Savory Bread Pudding

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I’m a huge fan of sweet bread puddings, filled with raisins and cinnamon galore, but in this case I was in need of dinner, had a bag of spinach that was on it’s way out, and a baguette that could knock a burglar cold. In an effort to avoid as much food waste as possible, I decided to make something a little out of the ordinary that seemed like it would be a challenge to mess up. This tasty little delight is filled with ham, cheese, and all things savory and wonderful. It’s also boy-approved (if you’re needing to please the bae), and could easily serve as a breakfast option as well.

For anyone else ever looking into options for stale bread, check out this helpful little post. Next time I may do meatballs.


Ingredients
1 large baguette, stale (roughly 1.5 ft long)
3 cups 1% milk
2 large eggs
1 cup asiago (I used a blend of asiago of parmesan)
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 cups ham, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder


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To Make
Preheat oven to 375 and set aside an 8 x 8 baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your milk and eggs, whisking until thoroughly mixed. Add in your garlic powder, salt, and pepper, continuing to mix well. Set aside your mixing bowl to cut your stale/hardened baguette into cubes. Be careful in doing so, as it’s very challenging to cut once the crust has been hardened.

Once cut, combine your bread into the mixing bowl and thoroughly mix, allowing the bread to soak up the milk. Once combined, chop your spinach and shred your ham over the cutting board. Add these ingredients to the pan mixture

Spread this mixture onto your pan. Once combined, chop your spinach and shred your ham over the cutting board. Add these ingredients to the bread mixture, as well as most of the cheese (leaving some to sprinkle on top). Once everything is fully incorporated and settled into the pan, add the remaining cheese on top then place into the oven for 45 minutes.

When fully cooked, the inside should be a little more gooey than cake, and the top golden brown.


 

 

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Happy Weekend!

HappyWeekend


Happy almost weekend, loves! Christa had her Connecticut Art Directors Club annual awards show last night and had a fantastic time mingling with the other CT Creatives. She’ll be stepping up as vice president next season, so big things ahead! What we’re both excited about this weekend is chillin chillin. Busy busy weeks this week, so lounging is on the top of the list this weekend. What are y’all up? xo G&M


cct // This video about Glen Canyon before it was filled for a dam, is just stunning.

rkv // Halloumi is having a moment

cct // I worked on an Asian skin care line once for a design project and have been interested in Asian products since – this list seems super intriguing! I would love to try this and this.

rkv // With it officially being summer and all – 14 summery champagne cocktails

cct // Two amazing posts from Cup of Jo this week – this gorgeous house tour, and this fantastic looking Halloumi, Peach and Cherry Salad!

rkv // 8 ambient noise sites to keep you from getting distracted in an open-air office

cct // I’m trying to get better about lunches (they’ve always been a struggle for me), and this collection of stories of different people’s experiences with eating the same thing for lunch everyday is super interesting!

rkv // Some quick ways to relieve stress while still at your desk

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

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My appreciation for mushrooms has only recently developed. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever cooked with them. For the longest time I would avoid them, mainly because their texture just didn’t do it for me. However, I’ve recently learned that if they’re covered in enough butter, garlic, and wine, I’m a very happy camper. Last week I was craving something rich and delicious, and this dish hit just the spot.

The original recipe I made (adapted from Pinch of Yum) yielded wayyy more servings than I needed — about eight total. Considering I’m generally over a meal after about three servings, eight was definitely over kill. I ended up making a whole lot of risotto cakes to keep my palette interested (to make — form little patties, dip in egg wash, cover in panko, pan fry, and serve with a side of Greek yogurt). A very tasty interpretation, if I must say!

 

INGREDIENTS
(makes about 4 servings)

3/4 cups arborio rice, uncooked
1/4 lb of bacon
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups cremini mushrooms, choppped
2 cups asparagus, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium Spanish onion
2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan for garnish

TO MAKE
In a large skillet, cook your bacon over medium-low heat. Once crispy, allow the grease to settle on a plate with a paper towel. After it has cooled, chop roughly and set to the side to prepare the rice.

On medium-low heat, melt the butter to a nice sizzle. Add your garlic, onion, rice, and a splash of the wine. Allow to toast slightly before adding the rest of your wine and vegetables. Cook your vegetables down slightly before adding 1/4 of your broth.

The next few steps are all about watching your rice. Once it has soaked up the liquids, add another 1/4 of your broth. Repeat this step twice more until all of your broth has been added. This is should take about 20 minutes. At this point add in your bacon, a dash of salt and pepper, and mix well.

By now your rice is cooked and ready to serve. Top it off with some grated parm and dive in.

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Birch Hill Tavern Beer Dinner

We’re stickin’ with the alcohol theme going on, and I’m here to tell you about the most delicious beer/spirits dinner I have ever been to! I guess the Birch Hill Tavern has had quite a few beer dinners, but this was my 1st and I’m glad it was — because besides tasting Maine Brewing Company‘s beer, we also got to try 3 spirits from the New England Distillery.

Birch Hill Tavern curated a delicious menu to go with the 3 delicious MBC beers — Another One, Lunch & Dinner, and the 3 NED spirits — Eight Bells Rum, Inginium Gin & Gunpowder Maryland Rye Whiskey.

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We started off with Maine Beer Co.’s 1st beer “Another One” to go alongside some awesome appetizers — meatballs and bruschetta. Next up was an antipasti plate which consited of smoked gouda, prosciutto, hot peppers, capicola, olives & a pickled medley (cauliflower and carrots) which went fantastically with MBC’s beer “Lunch”. To be honest I was a bit skeptical after tasting these very vinegary, salty foods, but this beer was paired perfectly.

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Next up was my favorite of the night, butternut squash ravioli with a brown butter rum sauce, parsnips and raisins topped with crispy shitake mushrooms paired with the Eight Bells rum. The surprise of the night was that each liquor drink came 2 ways, straight up and in a mixed drink form (holy amount of drinks…)! I’m not usually a fan of rum, but damn this was good. It actually tasted surprisingly similar to whiskey (but still rummy) because it is aged in bourbon barrels. So. Good.

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Once we settled in after the delicious ravioli, we were presented with the amazing beer battered eggplant with smoked mozzarella and sweet marinara. Holy hell this thing was HUGE and went extremely well with it’s paired beer, “Dinner”. I had never had smoked mozz before and it is really good! I almost didn’t finish it I was so full, but I managed 😉

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Before dessert, came a fruity and refreshing Gin drink which tasted like a strawberry lemonade (with gin of course). By this time in the evening, the place was loud and happy!

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And for dessert, we had layers of fried dough with whiskey soaked berries, sweet mascarpone & rum whiskey cream paired with the Gunpowder Maryland Rye & a Manhattan style cocktail. The dessert was so light and fluffy (thank god, I really wanted to finish it, but damn was I full), and wrapped up the meal so perfectly.

As I had mentioned before I had never been to a beer dinner, but boy do I recommend them now! These people know what they’re doing, and anytime you can experience the genius of a kitchen matching food and booze so perfectly, I say go for it!

Have you guys been to any good beer or liquor dinners?

 

Grape, Feta & Pear Salad

salad_1I’m pretty shameless in admitting how glutenous I became during November and December. I tend to lose all control when I see a tray of cheese or sweets, so this past weekend I tried to get myself back on track with a light salad that rid me of guilt.

In a large mixing bowl, throw together:

– a heaping handful of baby spinach or mixed greens

– 1/2 of a pear, diced

– 1/4 cup of red seedless grapes, cut into halves

– 1/4 cup of walnuts or pistachios

– a sprinkling of feta

– 2 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette

Mix well, throw into a big bowl and eat up! It’s heavenly with some toasted focaccia.

A couple of notes:

* I was feeling lazy and used pre-made vinaigrette, but you can easily whip some up (in order to cut back on the fat, sugar, and sodium) with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt & pepper

* To make it a little more filling, add some avocado or grilled chicken (or both!)

– – – – –

rkv

Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Grilled Cheese

This sweet and savory twist on a classic sandwich will have your mouth watering and tummy thanking you – pair it up with a cup of tomato or butternut soup and have yourself a delicious and hearty autumn meal.

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You’ll be needing:

– 1 apple of your choice

– some extra sharp white cheddar

– 2 pieces of bacon, crisped to perfection (ham or turkey would also work well)

– 2 slices of bread of your choice, we like panini style

– a bit of butter

To make:

You likely all know how to make a grilled cheese, but in case you don’t…

Evenly spread one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice on skillet, butter side down (we used my mom’s panini press for those fancy grill marks). While it heats, add the fillings and top with other slice of bread. Once golden, flip and cook until cheese is gooey. Cut and serve.

* Note – someday I may provide my tips for cooking perfect bacon, stay tuned for that day