Food

spinach and cheddar strata

you know the last like 1/4 of a loaf of bread, the nice kind you bought for pasta or made but didn’t get around to eating before it got just a little to stale and hard to eat normally? this a constant problem in my life and I have settled on a solution that is nearly as easy as forgetting to eat the bread and results in a great brunch/lunch/dinner because this is one of those foods that has no set time of day and gives you amazing leftovers.

while you could easily add lots more veg and probably some kind of meat to this, this version is very much a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal than a detailed version. that does not prevent it however, from being incredibly delicious

spinach & cheddar strata

3(ish) cups of cubed dried out bread

1/2 onion white onion diced (aka the onion sitting in the back of your fridge)

1 tbs butter

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

most of a bag of spinach (probably about 3 cups?)

1 cup grated cheddar

1/2 grated parmesan

1 cup milk

3-4 eggs

2 tbs wholegrain mustard

  • saute onion in butter until soft, add salt, pepper, and oregano
  • add spinach, cook until soft and remove from heat
  • grease baking dish with butter
  • layer half the bread along the bottom of the dish
  • top with the spinach and onion mixture
  • top with half the cheese mixture
  • place the rest of the bread on top
  • top with the rest of cheese
  • beat together eggs, milk and mustard, pour over dish
  • let soak for about 6+ hours, or overnight
  • bake for about 40-50 minutes, at 350F/180C
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Food

blood orange curd

Apparently, lots of people hate the word ‘curd’, but since people also hate the word ‘moist’ I’ve decided to stop listening when people hate the way words sound. Languages are strange, yes, though I will agree its strange because it comes from/means coagulated milk and unless we’re talking about butter there is no milk in this kind of curd. Cheese curds obviously, but those are also delicious. Curds of all kinds are welcome here.

I have a deep and longtime love of lemon curd. I’ve made it many times over the years, given it as gifts, eaten it with most imaginable pairings (and with a spoon), and my favourite pie is made with it. But after falling in love with blood oranges this year, I wondered why I had never really had much less made any variation on the traditional lemon. So after many a google and search through my favourite recipe blog, I found enough varieties to get comfortable with the kinds of changes involved in switching out the citrus.

If you’ve ever made curd before, you know its much easier than it sounds. And varying the fruit involved is just as easy – I think it comes down to adjusting the sugar ratios to make sure you have the right flavour at the end. After all, not many fruits are quite as sour as lemons. So after a few batches, here a not too sweet quick and easy blood orange curd! This makes essentially a personal sized amount, as in you could eat this before it goes off on your own, about 1 1/2 cups I think.

blood orange (or any citrus) curd

5 egg yolks (I always save the egg whites and only use them about half the time)

3/4c sugar

zest and juice of 4-5 blood oranges

7tbs cold butter, cubed

  • zest and juice oranges
  • in a small saucepan simmer juice until reduced by about half
  • Over a double boiler (heat proof bowl sitting over not touching a pot of boiling water) whisk together eggs, sugar, zest, and concentrated juice
  • add butter cutes one at a time, whisking until combined before adding the next
  • whisk constantly for approximately 10 minutes until thickened
  • strain if desired to remove zest and any possibly cooked egg (I never do, but it may remove some bitterness from the zest)
  • store in air tight jars, refrigerated
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Food

strawberry and rhubarb crumble bars

brought to you by my love of not-too-sweet desserts and El’s grandmother’s garden, which provided rhubarb when no store near me had any.

all my favourite desserts are probably fruit based (I’m turning into my mother and find things too sweet regularly) and rhubarb is probably the absolute best. It’s not very sweet and it has the most beautiful color. It holds its texture well, giving a little bit of bite. These bars get most of their sweetness from strawberries, plus a some sugar to hold it all together. the measurements for the fruit really are a loose suggestion, you could easily go over on either depending on what you have around – I finished off the container of strawberries putting it closer to 1 2/3 c in the end since I didn’t have a lot of rhubarb.

strawberry & rhubarb crumble bars

1 1/4 c rolled oats

3/4 c flour

1/4 c brown sugar (I used light but I think dark would be lovely here)

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 tbs melted butter or refined coconut oil (easily switched vegan option)

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (aka cornflour in the UK)

2 tbs lemon juice

1 c diced rhubarb

1 1/2 c strawberries, sliced or diced

2 tsp granulated sugar

  • preheat oven to 375F/180C
  • mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon, stir in melted butter until clumps form
  • set aside 1/2 c of crumble mixture
  • press remaining crumble into baking pan, probably an 8×8 is best
  • bake for about 10 minutes to firm up the bottom crust, not necessary but I think they hold up a little better as bars this way
  • while that’s baking, chop up your fruit, divide in half
  • toss half of the cut fruit with lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1 tsp sugar
  • remove tray from oven, top with coated fruit, then plain fruit. sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp sugar
  • cover with remaining oat topping
  • bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbling and crisp on top

they hold their crisp best in the fridge

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