Category Archives: Entertaining Company

All of the things I know and love about having company in my home; whether it is for brunch or dinner, fellowship, a holiday or a long weekend. I love it all!

Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets

Yesterday I shared how I deviated from my St. Patrick’s Day norm of Shepherd’s Pie to create a menu entirely from the “Irish Pub Cooking” cookbook I’ve had for sometime but hadn’t yet experimented with. I was so inspired by the gorgeous photos and recipe details that I just had to break the cardinal rule of never serving recipes that you haven’t perfected or at the very least, tried once.

Actually, I break that rule all the time. Life is too short to take food so seriously. Home cooking and entertaining should be fun.

Experiment. Yes, on your guests. Don’t be afraid.

Besides, if you fail, they will love you for being human, laughing it off and ordering pizza. And sometimes, your bravery will be rewarded with a gem of a dish that has everyone swooning over their empty, crumb licked plates.

Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets is just such a dish.

Salmon-Tartlets-1

“Irish Pub Cooking”, Parragon Books Ltd.

You will need six 3 1/2 inch loose-bottom tartlet pans.

Ingredients

Pie Dough

  • heaping 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 Tbsp COLD butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing

Filling

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp creamed prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Spanish capers, chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 7 oz smoked salmon trimmings
  • bunch of fresh dill, chopped, plus extra sprigs to garnish
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Note: I have modified the directions slightly, adding more instruction, as they were a little vague for a less experienced cook. “Add a little cold water” isn’t really going to cut it for someone who has never made a crust before. And if you are anything like me, you would totally try this recipe even if you’d never made a crust before.

Butter six 3 1/2 inch loose-bottom tartlet pans. Sift the flour and salt together and put into a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.

Salmon-Tartlets-2

Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add a little cold water (see what I mean), just enough to bring the dough together (2-3 Tbsp). Start with 1 Tbsp at a time and mix together with your hands so that you can feel when the dough is the consistency that you are looking for – soft but very workable, not sticky or dry and crumbly.

Salmon-Tartlets-3

Turn out onto a floured counter and shape into a log so that it is easy to portion out into six equal-sized pieces.

Salmon-Tartlets-4

Roll each piece to fit the tartlet pans.

Salmon-Tartlets-5

Carefully fit each piece of dough in its shell and press well to fit the pan.

My tart pans are 4 1/4 inch (I am now in the market for 3 1/2 inch pans) but I was determined still to get six tarts out of the recipe so my shells are rolled a little thinner.

Salmon-Tartlets-6

Roll the rolling-pin over the pan to neaten the edges and trim the excess dough.

Salmon-Tartlets-7

Put a piece of parchment paper in each pan, fill with dried beans or pie weights …

(learn all about Blind Baking here)

Salmon-Tartlets-9

Salmon-Tartlets-10

and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the tartlet shells blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans/weights. If you use beans, you can save them in a mason jar to re-use again and again. Be sure to label them though because once you have used them for blind baking, you won’t want to eat them.

Salmon-Tartlets-11

Meanwhile, put the sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, and drained capers into a bowl with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Be careful with the salt as smoked salmon is pretty salty.

Salmon-Tartlets-12

Add the egg yolks, smoked salmon, and chopped dill (I put in about 2 Tbsp) and carefully mix again. Divide this mixture among the tartlet shells and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until just firm (mine took about 15  minutes).

About the salmon; I used cold smoked salmon, which is more like lox with a soft, silky texture. You could also use hot smoked salmon which is drier and flaky. Both are usually either in the deli section or by the seafood counter.

Salmon-Tartlets-14

Here’s where I lost my sixth tart, there just wasn’t enough filling.

Salmon-Tartlets-15

Thankfully, I only had two dinner guests so there was a tart for each adult and Sara and David split one; although they devoured their respective halves and would most certainly have eaten a whole one. Don’t worry about Nathan, he wouldn’t have eaten one of these tarts for anything.

Not a chance. No way.

Which is just fine because I did not want to share.

Salmon-Tartlets-16

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with dill sprigs.

Smoked Salmon, Dill and Horseradish Tartlets Printable Recipe

I am planning on making these again for Easter (they are that good)  but I will be making them in smaller tart pans as bite sized appetizers for a bigger crowd.

I will let you know how they turn out.

In fact, I may experiment ahead of time. No, not because I’m perfecting anything, I’m just not sure I can wait until Easter to have another tart.

Enjoy!

Tomorrow, I will tell you all about my second favorite dish of the day;

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage.

I may make this again for Easter too as it had gorgeous color and was absolutely delicious!

Advertisements

A St. Patrick’s Day Menu of Irish Pub Food

Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

I hope you had a fun, safe and festive St. Patrick’s Day filled with good times and great Irish food. I am always up for a little festive fun and of course a dinner guest or two, so for us St. Patrick’s Day is all about the food.

Normally, I make shepherd’s pie for dinner. Technically, an English dish, but my husband (who is of Irish descent) doesn’t like the traditional corned beef and cabbage. Weird, I know, but he doesn’t. He does like Guiness though, so he gets to keep his “Irish Card”.

SPD-7

My three “Irishmen”.

This year, however, I decided to put to use the “Irish Pub Cooking” cook book that I picked up a while back. The plan, every dish on the menu would come from this book. Appetizer, entrée, bread, sides and dessert. Fun!

SPD-1

So many of the recipes looked and sounded tasty but ultimately I decided on Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets for the appetizer, Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings for the entrée, Colcannon and Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage for the sides, a bread called Barm Brack and Apple Cake for dessert.

SPD-6

The pictures. Perfectly styled food pictures. They are why I have about a thousand cookbooks. They get me every time!

SPD-2

And inspire me to play with my food.

So, how did the Irish Pub Cooking project turn out?

Delicious. Mostly.

SPD-12

The Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets were incredible. My favorite recipe of the day.

SPD-10

The Beef in Stout and Colcannon were great but the star of the dinner plate for me was the Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage (my second favorite dish of the day). It was absolutely wonderful and will be a side dish I make again, and again and again.

Well, the kids didn’t like it.

But I’m still going to make it again, and again and again.

SPD-15

The apple cake was good. Not change your life epic but not disappointing. And it looks pretty.

The Barm Brack

SPD-16

This is different from Irish Soda Bread. It is a yeast bread. Yeast bread is my kryptonite. In fact, this bread was like trying to eat kryptonite. The flavor was good. The texture? Kryptonite.

Moving on. Did I mention we had company?

My Uncle George and Aunt Marilyn are “snow birds” and live only a few miles from us during the winter months when it is just too darn cold in the Pacific Northwest. It had been a long time since we’d seen them, too long – which is so silly since they are so close by. We were happy to welcome them to dinner. I am kicking myself now though for not taking their picture, I’ll have to get one next time.

Uncle George brough his specialty, “Pistachio Jello Salad“. It was a much bigger hit with the kids than the cabbage.

In fact, Nathan was only too happy to start his day with a little left over jello salad for breakfast (I promise, he had an egg and an apple too).

SPD-13

Yes, courtesy of daddy, my boy has a mohawk. A crazy, crooked mohawk. Mommy agreed for spring break only. But now, he loves it. He loves it so much that he didn’t want me to wash his hair because he thought the mohawk wouldn’t stick up anymore. I am actually not sure he is going to let me shave it off  before he has to go to school tomorrow. So, he maybe going to school with a crazy crooked – freshly washed – mohawk. I have learned to pick my battles.

I will share all of these Irish Pub recipes (even the Barm Brack) with you all week so be sure to come back tomorrow for the Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets recipe. For now, I’ll leave you with a big cheesy smile and an old Irish Blessing …

SPD-14

May the blessing of God’s soft rain be on you,
Falling gently on your head, refreshing your soul
With the sweetness of little flowers newly blooming.
May the strength of the winds of Heaven bless you,
Carrying the rain to wash your spirit clean
Sparkling after in the sunlight.
May the blessing of God’s earth be on you,
And as you walk the roads,
May you always have a kind word
for those you meet.

Greek Salad

All of my company left yesterday. I had a great time with my mom, sister and aunt and enjoyed some beautiful hikes, shopping (I’ll tell you about my thrift store score later) and of course a lot of cooking and eating. Really, it was just wonderful being together and I miss them already. Sometimes the hardest part about welcoming company is having to say goodbye.

I told you about our trip to the market and how we were shopping for ingredients for Greek Salad and I also promised to tell you all about that Greek Salad, so today, that is what I am going to do.

Greek-Salad-3

Greek Salad is one of my favorite things to make, especially for a crowd. I love anything that you can arrange on a platter and allow guests to pick and choose and serve themselves; easy, fun and delicious. I can’t swear that each ingredient I like truly falls into the “Greek” category but this is my interpretation; call it “food poetic license.”

Greek-Salad-4

There are a lot of protein possibilities for a Greek salad, lamb kabobs or lamb burgers would be great! Most often, I like to grill marinated chicken breasts and then slice them. Here’s how I marinate them:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 Tbsp. dried Greek Seasoning)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Put everything together in a gallon sized plastic zip-lock bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat, 4-5 minutes per side. Let them rest for at least 5 minutes and then slice them or cut them into bite sized pieces.

And now for a few of my favorite “Greek” things …

Greek-Salad-1

On a platter, I have arranged diced hot-house (English) cucumber, jarred roasted red peppers, golden and red tomatoes, a feta cheese/olive combo from the deli, jarred marinated artichoke hearts, plain feta cheese cut into chunks and drizzled with olive oil and finally, garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) that I squeezed the juice of one lemon over and then sprinkled with julienned mint leaves and a pinch of kosher salt.

Greek-Salad-2

I always serve Greek Salad with hummus. Because I love hummus. In fact, my whole family loves hummus so for us, it is an obvious choice. Wedges of soft whole wheat pita bread are a nice (and very popular) touch.

Greek-Salad-6

I used Organic Girl Super Greens for this particular salad. A combo of baby greens that I hadn’t tried before; red & green swiss chard, tat soi (that one I’m going to have to google), arugula and spinach. Delicious, fresh and crunchy! You could certainly use whatever greens you like; romaine, spinach, mesclun, etc.

Greek-Salad-7

Set out a stack of plates and forks and let everyone build their own salad. Serve with a nice red wine vinaigrette. I actually really like Briannas Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette and use it all the time but you can quickly and easily make your own …

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

Put it all in a mason jar, tighten the lid and shake it up. For any vinaigrette, the trick to remember is the ratio of 1 part acid (citrus, vinegar, etc.) to three parts fat (oil) and from there, the possibilities are endless. That being said, I personally prefer a 1:2 ratio – a little more zing, a little less fat. Try it out and see what works for you.

Since I started food blogging, the joke in the house has become “who is going to get the pretty plate?” – the plate arranged and used for the final photo. In this case, with all of the color and variety, all of the plates were pretty and didn’t take a whole lot of “styling”.

Greek-Salad-5

As always, I hope you’ll give this “recipe” a try, make it your own and enjoy!

Oh, and as for those thrift shop treasures …

Greek-Salad-9

Enameled cast iron.

When I saw the set, I did a double take – when I saw the price, I did a happy dance. I don’t know the manufacturer as they are unmarked but they are heavy and gorgeous and other than a small chip here or there, barely used. Happy, happy dance.

Greek-Salad-11

The oval dutch oven alone was a score. I’m not sure if it is tacky to disclose what I paid for the lot but I will say this, mid-double digits and I am still smiling ear to ear in disbelief.

And then I found this too …

Greek-Salad-10

a Portmeirion quiche (or flan) dish.

I think my aunt and sister may make a thrift store shopper out of me yet!

A Trip to the Market

My mom and my aunt are visiting right now and a visit with my mom and my aunt will always include a trip to the market. Always. Not only do we love to cook and eat together but we love to shop together. Grocery shop. Call us crazy but we “window” shop at the grocery store like other women window shop at the mall.

My littlest guy is only in pre-school a few days a week so he is my grocery shopping buddy. He pushes the cart for me, crosses items off of the list for me and helps me find what I am looking for. We had so much fun taking grandma and Aunt Andi to our favorite store yesterday.

First stop, the pastry case. Nathan was given the very important task of picking out a dessert treat for himself and his brother and sister. A big responsibility. But a challenge he was most happy to accept.

AJs-Market-Blog

So many choices.

AJs-1

In the end, it had to be the chocolate cupcakes.

AJs-2

Of course I had to get a picture of the chocolate croissants.

AJs-3

And the fruit tart. I love fruit tart but today, I’m just looking.

AJs-5

Next, cheese. We were shopping for the Greek salad we’d planned for dinner so I only needed Feta but it is always fun to look and imagine the possibilities contained within that deli case. On my aunt’s recommendation I also picked up some Myzithra. Delicious!

By this point, I had heard “lobsters mommy, lobsters” at least 10 times so, it was off to the lobster case.

AJs-7

Nathan loves to visit the lobsters. What five-year-old boy isn’t fascinated by the lobster tank?

As for me, the lilys in the floral department caught my eye.

AJs-10

AJs-11

AJs-12

No matter how busy I am, I always walk through the floral department. It makes me happy.

AJs-8

Question: Why is Nathan blurry? A) Because his mom is still working on her photography skills. B) Because his mom feels a little weird taking pictures in the grocery store and is trying to be quick and discrete. C) Because Nathan never stops moving. D) All of the above. Answer … oh, I think you know the answer.

Next, produce. By far my favorite. Truly. The colors alone captivate me. Grocery store poetry.

Next time you are in the produce aisle, try not to just race through and grab the bananas and bag of salad scribbled hastily on your list. For a moment, forget the list and take a little time to take it all in. Be inspired and realize how blessed you are. We have at our fingertips, health and wellness, variety, beauty and a reminder not only of God’s blessing and provision but of His wonderous creativity.

AJs-14

AJs-19

AJs-16

AJs-18AJs-17

See what I mean? Color. Variety. Bounty. We are blessed.

When I’m ready to “check-out”, I always look for Debbie. She’s our favorite checker, Nathan usually spots her first and makes a beeline for her. She is always happy to see us, always remembers us and always has a smile for us. And on this trip, she let me take her picture.

AJs-21

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a chore or an errand or just one more thing to do. The grocery store can be a place where we spend time together as a family, laugh and imagine the possibilities, see really cool creatures up close, work on our big-boy skills, make connections and slow down just enough to see all that we have and remember just how fortunate we are.

Joy is where you find it.

By the way, we girls don’t just like to grocery shop. My sister gets into town this afternoon and we’ll be hitting the thrift and antique stores too. We may have to do that while Mr. Nathan is in school though; think “bull in a china shop”.

Oh, I almost forgot, I have an amazing Greek salad to tell you about. I promise I’ll do that soon!

Family Dinner Favorite: Barefoot Contessa’s Lentil Sausage Soup

I can’t remember which dinner favorite number I’m on, so I’ve decided to drop that catchy part of the dinner favorite series. Suffice it to say that this hearty, healthy and insanely delicious soup is most definitely a favorite – even with the kids.

If you have read many of my recipe posts then you will not be surprised to learn that this recipe comes from …

Lentil-Soup-2

Right! The Barefoot Contessa. Oh to be “Barefoot in Paris” – well, not all of Paris but I’m sure there are some parts where it is safe to be barefoot – a park maybe? The Jardin des Plantes or the Champ de Mars (I totally googled those) or the Louvre – okay maybe not the Louvre. If you ever do go barefoot in the Louvre in Paris, you really do have to come back here and tell me all about it!

Anyway, all tangents aside, this soup is one of my all time favorite things to eat. In case you were starting to think otherwise, we really do eat pretty healthy around here; apple dumplings and fancy mac and cheese are treats, delicious heavenly treats, but not staples on the regular menu.

Like so much of the food I love, this soup holds special memories for me. One of the first times I made it was two years ago when my high school friend Tara came from San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with us. She flew in late in the evening, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, after a long day of work in the corporate jungle. I knew that she needed to walk into warmth and comfort, feeling welcome and at home and wondering what that amazing smell was coming from the kitchen. It’s my job to know, I’m her friend.

Tara's-Visit

After a big hug and a few tears, I invited her to settle into the guest room, put on her jammies and warm socks and relax by the fire; letting the stress of a hectic pace and demanding job begin to melt away (and be replaced by the stress of three wild, really loud little kids who all want “Auntie Tara’s” attention at the same time – never mind that, just think warm and peaceful thoughts; it helps). I made quite a few yummy things for her during that visit (including Thanksgiving dinner) but that first evening of catching up around a warm fire with a steaming bowl of this soup is what stands out most in my memory. I hope it does in hers as well. I love you my friend.

Barefoot Contessa’s Lentil Sausage Soup

Lentil-Soup-20

Yes, it looks delicious and it tastes even better.

Give yourself about two hours. The soup is easy to make but time-consuming with a lot of chopping and important steps that ensure proper flavor development. Take your time and enjoy the process, that is, afterall,  half the joy of creating a dish like this.

Lentil-Souip-1

Start with French Green Lentils

Lentil-Soup-4

I can only find them at one store (a specialty grocer) and they are pricey but Ina swears they are the most tender and flavorful of the lentils. Who am I to question? I will try it sometime with brown or red lentils though, just to see for myself.

Now for the chopping (which is very therapeutic if you didn’t know) …

Lentil-Soup-5

onions and leeks – sorry, I forgot to buy the leeks this time but the soup turned out great anyway.

Lentil-Soup-9

Lentil-Soup-11

Carrots, medium dice.

Lentil-Soup-8

Celery, medium dice as well – split the stalk lengthwise and chop; be sure to use the celery leaves too, don’t throw them away.

Lentil-Soup-7Thyme and garlic. Be still my heart.

Lentil-Soup-10

Saute’ the onions, leeks (if you remembered to buy them), garlic, thyme and seasonings first.

Lentil-Soup-15

Add in the celery and carrots. If you are a food nerd like me, you can tell me what the French term is for the carrot, celery, onion combo – I know you can, even if you won’t admit it.

Lentil-Soup-16

Then the chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils.

Lentil Soup 12Use a good chicken STOCK, not just broth – it really does make a difference.

Lentil-Soup-13

Add in the Kielbasa – the lower fat Turkey Kielbasa tastes great in the soup and is better for you.

Lentil-Soup-14The recipe calls for a splash of red wine, so since the bottle had to be opened anyway …

Lentil-Soup-18A glass of wine, a slice of crusty bread,

Lentil-Soup-19all that’s left is to sit down with someone you love and make some happy, warm memories.

Enjoy!

Wicked … I mean, Fancy Mac and Cheese

She seems like such a nice woman.

Friendly, genuine, approachable.

She’s a loving wife and a great mom. A good friend.

She is kind to animals and loves dogs and horses.

She openly shares her life and her recipes.

My kind of girl.

But this, this is just too much …

She calls it “Fancy Mac and Cheese”. It sounds sweet and safe and wholesome.

FMC-15

It is not.

A few Saturday’s back, I watched her make it. Smiling innocently, sweetly, looking fabulous.

After the episode ended, I pulled out her cookbook to look “Fancy Mac and Cheese” up for myself.

FMC-2

Surely my eyes had deceived me. I must have imagined it. Five kinds of cheese, carmelized onions, bacon, roasted mushrooms, bechamel. It couldn’t be. No one has the nerve for such a thing.

FMC-1

But there it was. In print, before my eyes. Undeniable. In all its sinful, gooey, calorically off the charts glory.

Fancy. Fancy, nothing – this stuff is WICKED.

“Wicked Mac and Cheese”

When faced with such obvious decadence, what’s a girl to do? A disciplined girl would close the cookbook, back away and make a salad.

What did I do? I made Fancy Mac and Cheese.

That is my confession … I made Fancy Mac and Cheese. I MADE FANCY MAC AND CHEESE!

And then I ate Fancy Mac and Cheese, just a little bit but I still ate it. I ATE FANCY MAC AND CHEESE!

All I can say is … Holy it was worth it Batman!

If you are up for five straight hours on a treadmill, followed by a Jillian Michaels DVD, and far too many burpies, push-ups and mountain climbers, then you are a better woman than I and are safe to click the link below for the recipe …

The Pioneer Woman’s Fancy Mac and Cheese

Five kinds of cheese, nope I wasn’t kidding; gruyere, fontina, parmesan, gorgonzola and a nice hunk of goat cheese. I know. Just wait, It gets even better/worse.

FMC-4

There’s Bacon.

FMC-5

And carmelized onions. I’ll give you one guess as to what they were carmelized in.

Yup. And butter too.

FMC-6

And roasted mushrooms.

FMC-17

Next, the cheese sauce – a bechamel with the gruyere, fontina, parmesan and goat cheese.

FMC-7

Pretty much the perfect cheese sauce for macaroni.

FMC-8

Now the layering begins …

FMC-9

first onions

FMC-10

then the cheesy macaroni …

FMC-11

next the mushrooms, gorgonzola and bacon and then repeat the layers.

FMC-14

Bake for 20 minutes – just enough time to run a few laps around the back yard – and …

FMC-16

There it is, maybe the most decadent savory treat ever created.

I served it with a big green salad. You know, to make myself feel better.

FMC-12

And I shared – to spoil a friend, minimize leftovers and make myself feel better.

There, I have confessed.

If you need to make a Fancy Mac and Cheese confession, I am here for you. I understand.

My Favorite Strata for Brunch or Christmas Morning

Sourdough Strata with Tomatoes and Greens

Strata-9

I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine a few years back and have made it countless times since then. Brunch is one of my favorite ways to entertain friends so I am always looking for great recipes and this one certainly qualifies. It is always a crowd pleaser and I hope you will try it. It is great for Christmas morning as it has vibrant red roasted tomatoes and luscious green spinach and looks very festive. I tastes even better and is a good vegetarian option. Because I am not a vegetarian, I often serve it with a side of apple chicken sausages which is a nice touch.

I recently made it for brunch with friends from bible study, read all about it in Set Aside Busy for Brunch and a Deep Breath, and it did not disappoint.

Because this is not my original recipe, although I can pretty much make it in my sleep which is often the case as it gets made right before bed and put in the fridge overnight, I can’t reproduce it for you here on my blog but this link will take you right to it, Sourdough Strata with Tomatoes and Greens.

I would, however, be happy to give you a few hints as to what yummy goodness awaits you and a few thoughts on what has worked best for me in making this dish.

Strata-1

Beautiful ripe plum tomatoes …

Strata-2

tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and fresh thyme (you could stop right there and be happy but it gets even better, think cheese – lots and lots of cheese, so keep going) …

Strata-4and roasted until rich and full of flavor. Yes, you will need to soak your sheet tray after roasting the tomatoes. Don’t line it with foil or parchment as you need to be able to scoop and flip the tomatoes during roasting. No shortcuts, you’ll just have to use a little elbow grease and clean the pan or maybe you are fortunate and have children big enough to clean the pan. I envy you. Either way, I promise, it will be worth it.

Strata-6

A good crusty sourdough is really the best bread for this strata. Don’t trim the crust, use every crusty, crunchy bit!

Strata-5I told you there would be cheese. The recipe calls for Fontina and Parmesan, if you can swing the price, use Parmigiano Reggiano and then save a sliver to eat with a slice of pear. You’ll thank me later.

Strata-7

I have always used spinach but you can use any green such as kale, collard, arugula, etc. It would be great with arugula – I’ll have to try that soon.

Strata-8

I know, right? Just wait until it is baked and bubbly and gooey and so delicious that you forbid anyone to speak to you until it is gone so as not to ruin the blissful moment you are having.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some in the fridge leftover from brunch last Thursday, I think I hear it calling my name.

Okay, just a few more things before I go …

Be sure to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge to allow the bread time to soak up the eggs and milk.

Take it out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes before baking and let it come to room temperature, you will get better results that way.

Be sure to turn off the heat and let it rest in the oven for at least 10-15 minutes so it has time to set up properly.

Enjoy!!

And let me know what you think once you are ready to talk (or type a comment) again that is.