Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baked May Sunshine

Yes, ‘they say: April showers bring May flowers’, but foodies have put a twist on this.  How about May shower brunches bring hoards of people together to celebrate new arrivals, embarking relationships, sunny mornings with friends; however you do it, brunch is a happening thing this time of year and to celebrate this, I’ll cook up one of my all time favorites: an egg bake (some call this one an egg strata, crust-less quiche, it’s an baked egg dish that is light and delicious and really doesn't matter what you call it).

More formally, egg bakes are actually quiches without the crust.  Since flour and gluten are faux pas, or less the social, cultural, and health-wise norm, I like to make my quiche without the crust.  Plus, without the butter and flour crust, the flavors/veggies  I add to my eggs get extra special attention.  And the greatest thing about the crust-less quiche , in my opinion, is literally anything can go into it; it’s really all about your palette’s preference.  Because this recipe is for a one-pan meal, I have added French bread, therefore, it becomes non-gluten free but please feel free to add or omit whatever you choose to make your baked egg masterpiece.

For today, we’ll make an egg strata because of the layers of goodness and we’ll  call it “Baked May Sunshine”.  Early spring vegetables, such as, asparagus, are shooting out and are the perfect highlight to this dish.  We’ll add other ingredients for flavor and color and
 “Le viola” French or “Eccola” Italian…here is it!            


Baked May Sunshine                                                                                                          serves 6                                                                                                      


½ an onion, sliced thinly
½ a red pepper, sliced      
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ lb asparagus, cut in 2" rods
one head of broccoli
~ ½ loaf of French bread
½ - 1 c of shredded cheddar, your preference
8 eggs
3 c. milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp pepper 

Instructions egg bake creation:
1 – Butter baking dish and preheat oven to 325°.
2 – Sauté onions and peppers in oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally.
3 – Meanwhile, steam the asparagus and then the broccoli; just until tender.
4 – Prep bread by slicing the bread and then cut them once again in triangles.
5 – Now we’re going to layer or strata the ingredients.  First lay down half of the bread triangles.  On top of that evenly spread the green vegetables, then the sautéed ones, top with cheese.  I don’t like a  lot so I sprinkle about ½ cup.  Now top with the last layer – the remaining bread triangles.
6 – In a separate bowl, blend eggs, milk, salt, ground mustard, and pepper.   Pour egg mixture over layers in baking pan.  Be sure to be even.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese (here I do only about ¼ cup).
7 -  Cover pan with foil.  The next step is to cool the strata, so place in fridge.  You can leave it in up to 24 hours; I wait only 20 minutes to pop mine in the oven.
8 – Bake cover for 30 minutes.  Then uncover and continue baking for another 35-45 minutes.
9 – Allow your dish to cool and meld.  Lastly, serve and enjoy.

Sauteed just lightly since they'll be cooked in the oven.

Layers before egg mixture added

Just out of the oven.  Time to cool.