Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cooking Lessons

The house smelled delicious yesterday!  But it didn’t smell like bacon.  It smelled like blueberries and cherries.  It was like walking outside into the uninterrupted space of god.
As you know, I made a Blueberry-Cherry Bread Pudding yesterday.  That isn’t really where that story ends.  You see, I learn something new every day, a new lesson that can take me through my life, if I choose to see it.  And cooking is no exception.  Part of me, the part I didn’t disclose, started this blog to remember these lessons.  I have found that the small mistakes and victories in the kitchen often give way to thought about the world outside.
And yesterday was no different.  Yesterday, the bread pudding was coming along great!  I made homemade preserves rather than buying them at the store in a jar as the recipe suggested.  I cut an entire loaf of French Bread into small cubes.  I was ready to go! 
So I sat down, took a break.  That was at 3 yesterday afternoon.  I turned on my computer and wrote a blog.  I tooled around on Facebook.  I read the news.  I watched some of the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family.  At 5 or so, I got up, returned the kitchen to put it together, to put it in the oven.  I got the milk mixture together, poured it over the cubes of French Bread I so carefully cut and placed in perfect rows two hours previous.  That’s when I saw it.  Right there in the directions.

Where I had to stop...
  Cover and chill for eight hours.
EIGHT hours?
It will be 1 a.m. in eight hours!
What do I do now? 
Toss it all down the drain? 
Throw it in the trash? 
Lie in the fetal position and gave a good cry?
No.  Put it together.  Cover and put it in the refrigerator and have a good night, in spite of myself.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I reconciled to cook it this morning when I got home from yoga.  That will be over eight hours.  It will be more like 20 hours!  Will it be okay?  I guess there is only one way to know for sure.
As I was putting it together, still considering dumping the whole thing in the sink, I realized the lesson.  Read.  Read the entire recipe though.  I have this habit of reading the ingredients carefully, making my shopping list of items needed.  I then skim the directions.  How long does it have to be in the oven?  Do I have the right kind of pan?  Okay, done.
...and this morning.
Taking shortcuts doesn’t always give a desired end result.  Directions in recipes are not very long, there is no reason I can’t read them in their entirety, the first time.  Even if they were long, there is no reason to not know exactly what I’m in for once I get started in this cooking adventure.  I am so obsessive about every detail in my life, why not here as well?
Had I done that before starting yesterday, I would have been able to finish the bread pudding.  Granted, it would have been late, however, it would have been done.
It turns out, 20 hours is not too long to cover and chill.  I finished it this morning.  And it was delicious.  It kind of tastes like blueberry french toast. 
I made bread pudding!
Lesson learned.  Take the time.  Look at life from all angles.  Don't take shortcuts. 

Now, having nearly two full weeks without the amazing smell of bacon in my house, I had to rectify.  I made a bacon wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes tonight for dinner.  I used a friend’s recipe, and combined it with a recipe I found online.  It was amazing. 
Alas, the house still smells like bacon.  And life is good.
Dinner tonight.

Blueberry Bread Pudding (July 9 and 10, 2011. Delicious!)

1 (16-ounce) French bread loaf, cubed
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
6 large eggs
4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 (10-ounce) jar blueberry preserves  (see below)

Arrange half of bread cubes in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Sprinkle evenly with cream cheese and 1 cup blueberries; top with remaining bread cubes.
Whisk together eggs, 4 cups milk, sugar, butter, and maple syrup; pour over bread mixture, pressing bread cubes to absorb egg mixture.
Cover and chill 8 hours.
Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 more minutes or until lightly browned and set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Stir together remaining 2 cups blueberries and blueberry preserves in a saucepan over low heat until warm.
Serve blueberry mixture over bread pudding. Garnish, if desired.

(Southern Living)

Blueberry Preserves

(July 9, 2011.  What I made for the Bread Pudding.  I couldn't bring myself to use a jar from the store.)

5 cups fresh blueberries, stemmed and washed
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a large stainless pot.
Cook to the jell point or until desired thickness is reached.
Stir frequently.
Ladle into clean hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath



  1. Wow, your post just made my cravings go crazy!!! So happy that you stopped by my blog. Never stop making your readers' mouths water with hunger! Good luck on your cooking endeavors! :-)

  2. What a bummer about the bread..but the bacon wrapped meatloaf? Oh my, that sounds heavenly! Thanks for finding and following my blog, I am now a new follower of both your blogs. Look forward to learning more about you :)

  3. Love your blog..Great title..!

    Visit My Blog
    LIKE my page  

  4. glad it worked out! I like your description of the smell - uninterrupted space of god - just perfect.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...