Skip to main content

Mushroom-Less Strata and a Heart-Warming Screwball Holiday Dram-edy #FoodNFlix


After last month's assignment of Friendsgiving - that I couldn't get through - I was not excited about the pick for this month's Food'n'Flix. Holiday movies can either go very wrong or very right for me. But after I read Eliot's Eats' invitation for The Family Stone - and after my kids made me watch Home Alone and Home Alone 2 - I eagerly started streaming this month's Food'N'Flix pick online. 

You still have half a month to join the fun, if you're inclined. Spoiler alert: this landed in the 'love' holiday movie category for me. I will happily add this to my annual watch list!

On the Screen

The Family Stone invites you in to the eponymous family's holiday gathering. Adult children Amy (Rachel McAdams), Everett (Dermot Mulroney), Ben (Luke Wilson), Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser), and Thad (Tyrone Giordano) come home to celebrate Christmas with their parents Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T. Nelson). Okay, with that line-up, I knew I would enjoy this. The addition of Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) as Everett's girlfriend, Meredith's sister Julie (Claire Danes), and Thad's husband, Patrick (Brian White) added a layer of complexity to this beautifully dysfunctional family.

I love this exchange, probably because I can relate to the big family that feels like a circus. Every. Single. Family. Gathering. Both on my side and Jake's side!

Ben: So, uh, where's Dad?
Sybil: He ran away. Joined the circus.
Everett: Better circus.
Patrick: Yeah. Less clowns.

Everett is bringing his girlfriend Meredith home to meet his chaotic liberal family for the first time. Sybil's breast cancer has returned, but she doesn't want anyone to know. I think I loved this movie because it's so real. The individuals are quirky. They bicker; they push each other's buttons. But, at the base of it, they really do love each other.

Okay, set aside the cringe-worthy dinner conversation when Meredith insensitively plows ahead with her assertion that no mother would wish for a gay son. Actually almost all of her scenes have you cringing. But that's by design and they do a great job. Otherwise, this is a heart-warming screwball holiday dram-edy, that is to say a comedy-drama.

On the Plate

I was inspired by the Christmas morning strata that Meredith wants to make as her contribution to the holiday gathering. As she toils in the kitchen to to make it, we all realize how much she doesn't know about Everett...

Sybil: Are those mushrooms?
Meredith: Yes, those are mushrooms.
Patrick: Isn't Everett allergic to mushrooms?
Meredith: He is?
Ben: OK, what we got going on over here? Santa's workshop. Er... OK, wha-what can I do to be of service Meredith, wha-what can I do?
Meredith: Oh, well... I think I'm all set. Everett had to run some errands in town, then he and Thad are going to meet Julie's bus...
Ben: Are those mushrooms?
Meredith: I DIDN'T KNOW!

My youngest son isn't allergic to mushrooms, but he strenuously objects to eating them. So, I decided to make a strata with the bread cut into the shape of mushrooms. Here we go, mushroom-less strata a la Family Stone. And I love that this was an easy, make-ahead breakfast that is assembled the night before, refrigerated, then just baked in the morning. It was perfect for a holiday breakfast.

Ingredients serves 6 to 8

  • 8 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup milk, cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan + 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 4 slices bread (I used some leftover wholegrain bread - use what you have)
  • Also needed: mushroom cookie cutter (optional!), baking dish, butter for greasing the dish

Procedure

Butter your baking dish and set aside. Use the cookie cutter to make enough "mushrooms" to place on top of the strata. Tear the rest of the bread - including the crusts of the mushroom breads - into bite-sized cubes.

Add a splash of olive oil to a skillet and add the sliced onions and bell peppers. Cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Pile the cooked onions and bell peppers into your baking dish. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the parmesan.

In the mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Whisk well to break up all the yolks. Dunk the mushroom bread pieces into the egg mixture and set aside. Add the bread cubes to the egg and pour everything over the onions, peppers and cheese.

Arrange the egg-dunked mushrooms on top of the strata. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup parmesan. Use a spatula to lightly submerge all of the filling. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and puffy in the center. Insert a knife into the center to check that the eggs are set. If not, bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes. 

Cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve warm. That's a wrap for our December #FoodNFlix. We'll back in 2022 with a re-formed group. Stay tuned for that. We'll be watching Oceans 11. One of our family's favorites! I have never watched that for the food. Can't wait. Stay tuned...

Comments

  1. Glad you liked it! I have added it to my must-watch-in-December list, too. Love the mushroom cutouts. I was lazy and just slapped down whole slices of bread!

    Happy 2022!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very clever Cam....love this mushroom less strata.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas