Gathering together for brunch is my new favorite way to entertain. We had a delightful, long dinner party some weeks ago but recovery is a little harder with a baby that wakes up before 7 am no matter when you go to sleep. On Sunday morning, we had guests over and thanks to a menu that could be prepared entirely the night before, it was the easiest social gathering I’ve hosted.

My pal Ebony, ultra creative owner of Snow & Graham, inspired yet another culinary decision of mine. The weekend before, she served us a memorable strata layered with goat cheese, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes. I followed her lead and welcomed strata into my brunch repertoire. Strata is basically an eggy bread pudding that soaks overnight. Below is the recipe I used and a few variations. Be creative.

I love the menus that Kristen at The Kitchen Sink Recipes offers. So, here is one of my own for an easy Mother’s Day Brunch to feed a crowd.

Mimosas to Toast the Moms!

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Mushroom, Spinach & Gruyere Strata

Fresh Fruit Salad



Consider a little take home gift of baked goods if you have time in advance. Perhaps some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies packed in paper-covered recycled canister or mini Banana Bread Loaves.

Mushroom, Spinach & Gruyere Strata
Serves 8-10

8 cups day old bread cut in 1 inch pieces (Italian loaf would be good. I used Challah)
9 eggs
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
8-10 sliced button mushrooms
1 cup fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Use day old bread for this recipe OR heat cubes of bread in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes to dry it out. The dryer bread will soak up the egg and milk mixture better. Beat together eggs and milk with a whisk. Add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Put bread in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Add mushrooms, spinach and half the cheese. Use your hands to mix it together slightly, spreading it evenly around the pan. Gently pour the egg mixture over it, covering the bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata for 30-40 minutes until egg is set and edges are browned. Serve warm.

Variations: Make the same bread and egg mixture but try different veggies and cheese: Goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil OR Canadian bacon, mushrooms and cheddar cheese.