Ahh. Just as you're leaning back, congratulating yourself that your Thanksgiving shopping is done and you've finished the stuff that can be done ahead, a sudden thought strikes: What about breakfast?

After cooking a monumental feast, you can feel plenty justified in taking your clan out to breakfast on Friday. But it's good to have a few delicious breakfast dishes in your back pocket as the holiday season wears on.

The first thing to remember is that eggs are always a great standby. The thing to figure out, though, if you're cooking for a crowd is how not to spend the morning as a short-order cook. Baking eggs is the way to go. That way, you can sit down and eat with your guests. A frittata is a great way to bake eggs, but if you're looking for something a little different, try making cazuelas. Generally, such eggs are baked in the clay pot of the same name. But a cast-iron skillet will do just fine.

At Café Aion, chef-owner Dakota Soifer serves a cazuela with eggs baked over potatoes with marinated piquillo peppers. He serves the dish with harissa and crusty bread to soak up the goodness.

"If I were thinking of (cooking for) a group, I think it would be successful in a cast-iron skllet and would translate very well," he says.

To make the dish, he starts by crisping potatoes in hot olive oil. Look for local potatoes, which are available now and quite delicious, Soifer advises. He carefully cracks the eggs on top, then arranges the peppers (you can use roasted red pepper instead of piquillos) and bakes in the oven for 10 minutes at 425.

He keeps his house-made harissa on hand to serve with. While people sometimes refer to a dry spice as harissa, Soifer likes the paste type. His is made with fresh Fresno peppers, cumin and black cumin, hot smoked paprika and a tad of tomato paste. Definitely not for the timid. But in small dollops, mixed with the runny eggs and potatoes, it's so good.

Soifer suggests a fruit salad or green salad to accompany the dish and round out the breakfast.

Also included here are some other idea for special ways to start the morning. One is a decadent mac ‘n' cheese made with taleggio. It might sound a bit odd, but it's no more decadent that the well-worn sausage and cheese strata. And, really, who doesn't like macaroni and cheese?

An arugula salad lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil or fruit salad would go well.

Polenta also makes a great breakfast dish, or if you want to go a little southern, try a cheese grits casserole. Just don't make it with icky Cheese Whiz as some down-home recipes suggest. Sharp cheddar will do just fine, thank you very much. Add your own garlic. Fancy it up with ham and mushrooms, if you like. Or try roasted tomatoes on top.

If you have a sweet tooth, one of the best company breakfasts is a German puffed pancake, also known as a Dutch Baby. A simple, eggy batter is poured into a hot pan or skillet with plenty of butter. The batter puffs up, popover like -- cue the oohs and ahhs. A dusting of powdered sugar and sauteed apples are the traditional accompaniment.

Of all the holiday meals, breakfast is often the most relaxing. In the rush of our everyday lives, we don't spend enough time together over a pleasurable morning meal. Take time to make a special one.

BAKED EGGS WITH POTATOES, ROASTED PEPPERS AND HARISSA

Serves 5

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 good-sized Yukon potatoes, peeled and chopped to into 1-inch squares

6 cloves garlic

6 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

1 cup roasted piquillo or roasted bell peppers

10 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425. Warm the olive oil in a 9-inch cast iron pan over a medium heat. Sauté the potatoes in the oil until they are almost cooked through, sprinkling with salt and pepper and stirring frequently. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Turn the heat off under the pan.

It is now time to add the eggs. Crack the eggs into the spaces between the crispy potatoes. With a fork pock the egg white to encourage them to run, this will help dish cook through and set up properly. Sprinkle a big pinch of salt over the eggs and arrange the roast peppers on top trying to leave the yolks visible.

Pop the cast-iron pan into the oven to bake for10 minutes. The eggs should be set but the yolks still a little soft and runny.

Serve with grilled bread and harissa.

Source: Dakota Soifer, Café Aion

HARISSA

2 cups seeded and roughly chopped fresh Fresno chilies

6 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/2 cup roasted piquillo peppers or roasted red bell peppers

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon coriander

1 tablespoon black cumin

2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika

1 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Toast the spices until fragrant and grind finely. Put the chilies, garlic, salt and half the spices into a food processor. Let the processor run for a few minutes, stopping it every now ands then to scrap the sides down.

You are trying to achieve a very smooth, almost liquid-y consistency. This will probably take longer then expected, so be patient.

A well pureed base will ensure a successful harissa.

Once pureed, add in the tomato paste and peppers along with the rest of spices.

Stir in the olive oil by hand, you don't want an emulsion. This will keep for a few weeks in the fridge, just pour a very thin layer of oil on the top to protect from oxidization, between uses.

Source: Dakota Soifer, Café Aion

GERMAN PUFFED
PANCAKES

Serves 4

For the apples:

2 large baking apples such as Cortland or Haralson

3 tablesppons butter

3 tablespoons sugar

Cinnamon for garnish

For the pancake:

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon. vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in the middle position.

Make the apples: Peel and core the apples, then slice each into about 12 slices, thick enough that they'll hold their shape and not melt into applesauce.

Melt butter over medium heat in a shallow saucepan, then add apples and sugar, stirring gently to coat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and begin to color a bit. Set aside on lowest heat to keep them warm until the pancake is done.

When the oven is at the proper temperature, put the butter in a baking pan (see note) and place in oven to melt the butter and preheat the pan.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until batter is smooth and only a few lumps remain. It's OK to have a few; you don't want to over-beat the batter or the pancake could become tough. You also can combine all the ingredients in a blender, processing until just smooth.

Once the butter is melted and begins to sizzle, carefully pour the batter into the hot pan. The butter will disperse to the edges. Do not stir.

Bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Bring the puffed pancake out for people to see, then slice and serve with sauteed apples and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Note: The recipe is for a 10-inch ovenproof skillet or round cake pan, but can easily be doubled and baked in a 9- by-13-inch pan (metal or Pyrex.)

Source: This recipe, often also called Dutch Baby, is adapted from "The Joy of Cooking," although we halved the amount of butter. (Don't worry;
there's still plenty.)