Saturday, November 15, 2008

Really Old Bread

What To Do With Old Bread

When your stuck with lots of leftover bread that's accumulated over a few weeks (sliced, loaves, buns, waffles, cornbread) here's a great way to use them up. Make bread pudding! It's really versitile, you can go sweet with rasins, fruits, cinnamon and nuts, savory with meats, cheese, vegetables and garlic, or a combination such as bacon pineapple or turkey cranberry. Basic bread pudding is really just the vehicle for whatever flavors you want to give it. Get creative!

I had a half-eaten loaf of French bread and a few end pieces of whole grain sandwich bread stuffed in the back of the refregerator for a few weeks. I try not to be wasteful so I decided to make a sweet bread pudding to use it up. I used a recipe and made sure I had the basic ingredients (eggs, milk and sugar - check!). I also found some apricot preserves and pecans so that became my flavoring. I was on my way.

After it came together, the bread pudding baked for about 55 minutes. When it came out of the oven, it had a crunchy top and tasted amazing! Here's the recipe I used, but you can use pretty much whatever you have available for the style and flavorings. Enjoy this recipe. It would make a great breakfast or brunch dish, or have it for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yum!

Apricot Pecan Bread Pudding
Serves 8
4 C. Bread, cubed or torn into 1" pieces (French or mixed breads)
4 Eggs
2 C. Milk
1/2 C. Sugar
3 Tbs. Apricot Preserves
1/2 C. plus 1/4 C. Pecans, chopped
1 Tsp. Nutmeg, ground
1 Tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/2 Tsp. Clove, ground

Apricot Icing
1/2 C. Cream Cheese Frosting (or homemade frosting)
1 Tbs. Apricot Preserves
1/4 C. Heavy Cream (or milk)
Bread Pudding:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place bread cubes into a cassarole dish and set in oven. In a bowl, wisk together eggs, milk, sugar, apricot preserves, 1/2 C. pecans, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove until well combined. Remove cassarole dish from oven and pour liquid mixture over the bread cubes, saturating each one well. Place into oven and bake, uncovered for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest for 10 mins.
Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Drizzle over top of bread pudding, and sprinkle with additional chopped pecans. Serve warm.

Apricot Preserves: Orange Marmalade, Raspberry Preserves
Pecans: Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cup of Limes?

I went to a sports bar one evening and decided to order a nice, cold Bud Light. I know it's more common with Corona or other Mexican beers, but I like the refreshing flavor of light beer with a wedge of lime.

When the bartender came around, I asked if I could get a couple limes - and even made a little squeezing gesture with my fingers. A moment later, I had a rock glass filled to the rim with lime slices. Did she hear me correctly? I only needed a couple limes at most!

After it sunk in it became so funny! She gave me a "cup o' limes" literally - an entire cup! Even today it's worth a good laugh when I ask for lime with beer.

Mojito Cocktails

It just hit the mid-90s in Scottsdale, Arizona so the Mojito is a super light and refreshing mint and lime cocktail for those hot summer days.

What you'll need:

-Limes (roll to release the juices, slice into wedges)
-Fresh Mint Leaves
-Simple Syrup = 1 part sugar, 1 part water (fully dissolved)
-White/Silver Carribean Rum (of your choice)
-Club Soda

In a tall, Collins glass, add the juice from one lime, about 5 mint leaves and 1/2 tsp. sugar. With a muddler, mix until the mint leaves are bruised.

Fill the glass 3/4 full with ice. Add 1.5 oz. white rum, 2 oz. simple syrup and top off with club soda.

Garnish with a wedge of lime and a slice of fresh sugar cane.

HINT!! Prepare a batch of simple syrup in a large water bottle, then mix in the muddled (crushed) mint leaves. Just shake and it's ready to mix for a really fast and flavorful Mojito.

NOTE: If you pre-mix the simple sugar and mint (as mentioned above), simply fill the glass with ice, add rum, add 3 oz. minted simple syrup and top off with soda. Great for quick mixing at parties.

OH, ALSO: Yeah, Baby! The word mojito is derived from the diminutive of the word mojo.[2]