Monday, August 31, 2009

Bread Salad

1/2 Baguette (or other sturdy high-gluten bread) broken into 1-1/2" cubes (about 4 - 5 c bread cubes)
2 lb ripe tomatoes
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 Japanese eggplant
1 medium green pepper
1/2 bunch green onions
juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch basil

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Peel the tomatoes (see note below). Remove the hard core, then scoop out the seeds, pulp, and liquid into a bowl and set aside. Chop the tomato flesh, and add to the bread.

In a large skillet, heat 2-3 T olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then add the tomato seeds and pulp and half of the minced garlic. Stir the mixture constantly until most of the liquid is boiled off, the the pulp is thickened. Remove from the heat and pour on top of the bread mixture.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Trim the end of the eggplant, and split lengthwise. Put on a rack over a cookie sheet and bake until softened (about 20 - 25 minutes). While the eggplant is baking, chop the green pepper and the green onions, and add to the bread mixture. Season to taste the bread mixture with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Remove the eggplant from the oven. Peel and chop it. Heat 2 T olive oil on medium heat in the skillet. Add the eggplant and the remainder of the minced garlic. Cook until the mixture is soft, then mash it. Season the eggplant to taste with salt and pepper. Add the eggplant to the bread mixture.

Refrigerate the salad until it is cold. You can make the salad a few hours before serving. Just before serving, chiffonade the basil, and toss the salad.

Note: To peel ripe tomatoes, fill a large bowl with very cold water and set aside. Boil two inches of water in a large pot on the burner's high setting. Add several tomatoes to the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. With a skimmer or strainer, remove the tomatoes immediately to the bowl of cold water. Repeat until you have blanched all of the tomatoes. If your tomatoes are ripe, the skins should come off easily.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Peach Cobbler


2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
juice of 1 small lime
1/4 t almond extract
2 T butter, melted
3 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon


1/4 c butter
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 c milk

Melt 2 T butter in an 8 x 8 baking dish. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter. Toss the peach slices with the lime juice and almond extract, then arrange the peaches on the brown sugar.

Cream together the 1/4 c butter and granulated sugar. Whisk in the egg.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine half of the flour mixture with the creamed mixture. Then add half of the milk and mix until smooth. Repeat adding the remaining flour and milk.

Pour the cake batter over the peaches. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or cream.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bread Pudding

1 baguette (10 oz)
2 T butter, melted
1/3 c raisins
3 eggs
1 pt half and half
1 c milk
1/3 c sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 T apricot jam or orange marmalade
2 T Kahlua

Butter an 8-inch glass square baking dish.

Slice the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. You won't need the whole loaf, but cut about 20 slices. Place the slices on a broiler rack, and toast them on both sides under the broiler until browned. Break each slice into four or five pieces and put the toasted pieces in a large bowl. You should have about 2 cups of toast pieces. Drizzle the butter over the toast pieces and stir to coat. Place the toast pieces in the baking dish. Scrape any melted butter over the pieces. Sprinkle the raisins over the toast pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a saucepan, bring a quart of water to a boil. While the water is heating, mix the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, and jam until fully combined. Pour over the toast pieces. With the back of a spoon, push the toast pieces into the liquid so that the toast absorbs the custard mixture. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with cinnamon.

Place the baking dish in the center of a 9-inch x 13-inch cake pan. Pour the boiling water into the cake pan. Carefully, place the pudding and its water bath in the preheated oven and bake 35 - 40 minutes. The pudding is done when a knife stuck in the middle of the pudding comes out clean (rather than coated with pudding). Do not overcook!

Remove the pudding's baking dish from the water bath. Spread the Kahlua over the top of the bread pudding. Refrigerate it until serving. The pudding can be served cold, at room temperature, or slightly warm.