Tag Archives: baked

Three-Cheese Spinach and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

22 Nov

Well, that’s a mouthful. I basically listed all the ingredients you need to make this dish in the title. Anyway. Bobby and I made this (plus an obligatory apple pie) for a pseudo-Thanksgiving potluck when he came to visit last weekend. We actually didn’t have any of the ingredients necessary to make this dish, so we winged it.

I’m going to list the ingredients I used, but I would highly recommend checking out the original recipe for the real thing. It’s pretty funny when you compare the two recipes, actually.

Three-Cheese Spinach and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
Adapted quite liberally from Ezra Pound Cake

1 large butternut squash
3 tbsp olive oil
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tbsp white wine
liberal dash of oregano
1 week-old baguette, cubed (I would not recommend leaving your baguette out for this long. It’s really hard to cut.)
salt and pepper to taste
half an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
squirt of Sriracha sauce
1 1/2 lbs fresh spinach, chopped
3 handfuls of Trade Joe’s three-cheese mix (cheddar, Asiago, and something else I can’t remember)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seed and guts. Brush tops with olive oil and bake face-up on a cookie sheet for 30-45 minutes, until soft. The original recipe said to peel the squash and cut into cubes prior to baking, but I hate peeling butternut squash with a passion. They’re slippery little buggers. And the cubes degrade into mush when you mix it into everything else anyway.


Meanwhile, beat the eggs and mix in the heavy cream, wine, and oregano. Dump in your bread cubes and mix to coat. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. My bread had poppy seeds that we tried to scrape off, with moderate success. Don’t accidentally buy a poppy seed baguette, kids.

By this time, your squash should be nice and soft. Grab a spoon or a heat-resistant boyfriend and scoop out the flesh. You’ll want smaller chunks than in the picture below, else you’ll be munching on humongo pieces all dinner. Not that that’s always a bad thing.

Decrease the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up the rest of your olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Add spinach and cover for about a minute. The greens should be wilted, but not bodiless mush.

With a slotted spoon, transfer a layer of cream-soaked bread into a well-buttered baking dish. Add a layer of spinach and another of squash, then cover with a layer of cheese. Repeat until you run out of ingredients, then pour on the remaining egg ‘n cream.


Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the custard has set. Om nom nom nom…

I wasn’t a huge fan of the bread pudding part because, well, it was my first time eating bread pudding. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so mushy. The spinach and butternut squash were incredibly tasty with cheese, though.

Length of Procrastination: 1.5 hours

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Nachos and Southwestern “Chicken” Wrap

7 Jun

A lot has happened in the few months since our last post, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Cambridge got hot. And muggy. Gross.
  2. Bobby turned 27.
  3. I graduated college.

This post has nothing to do with any of them, but I just thought I’d let you know. There’s an ice cream cake post coming in the near future that has to do with #2, but more on that later.

Bobby and I were feeling southwestern the other day, so we made nachos…

…and southwestern “chicken” wraps. If there’s one thing those veggie meat manufacturers do well, it’s imitating chicken. I’ve been vegetarian for just long enough to barely remember what chicken tastes like, but Bobby confirmed my assessment. 

Yup, definitely chicken-y.

Anyway, we didn’t really have a recipe for either of these things, so we just winged it. And you know what? TASTINESS ENSUED.

(+one more wrap picture)

Veggie Chili Nachos

Ingredients:

Chips
Shredded cheese (we used “Mexican Blend” from Trader Joe’s)
Vegetarian ground meat

We piled the chips in a pan, put the cheese and veggie meat on top, and baked in a toaster oven for a bit, until the cheese looked bubbly.

Southwestern “Chicken” Wrap

Ingredients:

Sliced cucumbers
Alfalfa sprouts
Veggie chicken strips
Corn salsa
Flour tortilla

We lightly sautéed the chicken strips, then piled everything in the tortilla. Wrap it up and om nom nom nom.

(What do you mean the wrap’s not southwestern? It’s….it’s got salsa in it! That’s southwestern, right? Right?! Whatever. It’s my blog and I’ll call it whatever I want. :D)

Length of Procrastination: 20 minutes

Garlic Bread (No French Bread Necessary!)

29 Jun

Bobby’s off to Serbia for the Summer World University Games (basically the collegiate Olympics), so Christine will be holding down the fort in his absence. I apologize in advance.

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For weeks, I’ve been hearing the siren call of bread-baking. The frothy yeast and rising dough held an allure that I just couldn’t ignore. But little things kept getting in the way. A lack of flour here, a sprinkle of laziness there, and weekends kept passing me by.

Last Thursday, though, I finally popped my bread cherry. Yeast cherry. Rising dough cherry. Whatever. The point is, I baked bread with yeast and the dough rose. (Please bear with me–I seem to be catching a cold.)

Garlicky Goodness Bread
Modified from BitterSweet

Ingredients
1.5 heads garlic (use more or less depending on your desired garlic level)
cooking spray or olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
3 – 4 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the heads of garlic and peel off the papery outer skin. Spray garlic with cooking spray or drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and wrap everything up in aluminum foil. Stick it in the oven for about 35 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then toss into blender with butter. Fail at blending, learn your lesson, purchase a food processor, and blend into a smooth paste. Purchasing a food process is optional. I just kept scraping down the sides and bottom of the blender with a spoon. This took awhile.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and water, and then sprinkle over the yeast. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes until frothy. Add in the salt, garlic paste, chopped parsley, and the first 3 cups of flour. I mixed it by hand, but if you have a stand mixer, by all means use the dough hook. I envy you. The dough should be very slightly sticky, but not so wet that bits come off in your hands. If it still seems too wet, add in more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach the right consistency.

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Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. This actually took me 20 minutes because I kept stopping to check on the banana bread simultaneously baking in the oven. Lesson: if you’re tired of kneading, taking breaks is okay. Lightly grease a large bowl, and drop the ball of dough in. Cover with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume. At this point, I stuck it in the fridge and went out to do something productive (I can’t remember what it was). This is okay, but your dough will be slightly wet on the bottom after you take it out. I had to knead in a little more flour, so I let the dough re-rise for about 30 minutes.

Once risen, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface again and shape as desired. I made a loaf. Lightly grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan, and place your shaped loaf inside. Give the top a quick spritz with cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil, and let rise for another hour, until it’s peaking out from above the rim by about an inch or so.

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Once it seems to be almost fully risen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, until golden brown all over.

The original recipe says that you’re supposed to let the bread cool completely before you cut into it, but patience has never been one of my virtues. We tore into the poor loaf.

The crumb of this bread was much denser than your average loaf of Wonderbread, and I imagine it’s because I re-kneaded the dough after letting it rise, thereby defeating the purpose of the rising. Next time, I’ll skip doing all the productive stuff and just pay attention to my bread. The garlic taste was fainter than I imagined it would be, perhaps because I lost a lot of paste in the blending step.

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Length of procrastination: About 4 hours 45 minutes, but with a lot of downtime.

Ways to prolong procrastination: Bake the bread in a small toaster oven instead of a conventional oven. It’ll take over 50 minutes, I tell you.

Flat Banana Bread

25 Jun

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I found bananas at Haymarket last weekend for $1/10 bananas. Why any one single person would ever want ten bananas is beyond me, but I saw the slightly bruised beauties and immediately thought BANANA BREAD. After much internal struggle to decide whether chocolate chip banana bread or raisin+walnut banana bread is better, I caved and just made both. The recipe I followed yields enough batter for three mini-loaves, but I guess Bobby’s two full-sized loaf pans were too big for the batter. The result? Two rather flat loaves of banana bread.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips or Raisin and Walnuts
Modified from The Delicious Life

Ingredients
1¾ cups + 2 Tbsp flour (I ran out of AP flour after a cup and made up the rest with self-rising flour)
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
3 small mashed overripe bananas (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (or, 1/3 cup skim milk + a few squirts of lemon juice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
splash of vanilla extract
handful of chocolate chips, raisins, and walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix dry and wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms.

Grease and flour two loaf pans. This is important because if you don’t, your bread won’t want to come out of the pan. Observe:

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Divide batter among loaf pans and stir in desired ingredients (chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, baby fingers, etc.). Bake for 35 minutes or until deeply golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sadly, all of my chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the batter and I ended up with essentially a layer of chocolate and a layer of bread. Fortunately, the flatness of the bread makes it so you can take a vertical bite and get both flavors in a single mouthful. “But the chocolate chips are all on the top of the bread in the following picture!” you say? That’s because the loaf is upside-down, silly. My bad.

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All in all, this banana bread is pretty tasty. The chocolate chip loaf was a little too sweet, so next time I’ll have to cut back on the sugar. It’s a very moist, cake-y bread, and perhaps a little too chewy for my taste. Perhaps I’ll shorten the baking time  and add a little more baking powder for more leavening power next time.

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes prep + 35 minutes baking

Ways to prolong procrastination: Count the number of B’s used in this blog post. Or, make garlic bread simultaneously. (Guess what the next post will be about!)

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