It seems that the airports have been very busy this week flying Schuster and Shealy kids around. Naomi left for Israel Saturday morning and Rebecca arrived in B’ham in the evening. Now you are on a plane from Israel ending/continuing/beginning your journey.
Gail and Abe were at a wedding Saturday night so I picked Rebecca up from the airport and invited her and a fourth for mahjong and dinner. I made a simple dinner of pesto pasta with roasted vegetables, pan-seared flounder and tomato-cucumber-basil salad with garlic bread toast…and both Dad and Rebecca were thrilled to have the opportunity to play mahjong. As always, there were plenty of leftovers.
It was the leftovers…and Bubbe, who never threw away any left over food…that inspired the morning-after brunch I prepared for Dad and me. Sunday morning was one of the first in a long time that both Dad and I were at home together…a cause for celebration…and breakfast. I didn’t really have any specific menu in mind, but as I started rooting around the refrigerator and saw those leftovers, I knew what I had to do. The result was a breakfast casserole that turned out good enough to serve to company. Dad said it reminded him of a New Orleans brunch (without the heavy sauces)…and I used up all the leftovers!
I have been preparing for your homecoming this week. I removed all of our junk from your room and left your junk pretty much intact. It is daunting how much space our lives take up even when we don’t really live there. Our commingled stuff has been separated, at least for now…at least in your room.
We seem to have crossed thresholds in our lives almost simultaneously. Just because I continue to remind you to wear a raincoat in the rain doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the capable young adult you have become. And just because I want to know your plans doesn’t mean I don’t have a life of my own filled with my own activities and schedules. It is precisely because we are two separate adults traveling on our own ever-evolving life paths, that I want to ensure our commingling during these brief moments that you will be spending in a place that was at one time the only place you knew as home.
Our relationship, at this point in both of our lives, is more a choice and less a given. I think often about my relationship with my mother, your Bubbe. It seemed that it was always a given. Maybe it was the nature of that generation or maybe it was just that we both needed so much from each other that we didn’t know how to be anything other than mother and daughter and daughter and mother…needing and wanting…without ever really knowing each other.
Although our relationship naturally has some of the strains and issues that exist between most mothers and daughters, it is my hope that we will choose to be in each others lives…to share our stories and our hearts and our interests…even if that means you might have to learn to play mahjong!
I can’t wait to see you, to cook with you and to commingle our lives again in this place that we still call home.
Egg and Veggie Breakfast Casserole
This easy casserole was made from leftovers from dinner the night before. Whole wheat and sour dough rolls had been sliced and made into garlic toast rounds with roasted garlic paste and olive oil and the veggies were oven-roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. You can vary this recipe with different vegetables, cheeses and breads…depending on what’s leftover in your refrigerator.
I served it with tomato-cucumber-basil salad, flounder seared in a little butter and garlic and some fresh fruit. Mimosas and good coffee topped off this great Sunday brunch menu.
Yield: 4-6 depending on what else is served
- 6-8 small round garlic toasts
- 2-3 cups of cubed roasted vegetables
- 4-6 ounces of grated cheddar or Jarlsburg cheese (I used equal parts of both)
- 6 eggs (Egg whites can be substituted – 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg)
- ¾ cup milk (skim can be used)
- 1 tsp pesto ( finely ground basil, olive oil, salt and pepper)
- Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pine nuts and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Lightly grease a deep 10” round casserole dish with butter or spray. Layer garlic toasts on bottom of dish. Top with a layer of roasted veggies and then a layer of grated cheese. Continue layering…bread, veggies, cheese…until casserole dish is filled to about ¾” from the top or until you run out of veggies.
Whisk together eggs, milk, pesto, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Pour over layered ingredients in the casserole. Top with more grated cheese and pine nuts and parmesan cheese if desired.
Bake in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and top of casserole puffs up and is lightly browned. Let dish rest for five minutes before cutting and serving.
- 6-8 small Campari tomatoes (or your favorite variety of tomato), thinly sliced
- 4 small Persian cucumbers (or your favorite variety of cucumber), thinly sliced
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, washed and cut into strips
- ½ cup of green onions or Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
- Black Greek olives, pitted (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
Cut and mix all vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add a few splashes of Balsamic vinegar and toss. Season to taste.