Strata a la The Family Stone

Ryan knows that if we’re looking through the TV guide and we see that The Day After Tomorrow is on… he’s lost me for the next 2 hours.  More than once he’s called me from work and said, “I know what you’re doing right now!”.  Look, I don’t even LIKE that movie.  It makes me insane.  For a week after watching it I’ve been known to buy containers of water and squirrel them away in the guest bathtub.  Because I’M CONVINCED IT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN.  I mean really, all the crap we put in the air, it’s totally possible that the weather everywhere could just go insane and we’ll all be running for Mexico.  Thankfully I’m already close to Mexico, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be ok.

That’s not the only movie that I’m obsessed about for no reason.  I’ve got a list of chick flicks that have to be DVRd for when Ryan’s not around.  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Enchanted, Clueless, Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion…

And then there’s movies like Goonies, WHICH I OWN, but I still have to watch it when it’s on.  Because you never know if they’re actually going to show the version with the octopus.  I’ve also seen Groundhog Day like 50 times.  Which is ironic, considering it’s the same scenes over and over for the whole movie.  So I’ve seen each scene like 5,000 times.

Last week, The Family Stone was on.  That movie makes me miserable.  A loving family with a mom who’s dying of cancer?  Gawd.  I sob every time, but I still watch it.  Every stupid time it’s on. You’ve seen it, right?  You know the part where Sarah Jessica Parker’s character tells the dying mom in a robotic voice that she’s making strata because she wants to do something for Christmas for everyone?  Wtf is strata?  Well, since it was Saturday when I watched it, and I realized I had NOTHING for my Monday food post, I figured this was the universe throwing me a culinary rope.

So what is strata?  Strata means ‘layers’ (which Ryan totally knew for some weird reason) and as a food it means layers of AWESOME.  This is a make-ahead dish because it has to be left to soak overnight before baking.  This version I picked has mushrooms, ham and Gruyere cheese.  It tasted incredibly rich and was super filling.  The winning ingredients here are the shallots, which I got nice and crispy, the Gruyere cheese, and the Dijon mustard.  Something I didn’t consider before going to the store was that this was going to be an EXPENSIVE breakfast.  The cheese alone was $11 and ham isn’t that cheap pre-made in the deli.  That said, this breakfast was to die for.  Something you’d get at a fancy resort before a day of sipping umbrella drinks by the pool. 5 out of 5 shaken iced green tea lemonades, no syrup, light ice.

But enough about that.  What movies do you obsessively watch whenever they’re on TV?  And did you already know what a strata was because you’re a smarty pants?

Strata a la The Family Stone
Recipe type: Breakfast
Author: Amanda
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 7
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, November 2005
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped smoked ham from the deli
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 (1-ounce) slices hearty white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère
  • 1 2/3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms, and sauté 7 minutes or until mushrooms release moisture. Cool slightly. Stir in ham and parsley.
  2. Arrange half of bread in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top bread with half of the mushroom mixture and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat layers with remaining bread, mushroom mixture, and 1/2 cup cheese.
  3. Combine milk, egg substitute, mustard, salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Pour evenly over bread mixture. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
  4. In the morning, preheat oven to 350º.
  5. Remove strata from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Bake strata, covered, at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until set and golden brown.


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2 Responses to Strata a la The Family Stone

  1. Jen says:

    Love this. And my mom makes one of these every Christmas morning. It doesn’t look as fancy as this edition (love shallots and mustard!). It’s my favorite breakfast ever. Movie obsession: The Cutting Edge. Totally.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Jason and I had a period of time where we always watched those Harold and Kumar movies whenever they were on. Personally I never pass by Bring it On, Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, Heathers and Knight’s Tale. Jason has no ability to click away from a James Bond movie (which I’ve never in my life sat through). I’ve seen the Family Stone a billion times too (didn’t we see it the first time together?). I actually like that one. It’s the movie that made me kind of want 5 kids. Strata looks yum!

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