Friday, October 22, 2010

Feasting Friday- Just a Quickie

Things got a little awayfrom me this week, work to do, social and book obligations, and a little bit of the "Oh Crap it's Fall" scatteredness.

Also, I have been desperately trying to book airline tickets for a wonderful vacation for myself and Charming Suitor for the last three months which is making me batty.  Want to see a little animated movie I made about it?

If the movie doesn't play for you here, you can see it HERE
Anyhoo, with all of this I haven't really had time to focus on a fully realized post for you today.  But sometimes, all you need is a quickie!

For example, tonight we are going to dinner at a friend's house.  Big John loves dessert.  I once brought, at his request, a chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting and halfway through his second piece he said, not directly to any of us, but more to the universe "I wuv cake." in the way only a 6'4" gentle giant can say.

I also found myself in possession of half a loaf of brioche from the local Boulangerie, ust a day off from being sandwich worthy.  And if you have stale bread, milk half and half or cream, eggs and sugar, you have bread pudding.  Five minutes prep, twenty five minutes in the oven, and the most comforting, soul soothing dessert ever.  Have some chocolate chips?  Toss them in, I did.  Nuts?  Sure, why not?  Dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.  Chopped apples or pears, sliced bananas or fresh berries.  Little bits of crystallized ginger.  Really, you can tart it up however you like.  But even at its most basic, it is delish.

So here you are, just between us.  A little quickie in the afternoon.  I won't tell anyone!

Basic Bread Pudding

1/2-3/4 loaf of day old bread
4 eggs
2 c whole milk, half and half, cream, or a combo
1 c sugar (white for mild, brown for a more caramelly richness)
2 t vanilla
4 T butter, grated (more on this below)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut bread into large cubes.  Blend eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla into a custard and pour over the bread cubes.  Let soak in for a few minutes, up to a couple of hours.  Add up to 1 c total of any add-ins you like- chocolate chips or shavings, nuts, fruit, whatever!  Pour into buttered casserole pan.  Sprinkle grated butter evenly over the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife slid into the middle comes out clean.

Serve warm, cold, or room temp.  Add hot fudge, caramel sauce, or berry coulis.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.  Or just eat it as is!

Grated Butter

When I first discovered that my microplane grater and sticks of butter could be friends, it changed my cooking.

Forget "dotting the top with butter" making a mess, not to mention only little parts getting that buttery goodness.  Grated butter can bespread perfectly over an entire casserole like a light dusting of snow. 

Want the fluffiest omelets and scrambled eggs ever?  Grate your butter directly into your beaten eggs, where it will slowly melt and emulsify as you cook the eggs, keeping them ethereal and never greasy or rubbery, even if you have to hold them for a few minutes before serving. 

Hate that your hard butter turns your morning toast into crumbs or mashes down your bagel into a bagel chip?  Grate your butter over the top and it will soften and be spreadable in a flash.

Want to butter rice or cous cous or something that can get gummy easily with too much fussing?  Grated butter will fluff in with a couple of forks in no time.  And your mashed potatoes will never be the same after you blend in grated butter instead of big chunks or pre-melted.

I use my Microplane for this, for ultimate fineness, but your box grater should work fine.  Just make sure your butter is either very cold or frozen, or you will have a gloopy mess on your hands.

Do you have a quickie tip or recipe to share with the class?

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. I love my microplane grater. I find that it can actually be a good dietary tool. Grating cheese with the microplane makes 1oz look like a giant mound of cheese instead of the miniscule pile that results from a full sized grater.

    but this...
    microplane + butter= a revelation!

    i'm putting this into action tonight with grated butter on fresh air popped popcorn!

  2. First things first, the video was great. I could so feel your annoyance with the process. I really hope it works out, first class to Paris...PRICELESS. Secondly, what a brillaint idea to microplane butter !

  3. Bread pudding is my comfort food and I don't make it because my husband doesn't care for it.

    I'm going to make some anyway now...because you are a genius! Grated butter!! Can't wait to try it.

  4. SHUT UP! Grated butter? Yes, please! (Why didn't I think of this?)