Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ina Garten's Brioche + Savoury Bread Pudding

The latest stretch of lovely, chilly, fall weather we've been enjoying has got me itching to bake!

I'm driving up to New Hampshire tomorrow to visit my parents (who are here on a very long vacation) and my grandmother (who has a sheep- for textiles only!- farm with a gorgeous mountain view). And since our freezer and fridge are overflowing with CSA goodies, I begged them to let me offload some in the form of bringing supper!

A few nights ago, over a dinner featuring, incidentally, flounder and whiting from our Cape Ann Fresh Catch fish share, I was thinking about what I'd bring tomorrow. Nothing too liquidy, as it has to travel well over MA highways and NH dirt roads; nothing too huge, as it has to fit into a cooler; nothing that I have to go grocery shopping (again) to complete; nothing that takes too long to put together or cook when I get there.

And then it came to me- a savoury bread pudding! The bread soaks up the liquid so it won't slosh all over the cooler, braising greens make it a great one-dish meal (though I usually can't manage supper without a salad, too), I can do all the prep and assembly work tonight, and it will cook in less than an hour.

One particular Epicurious recipe for Arugula, Bacon, and Gruyère Bread Pudding fit the bill perfectly, so I'm putting it together tonight.

I reeeealy didn't want to go back to the grocery store, so I went freezer-shopping and decided to use up some of our many sticks of butter on an old, easy peasy standby bread recipe that we love: Ina Garten's brioche. Instead of making rolls, you divide the dough in half, pat each piece into a 6"x8" rectangle, roll it up lengthwise, and place the pieces seam-side-down into loaf pans so they can do the final 2-hour rise. Brush with egg-water mixture, bake until golden brown and a tap on the crust produces a hollow sound, and voila! Fabulous, irresistible homemade brioche.

At the moment, the two loaves are rising. I'll bake them and then slice them into cubes, and then do a quick oven-toast because I don't have time to let them go stale naturally.

Braising greens, including arugula, will work in place of just arugula. I'll substitute parmesan for the Gruyère, too, because that's what we have. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention! With some herbed, roasted potatoes and a tomato + macerated red onion + red leafy lettuce salad, we'll have an easy, lovely cool-weather supper.

Next on my to-do-list: find a wine to go with all this food!

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