Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breakfast. Show all posts

27 November 2008

Bread Pudding with Four Cheeses and Herbes de Provence

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
  • 4 eggs
  • 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.

24 November 2008

Cold Weather Breakfast, Part I: Tartines

I am a creature of routine. Each morning I stagger from bed, somehow manage to find my way to the kitchen, brew a cup of coffee and settle down with my laptop to read the morning papers, from Madison to San Francisco and several points in between. It takes me a good hour before I am awake enough to want breakfast.

But when I do it is a hardy breakfast I want.

More often than not, it is a tartine, an open faced sandwich loaded with some sort of egg, perhaps some cheese, a bit of sausage and perhaps a tomato, washed down with a small glass of milk and a small glass or orange juice. My goal is to get protein, a little fat, some fruit, and some whole grains.

I woke this morning to a fine layer of snow, not a bit unusual for this time of year. My breakfast was sourdough bread with a slick of butter and a thick slice of cheddar, broiled until the cheese was forming a shiny skin on top. That's when I know it's ready. I added a dollop of applesauce as a side.

You cannot go wrong with tartines. Another favorite is a bagel with salmon cream cheese, a tomato, some thin slivers of red onion and a few capers. I paid a whopping $15 for such a similar breakfast in the San Francisco Airport this summer. I like my own version much better.

This time of year, breakfast is really important to me. One year, not long after college, I baked bran muffins the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The next day they were hard as rocks. I was too poor to discard them, so I broke them into pieces (it took some work) and poured milk over them, creating a cereal of sorts. The milk softened the muffins and they made for a pretty good breakfast - possibly one of the best I've had (of my own creation, anyway).

Eating frugally often means being creative, and sometimes a little desperate.

What about you? What do you eat for breakfast? Have you ever salvaged a disaster as I did with my muffins? Tell us about it!

I'm truly curious.