Mushrooms

I planted bok choi, swiss chard, strawberries and fennel in my garden about a month ago despite telling myself that I would keep up only a small garden this summer.  When I purchased the starter plants, they looked easy enough to maintain but have proven otherwise.  I find that with my busy schedule I don’t have time to water, a few of the pots aren’t large enough, and bugs are eating my bok choi.  Last summer gardening was much more of a hobby than it is now!

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And so I am experiencing the same with blogging.  I am cooking more now but my busy schedule has made blogging difficult.  Summer is quickly approaching but my style of cooking is stuck in winter.  My time seems filled with bridal showers, weddings, and special dinners (some of which I will share soon).

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I cooked this Strata about a month ago, but it feels like ages now.  I have so much that I want to share about what is going on, but it feels that I must catch up first.  I must catch up on what I’ve blogged and try to catch up with fellow bloggers.

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I am now beginning to see just a glimpse of what other bloggers experience when they have cookbooks to write, traveling for photography, or cooking for parties; though my time has mostly been filled with cooking for people I love and blessing them with good food.  Isn’t it exciting when much of your free time is filled with the things you love to do?

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1/2-1 cup cooked red quinoa (depending on how deep you want the “crust”)
  • 4 thin thin slices of polenta
  • 8 ounces large crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 stalks of rainbow swiss chard, chopped with stalks separate
  • 2 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks of thyme
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half or coconut milk
  • 1 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded such as Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Directions

  1. Butter a 9″x9″ glass pan.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the mushrooms in a single layer over the parchment paper and sprinkle with 1-2 Tbs olive oil.  Cover with leaves of 1 stalk of thyme.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until soft and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 35o deg. F.
  6. Heat 1 Tbs of olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan until the oil begins to shine.  Add the chopped swiss chard stalks and cook for 1 minute.  Mix in the remaining swiss chard until all the oil is absorbed.  Cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Steam will form when covered, helping the swiss chard to cook.  During the last minutes, add the remaining thyme leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. In a medium size bowl, mix the eggs and half and half.
  8. In another medium size bowl, mix half the mushrooms, half the swiss chard and the cooked quinoa.
  9. Now layer the strata in the glass pan, first with the cooked quinoa mixture, then the polenta slices, then the egg mixture, then the remaining mushrooms and swiss chard, and finally the cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 25-35 minutes, until the egg is cooked, cheese is melted and the edges are browned.  The egg will look juicy and continue to cook when removed from the oven.

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