December 18th, 2014

The good thing about living at the beach during the off-season is that there’s no one here. Mile upon mile of empty beach for me to dance on and sit by in appreciative silence. I’ve ruined two pairs of sneakers flirting too aggressively with incoming 12-foot waves. There are four neighbors who walk beneath the deck along the tree line each day: an eight point buck and his three doe-friends.

The down side to living at the beach during the off-season is the dearth of food availability. The nearby markets have trimmed their produce, dairy, seafood, and meat counters to the barest minimum, leaving only the center aisles properly stocked with cans, boxes, and bags of processed “things to eat”. These “things” are not food and I won’t consume them at any time, ever.

Thanks to the modern day marvel of overnight shipping, I can get in some rather glorious and (perforce) pricey seafood, cheese, and meats, and it all arrives snuggled in a cooler with dry ice. Unfortunately, there is no mail-order solution to fresh veggies and I have to make the weekly 50-mile trip south in order to load up on greens and reds and yellows and purples.

Becoming a wizard at repurposing leftovers is an unexpected reward, propelled in part by my general laze that doesn’t like driving 50 miles for a carrot. The freezer has become my friend. It houses numerous small bits and bites, which, in the aggregate, become an inventive recipe. Some frozen bread heals, toasted and soaked in an egg custard were combined with fried ham sausage, red bell pepper, and a combo of leftover bits of cheese. Thirty minutes later, miniature stratas emerged from the oven, enough to create yet another leftover. No road traveled: priceless!

Mini Sausage and Red Pepper Stratas

Related Recipes

Mini Sausage and Red Pepper Stratas

The sky is the limit with this savory bread pudding. Replace the sausage and pepper with any other components. Just be sure to pre-cook any meat or vegetable.

Makes four 8-ounce stratas;

  • 2 slices bread, in ½ inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • ½ cup cooked and crumbled sausage
  • ¼ cup diced and sautéed red bell ppepper
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • ¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Toast the bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the eggs and half and half until blended. Stir in the bread cubes, meat, vegetable, and cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dill.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for one hour. (Alternatively, you can refrigerate the bowl for several hours or overnight.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill four 8-ounce muffin cups with the egg mixture. Sprinkle on some additional shredded cheese, if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are nicely browned.

Copyright © Katherine Stetson, all rights reserved.