Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Strata PLUS Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs

Today on Serious Eats: Cider-Poached Pears with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds. Elegant, light, fruity!

(Note to self: When trying to psyche self up to blog, do not listen to Radiohead's OK Computer right before beginning to write. It's a bit like watching the first ten minutes of Up before playing in the Super Bowl.)

(And yes, blogging is just like playing in the Super Bowl. Think of the carbs!)

Hey you guys! So, we're trying something new here at CHG, in which we de-emphasize calorie counts a little (as they're not the decisive measure of a food's healthiness) so as to better focus on the overall nutritional value of any given recipe.

(Did I just make that up just now, so this post would fit into our stated thematic parameters? Yes.)

(Does it have some merit to it? Yes.)

(Did I have a large glass of red wine before beginning this post? I think you know the answer to that.)

Anyway, you'll see that today's dish, Apple-Cinnamon Whole Grain Breakfast Strata from The Kitchn via Opera Girl Cooks, is a little higher in calories than our usual recipes. This is okay, though. Because A) it's warm and appley and delicious – like non-cloying French toast, B) the fiber and protein counts are super-high, and C) all the ingredients are dang wholesome. Combined, all that makes for a healthy breakfast.

(What also makes for a healthy breakfast: grapefruit, oatmeal, not Lucky Charms, not skipping breakfast, escaping a pack of roaming ninjas to successfully get to work on time.)

I changed very little from OCG/The Kitchn’s original recipe, and the alterations made were mostly for economic reasons. A regular supermarket loaf of bread substituted for a fancier loaf. Dark brown sugar was chosen over organic cane sugar. Honey went in for agave syrup.

(That last one's not just financially motivated. It's just - agave syrup tastes like really thick tequila to me. And if the words "really thick tequila" don't automatically make you a little nauseous, then you may never have had a tequila-induced hangover. In which case, I salute and envy you.)

There's a bonus to the strata, as well. Step #2 requires you to saw off all the crusts of a loaf of bread. At first, this seems wasteful. BUT WAIT! By toasting said crusts for a few minutes, then crushing them in your mighty grasp, you come up with 1 1/2 cups handy, dandy whole-wheat breadcrumbs! Imagine what you can do with those!

(Coat chicken!)

(Top casseroles!)

(Sprinkle on macaroni and cheese!)

(Use as confetti at a mouse's birthday party!)

And that's it.



If this looks good, you might also quite enjoy:

Apple & Cinnamon Whole Grain Breakfast Strata
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from The Kitchn.

For the strata:
1 (24-ounce) loaf good supermarket whole wheat or whole grain bread
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
8 large eggs
2 cups 1% milk
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For the glaze:
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1) Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish ever-so-lightly with butter

2) Unpack bread. Place ends aside. Cut crusts off each piece. Set crusts aside.

2.5) IF MAKING BREADCRUMBS : Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread crusts out on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, until bread is completely toasty. Remove from oven and let cool. When totally cool, run through a food processor or beat senseless with rolling pin. Store crumbs in an airtight container. Should make 1 1/2 to 2 cups breadcrumbs.

3) Line bottom of baking dish with half the crustless bread. Layer apple slices on top of bread. Layer apples with remaining bread.

4) In a medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk thoroughly. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate a few hours, or overnight.

5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6) Cover strata with tin foil. Bake for 35 minutes (45 minutes if coming straight from the fridge). Uncover. Bake for additional 15 minutes.

7) Mix cream cheese, honey, milk, and vanilla in a small pot. Heat over medium heat until cheese is melted and glaze is formed, stirring constantly. Pour over warmed strata. Spread glaze with back of a wooden spoon until pretty evenly distributed.

8) Let sit 10 minutes. Serve, with syrup if preferred.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
Seven servings: 392 calories, 13.8 g fat, 10 g fiber, 16.9 g protein, $0.99

NOTE: Calculations are for Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Triple Health (I don’t know what that means, either) bread, which is what I used. Since there’s no real way to calculate nutrition for crustless bread, I subtracted 30% of the totals. It’s not scientific per se, but that’s why we write “approximate.”

1 (24-ounce) supermarket loaf whole wheat or whole grain bread: 1050 calories, 21 g fat, 63 g fiber, 42 g protein, $2.50
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges: 184 calories, 0.4 g fat, 5 g fiber, 1 g protein, $1.36
8 large eggs: 588 calories, 39.6 g fat, 0 g fiber, 50.3 g protein, $1.00
2 cups + 2 tablespoons 1% milk: 224 calories, 5.2 g fat, 0 g fiber, 18.1 g protein, $0.66
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar: 229 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.22
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.20
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon: 9 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.9 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.06
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg: 6 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.03
3 ounces cream cheese: 297 calories, 29.7 g fat, 0 g fiber, 6.4 g protein, $0.56
2 tablespoons honey: 128 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.32
TOTAL: 2745 calories, 96.4 g fat, 70.2 g fiber, 118.1 g protein, $6.91
PER SERVING (TOTAL/7): 392 calories, 13.8 g fat, 10 g fiber, 16.9 g protein, $0.99

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