CEiMB: Vegetable Cheese Strata
I’ve never had a strata let alone made one so I really didn’t know what to expect from the dish when I saw this week’s CEiMB pick, chosen by Jenn H at A Mid-Life Culinary Adventure. After looking over the ingredient list, I was still not really sure what the end result would be like, but I had high hopes. Aside from the mushrooms, I enjoy all the other components on their own, so mixing them together must yield something tasty.
The prep was fairly easy, and it’s always nice to have dinner ready-made the next night. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, and simply putting dinner in the oven to bake. No mess, no fuss. The strata was looking really yummy while it baked, which was a nice contrast to the dish of slop it looked like before going into the oven. I was hoping the center would get a little more browned, but the edges were getting almost too brown so I settled for taking it out just past the hour mark.
Since Ryan hates eggs and isn’t much a fan of veggies, I was a little skeptical about how well this recipe would go over, but he was a trooper and agreed to try it. As soon I went to serve it, I started to get nervous. The consistency of it was much different than I expected. I don’t know what I thought would happen to the bread after it had been sitting in the eggs overnight, but I really wasn’t anticipating mush. We both tried to force our way through the small pieces I put on our plates, but we couldn’t. We picked around the edges, eating the crunchy, browned bits, but the middle texture of mushy bread and eggs was just not appetizing.
Having no previous experience with this type of egg dish, I’m not sure if the mushiness is a product of this recipe, something I did wrong, or just the texture of stratas in general. I won’t give up on the idea completely, but I doubt I’ll be making anything that involves soaking bread overnight again any time soon.
Vegetable Cheese Strata
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
½ loaf whole wheat baguette, cubed
4 egg whites
1 cup fat free milk
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
8 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
½ ounce grated parmesan cheese, about 1/6 cup
¼ cup shredded swiss cheese
¼ cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a medium bowl and allow to cool.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet and saute the mushrooms until they release all of their water, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Spray an oval baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread cubes in the dish.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg whites, milk and mustard until incorporated. Add mushrooms, onion-garlic mixture, broccoli, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.
Pour mixture over bread, making sure liquid saturates bread.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from strata and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until top forms a light brown crust.
Source: Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life”, p. 26
4 servings | 7 POINTS