A festive day calls for a festive breakfast.
And a little ingenuity. I had a half boule of Italian bread from LaBrea Bakery and a cheese drawer that was filled to the brim. Did I mention a raving hunger?
I knew it would be a long time until the big dinner. Our menu included pork tenderloin with a cranberry glaze, herb-y oven-baked potatoes and Brussels sprouts with shallots and roasted walnuts - not terribly time-consuming, but not simple either. (I took lots of pictures but in the mad rush had my camera on the wrong setting. I look forward to seeing what you ate!)
You already know what pleasure I get from using what is on hand. Here's what I came up with:
Four Cheese Bread Pudding with Herbes de Provence
1 half boule of Italian or country-style bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups two-percent milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup gouda cheese, broken into chunks
1/3 cup Asiago or Parmesan, grated
2/3 cup swiss cheese
1/2 tablespoon minced onion
1 Tablespoon herbes de Provence
dash freshly ground pepper
pinch fleur de sel
Preheat oven to 375. Place bread chunks in large bowl. Beat eggs and milk in smaller bowl; pour into large bowl and set aside for five minutes. Once bread has absorbed the liquid, fold in cheese, onion, herbes and seasonings. Transfer to buttered casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top turns golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.
Four cheeses are essential for this dish. The cheddar is the base. The creamier cheeses balance the bite of sharp cheddar and the Asiago or Parmesan provides the accent. You can use any combination of cheeses for variety.