Sunday, August 24, 2014


One of our favorite things about this time of year is the abundance of fresh vegetables coming in from the garden (or farmer's market, depending on the circumstances).  And one of our favorite things to do with those vegetables (because it's easy and delicious) is roast them into a ratatouille.  Chop 'em up, slather 'em with olive oil and some seasonings, throw 'em on a cookie sheet, and bake until they're done.  (We took a break from our theme of outdoor cooking for this recipe).  Makes the house smell tasty. Probably makes the inside of our stomachs smell tasty, too, which we're sure our gut microbes appreciate. 

Then we had a thought: all those vegetables would probably also be awesome in a strata.  Hence was born the concept of the ratatouille strata, or the stratatouille, as this month's strata incarnation.

We'll pick this story up at the point where the ratatouille is already made, since Katie made it before the camera was ready.  (A visual approximation of Katie making ratatouille is the cartoon tasmanian devil in tornado phase, moving around the kitchen chopping veggies.  Watch out!  She has a sharp knife!)  To make the ratatouille, we used 2.5 zucchinis, 2 summer squashes, 2 eggplants, 2 green peppers, 1 large onion, and 5 roma tomatoes.  The zucchinis, squashes and tomatoes made about 3 cups each when chopped, the eggplants were around 4 cups, the green peppers and onion around one cup each.  Mixed with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  We also added some fresh chives, oregano, and basil.  The meat in this incarnation is about 2 cups of shredded chicken, seasoned to taste with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoninng. (1 teaspoon each for the garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and half a teaspoon each for the salt and pepper).  The cheese is a 50/50 mix of colby jack and monterrey jack.   The bread is whatever was available.  Layer them as shown in the picture: bread-vegetables-meat-cheese.  Make sure to only use half of each in the first set of layers...

...then lather, rinse, repeat.

Time for the egg mixture!  3 cups milk, 6 eggs, 2 teaspoons each garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme; half teaspoon each salt and pepper; 5 or 6 squirts of hot sauce. Pour it over the egg mixture, making absolutely sure not to spill any into a dryer with a clean load of clothes or into the nether regions of the dryer.

Into the fridge it goes to let all those wild flavors settle for a few hours.  Works best if set between apples and yogurt.

Then bake at 360 °F for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and whole house smells delicious.

Cut into big pieces to save the inconvenience of having to go for seconds.  That's a lot of veggies!  This is one of our favorite strata recipes so far.

 What do you do with all your incoming vegetables this time of year?  Have you ever put them into a casserole like this?  Let us know in the comments section below!

 The recipe:

3 cups each chopped zucchini, chopped summer squash, and chopped tomatoes
4 cups chopped eggplant
1 cup each chopped green pepper and onion
0.25 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary
2 tablespoons each fresh oregano, basil, and chives

10 slices of bread (at least)
1 lb shredded cheese (we used colby-jack and monterrey jack)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken, seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning

6 eggs
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons each of garlic powder, thyme, and rosemary
0.5 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
5-6 squirts of your favorite hot sauce

Mix the chopped vegetables with the olive oil and first set of seasonings to coat, roast at 350 °F until the vegetables are soft, but not mushy.  Layer the bread, roasted veggies, chicken, and cheese in a 9" x 13" pan, starting with bread and ending with cheese, aiming for two layers each. Beat together eggs, milk, and remaining seasonings. Pour over layers and set in fridge for several hours or overnight. Bake at 350 °F for 45-55 min, until senses of sight and smell register 'awesome.' Allow to cool and cut into serving sizes proportionate to 'firsts' and 'seconds' combined.

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