The other night after dinner, I had these remains: 5 slices grilled bread, 2 ears of boiled white corn, and a few broiled tomatoes. Alone on their plates, they looked quite lonely and unspectacular, and I figured they'd stay that way if I put them in the fridge. So I made a savory bread pudding, and testify to you that it took me 7 minutes. Maybe 8. I did it while running bath water, clearing the table, packing for our trip, and monitoring fighting siblings. We had it for breakfast the next morning. A couple mornings after that, I cut the remainder into thick slices and fried them on the griddle with leftover cooked potatoes.
I often do this sort of thing with stale bread, and sometimes I just fry the bread up in a skillet (nonstick or cast iron), pour the eggs over that, and cook the whole thing on the stovetop. The nice thing about putting using a loaf pan is I didn't have to monitor it much in the oven and it was sliceable later on.
Been thinking a lot about In Defense of Food, which I just finished and mentioned in my last post. I'm not quite sure what to say about it. Certainly, there are plenty of bona fide book reviews out there should you want that, so mostly I'm sorting through my own reactions--not the merit of the book or the quality of journalism. I agreed with and was motivated by so much--down with monoculture, hail diversity; down with the Western Diet, yeah for whole foods; less empty calories, more fruits and vegetables. And lots of political aspects of the food industry that were very interesting (and disheartening). I think what's stayed with me is the subtle tone of judgement throughout, like these were things everyone should know, or that the average overweight American is sort of stupid. He never said that, of course, but I'm a healthy, diverse eater with a relatively giant knowledge of food and nutrition, and I even I felt a little dumb and shamed after reading it. Again, I don't know if that was intentional or just my own sensitivities, but it's got me thinking--What really does motivate folks to eat well? More than reading books, I think it's what we share and experience together around food. It's the dumb questions we ask each other, the meals we eat together, and even accountability around what's good for our bodies and good for our shared planet. I know Pollan would agree--I think I'm just chewing on how to get that conversation started with the folks who need it most. If Pollan is preaching, I'm definitely the choir. Sorry, book club. I'm jumping into our discussion early. Have any of you read it? What do you think?
In the meantime, I am still in my kitchen, still enamored with the leftover bits.
P.S. Finally put a couple new stories in Your Stories. I love to see what you are up to.
Savory Bread Pudding with Corn and Tomatoes
Serves six. Delicious for breakfast or for dinner with a salad on the side. You could also double this recipe and make it in a 9 x 13 if you're making brunch for a crowd. There are so many other things you can put in here. If you use veggies, it's best to saute them first, though, or they will make the pudding too wet. Sauteed zucchini with garlic, mushrooms and wilted greens--endless possibilities.
5 or 6 large slices of stale or grilled artisan bread
2 broiled tomat0es (4 halves) coarsely chopped, or 1/4 c. olive-packed sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
corn kernels stripped from 2 ears of cooked corn (or sauteed raw with a bit of olive oil in a skillet)
handful fresh herbs (I used oregano and basil)
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. cream
salt and pepper
1 c. shredded Gruyere (or cheddar)
Butter a standard loaf pan and preheat oven to 350.
Coarsely chop bread, and put it into pan with tomatoes, corn, and herbs.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper. Pour over bread mixture and top with shredded cheese and more herbs.
Place a baking sheet with sides in the oven, and set the loaf pan in it. Pour boiling water into the baking sheet, about halfway up the sides of the baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Cool a bit before serving.
You can scoop it out with a spoon while it's warm/hot. If you want to slice it, you can't really do that until you're eating it for leftovers the next day.