Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Bread Pudding

Happy Saturday, friends! Is anyone else having to snuggle up in the corner of their favorite coffee shop because it's 49 degrees out... or is that just me?! Well, it just so happens that last night, I made the PERFECT chilly, spring comfort meal that will easily tide me over for 2 or 3 days until the chill wears off. It's a spin off recipe of that one I posted a few weeks ago that I found in the Local Table magazine. I didn't have a LOT of the ingredients that it called for, but I remember thinking it was the best idea to make a savory bread pudding! I opened the fridge to my delight and found some fresh spring onions, some haricot verts, tomatoes, etc... time to go to work! :) I also had some bread that was about to go stale, but I HATE throwing away bread, so my heart was really happy that I put it to good use just in the  nick of time! (sorry robins that stalk my front patio... no snacks from the Rudders this week)

Here's what you need:... but remember, play around with the ingredients if you don't have all the same stuff!

  • Enough old-ish wheat or grainy bread chunks to fill up an 8x8 baking dish. I used two different breads.
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spring onion with the green stalks... yes, you're gonna use those!
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk... I used almond, as usual, but use whatever you want.
  • 4 eggs, beaten.
  • 1 handful of haricot verts, frozen or fresh. 
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • some sweet corn!
  • some sweet peas!
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Right! Let's start... Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of your 8x8 baking dish and chunk up the bread pieces. Throw them in!
 Chop up the onion! Yes, chop the green stalk parts as well in small bits. Put the white part of the diced onion aside for now. Pour your milk in a skillet, toss in the green part of the onion and boil the milk until scalding. Then remove it from the heat and cover it. While the milk is waiting to boil, toss your white onion parts into a separate skillet with a little olive oil and wait for them to get translucent, about 5 minutes worth of cooking on medium heat.
Now start adding your other veggies to the onions and gently stir.
While the veggies are cooking, crack your eggs in a separate, small bowl and whisk them until blended.
 SLOWLY, and stirring constantly, pour the egg mixture into the milk and onion mixture. Remember what we're doing here? Tempering. You're adding the egg mixture to a hot liquid but slowly and stirring constantly, as to not cook the eggs! We learned this lesson when we were making avgolemono, remember? ;)
 Chop up your gorgonzola cheese, measure it out, and toss in the cooked veggies and onions and the cheese with the bread. Mix it in! You'll probably have to gently "lift and fluff" with tongs or a spoon to mix it all in... it'll be pretty full in that little dish.
 Remember: if you don't have gorgonzola, use feta! if you don't have feta, use goat's! etc.. etc...
 Now let's slowly pour the milk, egg and onion mixture over the whole thing. Then just gently "lift and fluff" again to just mix it all in.
 Bake it for 30 minutes, just until golden on the top and you're done!
 Look at that thing glistening with mouth watering goodness! This is a fairly rich and creamy like dish, so I'd say serve it with something chilled and crisp on the side, like a tomato salad or some fresh, citrusy fruit, like grapefruit! Enjoy for lunch or dish it up for dinner with a glass of your favorite Spring white wine! It's just so good and I know you'll make it more than once this season.

Lots and lots of love... and stay warm wherever you are!
I hear bread pudding helps. ;)

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