Banana Blueberry Bread Pudding

BBB Pudding

One of my favorite things to make in the winter is my variation on a bread pudding.  I take stale bits of bread that we haven’t eaten throughout the week, some fruit, milk, eggs, sugar and spices and make something that is good enough for dessert and healthy enough for breakfast.

There is no rhyme or reason to this bread pudding.  It really is ripping apart pieces of stale bread (2 rolls) and placing them in a 9×9″ baking dish.  I then blend a mixture of milk (maybe 1.5 cups?), 2 eggs, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, healthy pinches of cinnamon and allspice and maybe a few tablespoons of plain yogurt if we have some, a small pinch of salt and a tablespoon or less of oil.  I pour this over the bread, mash in 2 bananas (with clean hands), mix in some blueberries and slivered almonds, make sure everything is soaked, top with some brown sugar and bake at 375F until the top is golden brown.  You can use any type of fruit, lesson the sugar, use honey or maple syrup instead and I’m sure it will turn out just fine.  Experiment!  It’s just stale bread.  This is great to make ahead – just let the bread soak in the milk mixture over night and then bake in the morning.

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Lettuce Wraps

No Cook Lettuce Wraps
We made these last week as a non-cook meal and I forgot how delicious they are.  Get some great lettuce, clean and dry the leaves and stuff with vegetables, tofu, sauce and whatever else you can think of.


Apple and Olive Oil Cake

Apple Olive Oil CakeCake

Intrigued after reading this article, I decided to search the web for a few of Chef Ottolenghi’s recipes to try out before deciding to buy his latest cookbook.  I found his Apple and Olive Oil Cake via More Than Burnt Toast and made it the other night – DELICIOUS!  Thank you internet, I think I may buy his book now.

I made a few changes to the recipe – namely I just used 3 whole eggs instead of the egg white route and used homemade vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean.  Maybe the cake would have been fluffier with the egg whites, but it rose well enough for me.  I also only used 2 large granny smith apples and felt that was enough with the amount of batter.  The topping was just some coconut I sprinkled on before popping it into the oven and it only needed an hour of baking time.  The cake is moist and light – surprising because of the apple pieces.  Perfect with tea or even for breakfast!


Bread Pudding Bites

Fortifying ourselves for a day-long trip to Astoria required something easy to carry, hearty and tasty.  Enter “Bread Pudding Bites.”  Adapted from my original Banana Bread Puddin’ recipe, this one included 1 banana, 1 apple, a bunch of dried cranberries, toasted coconut and cashews AND used sesame bread.  I saw adapted because I really just threw together the stale bread, milk, sugar, fruit, an egg and some yogurt together and hoped for the best.  Baked in muffin tin liners, these made an excellent treat!
UPDATE: I baked them at 375F for about 30 minutes – just bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.


Tomato and Garlic Soup (and spending update)

It was a rainy Sunday and the thought of a big pot of soup simmering in the crockpot for a few hours was comforting.  A smattering of ingredients later resulted in 8 heaping servings of soup!  You can simmer this on the stove if you don’t have a crockpot, I just didn’t want to deal with hovering in the kitchen.

Tomato and Garlic Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, chopped finely
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth or water
  • salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 cup roughly chopped basil
  • old bread (optional)
  • can of beans, rinsed well (optional)

To Do:

  1. Heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot.  Saute the onions in a until they are a nice golden color and add the garlic.  Alternatively, stick onions and garlic in a crockpot and let them cook until golden (ours was set on high for 4 hours).  Feel free to add some vegetable broth if the onions appear to be sticking to your pot/crockpot.
  2. Add in the tomatoes and 4 cups of the broth/water and stir everything together.  Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered for about an hour.  Feel free to add more liquid if you think it’s too chunky.  If your using a crockpot, dump everything in there and let it cook.
  3. Add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.  Add beans if you want some protein.
  4. Puree soup a bit if you want a smoother consistency – we used a stick blender for just a minute.
  5. Put stale bread in the bottom of a large bowl.  Ladle hot soup over bread.  Add lots and lots of chopped basil.  Consume!

Realizing that we had quite a bit of money ($11) left over from the previous week, I decided it was OK to get some stuff at the Pioneer for the soup.

  • 2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes: $3
  • 1 head of garlic: $0.35
  • bunch of basil: $1.50
  • bag of onions: $1.00
  • tomato paste: $0.50

TOTAL: $6.35 (still under!)


Super Simple Rutabaga Soup

Rutabaga and Potato Soup

Phil bought an enormous rutabaga at the Coop a week or two ago and also made a huge batch of stock this past Sunday.  Rutabaga + stock sounded like soup to me.  Very hearty and easy to make – an excellent weeknight meal!

Super Simple Rutabaga Soup

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 huge rutabaga or a few small ones, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1.5 quarts vegetable stock or a mix of stock and water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

To Do:

  1. Heat up a splash of olive oil in a large pot and add the onion.  Cook the onion until it is very dark – about 10 minutes.  Going for a burned onion taste here.  Add some water to the pot if it’s getting too smokey.
  2. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until rutabaga and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Puree the soup in batches with a blending machine of your choice.  Or don’t puree, this recipe is also lovely as a chunky soup.
  5. Top with toasted sesame seeds if desired.
  6. Serve with salad and some True Grit Cornbread Muffins for a meal.

Spanish Tortilla

We’ve been out of town due to family and came back to some potatoes that needed to be used up rather quickly.  I decided that a tortilla would be easy and good for breakfast tomorrow.  We ate a lot of tortilla in Spain (being vegetarian and all) and I wanted to recreate it without a ton of olive oil.

Spanish Tortilla

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (a mandolin did the job for us)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • salt
  • 5 eggs

To Do:

NOTE: If you’re using a nonstick pan, you won’t need a lot of oil.  The idea is to cook the potato and onion together until both become fragrant and cooked through, without browning too much.

  1. Over medium heat, warm up at least 1/4 cup of the oil in a well seasoned pan.  Add the potatoes and onions and stir gently.  Sprinkle salt over the top, stir and cover.  Keep stirring every once in a while until the potatoes are cooked through (they should pierce easily with a fork).
  2. Strain the mixture and save the olive oil!
  3. Whip up the eggs until they are light yellow and foamy.
  4. Clean out the pan, heat over medium heat and then coat with some of the saved olive oil (see step 2).
  5. Combined the eggs with the potato/onion and mix well.
  6. Add the mixture to the pan and set the heat to low.
  7. Once the mixture is set, slide it onto a plate and then flip it back on the pan (bottom side should be on top now).
  8. Cook for a few more minutes – the eggs should be set throughout the pan.
  9. Let it sit for at least a half hour to meld the flavors before serving (warm or cold – DELICIOUS).