Spinach and Mushroom Strata

Strata

Well that lasted. I want to blame the belated post this week on the newest addition to the household. Everybody, meet Geoffery. A new dog meant that my free time suddenly went *poof*. So, here we are.

Geoffery

Hi, everybody

A strata is a savory breakfast bread pudding made with alternating layers (or “strata”… get it?) of cubed bread, filling and egg. Because this kind of recipe needs to rest in order to set fully, it is best to make it night before. That means that, of course,  I almost never get around to making one because, lets face it, who wants to do breakfast dishes right after finishing cleaning up from dinner? I first came across this dish at my first trip up to visit Will’s parents and it quickly rocketed to the top of my preferred breakfast food list.

Despite the pre-planing required to make a good strata, it can easily give two people a week’s worth of breakfasts or (made ahead, of course) can be easily re-heated to feed a crowd

Spinach and Mushroom Strata:

(makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Loaf Crusty Bread (such as a baguette), cut into 1″ cubes
  • 12 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Soy Milk  or Lactaid(or regular milk if you are not lactose-impaired)
  • 3/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesean or Pecorino Cheese
  • 1 8 oz package Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 10 oz package Fresh Spinach
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper

Saute mushrooms (in batches, if needed) in 1 tsp oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan until well browned and almost cooked through. Add spinach and garlic  along with a bit of salt and pepper (~1/8 tsp each) and lower the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until mushrooms are finished and spinach is fully wilted. Set aside

Beat together eggs and milk in a large bowl until fully combined. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper (~1/4 tsp each)

In a greased baking pan, layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture over 1/2 of the bread and pour over that 1/2 of the egg mixture. Repeat. Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 F and bake for 45 minutes or until strata is fully set and the top is well browned.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to set the strata out at room temperature while the oven is heating. The temperature shock of moving directly from the fridge to the hot oven ( a difference of ~315 F or 157 C) could cause crack propagation in your Pyrex. This means a gross mess all over your oven and a distinct lack of yummy breakfast. Don’t lose your breakfast. Let the glass warm up a bit.

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Of Chickpeas and Food Processors

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Do you know what’s awesome? Cooking for lots of people. And baking bread, that too (but more on that next time). Do you know what is less awesome? Having a roommate who is gluten intolerant. At least it was until I discovered a recipe for socca.

Socca is a flatbread made from equal parts chickpea flour and water and, because it is made out of chickpeas and not wheat it is lacking in, well, the wheat proteins that make my roommate severely need to lie down.

To accompany this delectable recipe I decided to make a spinach yoghurt dip and to make a go at hummus.

Unfortunately, I am lacking in chickpea flour. Fortunately, I had a bag full of dried chickpeas, which means it was time to whip out the food processor.

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I have a kinda shitty food processor

Alternating between the food processor and a fine sieve you can end up with a ratio of 3:2 for chickpeas to flour (I had some left over chickpea particles at the end, so your mileage may vary).

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Whisk the flour together with equal parts water, one scallion, a crushed clove of garlic a splash of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.

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Pour the batter into a skillet lightly coated with olive oil and flip when it can move freely in the pan until lightly browned on both sides. Congratulations, you have just made a hummus pancake.

Recipes:

For the Socca:

1 ½ cups Dried Chickpeas

1 cup Water

1 Scallion (the green part) sliced

1 Clove Garlic, Crushed

1 tbs Salt

2 tbs Olive Oil, divided

For the Chickpea Flour

Check for bad chickpeas (black or cracked) and throw those ones out. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor on high for one minute. Sift the resultant powder into a bowl. Replace the large chunks into the processor. Repeat three to four more times, or until you have one cup of flour. If you have extra, you can grind the rest in a spice grinder and freeze it in an air-tight container for up to one month.

For the Batter

Combine flour, water, scallion, garlic, salt and half the olive oil. Whisk gently until flour is incorporated. (Note: my end result was a bit on the fluffy side, so you might want to add more water or less flour)

For the Loaf

Pour the batter into a 10-inch oiled skillet and flip after about 3 minutes, or until it becomes unstuck from the pan.

Spinach and Yogurt Dip:

½ Package Spinach

½ cup Plain Yogurt

1 Clove Garlic

1 Scallion

1 Squirt Lemon Juice

1 tbs Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steam the Spinach in a microwave for 2 minutes. Combine everything in the (cleaned) food processor and process until homogenous.

“Hummus”:

So… I tried making hummus without tahini. The texture ended up being more like falafel, but it was still freaking delicious, so it shall be included here.

1 cup dried chickpeas

½ cup olive oil

1 dash lemon juice

1 clove garlic

Lemon-Pepper and Salt to taste

For the Chickpeas:

I usually do a quick soak by boiling the chickpeas (or whichever bean) for two minutes in water and then letting them soak for an hour (“quick” refers to not overnight). This will double the volume of the chickpeas.

For the…Compote? Yeah, I’m gonna go with Compote

Combine everything in the (once again cleaned) food processor until it is chunky and delicious.

Enjoy!