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!


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

brunch with the boys


over the weekend, brian and cutlet came for one of those long, lazy, highly caffeinated brunches that i crave each and every day of the week. it was so nice to see brian, who had come in from out of town for the week. and also of course it's always a treat with cutlet, who had come allll the way from queens. the morning reminded me of sunday mornings during the college years when we'd sit around the practice room sign out sheets, comparing notes on hangovers. only this time we were basking in the sun and marginally more sophisticated.

the menu:

veggie quiche with sweet potato hash brown crust*
maple syrup with a side of bacon
black coffee x a bazillion septrillion

*to make the crust, shred 1 1/2-2 sweet potatoes, mix with about 3 tablespoons of melted butter, an egg, and salt and pepper to taste. firmly pack the mixture on the bottom and around the edges of a cake pan and bake at 450 until it sets (15-20 minutes). substitute this for the crust in your favorite quiche recipe!

-yeh!