Doing what we do best... dining

Monday, April 18, 2011

Re-inspired. And thankful for desserts.

Has it really been 5 months since our last blog post?? It has. I suck! Believe me, Brian has been cooking. Tons. Lots of new recipes. Fresh takes on older recipes. I just haven't felt my part - the writing. Brian has offered to take over my job as the author - but that wasn't our original plan. The idea was that we'd have this project to do together. I just haven't been holding up my end of the deal. SO, with that, I'm becoming re-inspired and am going to make every effort to keep the recipes and writing flowing yet again.

But first, some news - and a HUGE reason why we've been so busy. We're moving!! And we are super excited about it. On June 1st, we'll close on our dream home (which is only about 3 blocks from our current home). It's a big, beautiful two-story that just oozes kindness and history. The first time I walked in, I felt myself take a deep breath and exhale with that feeling of 'home.' It is parked on a street aptly named Sunnyside. Brian loves the kitchen, and I fell in love with the dining room. There are 2 fireplaces, gorgeous wood floors and a front porch that begs for friends and a chilled bottle of Chardonnay.

With moving comes all sorts of excitement. Shopping for new furnishings and carpet... playing with color schemes and window treatments... trying not to fall over the edge of 'overwhelmed' as I have a tendency to do when there is just so much to do.

I'm wondering what the first meal we'll cook in the new house will be. It's one of the many intoxicating thoughts that keeps me up at night. And I'm searching for just the right recipe.

Recipes! That's why you're reading, yes? Hmmm..... Here is one that isn't nutritionally healthy in the slightest. However, it's mentally healthy. When I'm stressed, it's a bandage. When I'm long-day exhausted, it's a reward. And tonight, it could very well be dinner.

Chocolate Challah Bread Pudding

You'll need:

1.5 - 2 cups fresh fruit (we've use sliced strawberries and/or blueberries)
1/4 cup dark rum
1 half stick butter - cut into small pieces
1 loaf fresh challah bread
1.5 cups milk**
1.5 heavy cream**
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved
16 oz. dark chocolate
4 large eggs

The Steps

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut the challah into 1-2 inch cubes.

Place cubed challah into a glass baking dish. Strew with the fruit, rum and half of the butter.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate and allow to stand for 3 minutes. Then whisk until smooth.

Whisk eggs until combined, in a large mixing bowl. Then strain the milk mixture into the eggs and beat them together. Be mindful not to do this too quickly, or you'll risk scrambling the eggs. And do not over-beat.

Strain the mixture back in the pan and use a spoon to skim any foam from the surface. Pour the mixture over the cubed challah bread. Top with with the small pieces of butter.

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm, bathed in vanilla ice cream. Yum.

And, yes - in these photos there is already a huge piece missing. It's just so damn good, I couldn't wait for a picture to be taken. Oops.....

**Note - In an attempt to "lady-fy" this recipe ever so slightly, Brian occasionally uses all skim milk, omitting the heaving cream entirely. I simply MUST indulge... so anywhere we can save on the fat or calories, I'm all for it.