Or, really, any brunch that you want to make a little extra special... like faux Christmas morning, which we celebrated over the weekend with Mari's cousin, Carson. I have two yummy suggestions for your holiday: potato-leek gratin and blueberry crumb cake. Let's start with the gratin.
Have you read those recipes in the Williams-Sonoma catalogs and wanted to try one? We finally did, and it was divine. Like velvety divine. This is not a time for dieting, people.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 pounds leeks, white and green portions, rinsed well, cut into 1/4" rings
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4" slices
3-4 tablespoons minced fresh chives
In a 12" nonstick fry pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add leeks and salt, stirring to coat leeks with butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add thyme, nutmeg, pepper and cream. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl; let cool. Wipe out pan and grease with 1 tablespoon butter.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, combine and roughly mix the cheeses. Layer one-third of the potatoes in fry pan. Spread one-third of leek mixture on top and sprinkle with one-third of the cheeses, then one tablespoon of chives. Repeat layering two more times, reserving 1 tablespoon of chives. Cover pan; transfer to oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove lid and bake until potatoes are tender and crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Sprinkle remaining chives on top and let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Note: this recipe is very forgiving and you really can't mess it up (even if you forget, way back at the beginning, to stir in the cream to the leeks, like I did). Have a strong partner around to lift your pan of cheesy, bubbling goodness out of the oven and then load up on the chives.
Next: The BC's Blueberry Crumb Cake. You can find it here, and you can also find it on page 230 in Barefoot Contessa Home.
You really can't beat the smell of melted butter and cake baking in the morning. These two recipes are a match made in heaven, and you don't even need to whip up some scrambled eggs to go with, but we couldn't resist. Cheers.