Archive for December, 2012

December 18, 2012

Savory Bread Pudding – Christmas Menu Must Have

It just hit me today that Christmas starts this weekend.  Wow.  How did that happen?  And how is it a surprise every year?  I have to say that I am super excited.  All of my shopping is done and the menu is planned.  Now I just have to impatiently wait.

We got the opportunity to test a couple new recipes last weekend when we had a small, intimate Christmas dinner with some friends.  It was similar to Friendsgiving but with glitter and the scent of pine!  Of course I forgot to take photos of the food.  We were too excited about consuming one of the best holiday meals we have ever had.  Photos of the dinner décor will have to do.

My favorite dish was a savory bread pudding.   I wanted a twist on the traditional stuffing.  I was a little nervous the texture would be strange, but oohhh girl.  It was so good that I am blogging about it without a photo just because you need to put it on your menu immediately.   I have eaten it every day since Saturday, and I am making it again on Christmas day.  Just writing about it makes me want to go grab a bite.

I adapted a recipe I found on West Elm’s site.  Yeah, they occasionally post recipes.  Who knew?  This should be easier to follow than my usual recipe posts since they provide actual measurements!

Leek and Prosciutto Bread Pudding

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups leeks, sliced 1/4” thick (white and light green only)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2.5 cups whole milk
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2/3 cup gruyere, shredded
  • 6 slices of prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 2 loaves of brioche or challah, cubed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • .5 cup roasted shiitake mushrooms (toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 400 until crispy)

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter over medium heat and add leeks.  Season with salt and cover.  Stir as needed.  Cook until leeks are soft, about 15 minutes.  Now season again with S&P to taste.

In a large bowl mix together the eggs, milk, cream, large pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and  cheese.  Add the leeks to the bowl and toss to combine.

In a buttered baking dish, line the dish with the bread.  Pour the mixture over the bread.  Let soak for 15 minutes.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until pudding is set and the top is brown and bubbly.

Scatter with the mushrooms, chives, and a bit of truffle oil before serving.

 

Christmas Table Christmas GarlandChristmas Ornaments

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December 16, 2012

That Awkward Moment

One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.

Do you ever hear a song playing in your head when you walk into a room?  I do occasionally.  Sometimes I feel like I have a mental soundtrack for my life.  One of those soundtrack moments happened this afternoon.  Sesame Street’s “One of these things is not like the others” was my tune of choice when the husband and I walked into a baby shower for some good friends.  It wasn’t the terrible let’s play cheesy games and humiliate the future mom kind of shower.  Thank god.  It was a couples deal with food and cocktails.  Good time.

I know you are probably thinking, “Good time and cocktails, so why do you not belong?”  Well, we walked in the front door and saw baby after baby after baby.  I think I even blurted, “Holy babies!”  There were that many.  You know how babies look kind of generic, and you could switch them out and not even notice?  There wasn’t any switcheroo going on.  There were about 8 babies there.

So the fact that we don’t have a baby was reason #1 we didn’t belong.  Reason #2 was exposed during conversation.  We realized everyone there knew everyone but us.  We were like this weird childless couple that doesn’t go to church.  Oh yeah, they all go to the same church.  Church isn’t our thing, so I am sometimes a little awkward in these situations.  I don’t know the rules in big groups.  I accidently swear or use the Lord’s name in vain just because I am hypersensitive to the fact that I shouldn’t yell SWEET BABY JESUS when a child shrieks at the top of her lungs.  Okay, I didn’t really do that.  It was more of an internal statement in my head.

I eventually got past my awkwardness, relaxed, and met some lovely people.  That was until it was gift time. Our gift was not appropriate for all crowds or all future grandmothers.  Didn’t really think about that when I chose to ditch the registry. What did the biggest, unfiltered smart asses in the room decide to bring as a gift?  Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.  Who needs nursery rhymes when you have a f**cking crying baby?

The future Dad loved it just like I knew he would.  We even got a few high fives from the other guests. Maybe we do belong!  But it was a bit of a surprise for the future grandmother. I will admit that I am still chucking to myself when I recall the look on her face when she read the book title.  Poor woman; I am sorry.  Not that sorry though.  It was priceless.

 

 

 

December 2, 2012

Christmas Crafts

Christmas crafts with poinsettias.

Some people call me a scrooge because I don’t like most Christmas decorations.  I don’t like Santa hats.  I don’t like ornaments.  I don’t even like the color red.   But I love mercury glass, glitter, small live trees, and candles.  I have the Christmas spirit; it is just a little unexpected.  We also live in a little bungalow, so I choose to have just a few things that represent the holidays.

Holidays = crafts and my first project was this morning.  I purchased a couple small poinsettias (not red ones) and came up with a different way to display them with things I had around the house.

The first step was to immediately trash the foil wrapper around the pot.  Tacky.  Then I found some small glass containers that are meant to hold candles.  Because the containers are clear glass, I had to find a way to hide the pot and dirt.  The containers are also not a perfect cylinder, so wrapping the outside of it would have been a chore.  So…I wrapped the inside!  I just used some cheap butcher paper I had in a closet.  After all that it was still looking a little boring.  I didn’t have any ribbon, but I found some fancy schmancy baker’s twine.  I gave the outside of the containers a few twirls and called it a day.  I think it is pretty cute!

 

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