Thursday, June 25, 2009

CEiMB: Vegetable Cheese Strata

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is from Jen at A Mid Life Culinary Adventure. I think this recipe was a great pick! Granted I did change it a bit (swapped ingredients and halved the recipe), and didn't quite follow the exact directions (go figure), but it had great flavor!! So this was the extent of my plan... I was going to go to the store and buy all of the necessary ingredients (mushrooms, fresh broccoli, and parmesan). Turns out I'm on my way home and I have no time to go to the store because I'm going to a seminar at Wight's Nursery at 7pm for a talk about garden pests. Ya.. a seminar at 7pm, it's Thursday (the day I'm supposed to post) and I haven't even started! I failed to read I was supposed to let the dish set overnight for 8 hours.. oops (I guess some others had this same problem). In the end, it tasted great! I've included the modified recipe after all of the pictures - happy eating!

I didn't quite press all of milk/egg mixture into the bread cubes.. I think this was actually better because all of the pieces sticking out that hadn't absored the mixture was nice and brown and crunchie.. yum! A wonderful contrast to the soufle like center.

I decided to use a 9 1/2 inch pie dish.

Mmmm.. I only let it sit for 3 mintues before I ate some, lol!

Compliments of Ellie Krieger in "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life".
Vegetable Cheese Strata
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 5 cups)
3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
8 ounces white mushrooms sliced (about 3 cups) [didn't use b/c I didn't have any]
Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette cubed (about 5 cups) [sub. white bread]
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups nonfat milk [sub. 1% milk]
1 tablespoon Dijion mustard [sub. stone ground mustard]
10 ounces broccoli, steamed until tender but still firm, cooled and chopped [sub. frozen broccoli pieces]
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese [sub. Mexican shredded cheese blend for both cheeses]
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes (non oil-packed), soaked in hot water until soft, then drained [didn't have any]
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme ... used some from my garden!!
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a medium bowl and let cool.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat and cook the mushrooms, stirring a few times, until their water evaporates and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Coat a large baking dish (9x13 inches) with cooking spray. Arrange the bread cubes over the bottom. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs, egg whites, milk, and mustard together until incorporated. Add the mushrooms, onion-garlic mixtue, broccoli, both cheeses, the sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir to incorporate. Pour the mixture over the bread, making sure the liquid saturates the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. I only let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours while I was at the garden show.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the strata and bake until the top forms a light brown crust, 60 to 70 minutes.
On another random side note.. Kyle passed his CPA!! Whoo Hoo! Congrats babe, I love you! And so.. I decided to grill a congratulatory rib eye steak (see below). It looked great and had great flavor, but was a medium-well :(
We like medium-rare. Anyone have any tips? I followed the grilling recommendations on the Weber grill book. I need to learn how to do the "touch test", but oh well. I seared on direct high heat for 3 minutes on each side.. and then I grilled for 2 minutes on each side on indirect heat.. (maybe I was supposed to turn it down??).


  1. First - Good job on the Strata. I thought it was game over when I didn't have time to let it sit and soak.
    Second - Congrats Kyle! The CPA exam is a tough one to pass - so I hear.
    Third - Good luck with the grilling ..I don't mess with out door grilling. Anything to do with the outside the hubster takes care of. Bugs like my skin to much and unless I'm running, they bite me or sting me. Sound like a wimp don't I?

  2. Nice job on the strata. And CONGRATS to Kyle!! That's some great news. Sorry...I don't have any grilling tips, though. Good luck getting rid of your garden pests. :o)

  3. haha, congratulatory rib eye steak! I think we could be friends :)

    Your strata looks great, I think I have that same pie dish which I also baked my strata in.


  4. You stealer you! That is our pretty pie plate!

    Agreed about the browned/burned bits being the best part for sure.

    To make a perfect ribeye steak:
    Prior to cooking, bring to room temperature. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on both sides to draw proteins to the surface. I usually flip them once and add more salt during this process.

    For inside cooking:
    Heat a cast iron skillet lightly oiled with a bit of Grapeseed oil (or clarified butter)until smoking hot over high heat. Grill the steaks on one side for 2 minutes, flip and grill for another 2-3 minutes. Put into a 375 degree oven. Check with a meat thermometer in 6-7 minutes (should be about ~125F) and cook to your liking. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to cutting.

    For the grill:
    Heat the grill on high heat to like 600F, scrap/clean all the grates thoroughly. Put the steaks on and grill over direct heat for 2-3 minutes, flip and grill an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn all of the burners off except for 1, move the steaks away from the burner that is on, close the lid and cook over indirect heat until a meat thermometer registers your desired temp. Rest meat for 10 minutes, than eat.