Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jamie: Thanksgiving Bread Pudding

When cooking something for the very first time, especially for an audience, I tend to get really stressed out and Gordan Ramsey-ish (minus the cursing: Stop touching my mise en place! No, there is nothing you can do to help! Get out of my kitchen!). So in cooking the leek bread pudding for Thanksgiving, I pleasantly surprised myself when my friend from college arrived two hours early and I had only started getting my ingredients out, and I was not a complete wreck. We chatted, gossiped, I explained what I was doing while I cooked (which: a cooking show/talk show would be really fun. I think Martha* already kind of does that, but there should be a show dedicated to gossiping and cooking. Call me, Food Network!)

1 3/4 cups o' cheese
I started off by grating cheese. For some reason, I had got it into my head that the recipe called for two cups, so I was slightly disappointed when I was just shy of that amount after grating all the Comte. Only later, when I was putting the pudding together did I realize that I needed one cup. I used a cup and a half, anyway, because mmm, cheese.

I haven’t been able to find loaves of brioche since I’ve moved back to the states from Spain (#WhitePeopleProblems), so I got some challah after a co-worker suggested that would be a good substitute. There was no way I was going to cut the crust off of that; I don’t think it made a difference in the end. (Some salt and olive oil is really good on a toasted slice of brioche, by the way.)

crumb catcher
This is Tok** on the left, trying to wedge himself between me and the cutting board. He hovered, greedily, hungrily whenever I was working with the challah. His moment came when I transferred the leeks and bread into the baking dish and some spilled onto the floor.

The finished product! This may have been the first time I had bread pudding, and I think it was a good introduction (and was very straightforward to make). The leeks were nice and fragrant while cooking, and a little sweet after being cooked in all that butter. Especially with the nutmeg, I can see how this version could go for dinner or dessert, but it managed to more than hold its own at the table. It was a big hit among everyone there (including people who knew about our cooking  project and those that didn’t). I have a good amount of leftovers to nibble on, though I'm regretting not bringing some in for lunch today...

Happy Thanksgiving!

* We’re on a first name basis, obvs.
** pronounced “toke”, named after a town in Alaska, not after one half of a Ke$ha song.

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