for about 15 to 20 minutes. While the bread is drying, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with some oil. When the bread cubes are adequately dry, let them cool to room temperature and spread them into the prepared baking pan. Pour the egg mixture into the baking pan over the bread. You should have enough so that the bread is swimming, drowning, even. Cover with foil, place the in the refrigerator, and let sit overnight. The next morning remove the foil and add evenly-spaced dollops of sour cream to the eggy bread mixture. Cover again with the foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes uncovered.