Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Cool Evening Meal

Things are heating up in Desertville after a slightly extended winter. The oven is soon going to be put out to pasture for the summer. But we had an overcast day that kept temperatures low, so I took advantage of it to make a savory bread pudding with mushrooms and veggie sausage.

This dish owes it's place in my menu to my mother in law. Every Christmas, she makes huge pans of strata with thick bread, lots of ham (not for us, of course), cheese, and chiles. Hugely popular, especially with Husband who has a short list of iconic "my Mom makes it" dishes. Sometimes I do the true strata, but when that feels too fussy, I go for a bread pudding.

Husband was off for the day, so I had some free time to cook. The oven needed to do double duty to make the extra heat worth it. After getting the bread and veggies soaking in milk and eggs, I turned my hand to some lovely beets. I'll post that artful adventure soon.

The finished product was brown and crisp and well-received.

We ate the pudding with creamed spinach and the cranberry sauce my MIL always serves with her strata. It is a surprisingly perfect foil for the richness of a cheesy strata. I faked a whole berry sauce by simmering some dried crans in orange juice for a few minutes and then stirring them into the jelly that was my only option at the store.

Stay tuned for adventures in beet land.

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