Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Bread Pudding was made with love

Last weekend I took Bryan to Eva to celebrate his birthday, and he ended up ordering the Grilled Pork Loin not so much because he wanted pork, but because he really wanted to try the Corn, Thyme and Bacon Bread Pudding that accompanied it.

And as you would imagine, he ended up much more interested in the delectable bread pudding, although the pork also was quite delicious.

And as you also would imagine, I became determined to try to emulate that dish.

I found a recipe on Epicurious for Arugula, Bacon and Gruyere Bread Pudding that looked like a suitable base for my creation, and I ended up with a creamy, smokey bread pudding that might not have been quite as good as Eva's, but somehow still tasted as delicious (because it was made with love, as Mom would say!).

Bacon and Smokey Gouda Bread Pudding
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 day-old (or older) baguette, cut in 1-inch chunks
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/2-3/4 c. smokey gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a small casserole dish.

Cook bacon until crispy, then add garlic and shallot and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, until just cooked through but not burning.

Stir mixture along with drippings into a large bowl with the bread chunks. Mix together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and stir into the bread chunks along with cheese. Continue stirring until the moisture has been soaked up, then pat down evenly into the prepared casserole dish.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bacon makes everything better, like grits!

Since we had potatoes for dinner last night, I decided to mix things up a bit and make grits for breakfast instead of the usual eggs, bacon and potatoes we eat way to often on the weekend.

Once upon a time, I ate grits almost every day for breakfast, and that's likely the reason I eat them rarely now. But with gluten now off the menu (except when I cheat), I need to add as much variety to my carb repertoire as possible to keep my taste buds from craving bread and other wheatiful foods.

I followed the package directions, bringing 3 c. of water with 1/4 t. salt to a bowl, then slowly adding 1 c. of grits and stirring continuously for 5 minutes, turning the heat down to low. After removing the grits from the heat, I added 2 T. unsalted butter, about 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (cheddar is preferred, but I was too lazy to open a new package!) and pepper to taste, then scooped the grits into 2 serving bowls.

Top them with 1-2 eggs each, and chopped bacon, and you've got a flavorful breakfast that'll stick to your bones!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summed ends with grilled potatoes and broccolini

Not being one to just follow a recipe correctly, I decided to modify Stephen's roasted potato recipe by throwing the lubed-up potatoes on the grill. Bryan was sure they would take forever to cook, but over a medium-low flame, it only took about 20 minutes to cook the potatoes, which is actually how long they've been taking me in the oven despite Stephen's assurance they take only 15 minutes.

Similar to his recipe, I tossed about 1 lb. of potatoes cut in 1/4-inch slices in about 2 T. olive oil, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. Mrs. Dash Garlic Seasoning, then placed the potatoes inside of a burger grilling grate — I don't know if we've ever used that thing to grill burgers, but it works wonders for vegetables that too easily fall through the regular grill racks!

I cooked them for about 8 minutes on one side, flipped the grilling grate over and cooked the other side for about 8 more minutes. I gave each side another 4 minutes each, moving the grate around to more evenly distribute the charring, and each piece turned out perfectly cooked.

And also being one to not waste anything, I used the olive oil and seasonings that remained in the bowl to coat a package of broccolini that we also threw on the grill for about 10 minutes. As Bryan put it, "I don't think I've ever had a bad grilled vegetable," but these ones were among the best I've tasted the summer.