Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eat This: The-Day-After Egg Casserole

I have been racking my brains for a New Year's Day-themed recipe, but everything that initially came to mind (black-eyed pea salsa, things featuring ham and mustard greens) seemed a bit overdone. So I went through my recipe box and found this old chestnut - perhaps the ultimate "morning-after-a-big-New-Year's-Eve-bash" dish, in that it:

1) Features liquor (as in, the hair of the dog);
2) Features day-old bread (in recognition of the fact that the new year is a day old); and
3) Has to be refrigerated overnight, so you can pop it in the fridge before you go out celebrating. And then hopefully remember to put it in the oven before the clock strikes midnight again and it's January 2nd.

I used to make this a lot when I was a newly married person - which, come to think of it, corresponds to the time in my life when I actually attended New Year's Eve parties.

No, this does not feature ham . . . or greens . . . or black-eyed peas. You can eat those later in the day, okay? Or not - depends on how superstitious you are. I am not particularly superstitious, but I am descended from Gypsies (true story - and we're talking real, ethnic, "big G" Gypsies, the kind that live in camps along riverbanks throughout Eastern Europe), so that means that I am surrounded by superstitious people. And I participate in their rituals out of a combination of respect for tradition and a desire not to be browbeaten. But I'm not particularly convinced that any of the rituals mean anything, and the main reason that I think this is that my mother and my grandmother, while insisting that we do such-and-so, cannot remember from year to year exactly WHY we do such-and-so, nor can they remember the exact details of what we are supposed to be doing. Case in point: we wash our faces in silver on New Year's Day. Why? VERY good question. Because it keeps us young and beautiful (the explanation given to me until my grandmother moved in with my mother) and/or because it ensures an accumulation of wealth in the new year (the revised explanation, after my grandmother, I guess, corrected my mother - but I'm fairly sure that neither one knows what the heck she is talking about). I'm gonna go with wealth. Silver = wealth. Silver does not = beauty. Also, big G Gypsies are BIG on wealth. As for beauty, well, have you SEEN a big G Gypsy? We do not, as a people, age particularly well.

And how, exactly, is one supposed to wash their face in silver? Nope, no reliable guidance there, either. So here's what I do: I throw a bunch of silver jewelry and flatware in a bowl of water. Then I splash some of the water on my face and rub it in. Then, because I am not sure if this has done the trick (whatever the trick IS), I pick up a piece of silver (preferably not a fork or a knife) and I rub it over the surface of my face. I try to do this early in the day, so that when my mother calls to say, "Have you washed your face in silver?" I can say, "Yes, Mom, I WASHED MY FACE IN SILVER."

Whatever brand of New Year's insanity you subscribe to, I bet it will go more smoothly after a plate of these eggs.


1 large day-old French or Italian bread, broken into small pieces
6 T butter, melted
¾ lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
½ lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
9 thin slices Genoa salami, coarsely chopped
16 eggs
3¼ cups milk
½ cup dry white wine
4 large whole green onions, minced
1 T spicy mustard
1 tsp. ground pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper
1½ cups sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Butter two 13-x-9-inch baking dishes. Spread bread pieces over bottom and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with Swiss and Monterey Jack cheeses and salami. Beat next 7 ingredients until foamy. Pour over cheese mixture. Cover dishes with foil. Refrigerate overnight. Remove 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Spread with sour cream; sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

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