Well, one week since my last Tuesday post, and I’m still sick. I’m feeling somewhat better, but for every two days I’m better, there’s one day where I feel worse.
So it’s been a slow recovery.
However, I did finally try a new recipe during this last week — and it turned out really well.
The recipe is for bread pudding. I got it from page 24 of the March & April issue of Cook’s Illustrated.
I pretty much followed the recipe as is, except that we couldn’t find challah bread (the type that Cook’s Illustrated recommends), so I used a very thick and dense English sandwich bread that Mom found at the local Albertson’s deli counter. Also, the original recipe called for some salt and I omitted that, and I think I used dark brown sugar instead of the light brown sugar specified in the recipe.
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- about 10 cups of 3/4 inch bread cubes (approximately one loaf)
- 9 large egg yolks
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Heat the oven to 325. Take two edged baking pans and divide the bread cubes evenly between the two pans. Space oven racks high and low, bake the bread cubes for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and switching the baking pans top to bottom about halfway through. After 15 minutes, take the baking pans out of the oven and let cool.
Set aside two cups of the dried bread cubes. Mix the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of white sugar together in a small bowl, set aside.
Whisk egg yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the milk and cream, whisk together. Mix in 8 cups of dried cubes. Transfer mixture to a 13″x9″ baking pan. (Note: if you don’t have a bowl big enough, it is possible to mix the sugar and liquids in a smaller bowl, then if your baking pan is large enough, you can mix the bread and liquid in the 13×9 baking pan.)
Let sit for 30 minutes, pushing down gently on bread occasionally to make sure it is thoroughly saturated.
After 30 minutes, spread the 2 cups of reserved bread cubes evenly over the top of the baking pan. Dab lightly with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar and white sugar mixture.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven until the custard has set, about 45-50 minutes. If you push down gently in the middle, no liquid should seep out. An instant-read thermometer should read 170 degrees in the middle of the mixture when it is fully cooked.
Take the bread pudding out of the oven and allow to cool until set, either 45 minutes or until you can’t resist it any longer.
As I said, this recipe is really good. It is also definitely not diet food. And while it is surprisingly easy to clean up after, it is not a quick recipe. Between resting time, drying the bread cubes, soaking time, etc., it’s about 3 hours from assembling the ingredients to actually being able to eat it.
Browsing around today, I found an interesting story on the website for the Wall Street Journal.
The article is “Why Won’t Anyone Clean Me?”, by Anjali Athavaley, dated February 24, 2010.
(The Wall Street Journal runs on Eastern Standard Time, which is two hours ahead of the Mountain Time I live in, and that’s why I can see the next day’s news stories at 10 PM each night.)
The article is currently free to the public, although you will probably need a subscription to see it after two weeks have passed.
Anyway, the article is about new efforts by refrigerator manufacturers to get us to clean our fridges more often. The average American only cleans their fridge once or twice a year. When new groceries or leftovers are placed in the fridge, usually they are just stuffed wherever there is room.
I must confess I am guilty to the first and partially guilty to the second.
I thought I was fully guilty of the second, until I read further in the article and found that fridge manufacturers had regularly dealt with consumers who were using the vegetable drawer to store meat and soft drinks. I at least know the drawers marked “vegetables” are for vegetables, not pop.
What I didn’t know is that generally the refrigerator door is one of the worst places to store dairy products, since it is often one of the warmer parts of the refrigerator. And I also did not know that it’s better to have things a bit spaced out in the refrigerator to help with air flow.
All in all, a good article that I found very useful.
And I may have a new contributor to this blog! My dear friend Jennifer Petersen may soon be posting here — she used to run the Carnelian Rose Tea shop in Vancouver, Washington, and still runs the mail order tea shop Allure Tea (which I highly recommend) at www. alluretea.com.