I baked this strata for Easter breakfast at church. It's my first time making strata so I wasn't sure if it would turn out good. It would have been so easy to find out if they were cookies. But for food like casseroles and cakes, ones that are baked in a big pan, taking a sample would leave a void on the land(food)scape that would look funny when served. I know my church friends wouldn't have cared if I did so, so I guess it bothered me more than it did for them
Actually it wasn't the taste that I was worrying the most. I mean, what could get wrong if it had cheese, ham, and spinach? Since I changed the recipe a little bit, I was afraid if the mixture wasn't cooked enough using the suggested time -then we would eat undercooked eggs! I didn't have much extra time since I baked the strata at the church' kitchen that morning. Like usual, I worried more than I should have. I brought almost no leftover! The only thing that bothered me was it's sogginess. I will bake the bread first to remove the water content next time.
Spinach Strata Adapted from Kitchen Minion
Ingredients: 12 oz frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze to remove water
1½ c finely chopped onion
1 Tbs unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp nutmeg
10 slices of thin ham
8 cup cubed French bread
2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2¾ c 2% milk
9 large eggs
2 T Dijon mustard
Cook onion in butter in a skillet until fragrant. Add spinach, half portion of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.
Spread half of the bread cubes in a buttered baking dish and cover evenly with half of the spinach mixture, half of ham, and half of the cheese. Repeat using the remaining ingredients.
Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour slowly over strata.
Chill strata overnight. Bake in a preheated oven at 350'F for 45-55 minutes. Serve warm.
Pastel tutup is an Indonesian-Dutch dish. It is a mix between beef pot pie and mashed potato casserole. In Indonesia, we tend to treat this dish as snack because it can't be eaten with rice. But again, my sweet hubby couldn't help not to add a portion of rice on his plate *smh
I made Pastel tutup because my pantry was full of potatoes and I still needed to store more potatoes we got from our CSA. My plan was to have enough potatoes for Thanksgiving, but I guess I needed to cook some of them before they were sprouted, especially ones I got in the early summer.
Pastel Tutup Ingredients: 15 medium size potatoes
1/2 pound lean ground beef
Oil for stir frying
1 big sweet onion
5 large carrots, cubed
3 green bell peppers, cubed
2 red bell peppers, cubed
Banana pepper (optional)
1 cup sweet peas
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Egg yolk + 1 Tbs water
Wash the potatoes and steam for about 30 minutes or until tender. Peel while the potatoes are still hot. Add salt and pepper. Mash until light. Divide the mashed potato to two portions.
Cover the bottom of 9"x13" with one portion of mashed potato.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and ground beef, cook until soft and translucent. Stir in carrots, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook until the carrot is tender (add water if the mixture is too dry). Add bell peppers and sweet peas. Don't cook the peppers too long, because they will get smushy.
Mix the water and flour. Slowly stir in milk and flour mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and pour over the mashed potato base.
Place a cut plastic wrap on a surface area, place the other portion of mashed potato, put another plastic wrap on top of the potato. Using a rolling pin, make a thin layer of mashed potato that is big enough to cover the top surface of the casserole pan.
Glaze the surface with egg yolk mixture.
Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes or until the surface is shiny yellow.
This food is similar to pastel tutup, Indonesian Dutch food grandma liked to make. Hubby loved this much, his only complain was this one recipe can only serve us for two meals
Potato & Tuna Quiche
Adapted from The Best Ever Low Fat Ingredients: 1lb potatoes
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 bell pepper, sliced
6oz canned tuna, drained
1/2 cup corn or green peas
1 carrot, chopped
1 big tomato, sliced
2/3 skim milk
3 eggs, beaten
salt, pepper, and nutmeg
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill
Steam potato until soft, peel and mash well. Add butter, knead then press into a tart pan (I used casserole pan). Bake blind in preheated oven at 400'F for 20 minutes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet, add onion, carrot, tuna, and green peas until carrot is half soften. Add salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into cooked tart shell.
Arrange tomato and bell pepper slices on top of tuna mixture.
Mix milk, eggs, chopped dill, dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour over the tart's filling. Bake for 20 minutes or until the filling has set.
Honestly, I am reluctant to cook food that most of the ingredients are either canned or frozen food although I've already read and article about frozen food is not much nutritionally different than the fresh one. Maybe because I grew up with fresh vegie and meat, and grandma always made everything from scratch. When looking for recipe for church potluck last Saturday, I found casserole recipe book that my dearly friend gave me two years ago. Only one recipe has been tried. I realized that living in this country for almost 5 years, I haven't learned much about American food.
So, this is my end of year resolution. I will make at least once American food (or something from my American recipe) every two weeks. I started last Saturday. I tried recipe from my casserole recipe book although it looks more like Indian food than American one That's a start!
Didn't have time to cook for potluck yesterday, I came up with the idea of cooking what my conversation partner taught me months ago. On the process of making it, I added and reduced some ingredients. The big distinctive from the original recipe was the curry powder that dominate the taste. Hubby and I like it, so did our friends. This recipe will definitely lines up on my fabulous-easy-and-quick dishes list.
Chicken Curry Casserole
Ingredients: 1 1/2C boiled chicken breast-salt the chicken
1 C Steamed/boiled cubed carrot
3C white rice
8oz. sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 tsp curry powder
Topping: 1 package crushed Ritz crackers
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture in a oven proof dish.
Sprinkle crushed cracker.
Bake at 350'F until it bubbles in the middle.
Ham was not very common in my hometown when I was still living there. When my mom needed it, she had to go to a 'chinese' traditional market called 'Gang Baru'. That's the best ham at that time. One day, she gave me the store's name and sent me to get ham because she was going to make macaroni schotel. So there I went, to our city's Chinatown. I parked my vehicle and searched for the store. That wet market is always busy in the morning, muddy and stinks. Getting parking spot in one round is considered lucky. Sometimes I had to take another round or park far away. My ex-boyfriend (now hubby) and I searched for the store but could find it. I was aggravated because I knew it was there. I blamed street vendors who were doing their business in front of the stores that I couldn't find the store. My mom laughed when I said that I couldn't find store named "Young". "The store's name is Yung", she said.
My mom used to cook this food on Christmas eve. I called my oldest sister on Christmas eve and asked if mom cooked it this year. She said that mom didn't cook because there are not many people at home anymore. My older sister lives in Jakarta, and I live far away from home.
Back then, since the ingredients was uncommon, and mom made it rarely, this is a very special food for us, and for our cousins too because mom always shared this to them. I still have that feeling until now.
Macaroni Schotel Adapted from book "Hidangan Peranakan Belanda & Cina"
Ingredients: 150gr elbow macaroni
100gr sliced ham/turkey, chopped
300 ml milk
75 gr grated cheddar cheese (I used American cheese)
Prepare macaroni by directions on box and drain well. Divide macaroni to three. Divide ham and and cheese into two section.
On a baking dish, arrange macaroni in the bottom then put ham in second layer, cheese on top of the ham then make another layer of macaroni. The very top is supposed to be the macaroni.
Mix eggs and milk, pour out to the layers of macaroni. Steam for about 20'. In the mean time, preheat the oven at 360'F. glaze top of steamed macaroni with egg yolk. Bake for about 15' or until the surface is golden brown.