Day 4: Tyler's 30th Birthday at Fallen Leaf Lake

On Saturday, we had a leisurely morning and had fun making breakfast. On the menu was a waffle bar with bacon and an egg, leak sausage bake (see below for instructions). Let me tell you....this egg bake was out of this world and will definitely be a keeper!
Egg, Leek, Sausage Bake
I substituted ham for sweet Italian sausage and it was perfect. From Smitten Kitchen: One big note, as I failed on this both times so do as I say and not as I did, is to Beware The Weep. Eggs baked too long can emit a watery run-off, which I, a non-food-scientist so feel free to chime and correct/clarify, understand comes from proteins in the eggs overcoagulating. To avoid this, bake this just until it’s done and the safest way to do that is to start checking in before you need to (I’ve suggested this in the recipe). It’s done when no liquid egg seeps into the gap formed where a knife inserted into the center and turned or pulled back slightly or a temperature of 165 to 170 degrees. Should your eggs weep, you’ll see this at the bottom of the dish as a little puddle that will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the taste; it’s just a thing that will bother you, the cook.

Serves 10 to 12
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
6 medium-large leeks or 3 leeks and 2 small yellow onions, diced (just white and pale green parts from leeks; leeks washed well)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 large eggs
3 1/3 cups milk, preferably whole
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound grated cheese (I use a mix of gruyere and comte)
10 ounces cooked ham, diced very small

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a large (9×13-inch, 3-quart or more) baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Once hot, add leeks (and onions, if using) and season generously with salt (I use a full teaspoon kosher salt) and pepper. Cook, stirring, until they’re tender, sweet and just starting to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low if they’re picking up color too quickly.

Beat eggs with salt (I used another teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste) and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk in milk.
Assemble by layering in prepared dish: 1/3 of grated cheese, 1/2 of each leeks and ham, next 1/3 cheese, remaining leeks and ham. Pour eggs over then sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Bake until gently set in center, being careful about overbaking (see note up top). It’s done when no liquid egg seeps into the gap formed where a knife inserted into the center and turned or pulled back slightly or a temperature of 165 to 170 degrees. Start checking at 55 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that until it’s done. Mine took a total of 65 minutes. Should the top brown too much before the center is set, put foil over the baking dish for remaining baking time.

Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, or risk a room full of burned tongues. (It packs serious heat!) Serve in squares or scoops.

Lots of toppings for the waffle bar.
 Following breakfast, we headed down to the lake to hang out at the dock. 
Tyler and Mark went paddle boarding
Played catch off of the dock
And just lounged
Maire and I then made this really good pizza for everyone for lunch. We had to improvise a bit since we couldn't find pizza dough, so our crust didn't come out quite like the recipe called for. Regardless, it came out really good and the corn with the bacon and green onion tasted delicious together.
 We then had appetizers and drinks and played lots of games while dinner was cooking.
 Tyler and I made the most delicious tacos al pastor with slow roasted pork meat. For my 30th birthday, we made the same meal; however, this year we slow cooked the pork and it was easily the best pork any of us had had....talk about flavorful!
Tyler cutting up the meat. To accompany the meat, I grilled a bunch of veggies and made a Mexican corn quinoa salad with avocado dressing. It was really good as well and definitely a bit healthier than other Mexican street corn recipes I had found.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup cooked red or white quinoa
  • 3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cotija (or feta), crumbled
  • chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the quinoa and raw corn to a large mixing bowl with the chopped jalapeƱo green onions, cilantro, half of the lime juice, cotija cheese and a dash of chili powder. Toss to combine.
  2. Remove the avocado from the skin and discard the seed. Place the flesh of the avocado in a blender or food processor with the remaining lime juice and blend until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of water as needed to make the mixture smooth, it should be a similar consistency to a mayonnaise.
  3. Remove the avocado mixture from the blender, toss it with the corn and quinoa mixture and top with the shredded jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve.
 The spread! Over dinner we told stories of Tyler's through the years and had a really nice time celebrating everyone's favorite person :)
And we had an epic dishwashing team...Josh always does the dishes without his shirt on so it doesn't get wet or dirty!
And for dessert, Tyler requested his favorite Texas Sheet Cake!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch or a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder, and water. Bring mixture just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add the cocoa mixture to flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for about 25 minutes for the 15x10x1-inch pan, 35 minutes for the 13x9x2-inch pan, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. Pour warm Chocolate-Buttermilk Frosting over brownies, spreading evenly. Cool in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars

Chocolate-Buttermilk Frosting

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine butter or margarine, cocoa powder, and buttermilk. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in pecans, if desired.

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