Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh My Gruyere!

I think that the dinner I made last night is typically served as breakfast or lunch, but I could eat it any time of the day. Oh my Gruyere was it good!

I found the recipe in an email from Serious Eats and was immediately interested, both because of the ingredients and because the article heading was "Eat for Eight Bucks" (I never turn down a good bargain!). I mostly followed the recipe, with just a few slight changes.

Spinach Strata with Sage and Gruyere
  • 1/2 baguette (to yield about 6 cups of torn bread)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs (I used 4 egg whites and 1 full egg)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 ounces Gruyere (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

Cut the bread into 3/4" slices and set on counter to dry out for several hours. I did this, but it didn't seem quite crispy enough, so I cooked for 5 minutes in oven at 400 degrees. If your bread is already stale, you can skip this step! Tear bread into small pieces when crispy.

 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy.

Here are my prepared ingredients, ready to be added to the frothy eggs:

Whisk in milk, sage, salt, pepper, melted butter and minced garlic.

Add the torn bread, making sure every piece absorbs some liquid.

Stir in the spinach and Gruyere.

Coat your pan with cooking spray and pour contents of bowl into pan. The original recipe calls for an 8x9" pan, but I added more spinach than the original recipe, so I used a lasagna dish for this. Add grated Parmesan cheese and more fresh ground pepper to top.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 1 hour on the counter, or several hours in the fridge. While letting this sit, I went for a 6 mile run with Callie! Good way to pass the time. I got home and preheated the oven to 375 degrees and waited 20 minutes before putting the strata in. Bake until the top is browned and slightly puffed and the strata is cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. My entire apartment smelled of cheesy delightfulness as this cooked.


I also made beets to have on the side. I had a few different varieties (from the local farm) - 2 standard dark red beets, 1 yellow, and 1 candy cane beet.

Look how beautiful these are!

Boil on medium to medium-high for a little over an hour (less time if you cut them into smaller pieces).

And dinner is served:

The strata was so delicate and delicious. The Gruyere and sage were wonderful together. I'm glad I made such a big pan of it because now I have lots of leftovers! You may notice that the beets on my plate look like red and pink beets...I think I probably should have cooked them separately if I wanted to keep the original color, since the dark red beets stained the lighter beets.

You can tell that this was the yellow beet when you cut it apart:

Pumpkin Ricotta Wontons

For dessert I made some Pumpkin Ricotta Wontons. I'd been thinking about how well pumpkin and ricotta cheese go together, and I had ricotta cheese and pumpkin butter in my fridge. So I bought some wonton wrappers to experiment with. The wraps are all-natural, and have protein, so at least I was building my dessert on a good foundation. :)

Here's a wonton wrapper with a little spoonful of ricotta cheese, a little spoonful of pumpkin butter, and some cinnamon on top.

Fold the wonton in half and brush on some egg whites to seal the edges.

Then take the two small corners and bring them together to form your wonton shape. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Pat asked where I bought them because he thought they looked professionally made! He doesn't like ricotta, so the 2 wontons on the bottom had extra pumpkin butter for him.

And he added hot fudge to them:

I thought these were so good...very quick and easy, and they taste good both hot and cold. Now that I have the wrappers at home, I think I'm going to try out some other wonton or ravioli recipes.

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