There is just so much to learn as we blog and I am realizing that my food pictures are not as good as some of my favorite bloggers. Perhaps it's my camera but I think it's that I am not using all the functions on my camera to the best advantage. Do you have this problem as well? I can't tell the food to 'smile' or 'change that pose' or 'I think it would look better with the blue sweater'. Food is there, waiting, plated and ready for me to make the most of it. My camera lacks 'smell-o-vision', which would help immensely! So, I must learn more from my fellow bloggers.
This is entirely different than cooking. Cooking is fun, relaxing, invigorating, an excuse to try new spices, new serving dishes, new arrangements.
I made a lovely chicken strata for dinner and hope you can tell by my pictures just how tasty it was.
Chicken Strata ( based on an Anna Olson recipe for Rockwell Bake)
350 degree oven, greased 9 inch springform pan or 9x13 or bundt pan
2 T olive oil
1 c finely diced onion
1 c finely diced celery (I used lovage as well)
1/2 c finely diced carrot
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 apple grated
1 T crumbled sage
2 t fresh thyme
1 t poultry seasoning or rosemary
1 c dried cranberries
1/4 c dry vermouth (I used half vermouth, half chicken broth)
5 large eggs (my gf chickens eggs are smallish so I used 6)
3 c milk (I use skim, your choice)
1 T dijon mustard
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
8 c diced day old bread (I used French but you can mix white and wheat) 1 inch cubes
3 c chicken breast, cooked, 1/2 inch diced
2 1/2 c grated cheese (recipe calls for Swiss (not my fave) I used Gruyere and cheddar mixed
In a saute pan add oil and saute onion, celery and carrot about 4 minutes, add garlic and herbs and continue cooking another minute. Add cranberries and vermouth and simmer another minute or so until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, while veg mix cools, whisk eggs and milk and add mustard, salt and pepper. Add bread cubes and toss to coat well and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Stir the veg and diced chicken in the bread mix, add 2 c cheese. Spoon into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with 1/2 c remaining cheese. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and center springs back when pressed. In the bundt pan I cooked 1 hour 15 minutes as it was thicker.
Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. If using springform pan, remove side ring after 15 minutes.
This served 6 with a side salad and sweet potatoes. We had cranberry sauce on the side.
However, I had also made a chocolate self-saucing pudding cake and knowing how dh loves his Reese peanut butter cup ice cream, I thought the chocolate would be the better combination. I like my cake warmed a little first so the pudding layer melts a little more and softens the ice cream.
What I really mean is that I wanted whipping cream but I didn't have any.