NYC Breakfast Strata (or Strata take 2)

Tray of strata

Tray of strata (click to enlarge)

Serving of strata

Serving of strata (click to enlarge)

The best thing about stratas is that they are an awesome vehicle for leftovers. In this case I had left over bagels that we weren’t going to eat, some cheese, some leftover bacon, and a generous gift of leeks and kale from Chica’s farm share! It made for a yummy breakfast or brunch meal. Make sure you let it set after baking, don’t serve hot for the best flavor.

6-8 slices of bacon (these were pretty thin slices)
2 tbsp butter
3 leeks (sliced thinly and washed)
1 bunch kale (stripped, chopped and washed)
8 eggs (large)
2 cups 1% milk (any milk will do, that’s what we had)
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used edam because it was open but gruyere or cheddar work well too)
2.5 large bagels, cut into 1 inch cubes (Staten Island bagels are REALLY large)
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano (to sprinkle on top just before baking)
salt, pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 375 F.
After leeks are washed and left to dry a bit, chop bacon and cook it in a dutch oven. Remove bacon and place it on paper towel to dry; leave grease in the pan, add 2 tbsp butter and melt. Add leeks, season, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add cleaned chopped kale, season, and cook until the kale breaks down, another 10 minutes.
While vegetables are sautéing, beat eggs in large bowl, add milk, shredded cheese and bacon, salt and pepper to taste, and stir all together. Throw bagel cubes into mixture and let sit to absorb.
When veggies are cooked (and kale has broken down and is more tender) take pan off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir veggies into bread/milk mixture in bowl. Grease a 9 x 12″ baking pan and add mixture. Top with pecorino romano cheese.
Bake for 60 minutes. Check at 50 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter until top is golden brown and center doesn’t have much liquid well up when you separate it in the center (some can well up, just as long as the strata doesn’t seem soppy).

It really tastes much better after it cools for a while and the flavors blend especially left over hours later or the next day.

Potato and Ham Torte

I made this for a weekend lunch with Mom and Pop. I served it with a salad and it made for a perfect lunch. It has their seal of approval, as well as Tom’s, including a request for a repeat performance.   🙂

This is rich but delicious, and it looks great on the plate because the top and bottom sliced potato layers help it hold its shape. I wish I had taken a photo but I forgot in my excitement to get it over to Pop’s house as soon as I took it out of the oven!

This is my modified version of an Everyday Food recipe called Ham and Potato Bake. The dish is basically a crustless quiche; serve it hot, cold, or at room temperature. I like it best slightly warm.

Serves 8-10. Prep Time 25 minutes, Cook Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray, for casserole dish
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 baking potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 10 ounces ham, diced
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen broccoli, diced, thawed and squeezed dry with paper towels
  • 1/2 – 1 cup grated gruyere cheese (2-4 oz)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9” square casserole, at least 2-3” in height, but you could use any shape of the smaller size casseroles.
  • Line bottom of casserole with a parchment paper keeping the paper long on two sides to go up a couple inches beyond the side of the dish so it will slide out easily.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and cream; season with salt and pepper.
  • Thinly slice potatoes (less than 1/4 inch thick); drop into egg mixture.
  • Lifting potatoes out of egg mixture, arrange half the potatoes in pan.
  • Layer with ham, broccoli, onions, cheese, and top with remaining potatoes.
  • Pour egg mixture over top. Press down firmly so that potatoes are fully submerged in egg mixture.
  • Cover with foil; bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Uncover and continue baking until golden and set, for about 1 hour more.
  • Cool 15 to 20 minutes in pan. Run a knife around the edge, and using the parchment handles, slide it out of the casserole. Peel off parchment. Slice with a serrated knife.

Smoothies galore

I have been following a nutritarian diet for two weeks now and despite some killer cravings in the beginning, some mild nausea and headaches from caffeine/sugar withdrawal, I really do feel great. I’ve lost a good amount of weight so far, but that’s not the whole point. My energy level is really great and I love the fact that I can drink my veggies in a smoothie in the morning and not feel guilty about it! I still get all of the nutrients and fiber since nothing is thrown away.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve been making lately. Each smoothie has the same directions: chuck it all in a powerful blender until smooth. You can also substitute water instead of almond milk or juice, it will work either way, but the pomegranate juice is so good that you might as well have a little! Each recipe makes one smoothie.

Eat Your Greens Smoothie  (Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe)
I make it almost every day, but alternate between spinach and kale.

3 ounces baby spinach, washed
1/2 banana
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup pomegranate juice (no added sugar)
1/2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

Kale Pineapple Smoothie 
The pineapple goes so well with the kale, I love the crisp flavor of kale!

1/2 head kale, washed, remove thick stems
1/2 banana
3/4 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup pomegranate juice (no added sugar)
1/2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

(sometimes I switch out the pineapple for blueberries)

Dinner tonight (my dinners are frequently a variation on this theme, big bowl raw, big bowl cooked veg).

IMG_20130905_171447_544

Mmmm dinner! Spinach salad, steamed broccoli with scallions and toasted sesame seeds, and a beet nut smoothie for dessert!

Tonight I made a strange smoothie but I really liked it (in the photo above).   I had cooked a bunch of beets whole in tin foil in the oven but they were still a little hard so I figured why not make a smoothie?

Beet Nut Smoothie

1 oz raw cashews
1 gingergold or granny smith apple (smallish)
1 large beet
1/2 cup blueberries
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp flaxseed
water

Use a powerful blender (I used the NutriBullet) and make sure to add some water to make it blend smoother. It’s actually really tasty and lets you sneak in some great vitamins, protein and healthy fats.

I’m going to make this one tomorrow morning… sounds so good, and Chris will bust a gasket if I don’t use the avocados sitting on the counter. He has a tiny issue about produce sitting around too long and “going bad” (picture avocados with mohawks and tattoos wielding clubs and chasing him and Scruffy around the house).   hee hee hee 🙂

Got Greens? Smoothie (Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe)

2 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup frozen pineapple cubes
1 kiwi, peeled
1/4 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 banana

By the way, I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead a few nights ago (thanks to Chica and Dan for the recommendation). Wow! Amazing. It was really inspiring, and making the move to a nutritarian diet feels the same way… my head is so much clearer, I feel great. Pretty cool that just eating the right stuff can help you heal what ails you and get you off deadly medicines!

Chewy Cherry Oatmeal Squares (vegan)

This was a recipe I found on Talia Fuhrman’s blog. She’s been raised as a nutritarian and my friend at work let me know about her site. These bars looked like heaven seeing as how I haven’t had sweets in a long time!

barstray

Bars were cut while still a little warm. Center was a tiny bit soft, but just at the corners.

They are tasty, but actually taste like cherry banana oatmeal, not like a dessert. Now to be fair, Chris and I tasted one piece when they were still warm. I will update this post when I try another piece at breakfast tomorrow. Since it’s really just oatmeal and nut flours with fruit I think this would make a great breakfast-on-the-go bar or a healthy snack. I put a few in the fridge and the rest I wrapped individually in cling wrap and put in the freezer.

barswrapped

Ready for the fridge and freezer. We’ll see how they hold up.

I made only one or two modifications to the original recipe. My version follows:

Makes 16 squares.

1.5 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

10 dates, pitted (calls for medjool but I have no idea what kind mine were – the package just said dates)

1/2 tbsp cinnamon (also called for nutmeg but Chris and I don’t like nutmeg)

1/2 tsp almond extract (I think it always goes well with cherries)

3 small ripe bananas (orig. calls for large, which I didn’t have)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 cups frozen cherries (no sugar added)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Put almond milk and dates in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds.
  • Blend bananas, almond milk, dates, cinnamon and extract in blender (I used the nutribullet, thanks to Mom). Set aside.
  • Put remaining dry ingredients into large bowl and mix. Add liquid mixture and stir to blend. Fold in cherries.
  • Put mixture in 9×9 pan lined with parchment.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, until center is no longer soft (use toothpick or knife). I didn’t cook mine long enough (called fro 30 minutes, but it was still gooey in middle, so I added 10 min). Could definitely have gone for 50 min. More banana would help the flavor too.

Nutritional info (per square):

  • 207 calories
  • 60 calories from fat
  • 6.66 g fat
  • 0.81g sat fat
  • 0 cholesterol
  • 19.63 mg sodium
  • 32.79 g carbs
  • 5 g dietary fiber
  • 8.8 g sugar
  • 5.58 g protein

UPDATE: These DO NOT freeze well! They are mush when they defrost. It’s good if you’d like to make soft oatmeal squares for a group breakfast, but not for storage.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal

Dr. Fuhrman calls this Quick Banana-Oat Breakfast-to-go. Quick-ish would be better, only because it takes me some time to chop the walnuts and get the ingredients together. I just really need to prep the nuts and seeds ahead and have them waiting in little foil packets in the freezer so I can throw it together in the morning. I love this recipe, another from Dr. Fuhrman. Who doesn’t love oatmeal with lots of fruit!

It looks really purplish after it cooks and the bananas are hot and soft, but so good!

oatmeal

So weirdly purple but soooo good!

This recipe makes 1 serving. His normal recipe makes two, but Chris won’t eat this with me.  🙂

1 cup frozen blueberries (I like wild Maine blueberries, of course)

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/6 cup pomegranate juice (I just use the 1/3 cup measure and fill half way)

1 tbsp chopped walnuts

1/2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1/2 banana, sliced

 

Directions

In a cereal bowl, combine all ingredients. Heat in the microwave for 2.5 minutes.

Note: On the go, combine all ingredients in a sealed container to eat later, either hot or cold.

Oatmeal for a Crowd

We had our first Christmas party today, a brunch with the family, and since everyone likes oatmeal I figured we’d try it. It was easy and delicious! We each topped it with different stuff and everyone was happy.

4 cups old fashioned oats
5 cups water
2 cups milk
pinch salt

Bring water and milk and salt to a boil. Add oatmeal and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you’re serving it to a crowd and need to leave it on the stove for a little while, cover and add boiling water to thin as needed.

Serve with a bunch of toppings for a buffet. I set up bowls of raisins, dried cranberries, chopped bananas, chopped apples, cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and walnuts.

Serves 8.