12.07.2016

southwestern strata

Been busy little bees these past few weeks. My son has just completed applying to graduate school in an area that accepts woefully few applicants. He is an amazing film director, so he does have an excellent shot at it, but it's all a craps shoot.

I am posting his latest film at the bottom of this post. It's really good and I'd love your opinion about it, if you're game.

For the post this day, I am sharing a Southwestern Strata recipe. It is a perfect brunch recipe!



Strata is an interesting dish. It is supposed to be layers of white bread alternated with layers of cheese, then soaked in a milk mixture and baked. This is the very original version of strata.

Since then the milk mixture has been augmented with eggs to give it a custard-like texture and the the layers now are not so much layers, per say, as additions mixed in.

Mix-ins now can include, vegetables, meats and various types of cheeses. This being a southwestern version, it uses cornbread as the bread (I used the Cornbread Muffin recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats. Delicious!), and a homemade queso fresco (recipe coming this month).

It also includes sauteed peppers, onions and cilantro. I added spiced chorizo chickpeas since there is aquafaba in the batter anyway.



The batter is where it gets interesting. Because I fell in love with the bread pudding recipe in my cookbook Aquafaba [AMAZON], I wanted to make a savory version and this is the result. The aquafaba mixed with psyllium husk (cannot be omitted) and starch, results in a custard.


Mix, let the batter soak into the bread and bake. Serve it with some inspired tomato sauce and dig in.

As promised, here is Mikel's WE-System short film:

 

In case you missed it, I am hosting a giveaway for The Essential Vegan Travel Guide. My girls used it this summer when traveling in Europe and it is amazing! Go enter the contest or, better yet, pick up a copy! Contest ends December 19.




Southwestern Strata
Serves about 6

Chorizo Chickpeas:
1 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt

Other:
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups stale cornbread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup crumbled vegan cheese, optional (Kite Hill or Follow Your Heart block is good or use homemade)

Batter:
6 tablespoons aquafaba**
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups unsweetened plain nondairy milk
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1. Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F. Combine the chickpeas, broth, vinegar, oil, chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika and salt on a baking sheet. Mix well and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet. Cover and cook until the onion is browning, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of broth if the onion is beginning to burn. Using a cover will prevent too much evaporation and help brown the vegetables without oil.
3. Add the aquafaba to a blender. With the blender running on medium speed, add the oil slowly. Add the milk in a steady stream (doesn’t have to be slowly) and the psyllium. Blend for 20 seconds. Add to a large bowl.
4. Add the cornbread, cilantro, cheese (if using) and reserved chickpeas. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes. Add to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake in a 325-degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes to firm up. Serve.


** Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.


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