Skillet Strata


A few months ago, some friends organized a brunch for their niece who would soon be graduating from college. They invited friends from various industries, from fashion to publishing, giving each of them some time to talk about their work. I thought it was a fantastic idea for anyone preparing to leave the relative cocoon of education for the ‘real world’. As if we needed convincing to spend time with this incredible couple and their charming niece, we were given the most spectacular brunch as well. By far the highlight of which for me was this Strata. Pancetta makes any dish delicious but combined here with leeks and cremini mushrooms, the result was an incredibly savory breakfast bake that easily fed a crowd. A recipe I know I’ll be making again and again.


Skillet Strata

Serves 4


1 baguette, sliced into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 ounces pancetta, cubed

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced

4 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

3 cups grated gruyere, divided

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Lay the diced baguette on a sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes, turning half way through baking. Keep the oven on after it has finished toasting.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and fry the pancetta until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

3. Discard all but one tablespoon of the fat and add the leeks to the pan. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes.

4. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, yolk, cream and milk until well blended.

5. In a 9 inch ovenproof skillet, toss together the toasted bread cubes, pancetta, leeks, mushrooms, thyme and 2 cups of the gruyere. Lastly, gently stir in the goat cheese.

6. Pour the eggs over the bread mixture and sprinkle with the remaining gruyere.

7. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The strata is done once the center bounces back when tested

Shrikhand (Saffron Yogurt)


Shrikhand or Saffron Yoghurt is a perfect way to end an Indian meal. A light and delicious dessert from Gujarat, its vivid color and flavor comes from the gorgeous saffron. Wonderfully creamy and cooling after a meal filled with spices, it is finished off with nuts to add a little crunch.


Shrikhand by Masala Mama

Published from Recipes from Many Kitchens


2 cups (500g) Greek-style yoghurt

1 tablespoon (15ml) milk

½ teaspoon saffron threads

½ cup (96g) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds, or to taste

For garnish: 

2 tablespoons (21g) chopped unsalted pistachios

2 tablespoons (21g) flaked or sliced almonds (optional)

Some saffron strands



1. Line a large sieve with muslin cloth. Place a bowl under the sieve and transfer the yoghurt on to the cloth. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for about 5-6 hours.

2. Heat the milk in a small pan or microwave. In a small bowl mix the saffron with the warm milk. Allow the saffron to infuse the milk for about ten minutes using the back of a spoon to crush the saffron further into the milk.

3. Remove the yoghurt from the fridge (the liquid in the bowl below can be discarded). Sift the sugar into the thickened yoghurt, then add the saffron milk and ground cardamom. Cover and chill in the fridge.

4. Garnish with nuts and a few strands of saffron and serve cold in glasses or small saucers.

A Thank You


When I first started Many Kitchens, I was very clear that my aim was to find the best cuisine from all around the globe being made in the United States. In order to have enough diversity as an online marketplace, I actively searched for exotic foods and immigrant producers who could create them most authentically. Today, Many Kitchens works with artisans who have come to America from all over the world and our tables are so much richer for them. I can’t imagine how bland our lives would be without gastronomic diversity or what that would even look like? No delicate saffron, no complex Zaatar, no fiery curries?


Last week, I met with the indefatigable, passionate, talented and utterly stunning (inside and out) Hawa Hassan. Immigration is on the forefront of all our minds but especially hers. Like me, she’s an immigrant but unlike me, she was born in Somalia. I can’t even begin to understand the challenges she has faced and is now being faced with again. Just before we parted, Hawa encapsulated what I have been struggling to say in one beautifully eloquent sentence, “Food is a passport.” Her addictive and versatile Somali sauces were an entirely new discovery for me and a reminder of how much of the world I have yet to discover.


It is thanks to Hawa and others like her, that we get to travel the globe without ever having to leave our kitchens. So in lieu of a recipe this week, I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all our producers, whether they be immigrants or descendants of immigrants, for enriching our palates and ensuring that our community is so much more than the sum of its parts.


Mocha Chocolate Mousse


This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks and indeed blogs; What Katie Ate. More like pots de Crème than a mousse, a little goes a very long way with these decadently rich and fudgy desserts. I served them in espresso cups for that very reason and to give a nod to the coffee flavor that makes them so distinctive. There’s a bit more work involved than your average chocolate mousse but it’s definitely worth it. With the added benefit of needing to be made in advance, they’re a great way to end any dinner party, not just Valentine’s Day.


Mocha Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6-8


7 oz. dark chocolate (broken into pieces)

6 oz. unsalted butter

2 tablespoons espresso (or strongly brewed coffee)

4 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup superfine sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish



1. Find a heatproof bowl that fits snugly into a saucepan. Add enough water to the saucepan so it comes just below the bottom of the bowl and bring to a simmer. Melt the chocolate, butter and coffee together in the bowl stirring regularly. Remove bowl and set aside but keep the water simmering.

2. Add some ice cubes and water to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Sit another heatproof bowl over the simmering water and add the four egg yolks, sugar and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Whisk for about 3 minutes until it has thickened and become paler. Remove from the heat and place in the bowl of iced water. Continue to whisk for a further 5 minutes or until thickened and cooled slightly. Be careful not to get any water from the bowl into the egg mixture.

4. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and combine well.

5. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until beginning to peak. Slowly add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture, folding in gently until they are all combined.

6. Transfer the mixture to a jug with a spout for easier pouring and distribute among espresso cups or martini glasses. Chill for at least 3 hours in the fridge and serve topped with whipped cream and shavings of chocolate.