12 August 2008

strata anyone?

I know I've written about my love for this book here before, (and here and here and here) and here we are again. This time, with the mushroom and spinach strata. I tried this dish earlier in the spring for a little brunch party we hosted before the annual May Day parade and it was so delicious, and went so quickly, that I never even got a photo of it. Before getting this book, I was never that big on cooking tofu in dishes. I mean, I love tofu. Baked, stir fried, sauteed, etc. But I never really had used the silken tofu in dishes (like cakes, lasagna, or this strata). And, um, I love it. This dish is just awesome and makes me even more excited for Isa's upcoming vegan brunch book.

I made this strata on Sunday for my parents for brunch. Even though they're not really tofu fans, I thought I'd give it a try on them. My dad doesn't like mushrooms, so I used spinach and a yellow squash from my garden, and that was delicious too. I think you could probably use almost any veggie (just think of what would be good in an omelet or quiche). I think this is my new favorite brunch dish. It's super easy to make, and just tastes delicious. It's even good later that day for dinner. I mean, after all that brunch cooking, who has the energy for dinner? Also- it doesn't hurt to be eating it out of this awesome vintage pyrex dish...

Mushroom and Spinach Strata (from Veganomicon)
4-6 slices stale or lightly toasted bread, cut into 2-inch pieces
1-1.5 cups sliced shallots (I use a little less because I just don't like things too onion-y)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (or any other veggie, I used one medium sized summer squash here)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. salt
10 ounces chopped spinach

Custard Ingredients:
1 lb. silken soft tofu
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. mustard
1 tablespoon cornstarch (I used arrowroot powder here, because that's what I had)
1/2 cup veg. broth or water
1/4 tsp salt if using water or low-sodium broth.

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet (if you have one- if not, you can transfer the veggies to a different dish later) over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms (or whatever veggie you're using) and cook for another 7 minutes, until tender. For the custard: place all custard ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Add the garlic, herbs, peppers, and salt to the vegetable pan. Add spinach and cook until all spinach is wilted (about 5 minutes).

Turn off the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the bread chunks. If you are baking it in a different dish, transfer it now and use the tablespoon of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Mix veggies and bread well. Pour custard over everything and use a spatula to smush the custard into the veggies and bread, but don't mix it. Bake for 55-60 minutes. The strata should be firm and the whole top should be lightly browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!


  1. thanks for the recipe julia. can't wait to try it. xo

  2. good morning, julia!

    strata reminds me of my childhood. yours looks and sounds good, too.

  3. Nice recipe - looks yummy!
    I didn't use an actual pattern for the girls jacket, but it would work for any jacket pattern - just make the inside and outside and then bind them together. I've never tried the Ottobre women's patterns - I've wondered about them as well as all the children's ones I have made have been fantastic.