Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's time to cook again - Recipe: Savory Kale-Mushroom Strata

Yes, it's past time to leave the Komen bombshell of this week behind. It left me exhausted and feeling unbalanced. So what do I do to rejuvenate, re-balance? Among other things, I invite friends over and cook for them! 

I made a Savory Kale-Mushroom Strata today, inspired by a recipe printed in the New York Times as part of their recent 'kale-kampaign' (I posted links on my kale blog here to all the recipes that were recently featured in the NYTimes). 

This dish is a true winner - easy, delicious, versatile, and healthy. In fact m husband came from the other end of the house to find out what I was making because it smelled so good while cooking!

Recipe: Savory Kale-Mushroom Strata

• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 bag (10 oz) chopped kale (fresh kale could also be used - this was easily ~ 8 cups of torn, raw kale)
• 10 oz. package sliced button mushrooms
• 1 Tbsp. dry herbs of Provence mix (thyme, rosemary, oregano, savory, basil, sage, lavender) 
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced)
• 3/4 # whole grain bread, stale or dried in oven - cut into 1 inch cubes
• 3-4 ounces feta cheese crumbles
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 5 eggs
• 2 cups organic milk (I used 2%)
• 1 roasted red pepper, drained - cut into 10-12 narrow strips
• Salt and freshly ground pepper 

Directions: (pre-heat oven to 350 degrees)
1) Rinse kale in large colander - break up any larger pieces still evident
2) Cut bread into 1-inch chunks
3) Heat oil in large soup pot
4) Add mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until starting to sweat
5) Add kale to mushrooms in the large pot, stir together until kale is wilting but still bright green
6) Add herbs and garlic powder (or fresh garlic) - gently stir all together in pot - take off heat
7) In separate medium sized bowl whisk eggs until well blended, add milk to eggs, stir to blend together then pour the egg-milk mixture over mushrooms-kale-bread mixture
8) Add salt and pepper to taste - this is difficult to assess - I err on the side of less, rather than more, so I added ~1/8 (scant) teaspoon of salt since the cheese is salty and about 4-5 grinds of the pepper mill
9) Add and gently stir in the feta cheese crumbles to the entire mixture 
10) Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish and then pour all of the kale-bread mixture into the dish - I used a large flat spoon to gently push down all of the bread pieces into the milk/egg mixture
11) Lay the red pepper pieces over the top of the strata
12) Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the strata
13) Place into hot oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. The top of the bread crumbs will be brown and a little crispy, the cheese melted. Your kitchen, even the entire house, will smell heavenly!

I cut the 9x13 size dish into 10 pieces, but portions can easily be made smaller to serve as a side dish or larger to serve as a main course. I can guarantee this beautiful dish will be a hit and disappear in a flash at a buffet/potluck! If I take it to our next Food Hub meeting, I might have to 'cut' in line just to make sure that I get a little piece to eat. :)

I served it warm today, right out of the oven, but this dish will also be good at room temperature. In fact, I'll bet it will be scrumptious cold, for breakfast right out of the refrigerator (IF, and this is a big if, there are actually any left-overs!). 

(Photo: Kale-Mushroom Strata - uncooked)
(Photo: Kale-Mushroom Strata cooked - close-up)
I'm ending with some beautiful words that bring a 'delicious' feeling to my mind and heart. 

When we put on the apron, we are nurturing. 
This is not work; it’s love. 

Carol Nicklaus - Danbury, Conn.
(from her Letter to the Editor, New York Times, Sept. 25, 2011)

My cooking today was definitely not work. Yes, yes, yes............It was all about love and nurturing. Thank you, Carol, for sharing your thoughts with the wider world. I feel lucky that I stumbled upon them. I have included this exact sentiment (using different words) in my book. In fact, using Carol's words and images, I now realize that I actually feel the action of slipping an apron over my head and tying it behind my back is a welcome ritual that I use to step into a different frame of mind (and heart) as I begin the cooking process. :)  

I hope Carol's words inspire others to think differently about cooking. This kale strata recipe will certainly have you hoping that someone is cooking for and loving you! Better yet - put on your apron and cook for someone you love or someone who needs some love. :)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Heather said...

Thanks for the recipe. I am already looking forward to finding kale seeds for my garden this summer.

Elaine said...

Cooking and sharing a meal with friends -- I can't think of a better revitalization, rebalancing strategy. It works for me :-). Lovely recipe. I'd bookmarked the NY Times recipes and now will add yours to the collection. And what a wonderful quote. Yes, saving that to my collection, too.

Discount Vitamins said...

Its really been looking very delicious. I always been in the search of new recipes. I am gonna make my own tonight. Thanks for sharing such cool recipe with us.