Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm kinda famous, or at least getting there...

So the Maryland Gazette did a story on me and my book.  I really appreciate that they thought the book news-worthy, and thanks to Kathy Shatt for making me sound good (I have to thank my photographers, husband Ken and friend Steve for actually making me look good).

The person I really need to thank, though, is Ann "Grannie Annie" Golueke.  I neglected to give her credit in the article for the strata recipe.  Ann and I often share recipes and ideas; building off each other to create our own thing.  Ann actually started the strata kick.  So Ann...I'm sorry and I thank you, and mostly Ken thanks you--he loves the strata!

A strata is basically a savory bread pudding, but sooo simple to make.  Ann has her favorite combinations of meats and veggies to put in, and even her favorite type of bread.  I've had her's yummy!  The one I like best of hers involves Italian bread, bacon, asparagus, onions and some southwest seasoned egg substitute.  For me, the strata has become a method for which we clean out the fridge the day before shopping day.

You have to start the night before as strata needs to sit in the fridge overnight.  You'll need some bread, milk, eggs and cheese.  Choose your casserole dish size according to how much of each ingredient you have.  A loaf of bread, a dozen eggs and a cup or two of milk makes a very hearty 9 x 13 pan full.  As for the other ingredients you put in, just use what makes you happy.  I'm using some nice round numbers in the recipe below to make an 8 x 8 pan (about 4 servings).  I never measure when I cook and this method is very forgiving if you have too much or too little of something.

1/2 loaf of bread of any type (or some garlic herb gotta try it!)
6 eggs
1 cup milk
salt, pepper, ground dry mustard, hot sauce or any other seasonings you like in eggs
1 cup cheese (your favorite)
1 cup chopped, cooked meat (any breakfast-ish meat will do)
1 cup chopped vegetables (fresh or thawed-frozen)

Spray pan with cooking spray.  Beat eggs, milk and seasonings to taste. Tear bread and place in pan. Layer cheese, meat and veggies on top and lightly toss with fingers.  Pour egg mixture on top, pressing down on bread so that it soaks up the eggs.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, let strata rest on counter while oven preheats to 350.  Bake covered 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 15-25 minutes more until center is set and strata is golden brown.

The last strata I made had honey wheat bread, maple sausage, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, red pepper, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese and garden vegetable cream cheese.  Ken said to me "honey, this is the best one yet!"  The problem is, I'll never have those same ingredients in the fridge at the same time again!