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


  • 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)


  • 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.