I had such a good time at the farmer’s market this Saturday that I decided to make a few dishes for a Meatless Monday! It’s such a wonderful feeling being at the market surrounded by locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and Collingswood Farmer’s Market is by far the best market in the area!
I haven’t seen too much different this year, but there seems to be a greater variety of Heirloom Tomatoes in the market and I have tried a few of the varieties, but field grown Jersey tomatoes are still the best tomato you could ever have! I did buy some red and green zebra tomatoes, but technically those aren’t heirloom tomatoes having made their entry into the market in 1983. The zebra is a tangy sweet tomato, with a little different flavor, and as Lisa says it nice to try something different. (which usually means but don’t buy it again!)
I also picked up some heirloom lemon cucumbers which have just started showing up in the market. Lemon Cucumbers have a sweeter flavor than regular cucumbers and are not supposed to have as much of the chemical that makes them bitter and hard to digest. I found the skins to be a little tougher but not too bad. These little beauties would be great for pickling!
What I did end up with was a beautiful combination of colors and flavors that made a perfect side dish, or would have went well over a green salad. I just added some extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar a little salt and pepper and let nature do the rest with by commingling the flavorful juices from these fruits! That’s right scientifically speaking both the cucumber and tomato are classified as fruits, but from a culinary standpoint they are counted as vegetables.
I had been thinking about Strata’s for the past few weeks, I don’t why but I remembered a lunch that Mama Jeanette had made one afternoon, she didn’t want to interrupt my work on the house, so she threw together a dish from what she had available. A stale loaf of bread, eggs, and of course cheese!
A Strata is very similar to a quiche or frittata, I think the only real difference is the inclusion of bread in the strata.
You can add vegetables, or meats to the strata, but I kind of like it the way Mama made it that day, so when I recreated that lunch I kept it basic, and it was feast for the stomach as well as the soul.
Strata is a quick and easy dish to prepare, that could be served at any time of the day, be creative, add your own touch just keep the basic recipe intact and it will never disappoint! The nice people at Euphrates Feta Cheese had graciously sent me a sample of their feta cheese to have some fun with, so I did decide to alter the recipe with the addition of feta, and it was an outstanding decision. The tang of the feta added another dimension to this flavorful dish. Feel free to substitute Chobani Low Fat Greek Yogurt for the heavy cream in the recipe, a great way to keep the fat and the calories down!!
2 cups of old bread cut into large cubes
1 tbsp. melted butter
6 Large Eggs
1 cup Whole milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (or Chobani Greek Yogurt)
1 cup Sharp Cheddar shredded
1 Cup Euphrates Feta Cheese crumbled
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
Black pepper to taste
6 Zucchini Blossoms (optional)
1. Cut bread into large cubes and lightly coat with melted butter, season with garlic, onion, and pepper and place in a 350 degree oven to toast.
2. Place Toasted bread in the bottom of a baking dish (or 9″ springform pan)
3. Lightly beat eggs, add milk, heavy cream , grated romano and black pepper and mix together until well blended.
4. Sprinkle shredded cheddar and Feta over the bread.
5. Pour egg mixture over bread and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes to allow bread to soak up the egg mixture.
6. If your using zucchini blossoms place them on top of the mixture and just press down into the egg lightly to cover them. (they may float back up its ok)
7. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is fully cooked in the center.
(you may need to cover the with aluminum foil if the top is getting too dark)
8. Allow Strata too rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing, so it sets up well.
9. Cut into squares or remove from the springform pan , slice and serve at room temperature.
Strata is such a versatile and fun dish to make for friends and family, serve it as a late supper with a salad and a nice glass of wine, or at a brunch. Any way you served it just make sure you have enough, because your guests will be coming back for seconds!
Have a great week my friends, August is upon us and the Dog Days of Summer can’t be far behind! So stay cool, eat light, eat healthy but save room for dessert! Till next time…..