apple bread pudding with brandy sauce

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Another food from the South. Grits? Bread Pudding? What’s next, greens?

This recipe and inspiration came from the cooking class I took in New Orleans. The great thing about bread pudding is that:

a) you don’t have to follow directions exactly like baking but it will still turn out

b) you can easily make it your own and switch up the flavors – since the taster loves apple desserts and brandy is the official drink of Wisconsin (that may or may not be true, not sure) I decided to go with an apple bread pudding with brandy sauce.

Warning: Not as healthy as Holly’s lovely version…..just saying. ;)

Bread Pudding:

about 10 cups (8? I forgot to measure) of stale bread – I used a mixture of French and cinnamon sugar swirl bread

4 cups whole milk, not skim, not 2%. whole.

1 1/2 cup sugar

8 Tbsp butter, melted – that would be a whole stick folks

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and chopped

Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Place into non-preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the top is golden brown and you can’t take the delicious smell anymore!

Brandy Sauce:

8 Tbsp butter (again, that is ANOTHER stick of butter)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup brandy

Cream butter and sugar over medium heat until all butter is absorbed. Remove from heat and blend in egg yolk. Pour in brandy and stir. Serve over warm bread pudding. (Can easily be re-heated in microwave in case you don’t want to eat it all in the same sitting!)

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This was the tasters birthday treat and we have been loving this bread pudding for WAY too many nights now…I’m hoping it will be gone soon ;) Someone please come and help us eat it!!!!

stir, stir, stir: mushroom & thyme risotto

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I made risotto for the first time about a year ago. I decided it was a dish I wanted to master and after a few tries I think that I can make a pretty mean risotto. (That of course is my own opinion though ;) )

I decided to go with a mushroom and thyme flavor combo – it felt very “fall” to me and I thought it would pair well with some simple chicken.

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Recipe:

Warm 2 cups chicken broth and 1-2 cups water in sauce pan. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large pan. Once hot add 1 small white onion, chopped. Saute until translucent. Add one cup arborio rice and stir until toasty. Pour in 1/2 – 3/4 cup white wine and stir until bubbly. Don’t get sick of the stirring yet, I swear it isn’t bad!

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ready for more liquid

When you stir and the liquid does not rush back into the middle (above) you are ready for more liquid. (This is the case with the rest of the process) Add 2 ladels of broth mixture (needs to be hot) stir a few times and let heat. You don’t need to stir the entire time either. I usually give it a few stirs, then let it go for a bit. A perfect time to go chop some mushrooms and thyme. When it is ready for more liquid, add a few more ladels, tasting along the way to check on the rice.

I sauteed the mushrooms separately – 1 8 oz package of baby bellas – and set aside when finished.

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stir and heat

Once the rice is done cooking it should be very creamy. Now is the time to fold in the sauteed mushrooms, 2 Tbsp chopped thyme and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. (I used the leftover pecorino pepato leftover from my sizzled sage pasta)

While I was stirring, the taster cooked some chicken thighs. Why thighs? My girl Rach had some going and I thought I would try. He simply cooked in some olive oil with salt and pepper. It tasted so good. I’m not a huge chicken person but these are from Whole Foods and (taster, are you listening??) I think the great flavor has something to do with the fact that it is not pumped with antibiotics, not fed crazy things and is raised in a humane way.

Expect to see more risotto this winter – I heart it lots.

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Note: the first time I made risotto I used brown rice. It did not even remotely work. If anyone has done it using brown rice I would love to hear how!

typical day of eats

Since I don’t post everything I eat and it may at times seem like all I eat is cheese and pasta and drink red wine ;) I thought I would show you a day of typical eating for me:

Breakfast: I am a total egg person – it seems that they are the only thing that keeps me from starving at 9AM. I usually have 2 Organic Eggs, greens and some Sprouted Bread. (with a side of sriracha)

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Snack: favorite of the moment, apple and almond butter – glamourous on a paper towel, no?
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Lunch:

Salad from the salad bar

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leftover sweet potato, spinach and chorizo soup

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side of veggies

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Snack: my kind of candy bar :)

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Dinner: Pick one of these.

restaurant: oceanaire

I’m lucky enough to share lovely meals with special people from time to time. Obviously one of my favorite activities :)

The tasters parents were in town for a visit last weekend and along with having some amazing meals we visited the capital, St. Peters Cathedral, made it to the Science Museum for the Titanic Exhibit, stopped by Surdyk’s (wine and cheese shop) and managed to even watch the end of the Badger Football game. All on Saturday! Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. Not to mention that I had to bust out my winter boots/shoes out of storage. Not a good day when it is early October. Thank goodness for some good food!

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Organic Greens, Maple Syrup Vinaigrette & Goat Cheese with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

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Halibut T-Bone “dirty” with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese Butter

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Chesapeake Bay Lumpmeat Crab Cakes

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Broiled Shrimp Scampi

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Asparagus with Hollandaise

The food was all delicious and the service impeccable. Oceanaire is the place to go for seafood – they have tons of fresh seafood and and endless amount of ways to have it.

PS. The taster turned 30 yesterday – Happy Birthday Taster!!!!! – so there will be lots of good food coming your way!