Friday, February 6, 2009

Eggs+cheese+milk+vegetables+stale bread=dinner.


It's a simple enough equation. If you want to be fancy, you can call it a Strata. Myself, I prefer to call it Cheesy Eggy Bready Whatnot. It's endlessly variable, crazy easy, homely and comforting. Perfect for yesterday evening, when it was approximately 43 degrees in our unheated kitchen. Those who've been here know: our house is cold. When it got to be dinner-making time, I didn't want to go. I was having a delightful afternoon, thanks, camped out in my studio with the heater going full blast. Finally I managed to extract myself and hobble downstairs, shivering, to stand in front of the open fridge, frowning and shifting from one socked foot to the other. Who hasn't been there?

The contents of our fridge were certainly less-than-inspiring: half a quart of slightly sour milk, some cheddar cheese with a few freckles of pink mold, and the mummified heels of four loaves of bread, reposing on the bottom shelf. Gourmet!

We all know that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade. What about when life hands you moldy cheese and sour milk? Make strata! (Cut the mold off, first, though.)

Tomato-Broccoli Strata

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp dried thyme
plenty of salt and fresh black pepper
4 eggs
1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes
1 10-oz package frozen broccoli, thawed
1/2 lb stale bread, in 1/2" cubes
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the milk, garlic, and seasonings in a bowl, and microwave for one minute. Let it cool for about five minutes while you grate the cheese and cube the bread. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl. Gradually whisk the cooled milk mixture into the eggs until well combined.

Oil a 2-qt casserole dish. In the bottom, make a layer using half the bread cubes. Follow with half the tomatoes and half the broccoli, then half the cheese. Repeat the layers. Grind some extra black pepper over the top, then pour the egg-milk mixture over the whole thing. Cover the top with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another twenty, until the top is golden brown.

This can be made with just about any (favorable) vegetable combination. Using spinach or kale or green beans instead of the broccoli would work fine, adding some mushrooms or olives in place of all or part of the tomatoes... pretty much, whatever you've got in the freezer will work. Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: Moldly cheese, though tasty, is not a staple ingredient in my kitchen.


On an unrelated topic, I couldn't resist sharing this picture:

Pete and Olive, best friends. Awww...

4 comments:

ChristyACB said...

Awww is right. That is too cute!
I wish my cats would do that. Instead they stand exactly 3 feet apart and stare at each other malevolently, convinced that the other got 1 stroke more of attention.

Love the recipe!

Kristina said...

Thanks Christy! I've never known two cats to love each other as much as these guys. We're lucky humans, indeed.

Italian Sweetheart said...

cutie cats!!! and even yummier dinner!! you can come here and whip something out of the fridge that looks like that!! :) and i don't know if they mae hot water bottles, but we could bring them back and be millionaires who are warm!!! love you!

katherine mary said...

okay how can i make this into a crockpot dish? I NEED YOUR HELP SWEETFERN!!!! (the staff at work is having a crockpot competition!!) <3 please help me embrace domesti-Kate ;)

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