Lily, my retired rescued greyhound recently turned 11 (October 20). That is a big cause to celebrate because racing greyhounds live retched lives and against all odds of being dosed with anabolic steroids and god knows what else — as they age, it’s cause for celebration.
My greyhound is somewhat of a spook and doesn’t like to be around other dogs, cats, kids, and other greyhounds. She is the exception rather than the rule. She is fine with most people and actually loves to cuddle on her terms.
This year I invited my greyhound adopter friends for a fun brunch. They all came bearing gifts for Lily — a sparkly jester collar, a necklace, a gift card, and lots of wheat-free gourmet treats. Lily herself was decked out in various accessories; she likes costumes.
The menu was Vinho Verde sparkling white wine from Portugal or a Spanish cava (the slight sweetness cuts/complements the spicy chili) and iced tea, pobano chile brunch strata, tomato and cucumber slices, and a black bean/corn/mango relish. For dessert, ice cream bon bons.
The recipe came from Chowhound.com but has been slightly modified.
4 large fresh poblano chiles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, minced
1 pound sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups sour cream (1-pound container), plus more for topping if desired
1/2 cup salsa verde, plus more for topping if desired
1/4 cup minced cilantro
9 large eggs
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup shredded mozarella or jack cheese
If you have a gas stove, lay one poblano at a time over high heat, turning occasionally, until the skin is black on all sides, about 8 minutes. Repeat with each poblano. Alternatively, turn on the oven to high broil. Once heated, place poblanos on the top rack and broil until the skin is black on all sides, about 8 minutes. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until chiles are cool enough to handle, about 10 to 15 minutes. Peel off skins, remove seeds, and cut chiles into large dice. (I bypassed this step by calling my favorite Mexican restaurant and asking them to do this part for me and just went to pick it up. It was well worth it.)
Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, seasoning well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until tender and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside. In a large bowl, combine bread, poblanos, sour cream, onion, salsa verde, and cilantro until everything is coated in sour cream. Put mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
Whisk eggs with milk in a separate large bowl; season with kosher salt and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Pour custard over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate strata overnight.
Heat oven to 350°F. Remove strata from the refrigerator about 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to bake it. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake strata until it is puffed, golden brown, and slightly set in the center, about 50 to 55 minutes (on my oven it was about 65 minutes). Top with salsa verde and sour cream, as desired. Serve hot or room temperature, also tastes delicious the next day.
A good time was had by all.
On another note, my friend Lizzie was in a horrible hit-and-run accident and her dogs sustained over $14,000 in vet bills. Please read the blog and share it with your friends who treat their companion animals like family members.