sourdough strata with gruyère and kale

This weekend has brought a string of perfectly cozy autumnal cinnamon spiced moments that are exactly what I live for. The sun has put his fluffy cloudy sweater on and the light is the most beautifully diffused grey, this is hands down the best time of year. Until the snowstorms roll in, then that’s the best time of year.

We sipped pumpkin spice oat milk lattes and ate sourdough apple pancakes and gooey cinnamon rolls for brunch while Sufjan Stevens emerged from the radio (but this had to be changed to Iron and Wine radio because Sufjan Stevens radio always ends up playing Christmas music and nighttime space sounds, does anyone else have this problem?). 

We achieved my ideal date. I didn’t know it was my ideal date until happened, but I wore grey sweatpants and we drove through the dark (it gets dark before 9pm now!) rainy night to the new Pho restaurant in town and ate gigantic steamy bowls of soup. They were never ending bowls of soup and we closed down the place. It was so delicious, I can’t wait to go back.

Watched Bojack season 5!!! It’s as outrageous as ever and continues to exhibit one of the best qualities in a show which is that if you’ve just spent the whole afternoon watching it and then your husband comes home from harvesting beets and wants to watch all of the episodes that you just watched, you can watch them with him and be equally as amused as the first time you watched them because the jokes are all equally as funny the second and third times around and there are endless amounts of references and details to find that you couldn’t possibly catch all in just one viewing. Or maybe you could if you’re hip to that type of thing which I’m not. 

I roasted a chicken! I’ve never really been the chicken roasting type but on Rosh Hashanah I chose to forego the brisket and make Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken and it was sooooo juicy and crispy and salty and perfect and easy and it made the house smell so cozy that I did it all again last night. And even though I had filled up on bagels and didn’t have enough room to eat that much of it, it was worth it. We’re going to have chicken tacos with tahini dressing tonight. 

Honorable mention! This isn’t a fall-specific moment, but I made a nice discovery on Friday night which is that cauliflower pizza crust is not awful!! After a week of challah grilled cheeses and matzo ball soup leftovers, we were in the mood to not feel like death after Friday pizza night so I took a chance on a frozen cauliflower pizza crust and while it was totally flavorless, the texture was correctly crispy on the edges and chewy in the innards and it was a genuinely solid vehicle for sauce and mozzarella. We will do this again sometime but not this week because I’m about to make a big batch of bagels for Yom Kippur and hopefully there will be some leftover for Friday pizza bagels.

Ok, here is another recipe that I developed for summer camp! It’s a savory cheesy bread pudding that is a cinch to make and infinitely improvise-able. At camp, we added a pound of bacon and cooked the onion in the bacon fat before folding everything together. Breakfast sausage would also be great. But without meat, and a great gruyère and enough greens (it always seems like you’re trying to fold in too many greens but they really cook down in the oven), it is totally delicious and you can prep it all ahead, so yes there’s a reason I’m posting it just in time for Yom Kippur. 

A bowl of cheesy, eggy bread that’s mostly very soft, save for a few strategically placed crispy the edges, and yes you should have seconds because there are greens for ~balance~. Does it get much better?? Only if there’s a thunderstorm outside.


sourdough strata with gruyère and kale

serves 8

2 tb unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

16 oz crusty sourdough, cut into cubes

1 c (4 oz) shredded mozzarella

1 c (4 oz) shredded gruyère or swiss, plus more for topping

6 oz kale, chopped (chard or spinach would always work!)

8 large eggs

3 1/2 c (840 ml) whole milk

1/2 c (120 ml) heavy cream

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Black pepper

Hot sauce

If you’re planning to bake this immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºF. If you’re prepping this the day before, no need to preheat now.

In a skillet (or 4 qt braiser that you can put in the oven), heat the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Or if you’re feeling wild and have the time, caramelize the suckers. Remove from heat. Combine the sourdough, mozzarella, gruyère, and greens with the buttery onion mixture, either in a 9” x 13” casserole dish or in the braiser if you used that to cook the onions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, mustard, salt, nutmeg, thyme, a bunch of turns of pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Pour into the pan with the sourdough. Top with another little sprinkle of gruyère. Cover with foil and bake immediately or refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. 

Bake (at 350fº) covered for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for about another 30 minutes, until browned on top and set throughout.

Enjoy!


pita and greens benedict with feta cream

Not to talk about the weather but because a dramatic shift in weather also means an actual dramatic shift in our life as farm humans: it is spring!! The snow has melted, the birds are chirping, the heat has been turned off, I’m deep in #VestLife, and the chickens are sooooo happy that they have more sunlight and grass to waddle around in. Last week, Eggboy put his farm hat on for the first time this year which means that spring planting is near and he’ll soon start coming in later and later at night smelling like sweat and dirt. The fields are bare right now but in a few weeks they’ll have little sprouts popping out all over and soon we’ll have a garden!!!! And I’ll no longer have to spend $5 on 15 leaves of basil at the Hugo’s on 32nd. 

Since I’m not the one who tends to the fields, the arrival of spring for me pretty much just means that I work slightly longer hours in the kitchen since supper time is way later, and I go to the gym at night by myself. Usually by the time I get back from the gym, Eggboy’s in and it’s Westworld o’clock, even though the sun doesn’t go down until really late but maybe that’s a good thing because Westworld is creepy.

It’s usually in these warmer months when I start taking on bigger kitchen projects, like learning buttercream flowers or bagels, and I think that this is the year I’d like to finally keep a sourdough starter alive and learn to make good crusty bread.

Ok let’s talk bout this recipeep! 

A solid 70% of the time, my mom and I have the same exact brunch order: eggs benedict hold the hollandaise. Just like pork and creamed soups, hollandaise sauce was one of those things growing up that *other people ate*. Who, really, I can’t be sure, but no one in our family. And I think it was simply because hollandaise sauce is heavy and unhealthy, and, to be frank, completely unnecessary. Or, maybe it’s necessary on other things, but a well-salted and adequately Tabasco’d perfectly poached yolky egg on thick Canadian bacon (I know! Pork! Somehow bacon never counted as real pork in our house!) and a toasty English muffin is nary in need of more. Hollandaise actually kind of hardcore effs it up because it takes a relatively healthyish breakfast option to bellyache status and, honestly, I wouldn’t miss hollandaise if it ceased to exist. Oops, this got dark! But the more I think of it the more I really want to just go back in time and convince the eggs benedict inventor to stop after the egg. 

Here’s a version of eggs benedict that does have a sauce but it’s a better sauce than hollandaise, for it is feta yogurt. It’s a light flavorful deal that adds loads of brightness and I realize I just shat all over the very idea of a sauce on a benedict but in my opinion it makes more sense here. All it does is tie together the some great garlicky kale, a poached egg, and a fluffy homemade pita, almost more like a dressing than a sauce. And with this vegetarian version, the feta yogurt fills in for the ham in the protein department. This eggs benedict is salty, creamy, garlicky, and green. It’s one that doesn’t require you to order it without the sauce and a colorful main for your next brunch party. 

And you know what’s cool?? You can poach eggs in advance: Simply transfer freshly poached eggs to an ice bath and refrigerate them in a container of water for a day or two until serving time. When it’s time to serve, reheat them by submerging them in hot water until warm. (more details here!)

As for the thick pitas you see: I made one batch of dough (recipe here) into 16 pitas and rolled them out just lightly, molding them more into slightly flat bread rolls as opposed to a flatbread, so they could be thick enough to get sliced in half. 


Pita and Greens Benedict with Feta Cream

Makes 4

Ingredients

2 oz feta, crumbled

1/2 c (113g) whole milk greek yogurt

1/2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more for sprinkling

black pepper

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

6 oz kale, thinly sliced

Kosher salt 

2 tb water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 large eggs

2 thick puffy pitas, halved

Clues

In a high speed blender, combine the feta, yogurt, aleppo or paprika, a few turns of pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made a day or two in advance). 

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the kale, a few pinches of salt, and the water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and wilted. You may need to add the kale in batches if it’s too much to fit in all at once. Season with pepper and squeeze with lemon. Turn heat down to low just to keep this warm while you poach the eggs.

To poach the eggs, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Crack the eggs one or two at a time into a fine mesh sieve and let any loose bits of egg whites seep out (this step isn’t totally necessary but it will decrease the amount of wild rogue egg white bits) and transfer to a bowl. Carefully lower them into the boiling water. Cook until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to dry off any excess moisture. 

Toast or grill the pitas. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the kale and eggs. Spoon on the feta cream and sprinkle with fresh black pepper and a pinch of aleppo or paprika. Enjoy!


p.s. Enrich and Endure makes Crossback aprons now! Omg, I am obsessed. Keep an eye on Instagram, I’ll be doing a giveaway with them in the coming weeks!!

-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

blintz baked french toast

Hi! We are back from our Passover trip to Whistler and catching up on all of the missed pita and pizza, with stretchy pants for the assist!! But enough about bread for now because we first need to talk about how Whistler is the supermodel of… the Earth??? How come none of you told me to go there sooner?? Its beauty literally almost brought me to tears (Me! Your least mushy friend!). Every time we found ourselves cruising along a mountain, by ski or snowshoe, I thought I was dreaming or dead or on the set of Captain Fantastic. Sure, I’ve seen mountains and evergreens before, but these mountains were covered with the tallest, greenest, handsomest trees and happy little streams that flowed everywhere. All they were missing were baby brown bears sitting near these streams, fishing for lunch.

The skiing was way better than I could have imagined. We started off on the green paths and enjoyed the long winding coasts to the bottom but then worked up the gumption to go down some blues. My favorite path was called Burnt Stew. It started way above the tree line and had that same sort of whoosh whoosh sound that you hear anytime the camera cuts to Jon Snow standing on top of The Wall. I thought it was going to be scary but then most of the run was just like zooming down into a big ass bowl of powdered sugar. Anytime there was a steep bit I just did my thing of saying “Lindsey Vonn” out loud to myself and then it was ok. 

When we weren’t skiing, we hung out with Lyndsay and Stephanie who drove up from Vancouver <3 <3, walked around the cute as a button Whistler Village, chilled out at the silent amazing Scandinave Spa, and après-skied with the Pesach on the Mountain crew who hooked it up with the chocolate fountains and k for p s’mores. Our hardest decision every day was should we begin our après-ski with the chocolate fountain or the hot tub? Which is the sign of a dope trip. 10/10 would recommend getting your butt to Whistler (and I also hear that it is equally fantastic if not *prettier* in the summer time?!) and 10/10 would also recommend Pesach on the Mountain if you're in the market for a Passover program!

Here are a few photos from our trip. I really didn't take too many because I was busy being ~present~ and also afraid that I'd drop my phone off the side of the ski lift or into the hot tub.

And now for the chametz!! I’ve been sitting on this recipe since summer camp last year when we featured it as one of the breakfasts. We had to make enough for 150 people and it was miraculously easy! So if it’s easy to make for 150 people, you can deduce how easy it is to make for eight. It is a delicious prep-ahead brunch situation that is basically the innards of a blintz poured over thick eggy challah. I love blintzes because they straddle that line between savory and sweet. You can add sugar and fruit to make them totally sweet, or caramelized onions to go the savory route (see: Molly on the Range for that one)! My fave blintz filling ingredients like ricotta, nutmeg, and a bit of lemon zest here make this french toast extra special. It's sweet, but not too sweet (although we should probably do a savory version soon covered in caramelized onions and some sharper cheeses, right??), and it can all be prepped the day before and popped in the oven the morning of your brunch for a meal that doesn't mind if you're totally hungover.

Here I've used a half batch of the basic challah recipe from Molly on the Range and baked it in a pullman loaf pan because I love those perfectly square edges. But if you have access to a good store-bought challah (or even a bad one! the egg mixture will moisten it up and bring it back to life!) then totes do that.


blintz baked french toast

serves 8

ingredients

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter, melted

12 thick slices day old challah

6 tb (75g) brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

6 large eggs

1 c (240g) whole milk

2/3 c (165g) whole milk or part skim ricotta

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

Blueberries, for serving

Powdered sugar, for serving

clues

Pour the melted butter in a 9x13 casserole dish and layer in 6 slices of bread. Sprinkle on half of the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Layer on remaining slices of bread. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, salt, vanilla, and lemon zest and pour it on. Sprinkle with remaining sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 350ºf for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for 15 minutes, until browned. Top with berries and powdered sugar and serve!

Note: You can also arrange the bread slices as pictured, in an 8x12 casserole, sprinkling each slice with some of the sugar and spices before lining them up domino style. The custard won’t get as evenly distributed (the top parts will be a little crisper and the bottom will be super custardy), but it looks cool!!!


-yeh!

pictured: mugs by marian bull, plates and casserole dish from ikea, butter warmer from dansk

A SELFIE AND SOME JAM

a selfie for no real reason other than i thought it might be fun to try on my new lipstick and channel my inner francesca {minus the nudy part} and show you how i look these days: it's less about eye makeup, less to do with hair, more to do with bushy eyebrows and watering my own grass and thinking it silly that it would be greener on the other side. to hell with the perm i've wanted since grade school. and i quite like it because i've been early to bed, early to rise, working like the devil, and wildly enjoying the everyday with things like cooking dinner for eggboy and having a jam on toast in a silent morning while everyone else sleeps. no primping or wild parties necessary.

is this what being an oldbody is?

happy march, everybody!

-yeh!