Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back in the Kitchen

So much is gone!
     I am back! I am cooking again! This is so exciting. Having my first home-cooked meals after a long weekend of eating out felt really good. I missed being in the kitchen - even if it was only three days. So, what did I make for my very first day back? Something ridiculously easy. Something using the only groceries I bought on my first grocery shopping trip after coming back from Boston: milk, bread, peanut butter and jam. Could any other groceries be more important? 

      I am going to have quite a collection of peanut butter and jelly recipes. But, what can I do when peanut butter and jelly is such a great combination? My friend BJG was actually talking about how he ate pb&j's at the farm he was working on over spring break and how amazing they were, and I started craving them so much (hence the grocery shopping). But I wanted something more, something special - something like this dish. So now, while staring confusedly at the pictures, you ask: What is this dish exactly? It is: Peanut butter and jelly bread pudding! 

All pretty in pink.
     I was hoping it would be utterly original. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be. But just for that little bit of hope, I didn't even bother to look it up online, and I just made up the recipe the way I wanted. Of course, my friends looked it up and killed my hope (even Food Network has made a pb & j bread pudding). Still, mine was better! It is better! (There's still a piece left. Or at least half a piece.)   

     Do you know why I know it is so good it must be one of the best? I used Strawberry preserves, so there are delicious bursts of strawberry throughout. I used enough peanut butter that it tastes like my kind of peanut butter sandwich - super peanut buttery. And, there is that extra something I never even thought of. I used the bread I had on hand, which was Arnold's wheat bread with "Ancient Grains" (yes, that's actually what it is called). First of all, this made the pudding taste Exactly like my peanut butter sandwiches because I never buy white bread anyway. Those Ancient Grains though, they were the best little surprise. Crunchy and slightly savory, they undercut the sweet denseness of the pudding in the best possible way. I do love good food. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread Pudding 

4 slices Wheat Bread with Grains, slightly stale is best (but I used half fresh and half stale...)  
1 1/2 cup Milk 
3/4 cup Peanut Butter 
1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves (or your favorite jam) 
2 Eggs, Beaten  
2 tbsp Sugar 

     Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and butter a loaf pan. Then, crumble the four pieces of bread into a bowl so they are in about 1/2 inch pieces. In a separate medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, jam or preserves, milk, eggs, and sugar together. (I suggest an electric beater if you have one, it is hard to mix peanut butter into liquid with a spoon -- I ended up using my hands.) Dump the pieces of bread into the liquid and turn them so they are all soaking in liquid. Cover and let it rest for half an hour or until most of the liquid has soaked into the bread. Then, pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hr (until the top looks firm and is not liquidy anymore). Let cool on a wire rack for ten minutes. Cut slices or scoop out portions, and eat! 

No comments:

Post a Comment