Thursday, April 16, 2009

Morelity: Taking you through the Strata-sphere

We've tempted you a little bit with the photo of our delicious morel mushroom strata. Now we're here to show you how it all came to be. (And encourage you to meander over to MarxFoods to cast your vote for the winning morel recipe! The Polls Are Open. VOTE HERE.)

We started with our ounce of dried morels. Freaky brainy-looking creatures, aren't they?? OH, but they are so very delicious. Stay with me here...
Take those morels and bathe them in a cup or so of heavy cream. Then heat everything gently over medium heat just until it hits a boil. At that point, whomp a cover on top and set the 'shrooms aside for about an hour to steep.

Meanwhile, chop up a bit of fresh thyme. And make yourself a nice batch of lemon thyme biscuits.
When the morels are ready, you'll notice that they're considerably softer than before. And your cream has taken on a completely new personality. Not only is it lovely and creamy -- but it is redolent with delicious morel flavor. Remove the morels from their creamy bath and set that lovely cream aside for later.
Chop the morels roughly. Don't forget to stop for a moment and appreciate their fascinating architecture. And then saute them in a bit of butter to ensure that they're fully cooked.
You've already sliced up a couple of cups of tender, fragrant leeks. You'll want to saute them in a bit of butter as well -- just until they're beginning to grow transluscent.Now, we'll move on to the custard. You'll take a bit of broth (either chicken or vegetable -- whichever you prefer) and heat it to the boiling point. While the broth is heating, you'll whisk up a few eggs with a bit of lemon juice. Temper the eggs, and then throw everything back into the saucepan. Heat it until it thickens into a delicious custard.
Then mix it with the morel-infused cream, some milk, and a bit of that chopped thyme.
Slice the cooled lemon-thyme biscuits in half and layer them into a buttered 9x13 pan.
Cover the biscuits with the sauteed leeks, morels, and a bit of grated Gruyere cheese. Try to prevent yourself from drooling all over everything.
Pour the fragrant egg custard gently and evenly over the top of the biscuits...
And then bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes -- or until the custard is set and everything is browning a bit around the edges.
When the strata has cooled a bit, you can slice it into servings. We sprinkled ours with a bit of extra chopped thyme and placed it atop a bed of fresh watercress. We also fancied up a delicious ripe strawberry, and sliced one of the last of our perfectly ripe oranges to garnish the plate.
Your entire kitchen will smell positively fabulous by the time this strata comes out of the oven. And you'll be ravenous. Just don't forget to eat slowly. Savor and enjoy.

Morel & Leek Strata with Lemon Thyme Biscuits

If your tastebuds are tantalized, don't forget to vote for our recipe on the Marxfoods Blogger Recipe Challenge - Morel Edition.


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18 comments:

  1. That looks amazing!! I voted for you! Good luck!

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  2. Egg custard, morels and biscuits... I would eat the whole pan!

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  3. MMMMM...What a strange but lovely looking combination!
    Great pictures too!

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  4. Beautiful! Going to vote for you right now!

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  5. That's a great looking recipe! Why do I look at your blog before eating breakfast?! I voted for you in the contest. Good luck!

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  6. I noticed that most other peopel reconstituted their mushrooms in water. What a waste. Using a flavorful liquid as you've done is the right way to bring back a dried shroom.

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  7. O this is so delicious looking! I'm getting seriously hungry now!

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  8. That looks incredible lo! I am so jealous of those morels. I would love to try them some day...I might just eat that cream straight out of the pot though!

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  9. Love morels and love yr dish. Good luck! I'm heading to the polls...

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  10. Heavy cream makes everything so delectable! Problem is, we have to watch out how much we use, so we don't get to have butts the size of Toledo!

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  11. I'm starving. Serve me up! Have only tried morels once and I'm so sad they're not available more often. Truly delicious morsels, and you've done them well with this strata. Of course the cream wasn't the selling point... ; )

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  12. Oh my word...seriously wow. I mean that is incredible.

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  13. Brainy? They sort of look like dried out Christmas trees!

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  14. I voted & drooled! LOL....loved when you said "stay with me here"! I'm with ya but only because I hope one day you'll feed me!

    The Twins, Joe, and I are crazy about mushrooms. Don't think I've tasted the morels.
    ~ingrid

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  15. what a cool combination of ingredients!

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  16. I haven't made a strata in over 10 years...now you have me thinking! I've voted and drooled, just like everyone else. :)

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  17. I voted for you BEFORE I even looked at the dish and now my mouth is hanging wide open!!!! Oh my that looks sooo sooo good!! Can I vote again?

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  18. Oh my...you had me at Morels but the whole package is fab! I'm gonna go vote now.

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