Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Missionary Cookbook Chapter 4: Pasta Profiles 4 amazing Pasta Salads from one basic recipe

 

It's time for a little update on the mission of my amazing son Elder Luke Petersen. For those who have been following his adventures with us. We've had a change in location happen recently that was unexpected but necessary for his health. We are excited to share that Luke was transferred to Salt Lake City, Utah to finish his missionary service staying with his grandparents (my parents). He is still away from home and still a full-time missionary. He is what is called a Service Missionary.

He is now working with the horticultural department and plants that will help make beautiful church Temple grounds, at our church headquarters, conference center, and visitor center. The grounds are extensive and full of gorgeous areas that need a huge amount of work. This is an amazing opportunity for someone who loves plants like Luke does! People come here from all over the world to feel the love of God and learn about Jesus Christ. It's Luke's way of spreading the seeds of the gospel. I ❤️ him for being willing to serve in this way. I am also so excited to see his love of God's creations in action.



He has also been working with my parents fulfilling humanitarian efforts at Welfare Square to feed the hungry worldwide. My parents have been full-time service missionaries at the Bishop's Storehouse at welfare Square for the last year. Welfare Square is a landmark location for The Church of Jesus Christ in its efforts to care for those in need. The square hosts various employment services, food production, and storage facilities, distribution centers, and training facilities. The services housed here are provided free of charge.

We believe in following the example of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and lift up the downtrodden. In the 1930s, many people in the Salt Lake City area were struggling as a result of the Great Depression. In 1936, the Church formalized a welfare program to provide for basic needs and give opportunities for employment. Two years later, in 1938, Welfare Square was created.

Welfare Square resides on its own campus and includes a 178-foot grain silo, a milk and cheese processing plant, a cannery, a bakery, a market-style grocery, a clothing collection warehouse, and employment assistance offices. Services on the square are operated by volunteers and employees of the Church.


I love that God knows our hearts. He knows how much Elder Petersen has always loved working with plants and the peace that he feels when he is surrounded by God's creations. I know that the Lord's creations testify in their own way that God is real and so does my sweet son. I don't doubt that he is working with these plants because he is learning some lifelong lessons to lead people to Jesus Christ. 

It is a wonderful experience so far and one that he is growing from immensely. No pun intended. Okay. Maybe a little pun intended. 
Look how awesome he looks in his official uniform. My heart. Xoxo! I'm just a little bit bursting with momma pride. Only because I saw my own father wear this same uniform for forty-five years of my life. I know what kind of a dedicated Christ-like man my dad has always been, and it takes a giant to fill these threads. Luke's calling is for the next eighteen months. Time is going to fly! 
So, I know that even though my son is staying with his grandparents and serving a service mission now, he is still making meals and taking his own lunches to the temple grounds in Salt Lake City. 

So here's the premise. One salad to rule them all. 


The original post for this was called the profile of a Killer Salad on this blog and something I taught my kiddos early on was how to step into the kitchen and know what flavors worked together. So this is something I wanted to share today with this chapter of The Missionary Cookbook for those who are looking for beginner simple recipes to make life easier for those first starting lives away from home. 

Herb Alchemy 101 Cooking Without a Recipe

How many just read the words "herbs and spices without a recipe" and panic set in? I can hear you saying, "I don't cook like that! I need a recipe.” If that is you, then this post is for you. I want you to try to let go of your cooking inhibitions and think with your heart. If my 5-year-olds could do this, you most definitely can do it now! I believe in you!

So to begin with a basic explanation, herbs are the aromatic leaves, flowers, and stems of plants and spices are seeds and the bark of aromatic edible plants. Fresh or dry herbs and spices will work in cooking applications, but make sure you smell them inside the jar. If it smells like a spice or herb, then the stuff inside is still full of flavor. Most spices will need to be in an in-ground or grated form for cooking or baking. If you don't have a spice mill (not many people do), then just buy them pre-ground. 

Below is the basic outline of some flavors that work together well. Follow the steps and you will find success.   

Step 1: Begin with the pasta salad base.

Chef Tess’ Pasta Salad 101

Basic Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked al dente according to package directions and seasoned well with salt and pepper
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup carrots, shredded or chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
½ medium red onion, sliced thin or chopped fine

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. 


Step 2: Make one batch of basic vinaigrette.

Basic Vinaigrette for Pennies a Jar! 

Ingredients:
¾ cup olive or vegetable oil (flavored oils are great)
¼ cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tsp. fresh pressed garlic
Herbs and spices (see below for variations)
Salt and pepper

Directions: 
  • Whisk oil and vinegar with other ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Start with a half teaspoon at a time of the herb or spice you want to add and then sample. 
  • Adjust flavors according to your taste. 
  • For one batch of salad, you will need one batch of salad dressing. 

Step 3: Add flavor profile to dressing & mix salad. 

Dressing Variations 

These herb and spice suggestions are to be used in the basic vinaigrette recipe to customize the recipe to fit your need. Add the flavor combinations directly to the basic pasta salad recipe. Come up with your own and try mixing and matching fresh veggies as they are in season. You can even add seasonal fruit you like. For hearty dinners, add some roasted chicken, beef, fish, or tofu. Try marinating your meat in the vinaigrette to save a lot of money instead of buying those fancy bottles of pre-made stuff. You can do this! It can be very liberating, but for you folks who just want a grab-and-go dressing fix, just use the pre-made spice blends.


These are lists of flavors that work together for the cuisine you want to create they are not a complete list. They are intended to get you started

Italian
Herbs: Basil, rosemary, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, marjoram
Spices: Fennel, caraway, crushed red pepper, celery seed
Flavoring: Hard cheeses like parmesan, asiago, olives, roasted peppers, citrus zest, capers


Greek
Herbs: Dill, oregano, rosemary, mint, parsley,
Spices: Fennel, anise, black pepper, dill seed
Flavoring: Feta cheese, olives, pickled peppers

Mexican
Herbs: Cilantro, oregano, thyme
Spice: Cumin, coriander, chile pods, black pepper, allspice
Flavoring: Lime zest, roasted corn, green onions, radish, black olives




Asian
Herbs: Cilantro, mint, lemon grass, sesame oil (use 2 tsp. in place of some of the oil)
Spices: Cumin, chile paste, curry paste, fennel, ginger
Flavoring: Lime zest, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, citrus zest, peanuts or cashews

©Chef Stephanie Petersen. 2011. All rights reserved. Copies are NOT permitted without written consent from the author even for personal or church use! Chef Stephanie Petersen can be contacted at Stephanie@cheftessbakeresse.com and is Chef Tess on Facebook and Twitter. www.cheftessbakeresse.com 


There you go darlings. Begin learning some flavor profiles. I'll be posting more in the future! I promise.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess





Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Pastry Chef's Guide to Baking with Buckwheat Flour



If you're new to buckwheat, it can seem like a confusing little nugget because it is not a grain or a grass but rather technically known as a "pseudo-grain." Therefore, it can never cross-pollinate with anything containing gluten. Hooray! Despite the glaring term "wheat" in its name, it's always gluten-free as long as it is processed in a facility that is also gluten-free. Buckwheat has long been used for Japanese noodles and Russian porridge. It is grown and consumed worldwide. It is full of protein and fiber, making it excellent for those following special diets, including vegans. That brings us to baking. With a pronounced complex earthy and floral flavor profile that couples well in both sweet and savory baking applications, it is destined to become one of the most elegant and sophisticated flours to add to your baking products. It is one of the most exciting whole grain flour to use in baking.


Buckwheat in Baking

Flavor Factors

Tastes are impacted dramatically by the addition of buckwheat flour to baked goods and the choice of the variety of buckwheat flour.

·       HulledBuckwheat Flour variety: The dark hull has been removed before milling. Most bakers prefer it because of its milder, less bitter nature. The flavor is slightly earthy with delicate grassy notes and hints of floral.

·       Unhulled Buckwheat Flour varieties:

The dark hull has been included in the milling process. These have slightly bitter assertive notes and are usually combined with other mild-tasting flours. They are most notedly used in French Buckwheat Crepes.

Applications:

  • In sweet applications, buckwheat pairs well with nuts, caramel, cocoa, and deep rich flavors.
  • In savory applications, buckwheat pairs well with complex cheeses, herbs, cured meats, and dairy.

Texture factors

It seems pretty apparent to the seasoned baker when baking with buckwheat, but we'll point it out. It is gluten-free. Here are a few other things to be aware of with texture.

  • Bread:  Buckwheat loaves of bread are not as light and fluffy as wheat loaves of bread due to a lack of gluten and may need the addition of xanthan, tapioca flour, or guar gum to achieve additional texture.
  • Muffins and quick bread: Light buckwheat flour is preferred in vanilla or golden-colored cookies and cakes. Buckwheat adds moistness to cakes and tenderness to cookies and bars.
  • Possible Problems: Some quick bread and muffins can become "gummy" if larger amounts of buckwheat are used—test the recipe before converting to 100% buckwheat.

Color of Buckwheat Flours

  • Hulled Buckwheat flour has a lovely light brown color that will show up in the final baked good.
  • Unhulled Buckwheat flour will be a light grey and finished baked goods will keep that distinct color like rye. Like rye, one will need to add molasses or cocoa to batters or doughs if the desired finished bake is expected to be a rich golden brown.

Start baking with buckwheat 

Ready to start baking with it now?

  • Cakes cookies and quick bread: Start with 25%. Again, because of the lack of gluten and the possible downfalls of buckwheat's nature, we suggest you start by substituting 25% buckwheat flour for the wheat flour in non-yeast bread or yeasted recipes like a muffin or cookie.
  • Bread: Start with 15%. Adding whole-grain flour will change the formulation, and gluten-free flour is a little finicky. The general rule is to increase the hydration by 10% when adding that 15% if using whole grain buckwheat.
  • Check baking temperatures: Because the color of the dough is different from buckwheat, always test the internal temperature of baked goods. Bread should be 185°F or higher. Batter products will vary but generally should be over 170°.



Buckwheat Brownies

Bake Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients

½ cup organic avocado oil

1 ½ cup organic cane sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs or vegan alternative

1 Tbsp. dark corn syrup or blackstrap molasses

2 cups Organic Grains Buckwheat Flour

¾ cup organic dark cocoa powder

½ tsp. non-aluminum baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

Directions

  1. Wash and sanitize all work surfaces and tools—Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and syrup until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Add the flour, cocoa, and salt, mixing for 2 minutes. Allow batter to rest for about 5 minutes.
  3. Spread into a lightly greased bar pan (8x8x2 inch). Bake 30-35 minutes until an internal temperature of 150° or higher.
  4. Cool the brownies in the pan for at least 30 minutes before cutting, allowing them to set up.


Buckwheat Pancakes

Bake Time: 15-18 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup Organic Grains Buckwheat Flour

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1¼ cups milk

1 large egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Whisk buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Beat egg and milk together in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
  3. Drop batter by large spoonful onto the greased griddle and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Bread

Bake Time: 45-55 minutes

Ingredients

2 2/3 cups Organic Grains Buckwheat Flour

3 Tbsp. Organic Grains White Chia Seeds

1 cup Organic Grains Tapioca Flour

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast (1 packet)

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 ¼ cup of water between 100-105° F

Directions

  1. Grind the chia seed into flour using a high-speed blender.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the buckwheat flour, chia flour, tapioca starch, organic cane sugar, and salt. Mix in the instant yeast. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, and warm water. Mix on low for about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing on medium-high for about 3 minutes.
  3. Use a spatula to group the dough together in a ball at the bottom of the mixing bowl. Pour about two teaspoons of additional olive oil on top of the dough. This will help you continue to form the round loaf without the dough sticking to the spatula (or your hands).
  4. Carefully remove the dough from the mixing bowl and onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your hands to form the dough into a round/oblong loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise for 3 hours at 75°. Score the top of the loaf with a sharp kitchen knife or a razor blade.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F. When the loaf is finished rising, bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches over 180°F.

 

There you go! Make some amazing gluten-free buckwheat flour stuff. I'm cheering for you 100%. 


Always My Very Best,

Your Friend, Chef Tess



Monday, April 18, 2022

Classes with the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, CA and Wheat Foods Council






So...I finally got to go to the CIA. Tim O'Conner, the President of Wheat Foods Council
invited me to attend this remarkable event in Napa last week! It was by and far one of the most amazing experiences yet! There were about 50 chefs there from all over the country that they considered the "most influential in wheat foods." To be honest, I was humbled beyond words to be invited, but also thrilled! The facility was gorgeous, and the instructors were world-class. 

In this elite invitation-only event, I was asked to attend the workshop at the CIA COPIA campus with Chefs Victor Gielisse and Chef Lisa Brefere, Consulting Partners of The Culinary Institute of America, Consulting Group. We explored the opportunity of differentiating in a competitive foodservice and hospitality market, driven by the challenges for Chefs in creating and implementing high-performing culinary teams. First, I explored the options that Chefs face and must understand in their business to determine what adds value. Then, learned at what stage to initiate another point of menu differentiation to stay ahead of the competition. New and natural value creation for organizations and teams were also highlighted.

Key outcomes from this two-day hands-on culinary session included:

  • Understanding and improving upon culinary repertoires by exploring creative uses of wheat foods within the global flavor palette
  • Analyzing the importance of plant-based approaches to create delicious culinary dishes with cultural appeal
  • Explore the principles of menu concepts and the impact on food and ingredient use
  • Continue to approach a diversity of menu strategies by leveraging globally inspired culinary strategies.
  • Lead with menu strategies around flavor development



I look forward to continuing my work with Wheat Foods Council and building on this friendship. I've learned so much from my relationships with wheat farmers across the country and seeing the change that is taking place in the world of food because of the hard work that state wheat councils are doing together nationally under the direction of the Wheat Foods Council is impressive.  


Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess




Monday, March 28, 2022

The Missionary Cookbook Chapter 3: 9 Easy Egg Recipes for Beginners

 

For those who have been following the joyful journey of this family, you know that my youngest son Luke (pictured above on the far right) is now a missionary and away from home. I know I'm not the first mom who's had a child leave home and want to be sure they eat healthy easy meals. 

Missionaries for our church are not paid to serve, for those who don't know. They actually go on a volunteer basis and pay their own way. Their food allowance is meager. So, I decided to send my son a monthly recipe book with several new easy meals and recipes to try out.

Not every missionary has a chef for a mom. Luke told me he has several with him who have no idea where to begin. So here's where to begin. This stuff. The basics. I hope this helps you and your loved ones as much as I hope it helps him. This is the 3rd chapter, so please feel free to go back and check out the earlier ones. We'll sometimes have a theme. Sometimes not. This just worked out with Easter.        

April means Eggs! Easter there are always eggs on sale and these are a good source of protein. They're easy to cook and usually something that can be made pretty quickly. So this month we've got 10 recipes for easy eggs that these guys and gals can do. 

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Ingredients

6 to 12 large eggs, straight from the fridge

Directions:

 Add the eggs to a saucepan and cover with water:

Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch or two of water.

The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs. 6 eggs should be covered by at least an inch, 7 to 12 eggs, 2 inches.

Bring to a rolling boil: Leave the pan uncovered. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a rolling boil.

Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit: Depending on how cooked you like your hard-boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly after sitting for 10-12 minutes. That said, depending on your altitude, the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, and the ratio of water to eggs, it can take a few minutes more. Or if you like your eggs not fully hard-cooked, it can take a few minutes less. When you find a time that works for you, given your preferences, the types of eggs you buy, your pots, stove, and cooking environment, stick with it. I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-18 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked.

SIMPLE TIP!

Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also, some people find adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as makes the eggs easier to peel. If desired, add either or both of these ingredients as the water begins to boil.

If you live at a high altitude, let the eggs sit in the hot water longer or lower the heat and maintain a low simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

Mom’s Baked Southwestern Chorizo Scotch Eggs

4 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled

4 oz. good quality turkey sausage

4 oz. chorizo or soy-Rizo meat replacement

Home-made dry breadcrumbs or a good quality crumb such as Panko

Vegetable oil for brushing onto eggs.

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Place the sausage meats in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Divide the sausage meat into 4 equal portions.

 Form each meat portion into a flat cake large enough to fit around the egg. 

Work the sausage meat around the egg as evenly as possible whilst working hard to keep the egg shape and making sure there are no cracks. 

Place the meat-coated eggs in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

 Roll the sausage-coated eggs into the crumbs and press lightly to ensure a good coating.

Mist generously with a spritz of vegetable oil, or coat lightly with oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cookie tray and pop into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown all over.


Buffalo Chicken Eggs-n-Bacon Salad

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup diced cooked chicken

¼ cup cooked diced bacon crumbles

½ cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 Tbsp celery, chopped

¼ cup blue cheese crumbles, optional

hot wing sauce (to taste)

 

Directions:

·        In a medium bowl, combine all salad ingredients.

·       Serve on fresh buns or salad greens drizzled with more wing sauce.

Cupcake Quiche Cups

8-10 oz cooked turkey or ham, well-seasoned

8 slices of bacon, sliced into 3 pieces (total of 24 small pieces)

6 eggs, beat well

1/4 bell pepper, chopped fine (optional)

1 cup chopped fresh spinach (optional)

12 1-inch squares of Havarti or Swiss Cheese

Directions:

·       Spray the inside of 12 muffins well with a non-stick coating (or line with a cupcake liner). 

·       Put pieces of bacon, spinach, and a few chunks of turkey or ham in each muffin cup.  Fill cup 2 Tbsp. scrambled egg. Put a nice little cheese on top of each cup. Bake 425°F for 13-15 minutes. Serve warm. Any leftovers need to go in the fridge. 

Variations of Flavors: Change the seasoning using your favorite variety of fajita seasoning for a Southwest quiche, French herbs de Provence for a more classic flavor, cooked potato or cooked rice can replace the bell pepper if desired. Play with these! 

Easy Ham and Egg Casserole

6 eggs, beaten

½ cup milk

1 cup ham or turkey ham, chopped

1 cup cheese, shredded

1 cup chopped tomato or cooked potato

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp.  ground pepper

2 Tbsp.  butter, melted

1/2 cup Bisquick or pancake mix

Directions:

·       Mix everything together and put in a well-greased 9x13 cake pan.

·       Bake at 350° degrees for 40 minutes or until the knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

·       Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

2-Ingredient Fried Rice Patties (AKA Rice Patties)

These rice patties taste a lot like fried rice but hold their shape and are a great way to use up leftover rice. The rice must be cold and best if it is the next day. We love them made with rice-a-roni too. Yes, very fancy-schmancy. Yes, you can use brown rice or pretty much any cooked grain. Barley is amazing. My mom uses cold cooked cracked wheat. Yea, those are good too.

You will need:
2 cups cooked cooled rice (leftover in the fridge)
2-3 large egg

Directions:

Mix the rice and egg.

In a large skillet with a heavy bottom, cook over medium heat. Make sure you use a non-stick pan or one you have oiled well.

Scoop them into little patties, about ½ cup of rice at a time. 

Cook 3-4 minutes on one side and then carefully slide a spatula under the patties and turn over gently. Cook 3-4 more minutes. We also like them with a slice of cheese.

 Top with butter while hot and season well with salt and pepper. They are delicious with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or anything Asian. Hello daddy. There you go. Simple, comforting, and easy. What a wonderful world.

Mom's Gourmet French Toast

4 thick slices of day-old brioche or Texas Toast

2 eggs

1/3 cup whole milk, (80 ml)

1 tsp vanilla extract, (5 ml)

A pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon

2 tbsp unsalted butter, (28 grams) for the pan

powdered sugar, to garnish

maple syrup, to drizzle on top

Directions:

·       To a medium, shallow bowl, add the eggs, milk, vanilla and spice, and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine and break up the eggs completely. 

·       In a medium pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 a tablespoon of butter, moving the pan from side to side to evenly distribute the melted butter.

·       Use a fork to dip a slice of brioche or bread into the liquid batter, dipping both sides of the brioche. Place the brioche into the prepared pan, cooking each side for approximately 1 minute, or until it's golden brown and crisp. Repeat this step for the remaining brioche slices, melting a 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the pan before frying each piece of bread.

·       Drizzle maple syrup all over, then dust with powdered sugar.

Easy Scrambled Cheese Eggs

Ingredients

4 eggs

½ cup cheddar cheese, grated (or Monterey Jack)

1 tsp butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

 Put a frying pan on medium-low heat and put in the butter or oil.  

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat quickly with a fork.

Grate the cheese and have it ready.

 Tip the beaten eggs into the frying pan. Layer the cheese on top. The eggs will start to solidify almost straight away – as soon as they do use a spatula and ‘pull’ the eggs in from the side to the middle. Repeat the pulling in several times.

  It doesn’t take long, the idea behind this is you’ll have soft, lightly cooked fresh eggs. It’s hard to undercook an egg really, but very easy to overcook. 2 – 3 minutes of cooking time is all you’ll need. When the egg has no ‘watery’ bits left, you’re done! Add some salt and pepper to taste. Done! Quickly remove from heat and transfer to plate – preferably on top of some lovely, hot, buttered toast.


 Cheese Strata

This is a totally delicious, simple, make-ahead heaven of a dish that anyone could do in minutes and could not mess up!   It's bread cubes combined with an egg and milk batter topped with cheese or having the cheese folded into the bread mixture. It's then good for keeping in the fridge and baking at dinner time or baking ahead and reheating individual servings in the microwave or oven.  Usually, we omit the bacon and Jalapeno if we’re trying to save money since the bacon is just getting expensive, but that’s totally up to you!

 Ingredients

 5-6 cups of bread cubes
6 oz brie, sliced (or any cheese of your choice)
 3 eggs
 2 cups milk or cream
 1/4 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (optional)
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
butter for coating the baking dish

Directions:

  •  Butter the inside of an 8X8X4 inch baking dish and fill with bread cubes topping with brie slices. Crack fresh black pepper over the mixture and fold them together. 
  •  Combine the milk and eggs. Add salt and pepper to them. Whisk well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and brie mixture. Allow to sit awhile. Now for the bacon and jalapeno. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes. Add the bacon. Cook until almost crispy then add the jalapenos.  Cook 2-3 minutes more.
  • Distribute the bacon mixture over the bread-brie mixture, leaving most of the bacon on top...meaning seriously don't mix them up. Do you know why? Because when you bake it, the bacon will stay crispy.
  • At this point, you can either put the unbaked strata in the fridge and chill for up to 1 week or bake for dinner/breakfast right now.  We usually opt for baking it right away. 350 degrees 20-25 minutes until bubbly and delicious. 
  • You'll have this thick rich layer of cheese strata topped with a crispy bacon jalapeno layer that will seriously rock the universe. Most of the time we drizzle it with maple syrup or a simple apricot jam for a savory-sweet yin-yang magical experience. 

 

There you go! Happy Egg cooking!

Always My Very Best,

Your Friend Chef Tess