January 2011


Got extra bread on hand?  I picked up a tasty ciabatta  at Whole Foods this weekend, which always brings to mind this song. What I didn’t use to make sandwiches is perfect for making strata. Of course, it would be divine for chocolate bread pudding, too, but that’s a story for another day.

I’ve categorized this as breakfast, but I love strata any time of day, really–breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hope you’ll love it, too. Know that this recipe is easily adaptable to include different meats or veggies, so it can be a framework for your own strata-fication! 🙂

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR STRATA WITH PROSCIUTTO

8 eggs
2 cups milk (I used 1% Over the Moon)
¼ cup whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheddar (plus additional ¼ cup or so to sprinkle on top)
4 cups of your favorite bread, cubed
2 teaspoons Penzey’s Sunny Paris seasoning
1 small bunch broccoli, maybe 1/4 pound or so, cut into small pieces
¼ pound prosciutto sliced thin, cut into strips
(I usually use pancetta, but either porky P works!)
1 shallot, chopped
6 mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

Beat eggs, milk and cream in L A R G E bowl–the big, blue bowl I use to serve pasta is the perfect size for this. Add shredded cheddar, Sunny Paris, salt and pepper. Stir bread cubes into egg mixture. This part of the recipe should hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to complete the recipe, steam the broccoli for approximately 2 minutes, then set aside.

Get a sauté pan going on the stove with olive oil.  Add prosciutto, then shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are somewhat golden. Add mushrooms and let them  cook for a few minutes. It’ll look like this:

Stir prosciutto/shallots/mushrooms into the eggs, then add broccoli. Pour ingredients into a buttered 9″ square baking dish. Sprinkle top of strata with additional shredded cheddar.

Ready to bake!

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes or till top is lightly golden and eggs are set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Strata–it’s what’s for dinner again tonight in Katty’s Kitchen! Enjoy!

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This past weekend, I stumbled upon Bella Gusta, a new olive oil and vinegar store/tasting room in West Hartford Center. They sell infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars–varieties of which I’d never seen or dreamed of–all yours for the sampling! I was drawn to chocolate, grapefruit and jalapeno vinegars, but came home with espresso. Talk about espresso love!

I’m sure the possibilities are endless, but my first experiment was vinaigrette: deep, dark, dense and delectable! Now I really need to come up with a sexier salad to serve it with.

ESPRESSO HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE

¼ cup hazelnut oil
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup espresso balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Whisk mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drizzle in oil, whisking continually till incorporated, then slowly whisk in vinegar. Serve over your favorite sexy salad. You’ll be CRAZY about it!

Do you freehand recipes–a little bit of this, a little bit of that? I do to a degree, but more often than not, I take notes as I experiment JUST IN CASE whatever I come up with is worth repeating.

I had always made this with Pillsbury pie crust (shhhh!), but thought it would be fun to make topped with cheddar biscuits instead. Remember those delicious Cook’s Illustrated Best Drop Biscuits from the summer? Simply halve that recipe–don’t worry about unsalted butter, I never do– and add the following to the dry ingredients:

2 oz. shredded cheddar
about 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (definitely adds heat!)
scant 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Now for the pie part!

CHICKEN POT PIE WITH CHEDDAR ROSEMARY BISCUITS

2 tablespoons butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound chicken breast or tenders
4 carrots (by now you know how you should cut them, HA HA!)
1 red potato, diced
½ cup fresh or frozen green beans
½ cup peas (even though I forgot them this time!)
4 oz.  mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
good pinch of rosemary, chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
soy sauce, generous splash (I use low-sodium)
2 tablespoons flour to thicken

Of course, vegetables taste better crinkle-cut, but you can just chop them if you must.

Boil the carrots in the chicken stock for about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, melt the butter and add the garlic, chicken, mushrooms and rosemary to a good-sized saute pan. Cook till chicken is no longer pink, then add cooked carrots and chicken stock, potatoes, green beans, soy sauce and freshly ground pepper. Oh, and peas, too, if you’re including them. Sprinkle flour over mixture, stir to thicken and continue to cook just a bit. Pour this mixture into a 10″ pie dish.

Now it’s time to top this mixture with the biscuits. I used a medium ice cream scoop to form them. Oh, and dig how the flash created blue light special biscuits at the bottom of the photo. Nice going, Katty.

Bake at 475 degrees F for 20 minutes, or till the biscuits are golden on top.

Just for fun, I wanted to share some purr-fectly fitting oven mitts  (thank you very much, Hedy and Wal!) I received for Christmas. What else would you expect from Katty’s Kitchen?

Happy New Year! It’s the dead of winter and this kat is missing her sunshine in a big way. So how about a little liquid vitamin C to make up for the lack of vitamin D?

A bartender in Florida taught me how to make these–ruby red grapefruit and half a lime, freshly squeezed, with your favorite tequila and some Patron Citronge…YESSSSSS. It’s as close as you can get to a virtual vacation in a sugar-rimmed glass with ice. Let’s get the party started right heah!

RUBY RED ‘RITAS
1 ruby red grapefruit, squeezed–about 6 oz. or 3/4 cup
1/2 lime, squeezed
2:1 ratio tequila:Citronge (4 oz. tequila/2 oz. Patron Citronge)
2 sugar-rimmed glasses of your choice

So much the better if you have the holy grail of margarita vessels as I do from a trip to Cabo long ago…but, really, any glass will do. And if you don’t feel like squeezin’ by hand, Noble in the produce section is a good bet. You already know how to sugar-rim a glass, right? Simply run the lime around the edge, then dip into a plate of coarse sugar.

Cheers to ya! And here’s to all good things in 2011 for you and me!