Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bread Pudding - November Kosher Connection Recipe Linkup

The theme for this month's linkup is Thanksgiving related - Stuffing.  The gauntlet was definitely thrown down for us dessert-y people, so I felt that I could not get away with another savory, defiantly non-dessert recipe.  I let my mind run amok, as it is wont to do anyway, and went on a whole stream of consciousness adventure.  Stuffed cookies, stuffed cupcakes, a cake with something fabulous hidden in the middle....the possibilities seemed endless.  But then work got intense, and the world got scary.  Elections, hurricanes, nor'easters - and none of that even where we live!  And now, we are embroiled in an unfortunate but utterly necessary military operation, and the world is a little scarier and colder place than it was before.

So the drifting in my brain became focused on two things: 1. the universal need for comfort food, and 2. figuring out what the sweet counterpart to savory stuffing would be.  Well, duh, if stuffing is stale bread with liquids, vegetables, and seasoning, then the sweet version is bread pudding!!  And let's be honest, call it challah kugel and serve it as a side-dish; call it bread pudding and it's dessert (yummy with Creme Anglaise!!).  And if you want to go all out, serve it for breakfast with some maple syrup and it's a fabulous French Toast souffle.  I get raves for this dish, especially from my family, who fight over the last piece...
Is it a side dish?  A dessert? Breakfast? Brunch? All of the above!!
Like almost all recipes I present to you, this is just a launching pad - feel free to change up the dried or fresh fruit components, or leave them out altogether.  Use any leftover challah you have, though I am partial to my own recipe, which happens to have a very soft crust, making it less crucial to trim the challah.  Make the seasoning more exotic, like cardamom and ginger, or more homey, with nutmeg and cloves in addition to the cinnamon.  Make the dish bigger, make it smaller, just incrementally adjust the amount of bread and the amount of custard.  This is a rather rustic looking dish, so don't sweat making it look perfect.  Just enjoy!

Sweet Bread Pudding
8 cups cubed day-old challah, crusts removed
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
2 cups soy milk or non-dairy creamer or a combination of the two (use real dairy milk for a milchig/chalavi version)

Toss the challah cubes with the diced apple and raisins.  Place in a greased oven to table baking pan.
Beat together the eggs with the sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Add in the the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, then slowly whisk in the soy milk or creamer to make a custard mixture. Pour this custard over the challah cubes, making sure to evenly distribute it.

Press down lightly to make sure all of the cubes were moistened.  Turn the oven on to 350 and let the challah soak while it preheats. 

Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes, until top is lightly browned.


Now before I send you to see all the other delicious contributions to this month's link-up, please keep in your minds, hearts, and prayers the brave soldiers of the IDF, as well as the residents of the South of Israel, and the entire Home Front.  May we all be blessed to live in peace and security.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Working means watching

If you have read this blog before, you know that from time to time, I wax rhapsodic about television.  I love TV, I admit it.  I am enthralled by the condensing of narrative into 42 (or 21 funny) minutes.  It's about all my attention span can handle.  I have several movies waiting for me to watch them, some for months now, but the idea of 1 1/2 hours of straight storytelling is a bit daunting.

I am really, really busy, these days, Baruch Hashem.  I should be working right now, putting cookies in the oven, but I was setting up a show to watch and got excited by the idea of letting you know what new shows I am enjoying (somehow, people know to ask me for TV recommendations, so here goes, in print).

Elementary - modern Sherlock Holmes retelling
Vegas - the mobbing up of the desert in the 1960s
Arrow - CW + comic book hero = same winning combination as Smallville, but darker
Mindy Project - uneven, but I love her
Apartment 23 - love watching Dawson lampoon himself

And not new:
Firefly - ten years old, just found it, sad that it had such a short lifespan (how did I miss it?  Loved Buffy, think Whedon is awesome!)
Mad Men - started downloading episodes 5 years ago, finally got around to watching.  So much fun to identify the guest stars by their other roles, while being thrown off by vintage clothes and hair
Top Chef - only kind of reality show I really enjoy
Homeland - so, so good, not much more to say, except yay to Israeli creativity!
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler, you rock!
Fringe - overwhelming final season, but sticking it out (PLEASE don't pull a Lost on me!)
The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory - genius line-up
Bones, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, The Office, Scandal, Covert Affairs, going to stop now before I embarrass myself any further.

Okay, I think that's enough.  Feel free to leave your recommendations or protests in the comments.  I suppose I will get back to the work of baking - and of course, watching TV.

Shavua tov!
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