Tuesday, January 18, 2011
what I cooked for the holidays pt 1
Thanksgiving at Aunt Cathy's
So I know no one wants to talk about holiday feasts in January, but.... I figure that since I've already killed off my limited pool of readers by over a month of silence, I may as well commit Thanksgiving and Christmas to posterity for my own peace of mind. But I promise I'll keep it brief.
I had two Thanksgiving dinners. First Mom and Aunt Cathy and I made the traditional Stetts family dinner the Monday before the big day. This involves mashed potatoes, my gravy, mom's cranberry sauce, green beans, carrots and turkey with Grandma's buttery onion-celery-white-and-wheat-bread stuffing on the side. The one updated dish we make is Mark Bittman's garlicky sweet potatoes, which Aunt Cathy introduced to widespread acclaim in 1999, when Bittman published his three hour Minimalist Thanksgiving. It's a huge improvement on the traditional marshmallow smothered variety, if you ask me!
I concluded the evening with a rather lemony apple pie. I rather overworked the dough, but it wasn't too too tough and I did make some beautiful cut out shapes to decorate the top of the pie with. It was good, but I've since reopened my search for the perfect apple pie.
as american as apple pie
What I would like to talk a little bit more at length about is this pumpkin bread pudding. I made this to bring to Nathan's stepmom's house later in the week, where it was quickly devoured the night before the big day by his step sister's friends.
raisin-studded kabocha squash bread pudding
Upon reflection, I realize that bread pudding is really the same thing as baked French toast, but since baked French toast is awesome, that doesn't seem like a problem to me. Bread pudding is pretty easy, and I used this recipe as a guide.
For my Thanksgiving specific bread pudding, I took the lead from this recipe, only I used roasted kabocha squash puree instead of that of a traditional orange pumpkin. Because kabocha squash is also called pumpkin, I called it a pumpkin bread pudding, otherwise Nathan would have been unfairly prejudiced against it. When he told me how good it was, I crowed triumphantly, having successfully overcome his silly vendetta against squash.
french toast by day, bread pudding by night
But really, if anything could make one a squash lover, it's a squashy bread pudding rich with milk, eggs, vanilla bean infused rum and cinnamon, studded with raisins, sprinkled with crunchy sugar, baked until crisp on top and fluffy on the inside, and drizzled with maple syrup. Mmmm mmmm. I'm looking forward to next Thanksgiving already!