Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I don't know . . .

I read a helpful hint about writing and editing a better blog was not to edit mid stream. And I'm guilty of that constantly. An even right now, as I write this in evernote before I put it in my blog. I've written and deleted my title several times already. So with that said onward to finishing my thoughts and this post

I don't know what's got into me but I have been cooking and baking up a stop for about the last month. It's not that I have any more tme on my hands or have parties or people to cook for. I think most of the inspiration comes from my garden and the farmers market goodies that I've got this summer. 

All my pickles have come from my picking up those great heirloom carrots from Canal Farms. People still can't stop talking about them

I've been testing recipes left and right and most of them have been great. The last one was the roasted tomato salsa from It was super delicious. Way better than I even expected. And it make so much. I made half a batch and still was able to give some away bring it into the office. Here's the link to the recipe:

not the best shot bur really good

And yes, I've been on a veggie kick. Kind of started with my new eating habit [salad, salad and more salad] and looking different things to eat. And I've trying to eat what is in season also. And with that said here's what I've tested: frittata, beet and black bean burger, baba ganoush, and kimchi. I've also been roasting up some veggies to add to my endless amount salads I eat. 

one of my salads: tofu and soy/ginger dressing
Healthy Snack
baba ganoush with veggies from the farmers market
1st attempt @ Kim Chee
1st attempt at kimchi

And last but not least, I promised my cousin Julie I'd post my apple bread pudding recipe. I have to say this is my go-to recipe, easy and can be made ahead of time and frozen. I make this at least once a week for the recipe  restaurant. I tried this with other fruits but the customers seem to only want the apple. Wish I had a picture of my bread pudding but I never took one. Maybe later this week I'll post a picture.

Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding
Serves 8 or 12

1 gallon zip lock bag of stale bread, cubed**
1/2 c raisins

3 c whole milk 
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c brown sugar
2 t vanilla
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
2 T butter plus extra 1-2 T butter for pan

Caramelized Apples
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick*
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c sugar

4 eggs, beaten

Vanilla Sauce
1 can condensed milk
2 t vanilla
1/4 c powdered sugar--you can add more or less to taste

Grease baking dish with 1–2 T of melted butter. Note about the pan: My pan ceramic that is 8 x 11" and 3" deep. Use a 9 x13 pan if you don't have this size the slice will be thinner. 

In a large bowl add bread and raisins and mix together.

Making the custard
Add custard ingredients to a pot, heat over medium heat until you see tiny bubbles forming on the edges. Don't boil. Stirring occasionally. The milk should be steaming. Pour milk mixture over the bread and the raisin and mix till all the bread is soaked with milk mixture. Don't over mix, you still want the bread cubes to keep its shape somewhat. 

Caramelizing the apples
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying/saute pan medium heat. Add sugar to the melted butter, slightly stir it to help it melt evenly. It should start turning brown at the edges, keep stirring you want all of the sugar to turn evenly brown. It should be light brown all over. It's probably better to lighter than darker brown because the darker it get the more bitter it will taste. Add the sliced apples. Now this is when you will probably freak out because you think you just ruin your beautifully caramelized sugar. Nope, you didn't. The sugar will seize (becomes hard clumps) because of the juice from the apples, but just keep stirring the sugar and apples together. Apples start producing a lot of juice and the clumps of sugar will melt into the juice. Now reduce the apple juice to half and the apples should tender. 

Pour the mixture into the bread custard mix. Mix well so the apples are evenly mixed in.

Now turn on your oven to 350ยบ.  Once my oven is ready, my mixture is cool enough to add the eggs to the bread custard mix. Mix well but try not to break up the cubes too much. Pour mixture into butter dish/pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Top should be golden brown and puffed up a bit. You can you a cake tester to see if comes out clean or I just press down on the top with my finger and if it springs back it's ready. 

Vanilla Sauce
Mix all the ingredients together well. 

We serve it warm with drizzle of vanilla sauce. This recipe keeps really well in the freezer. I slice it up into the serving size, double wrap in plastic wrap then in foil. Should keep for a month. Take out and defrost in refrigerator. I heat up the slice for a minute in the microwave to get the texture of the bread soft. 

*I use fuji because it hold up to the caramelization but use whatever apples you like.

** I get my bread from the restaurant, usually hard rolls. I cube the bread and put in the gallon size zip lock bags and throw them in the freezer. So I have the bread ready to make when I need it. It's usually 5-6 hard rolls to fill a gallon freezer bag. Stale bread works the best for this recipe. If the bread is too fresh, it becomes really mushy when you add the wet ingredients. Still useable/eatable but doesn't look as good.  I also have adding some slices of whole wheat bread, it adds a nice sweetness. 

Finally note: after I wrote this, I realize this my recipe doesn't sound as easy as I think it is as.  I make it on weekly basis. But give it a try, I think you will like it. My customers keep coming back for and always get a to go order when for later when they are too stuffed from dinner. Enjoy!

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