Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fresh From the Garden Bread Pudding

The weather has been picture perfect beautiful this week. Mild temperatures, low humidity, gentle breezes - it's what everyone wishes the weather was like more frequently around here.  My garden looked lush and full of promise with ripening fruits dangling from the tomato plants and the squash seemingly producing new fruit, ready to eat, every day.

Then Chuck showed up.
What's left of my squash plants
Chuck's Hidey Hole Behind my House
In a single day, Chuck managed to eat most of the leaves off of my squash plant, the tops of my cucumber plants, 2 entire parsley plants, a lemon basil plant, and what few tomatoes the chipmunks haven't already eaten.  We ran into each other three separate times that day and neither one of us was none to happy to see the other.

On day two I headed to Copley Feed for some fox urine, which as one of my friends so aptly put it, is supposed to give groundhogs the heeby jeebies. Sold out. As was the garden center. Apparently Chuck had been fox peed out of other gardens leaving me as the hostess of his new favorite salad bar. I ended up buying a couple of other spray concoctions one of which contained herb oils and putrescent eggs. Mmmmmm.

Day three as I headed to gym I spied some road kill. Apparently Chuck headed down to the gas station for a six-pack and some smokes and didn't look both ways before crossing the road. Unfortunately as I started typing this post I spied out of the corner of my eye one of his kin bolting across my back yard. Sadly Bill Murray was not behind him with a golf club.

Tonight's supper was inspired by a stale partial loaf of ciabatta bread I bought at the farmer's market, one of my few remaining yellow squash, and survey of garden and CSA bits and pieces that need to be eaten.

Bread puddings aren't just for dessert. A savory bread pudding is the perfect way to use up stale bread, some vegetables, meat and cheese. With milk and eggs as on hand staples, you can pretty much come up with a different combination every time.

Fresh From the Garden Bread Pudding

Fresh From the Garden Bread Pudding

Sturdy leftover stale bread - cut or torn into approximately 1" pieces - enough to cover the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13 or 1 1/2 quart oval dish
1 T. olive oil
Chopped onion, shallot, or leeks - a cup or so
Couple of cloves of garlic, chopped
Other fresh or leftover cooked veggies (I used a small pepper, an ear of corn, stripped off,  a small yellow squash, and four chopped plum tomatoes)
Meat, if you are in the mood - bacon, pancetta, ham, leftover roast beef, pork or chicken
Fresh herbs - I used basil
Cheese - a cup to a cup and a half of shredded cheese of choice (I used smoked mozzarella tonight)
1 c. milk (half and half, cream, whatever you've got)
6 eggs at room temperature (or put in a bowl of warm water while you prep the rest)
Salt and Pepper

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of your dish with butter. Put the bread cubes in the dish.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic a few minutes until it begins to soften. Season with salt and peppers. Add your other raw veggies and saute for a few minutes. Season again. Put the vegetables (and any cooked meat you're using) on top of the bread cubes in the dish. Top with desired chopped herb(s).

Whisk the milk, eggs, and a teaspoon of kosher salt and several grinds of fresh pepper together.

Pour the milk mixture over the bread and add the shredded cheese. Toss to combine everything.

Bake on the center rack from 25 - 35 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown. Insert a knife blade in the center to check if custard is set.


  1. And to think, I had waffles for dinner. I really should learn to cook some day. ;-)

  2. Oh I love ciabatta bread and this bread pudding looks very tempting! Love that your squash is fresh from your garden.


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