Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crank Up The Flame! Clean Out The Fridge!

Well, here goes.  This is something I've wanted to do for a long time.  Some of my earliest, fondest memories were in the kitchen serving as "groundhog" for my mom or dad.  In New Orleans, kids learn to eat (and drink) early! The whole process of cooking has always created a time for bonding and sharing in our family.  In a modest, middle-class upbringing, it was the time when our only "family heirlooms" were passed along from one generation to the next - one recipe at a time.

But more than the specific dish being created in any one session, it was the LOVE of cooking that I learned.  I can't understand people who either don't like to cook or are so intimidated by it that they won't even try.  In my mind, FOOD IS ART.  There are no mistakes - well, as long as it's not burned beyond hope or simply toxic.  Just get in there, IMPROVISE, and toss some pots around.  Sometimes, mistakes are the real keepers!

And, speaking of improvising, here's what's cooking at my house on 1/1/11:

9x12 glass casserole dish
4 cups of holiday breads cut into 1 inch cubes
6 eggs
4 cups of leftover eggnog (ours has lots of booze in it - we used Pennsylvania Dutch brand)
ground nutmeg
Spread bread cubes evenly in the dish.  Whisk eggs and eggnog together and pour over the cubes.  You want the cubes to just barely be covered by the liquid.  If they aren't, whip up another egg or two with equal parts of nog and pour over the top.  Finally, sprinkle LIGHTLY with ground nutmeg.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until set.  You can serve a big square for dessert (or even breakfast) sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.  Maple syrup would be good too!  Or you can make whiskey sauce.  I haven't decided yet.  If I go with whiskey sauce, I'll post my recipe here.  If you can't wait, just google whiskey sauce. 

So, over the holidays, several folks gave us sweet breads - pumpkin bread, a lovely sweet Italian bread with currants, another raisin bread.  I wanted to use them all up before they just sat on the counter and turned into a science project.  This is what I came up with.  The bonus is that, now, we won't have that big bottle of eggnog clogging up the fridge either - till we throw it out when we discover it in the back, oh, sometime around July 4th.

Anywho, time to finish up the holiday goodies and start the New Year fresh!  I hope you'll join me on this great blogging adventure.  Meanwhile, let's eat!!


  1. I do love your cooking Cher : )
    I think this is a great idea.

  2. I love your new blog. And the bread pudding looks delicious.

    Can't wait to see some GF posts! N'awlins-style!

    Looking forward to following you as you enter into this new adventure.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Kathleen Eason Dillon

  3. Girl, I done been tellin' ya - spread the good news: your cooking! Have you ever seen me miss a holiday meal at your house? Not in 33 years and counting :-)

    Bonne Chance!