Friday, August 31, 2012

Very Late Brunch

This week we had Issac visiting us for what seemed like forever. Hurricane's are a fact of life in my neck of the woods, but never welcome. Even though an unwelcome visitor, we prepare for them like nobody's business. You'd think an important guest was coming for a 5 course, sit-down dinner. Store's around my little town were standing room only with folks preparing for the storm. The mantra of our state is one that should always be taken seriously. 

Pray for the best, but plan for the worst. 

So we did; me included. I didn't go overboard this time. Issac was a mere tropical storm until just before landfall. And the predictions were, pardon the pun, all over the map. But when viewed via satellite image on the Weather Channel, this hulking, swirling cloud mass straddling the Gulf of Mexico gave me reason enough to get in line with everyone else. I figured a bit of preparation was in order rather than sit in a dark house wishing I'd done more planning. 

On the first evening, and after watching and waiting all day for the creature to move faster than 5 miles an hour, I decided comfort food was in order. I had some crouton's I'd made from half a loaf of French bread and some milk in the fridge that I needed to use. Yes, I did buy extra milk while grocery shopping. So, some eggs, cheddar cheese and a little time quickly evolves into one of my favorite comfort foods. A staple at brunch and great for even supper, this is awesome with a small fruit salad or a light green salad and a glass of nice dry white wine.

Note: I think more cookbooks, even those we put together for church fundraisers etc, should have 'Brunch' as a section. I adore brunch foods and the possibilities are virtually limitless. But it gets little credit. Maybe I should just create a brunch cookbook. Hmmm...

Brunch Bread Pudding with Bacon
2-1/2 to 3 cups toasted French bread croutons
(heaping) cup  grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
2-1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
5 eggs
Minced chives or green onion top
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Pinch of coarse salt
Pinch of coarse black pepper
5 or 6 slices of cooked bacon

Toasted bread cubes and coarsely grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

Layer the croutons in a greased or lined baking pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese over all the bread.

Note: For the croutons. Cut approximately 1/2 loaf of French bread into cubes. Melt about 1/3 stick butter with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and pour over the bread cubes. Add a sprinkling of salt and black pepper and toss. Bake in a moderate oven until brown and crispy.

OH MY...bacon!
Fry until rather crispy, or to your liking

Bacon love ♥

A swirl of custard

Into a mixing bowl add the milk, eggs, chives, garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and black pepper. Stir to mix very well and pour over the bread and cheese. Press the bread down to make sure it soaks up some of the custard. Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces and add to the top. Bake at about 325 to 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and rest briefly before cutting to serve.

Soaking up the custard; ready for the oven

Out of the oven ~ Puffy souffle-like comfort food

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