Tag Archives: strata

It’s Tasty, It’s Just Not Pretty–Eggless Strata

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Oh come on, admit it – you’re just dying to try that.

No? Oh…well…I don’t know what to tell you other than that it tastes about 5,000,000,000 times better than it looks.

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I feel like I say that about everything I make, though. I just love gross-looking casserole-esque dishes, I suppose. Slop in a bowl, maybe?

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Anyone who’s “read me” for a long time may remember that I am rather fond of stratas.

Strata is a bread pudding-like layered comfort food casserole made with eggs, cheese and stale cubed bread (or sometimes hash browns).

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Stratas are a bit of a tradition to have as a brunch meal – Christmas morning and Easter would not be complete without a strata in my family.

A particular favorite was this one – which I made in addition to my mom’s traditional eggy, cheesy, meaty strata last Christmas. They were both very different, but both very much enjoyed.

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Now, though, I don’t eat meat, and am very picky about where my other animal products come from, too.

Of course, I also read cookbooks from cover to cover now, and when I have half a loaf of stale/dry Spelt bread left, immediately decide to use it for something else so that I can make my next loaf of sandwich bread…what can I say?!

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Recently, I’ve been going through Veganomicon and bookmarking each recipe that piques my interest so that it’s easier to just find one that sounds good at the time, rather than flipping through the whole book when I’m looking for something to make.

When I saw “Mushroom and Spinach Strata” in a vegan cookbook, my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head and my mother about had a heart attack waking up to my shrill screams, not necessarily of horror, but more from bafflement.

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Because stratas are made with eggs. You mean to tell me I can have stratas, without supporting factory farms? And furthermore, you mean to tell me it will still be edible?!

I mean – I’m pretty open minded as you well know, but I was skeptical.

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And so, I adapted Isa’s recipe to take on a little bit more of my previously loved sausage-apple strata.

I almost made some seitan sausages to go with it – and still think it’d be really good! – but lost the motivation.

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Kale, Cranberry and Apple Strata

  • 4 slices stale whole-grain bread, cubed into approx. 1” squares (You’ll want something a little “crustier” than typical storebought sandwich bread – bakery bread is best.)
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 c. sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1 t. dried sage
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • dash crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • approx. 5 oz. chopped kale
  • 1/4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 medium apple, chopped

For the Custard:

  • 1/2 of a 15 oz. package of soft tofu
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 T. white bean flour
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 t. salt (scant)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and sautee about five minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and sautee until tender. Don’t use too much oil – just enough that the veggies can still get a little stuck, so that they develop a bit of a crust on the outside, while still being tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Place all ingredients for the custard in a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and place in fridge until ready to use.

To the shallots and mushrooms, add the salt, pepper, sage and basil. Stir to combine, and then start adding the kale by the handful, allowing each handful to wilt down and turn vibrant green before adding the next. You’ll probably need to add a little bit of water to the pan to help with this – just keep a small glassful and add as you need it. Add in the cranberries and apple, stirring to combine, and then shut off heat. Add in the bread cubes, and gently combine everything. You might need a little bit of olive oil when you add the bread cubes.

Transfer everything to a sprayed casserole dish, and pour the custard over top. Gently pat the tofu in so it mixes a bit – but don’t mix it all together too much. The bottom layer will be mostly the veg and bread mix, sans tofu.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for about 45-50 minutes, until firm and slightly brown on top. Unfortunately, it will still be really ugly.

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But, mark my words – really delicious. Unless you’re not in your adventurous in your tastes and can’t quite come to terms with the fact that there are cranberries and apples in your strata. In which case…well, don’t use the cranberries and apples. And I’d suggest you add some hummus and nooch to the custard, ‘cause I bet that’d be faaaantastic.
My mom wasn’t sure how she felt about having cranberries and apples in her strata.
Ironically, she was okay with having tofu in her egg-free strata.
Go figure.
Do you enjoy reading recipes in your past time, too?! Do you have a favorite cookbook?

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Filed under breakfast, dinner, recipe, strata, vegan

Eggplant Strata

I think this is my most blunt post-title thus far. I’m sort of proud.

Some housekeeping, before I forget:

  1. I am so so sorry if any new readers have left comments and I haven’t responded in any way, shape, or form. Something inspired me to go through my comments marked as “spam” automatically today, and found a bunch of legitimate comments and pingbacks. Whaaa?! Couldn’t quite figure it out myself, but I felt bad because some of them are from weeks ago!! So, check your “spam” every so often, kids!
  2. I loved reading everyone’s “if I’m being honest…” comments!! I forgot to mention it in the next days post. I think my favorite might have been Freya‘s:  she mentioned she had a dream where she peeled a peach…and when someone questioned the act, said “because Jess does.”
  3. I bought age-defying foundation today because apparently Revlon stopped making my favorite foundation. The closest I could find was this stuff called “instant age rewind.” I think I was unconsciously fascinated by the fact that it has goji berries in it. Hopefully I don’t look like a 5 year old tomorrow.
  4. Apparently in the state of Vermont, a “detour” means “ten minutes out of your way, but we’ll get you there eventually.”
  5. Apparently Vermont has a lot of diaper-rashed babies. I was looking for some for Teddie (apparently it helps keep the bugs out of their booty) and there was no store-brand stuff left on the shelves. The Desitin was too pricey for a “it might work, it might not” situation. Sorry buddy.
  6. Make the following eggplant strata STAT.

For dinner tonight, I whipped up this project based on Moosewood’s Eggplant Strata recipe. It is in Low-Fat Favorites, and while I kept the idea the same, I decided to switch up the flavors a bit. It’s great for a hot day, because it’s actually served cold, and the only cooking you need to do is broiling the eggplant – which can easily be done in a toaster oven. Not only that – but it gets better the longer it sits. Helllooo, leftovers.

Not to mention it’s mom-approved.

Eggplant Strata

adapted from Moosewood’s Low Fat Favorites

serves 2-4

Part One:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt

Cut off the ends of the eggplant so that it can stand up. Peel two of the sides off and discard, and then cut into 1/2″ thick strips. Arrange on a pan to broil them, sprinkling with salt and balsamic. Broil for about ten minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.

Part Two:

  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • lemon pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • salt (to taste – I didn’t add any because the beans are already pretty salty. your call.)
  • 1 t. olive oil

Combine all in a medium bowl and mash, or, if you’re feeling motivated, blend them in a blender or processor.

I preferred them having some chunks, though, and since the processor will be needed for the next step, didn’t feel like washing and drying in between. Call me lazy, it’s okay.

Part Two:

  • 1 1/2 T. goat cheese (I used Peppered goat cheese)
  • 3 T. feta cheese (I used tomato & basil feta)
  • 3 T. almond milk
  • 1/4 of a roasted red pepper
  • 2-3 leaves, chopped, of fresh basil
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 3 chopped sundried tomatoes (I used the dried kind, not in oil or rehydrated)

Microwave goat cheese for a couple seconds, just to get it softened. Add in the almond milk and feta, and whisk until combined.

Add in the remaining ingredients, and combine.

Part Three:

  • 1 medium Roma tomato, chopped
  • 7 basil leaves (small-medium sized)
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place all in a processor, and puree.

Putting it all together:

By the time all the fillings are made, your eggplant should be ready. Perfect timing!

Let the eggplant cool a bit, and then cut into approximately 1/2″ strips.

Line the bottom of a loaf pan with plastic wrap (this is the hardest part of the whole recipe. Does anyone else despise that stuff?) and then place in 1/3 of the eggplant slices, going parallel to the short sides of the pan.

I made sure the bottom layer (to be top layer) was pretty snug and cozy.

Press in all of the chickpea mash. I had some more roasted red peppers, so added those on top, too.

Layer on another third of the eggplant, remembering to go parallel to the short sides, and then all of the cheese mixture.

Spoon on the tomato mixture,…

and then the remaining eggplant slices. As you can see, my eggplant ended up being a bit small 😛

Place plastic wrap over the top, and press down firmly. If you have a pan to fit inside, place the pan on top.

And then let sit in the fridge for as long as you want, until you’re ready to eat. Moosewood’s suggests at least two hours, or even overnight. I only waited about an hour and it was still delicious.

To plate, just remove the top piece of plastic wrap, place a plate over the top, and quickly flip.

nom-licious!!

I enjoyed my portion over some local lettuce – hey, I was gonna have a salad, anyways. It made a great dressing!! And some is already waiting for me for tomorrow night. Perfff!

But dinner wasn’t the only exciting thing today. So was breakfast. Yes, yes – waffles, but in carrot cake form!

I can’t remember if I’ve made carrot cake waffles before, even though it’s one of my favorite oats concoction, even if I have gotten rather lazy when it comes to shredding carrots. Why does shredding carrots seem like such a chore to me?

I just used my usual waffle recipe, but added in one small shredded carrot, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Oh and I’ve been getting rather forgetful and haven’t been using the applesauce lately. I think I could probably throw ice cream on my waffle maker and still get a waffle, though.

Okay, maybe not.

The funky-lookin’ drizzle stuff was an icing mix of almond milk, chunky peanut butter, and chia seeds. It was delicious…

as were the toppings, which was one chopped, peeled peach microwaved with a chopped Turkish fig and some maple sizzurp. The usual earth balance and ginger preserves were on thurr, too 🙂

aaaand, before I let you go, the funny comment of the day, said by a little girl just arriving at the barn as I was tacking Teddie up to ride:

Oh, good, you’re all done! Uh, not that I didn’t want you to ride…. (voice trails off)

I’d only met her one other time, and apparently Teddie left quite the impression – the one other time just happened to be Teddie’s first time seeing another horse in the ring with him at the same time…and he was a crazy man 😉 I think he wowed her with his gentlemanly manners today, though. His ground work is improving by miles, although he’s still like a five year old child who needs his binkie.

I can’t help but laugh: imagine me, middle of the ring, coaxing and trying a million different things to get an adorable pony to drop the leadrope, while he stands there as if there’s not a problem in the world. Hmph. Good thing he’s adorable.

On a positive note, I no longer hope to have the barn to myself just so I can get a ride in. Now if there’s other people riding, too – all the more fun! Of course, go figure – there’s never very many people around 😦 I think this was our busiest week yet.

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe

Laugh a Little

Happy March! Did it come in like a lion for everyone?

I wasn’t so sure what to think – I woke up to a cold, drizzly morning – definitely more of an April Showers vibe than a lion vibe. I did, however, sleep like a baby. I hit the hay early and was raring to go by the time 5:45 rolled around. I think a freshly made bed helped – I was so cozy! Luckily, I’m not one to hate getting out of bed every morning, especially when I’m feeling that well-rested. What do I credit this to?

Oats and Coffee, of course!

Punkin-Apple Oats! I used to have oat bran all the time before I became a grain-head and started mixing nearly every grain under the sun just for one bowl! Oat bran made it back into my mix this morning. I forgot how much I love it!

In the grain mix this morning was oat bran, rolled barley flakes, rolled spelt flakes, wheat bran, brewed coffee & almondmilk, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, goji berries, pumpkin, vanilla, and 1/2 an apple, diced.

On the Top was pumpkin-chia icing, crystallized ginger, flax, honey-apple butter, Cinnamon-Raisin PB, and 1/2 a diced apple sauteed with maple syrup, spoonful of pumpkin, and raisins.

I also forgot how filling oat bran is! I had to break halfway through to do my breakfast dishes, haha. I hate feeling too full.

Before leaving the house this morning, I made my dinner! I won’t give it away yet – but remember the last time I made dinner at breakfast time?

Are these shots looking all to familiar? I thought so too :\ I’m not sick of having the same snacks – but I am open to ideas as to good snack ideas for work! I don’t have a whole lot of time to sit down and eat other than lunch and when I have my orange – but I’ve been thinking I want to start bringing yogurt. It’s funny because when I’m home, yogurt mixes are pretty much my go-to snack, not so much pretzels and munchies. At work, though, it’s easiest to just be able to grab a handful of pretzels or a bar and not be hindered too much. What’s your favorite snack? Do you find you differ in your go-to snacks whether you’re at work or at home?

For lunch was a crab & shrimp wrap (I will never be sick of wraps!) and sugar snap peas (hint: leftover from when I made dinner!)

For snackage was butter snaps, an orange, carrot sticks, and a Spooky S’mores Clif Z Bar. Because – I’m still a kid at heart. I’d been dying to try this flavor, and let me tell you: it certainly lived up to the expectations I had! Soooo good for when I’m not craving blueberry – my other fav! They are still on the sweeter side of bars (through no fault of Clif, however – they are geared toward kids) but I love that they’re not as filling as a full-blown Clif bar, Luna bar, or Larabar. They come in handy when you want a smaller snack rather than a more filling, protein packed bar.

And of course, ride-in snack was a banana and half a WW english muffin with honey-apple butter, PB, & granola. (another hint? the english muffin was leftover from dinner-making, too!)

On the ride in to work I heard something interesting: Children laugh an average of four hundred times a day, while adults only average laughing fifteen times a day.

Whaaaa?!?! That’s crazy talk. I certainly hope all of you laugh far more than that – I want you to live long and prosperous! haha. But really: laughter relaxes your whole body, boosts your immune system, releases endorphins, and helps protect your heart. I guess it’s a good thing that in situations where I could cry, I instead chose to laugh. (well, usually anyway.)

So go ahead, lighten up! Laugh a little. What did you laugh about today?

And in case you haven’t laughed your necessary four hundred times yet, I’ll help you reach your goal.

I didn't take this one. In case that wasn't...uh. Obvious.

*ahem* moobin’ on.

Work was rockin’ and rollin’ and I was outta there before I knew it! Love those kinds of days.

They’re made even better when you’re able to enter the house to the aroma of melty parmesan, egg, turkey, and pineapple!

awwwwwww yea – Asian Ginger-Lime Turkey Meatball Strata? I think so.

Okay. Maybe it seems weird, but just roll with me on this one. It was to. die.

For the bread base I used up the last piece and some random pieces of spelt bread, a leftover sandwich thin from last night, and half an english muffin. Crumbled over some turkey ginger-lime meatballs, carrots, spinach, red onion, sugar snap peas, fresh pineapple, some lime zest, and then the egg mixture which I added lime juice, salt, pepper, ground ginger, lime zest, honey, and almond milk to. Topped with a bit o’ freshly shredded parmesan and more salt and pepper, covered with aluminum foil and it got all delicious and stuff in the fridge while I dreamed about it and worked my booty off.

On my way home – when I had about 40 minutes to go – I called my mom and kindly asked her to pop it in the oven – covered at 350*. When I got home it smelled deeee-ricious the second I opened the door. It had a little bit to go yet – just to get the top browned – so I cooked up some burnt broc and the last of the sugar-snap peas for a side.

Topped with some sesame seeds (I read clean eating while I was eating breakfast – sesame seeds were discussed for being a good source of copper and a good source of magnesium and calcium) and a lil’ more of that divine freshly shredded parm and viola! Dinner was served. Served for tomorrow, too! Tomorrow is my late-night at school, so Tuesdays = reliance on leftovers or something super-quick.

Definitely came in handy tonight, too – for some reason, I was volunteered at the last possible second to put together a group write-up that’s due tomorrow? So I was able to whip it out between eating dinner and dessert.

And speaking of dessert?

You didn’t think I’d be able to resist the coconut butter craze, did you? My shipment from Live Superfoods was waiting for me – and even though I was pretty content after the strata – there was no possible way I was going to put off using this baby until morning. Heck, I didn’t even want to wait an hour or two to digest some more! So I went for a happy medium: half an almond butter & jam bran muffin. The other half is gone as soon as I finish up this post 🙂

The Verdict? ohmagaw. So. dang. good. At first I was a little concerned at how hard it was, but knew it needed to be microwaved before use. Worked a charm!

I just microwaved it until it was soft enough to sort-of spread, as I wanted to microwave the muffin anyway. When I tasted it slightly on the cool side I wasn’t so sure about the almost gritty texture. But when warmed all the way? It is just.like.frosting. Chocolate coconut frosting, that is the perfect sweetness. I am in love with how it’s not too sweet and chocolatey (we all know how I feel about that!) but is jusssst right.

And the company I bought it from – Live Superfoods? They’re super! Normally it would cost way more to ship this (I got three products – I won’t give away yet what they are, but you’ll see – each this size) and usually companies charge way more – at least $15. They had one low, flat rate! I also received it very fast, and they are the best price on these butters that I’ve found. They were also having a sale on all Artisana butters – and still are! So if you want 10% off, head over thurr.

But that is all from me – I’ve got blogs to catch up on, cacao bliss to eat, and a bed to crash in.

Ciao!

p.s. Live Life, Eat Right is having a Chobani Giveaway!

p.p.s. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe