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!


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

A truth about matzo pizza that I only recently learned is that it has the ability to take on the life of a very tasty cracker crust pizza and become something that is delicious enough to have year-round and, in this case, healthyish enough to have for lunch pizza. You have to do the following though: use a fresh cheese (like fresh mozzarella) that will lend some of its excessive moisture to the dry matzo and soften it slightly, salt the shit out of it, and brush it with olive oil so the edges get just slightly kind of fried and light and crispy. I believe that the world is your matzo pizza kosher oyster when you do these things and I’m going to demonstrate it with this tasty recipe inspired by the broccolini and preserved lemon pizza at the hip joint Young Joni, in Minneapolis. That Young Joni pizza has my favorite flavor combo: green + lemon + garlic, and then it also has almonds! Which turns out is a brilliant way to add protein to a vegetarian pizza. I’ve used kale instead of broccolini here because the dainty matzo wanted a daintier topping than broccolini and also I opted to go with lemon zest instead of preserved lemons because I think I’ve recently overdosed on preserved lemons. But you can use them if you want! 


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

makes 4

Ingredients

4 slices of matzo (egg matzo or gtfo)
Olive oil
6 oz (170g) fresh mozzarella, torn
Kosher salt
1/3 c (40g) sliced almonds
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 oz (113g) kale, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Parmesan, for serving
Sriracha, for serving, or other spicy stuff
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 425ºf.

Place the matzo on baking sheets lined with parchment and brush all over with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with the fresh mozzarella and a few good pinches of salt. Distribute the almonds all over. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and massage it for a minute or two to soften the kale and get it evenly coated in olive oil. Pile it onto the pizza. It is a lot of kale (and a lot of garlic) but it will cook down in the oven and also a lot of kale is good! Sprinkle with the thyme, a few turns of pepper, and the lemon zest and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the matzo are brown. 

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a shower of shaved parmesan, and some very good drizzles of sriracha or other spicy stuff and enjoy! Yogurt ranch is also good drizzled on this.
 


-yeh!

KALE & SESAME SALAD WITH SCALLION PANCAKE CROUTONS

like the good modern family that i'm from, christmas often involves latkes. it really makes perfect sense when hanukkah overlaps with christmas and when you have a chrismukkah bush in your living room.

we listen to sufjan christmas, we make latkes, we leave out rugelach or something of the sort for santa and his reindeers...

but this year, since hanukkah is long gone (and since there's just no way you are going to get another latke inside of me until late 2014), there's been a big fat question mark over what i will cook for christmas. eggmama asked me what i wanted to bring for the eggfamily christmas and my mind went completely blank. 

what is a christmas dinner? 

is it lamb? is it goat? is it a ham?

all of the christmas dinner scenes from all of my favorite christmas stories flashed before me and i searched high and low for ideas. fruit cake? figgy pudding? marzipan things? a bird? a root vegetable gratin? i think i said something about hummus.

and then it hit me like a structure of reindeer antlers to the face: chinese food for a merry jewish christmas! duh. 

(i mean, i guess we kind of do that with our annual dumplings of the world festival, but that's not happening until january this year.)

around the same time as my epiphany, i had a violent craving for scallion pancakes. but ohmygosh i feel like such a blobbbbb because of all the christmas cookies that i've been eating! so instead i made scallion pancake croutons and then tossed a salad about it. festive, right?!

 

kale & sesame salad with scallion pancake croutons

makes 2-4 servings

ingredients

for the croutons:

1 c flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 c boiling water

1/4 c cold water

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1-2 stalks scallions, minced

a few grinds of black pepper

a few pinches of red chili flakes

a few tb of canola or vegetable oil, for pan-frying

for the salad:

1 bunch kale, cut very thinly (i like it raw, but you are welcome to sauté it...or massage it...)

salt + pepper, to taste

2 stalks scallions, minced

2 radishes, chopped

2 slices of bacon (i use turkey bacon), cooked and chopped

1 tb toasted sesame seeds

dressing:

a few tablespoons of this sesame sauce (i always have some on hand in the fridge, but if you're just making it for this salad, you can make a half recipe.)

 

clues

to make the croutons:

in a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. mix in the boiling water to form a crumbly/mealy mixture. add remaining 1/2 cup of flour and cold water to form a dough. on a floured surface, knead until smooth. transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let sit for 20 minutes. 

preheat oven to 375.

on a floured surface, roll out dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. brush with sesame oil, and sprinkle evenly with scallions, chili flakes, and black pepper. roll it up like a jelly roll, and then roll the jelly roll into a spiral shape, tucking the ends under, so you have a circle. flatten out the circle until it is 1/2 inch thick. 

heat a pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with canola or vegetable oil. brown the pancake on each side. once it's cooked through, remove it from heat, and then cut it into about 3/4-inch pieces. (because of the layers in the dough, they won't hold in perfect cube shapes, but that's ok!) toast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crispy.

let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

to make the salad:

place kale in a bowl and season it lightly with salt and pepper.

add remaining ingredients and then dress to taste.

 

-yeh!

p.s. i have an egg-themed guest post up today over on one of my favorite blogs, joy felicity jane.

p.p.s. i literally almost barfed all over the post office parking lot this morning when i saw that this was posted, but i am this week's food & wine blogger spotlight!