I've long been a fan of "Everyday Food'' magazine for its compact size, modern look, and streamlined recipes. It's a magazine for folks who don't want to fuss too much in the kitchen, but still want to be able to put food on the table with flair, flavor and contemporary appeal.
"Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast'' (Clarkson Potter), the cookbook, is no different. It serves up 250 recipes with the lovely, evocative photos we've come to expect from Martha Stewart Living, creator of the "Everyday Food'' magazine.
These are dishes designed for today's harried cooks, whether they're preparing breakfast, dinner or dessert, from the likes of "Cottage Cheese Pancakes'' to "Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus'' to "Pork Chops with Bulgar Stuffing'' to "Cherries with Cinnamon Dumplings.'' Moreover, there are helpful recipes designed to do double-duty. For instance, make "Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples and Leeks'' and have enough pork leftover to make "Pork and Soba Noodle Salad'' and "Pork Enchiladas with Green Sauce'' later in the week.
I'm a sucker for English muffins, so I was drawn to the recipe for "Canadian-Bacon Strata.'' English muffin halves are layered with slices of Canadian bacon. Then it all gets a good soaking in a rich custard base made with eggs, milk, shredded sharp cheddar, shredded Parmesan, a touch of Dijon mustard, and a dash of Tabasco. Since I had chives and tarragon growing in my backyard, I took the liberty of adding those chopped fresh herbs to the recipe. That's the beauty of so many "Everyday Food'' recipes - they're basic, reliable ones to which you can easily add your own flourishes to make them your own.
The strata bakes in the oven until a deep brown crust forms and the cheese gets all gooey. The English muffins give the strata a more uniform look than regular cubed or chunked bread. They also lend a sturdier texture. I used Trader Joe's British-style multigrain English muffins, which gave the strata a nice heartiness. The strata was at once crispy in some parts, pillowy in others, and imbued with the wonderful sweet-salty taste of the ham.
The strata can be assembled the night before and refrigerated, making it a perfect brunch option the next morning alongside fresh fruit. Or do what I did, and enjoy it for dinner with a crisp green salad.
Discover "Everyday Food'' that you can actually make most any day, no matter how short on time you might be.
Read more from Carolyn on the Canadian-Bacon Strata on her blog - FoodGal
Reprinted from the book Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. Copyright © 2010 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
Serves 6 prep time: 15 minutes total time: 4 hours (with soaking)
- Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking dish
- 4 English muffins, split, toasted, and cut into half- moons
- 1/2 pound Canadian bacon (about 10 slices), cut into half- moons
- 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
- 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 4 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot- pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1. Butter a shallow 2- quart baking dish. Arrange muffin halves and Canadian bacon cut sides down (see below) in dish. Sprinkle evenly with both cheeses.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper, and the hot- pepper sauce until combined. Pour into dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until puffed and set in the center, about 1 ½ hours. (Tent loosely with aluminum foil if strata browns too quickly.) Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Layering Ingredients: The muffin halves and Canadian bacon are arranged upright in the baking dish for easier serving. When cutting, you'll be able to see the layers and make sure each portion contains a few pieces of bread and bacon.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.