Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good food all day!

It was a nice food day, trying new recipes with a few old standbys. For breakfast, we tried a new recipe (Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Strata), which I served with Peppermint Mocha coffee.

Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Strata

4 strips of bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, diced
2 cups fresh asparagus
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, divided
2 pieces whole wheat bread
2 eggs
2 egg whites
¼ cup milk (2%)
¼ cup cheddar cheese

Fry bacon in an oven-safe and non-stick skillet. As it cooks, add onion and asparagus and a touch of pepper. Turn heat to medium low until the asparagus is hot and softened (3-5 minutes.)

Whisk eggs and milk. Cut the bread into quarters. Turn your broiler on high.

When the bacon and veggie mix is done, remove from the skillet. Place the bread in the skillet and cover with egg mixture.  Wait 1-2 minutes for the bread to absorb the mix. Sprinkle half the Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat to medium-high until the eggs are nearly cooked through. Place the skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until the eggs are cooked. Layer the asparagus/bacon mix over the eggs, and top with the cheddar and the remaining 1 Tbsp. Parmesan. Return to broiler until the cheese melts (1-2 minutes.)

Remove and cut into four servings.

Nutritional data:     
Calories:          161
Fat:                  9.8 g
Sat fat:             3.7 g
Cholesterol:     123 mg
Sodium:           352 mg
Carbs:              7.5 g
Fiber:               2.1 g
Protein:            12 g

Peppermint Mocha Coffee

Brew a batch of strong dark coffee.

Heat over medium heat:
2 cups milk (I use 2%)
½ tsp. peppermint extract
3 packets stevia sweetener

Stir often. Do not boil.

Finely chop one square Baker’s Unsweetened chocolate (1 ounce). Place in a mixing bowl.

When the milk is hot, pour over the chocolate, and whisk until dissolved. Divide between 4 mugs, top with coffee and optional whipped cream.

Nutritional data:
Calories:          70
Fat:                  4.2 g
Sat fat:             2.7 g
Cholesterol:     9.8 mg
Sodium:           60 mg
Carbs:              6.9 g
Fiber:               0.5 g
Protein:            4.6 g

Lunch was simple scavenging of leftovers. Nothing too special there. 

Dinner was Vegetable Soup and Homemade Artisan Bread.

(It's out of focus.  I'd re-shoot it, but we ate all the bread.  It was really good!)

Simple and Easy Vegetable Soup

2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 leek, sliced
2 cups cabbage, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ tsp. dried basil (or oregano, thyme or your favorite)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
After it is done simmering, add 2 cups (3 ounces) fresh baby spinach leaves, torn. Stir in and serve with a piece of crusty bread.

Makes 10 one-cup servings.

Nutritional data for the soup:
Calories:               70
Fat:                       0.2 g
Sat fat:                  0.0 g
Cholesterol:          0mg
Sodium:               244 mg
Carbs:                  14.2 g
Fiber:                    2.6 g
Protein:                 3.4 g

And speaking of bread, this was my first attempt at artisan bread. It went okay. I am a perfectionist, and the bread did not turn out exactly like the cookbook cover.  I know that is foolish and unreasonable, but that's me. However, my stomach doesn't have eyes, and it really liked it. So did my wife and son.

Here are a few photo of bread in progress:

This is the point at which the bread was brought out of the fridge and is formed into a beautiful boule (French for ball). I failed miserably at that and resorted to thinking bad thoughts in my head and dropping it on the silicone mat. Later snafus occurred when I tried to move the blob to the baking stone. I didn't have a nice peel, so I used two flippers, further distorting the shape.  No pictures exist of that debacle.

It's out of the oven and cooling. Beautiful round ball shape? Nope. Clever little scallop or cross cut into the top? Nope.  Fortunately it smells better than it looks. 

Cut and ready to eat. The moment of truth. Very crusty bread, with chewy crumb. And it was delicious. I served it with a tablespoon of olive oil, a half tablespoon balsamic vinegar and some dried herbs. I could have eaten the whole loaf by myself, but I try to not be too greedy.

I have enough dough for one more loaf of this white bread, but tonight I am going to start a second batch, this one a whole wheat loaf. Details when they develop. I WILL master bread making!


  1. Looks fantastic, Trevor. And delicious. I will be spending much of the time left of my break preparing foods (soups, primarily) to freeze in single serving sizes to take in to the office with me. When I am in production I am at the office from 9am until 11pm and have to pack both lunch and dinner. (I think we both know how healthy campus food is.) I will use your soup as one of my choices! Thanks.

  2. The bread looks beautiful to me. What is the nutritional profile of the bread?