Last week was a loser in a literal sense. The first thing to mysteriously vanish was the sharpening sheath for my favorite small kitchen blade. Since the knife and the sheath never left the kitchen, it simply had to be somewhere.
We looked everywhere we could think of and it didn’t turn up. Garry was sure he’d seen it earlier that day and it was bound to reappear soon. It didn’t.
Then, somehow, we lost the remote for the sound bar on the television. This meant that — horror of horrors — we would have to get up to turn it on and change the audio level. I was glad I’d insisted on getting equipment that actually has buttons. So many things are made now without manual controls, so if you misplace your remote, you are dead in the water. In your canoe with no paddles. You can buy replacement remotes for pretty much everything, but it will cost you. Some are really expensive. Even the not-so-expensive ones are not cheap.
In the course of the week, we discovered getting up and walking to the TV to press the button was not as big a deal as we expected. We had to get up for each channel since some are very soft and others, way too loud. TCM can’t make up its mind — but our new Roku lowers the volume of commercials automatically.
Today we found both items — and here’s the story behind the story.
I had bought a big loaf of French bread. We didn’t eat it the day we got it, though Garry and I hit it pretty hard during late-night comedy shows. By the day before yesterday, slightly more than half a loaf remained and it was too stale to eat.
There aren’t many things you can do with leftover French bread. French toast is one. It makes terrific French toast except I don’t eat French toast these days. All that yummy maple syrup throws me into a sugar coma.
So what to do with the bread? I could throw it into the woods where something would eat it, but plain bread isn’t good for birds, though maybe the woodchuck and chipmunks would like it. Or I could throw it away.
Then I remembered Paul Prudhomme’s bread pudding. Bread pudding was a “go.” I hadn’t made it in years, but why not? I cut the bread into pudding-sized pieces, then put it into a bowl to get even staler.
PAUL PRUDHOMME’S LOUISIANA BREAD PUDDING
About 4 or 5 cups (no need for precision) stale French or Italian bread.
3 well-beaten large eggs
2 cups of milk
1-1/4 cups of sugar (NOTE: Any sugar including brown sugar is fine)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of slightly crushed UNSALTED almonds or walnuts
Beat the eggs, add to the milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and beat thoroughly. You can do it by hand or use a mixer. I decided to use the mixer. I should have done it by hand.
Put the bread in a greased 9X12 pan. Pour the liquid over the bread and mix it. You will probably need to use your hands. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, spread the raisins and nuts over the top. Bake 40 minutes at 325, then 15 minutes at 425 until the top is nicely browned and it has gotten a bit puffy. The puffiness will disappear as it cools. You can adjust timing as needed.
Remember: this isn’t a cake! It’s a pudding, so it should be moist. The original recipe calls for a lemon sauce and a whipped Chantilly cream topper, but I don’t put anything on it. It’s fine as is. While I made a few minor changes to the original recipe, it is essentially the same.
The recipe suggests using a beater for the eggs and other liquids. I have a ridiculously heavy Kitchen Aid mixer, I figured I might as well use it.
Important message: If you use a beater, remember to use the whisk, not the paddle.
Sadly, I used the paddle. This produced a tsunami of milk and spices all over my dress, the counter, the countertop oven, the floor, the cabinets, the (never used) dishwasher, the drain board – under, over, and on it. Even my socks were soaked.
Owen helped me clean up the mess. Ultimately, the kitchen ended up much cleaner than it was. I’m not sure what that proves, but surely it proves something.
This is when we found the sheath for the small knife. As the floor got washed, out it popped from the little nook between the cabinets and the big range.
I was soaked — head to toe — with milk, eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I changed so Owen could run a wash. Since he was running a load of laundry anyway, he pulled the covers off the sofas — and out popped the audio remote control. We looked there. I know I looked there. I remember Garry searching there too. But there it was, right where we looked.
And so, all that had been lost was found. Bread pudding goes great with coffee.