Friday’s ‘on sale’ Bread used on Sunday

Stop and Shop, a large food retailer, one of my ‘local’ sources, has a special on loves of Italian bread on Fridays. Loaves that usually sell for two dollars a loaf, are one dollar per loaf. I think they were driven to this action by the competing Met Foods down the road which has a deal with my local Monreal bakery selling loaves of Italian and French bread for a dollar a loaf on Fridays. Any given Friday when you walk into Met Foods there is the wall of fresh baked bread aroma, and several racks of bread just rolled out into the store isles. So, with this king of Friday deal, I usually pick up two loaves, one to use right away nice and fresh. The other I leave out to use on Sunday. By Sunday, the loaf left out has dries sufficiently to make a wonderful bread pudding. Now that autumn is here, its time to break out the autumnal treats.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
  • 1 stick (1/4 cup, or 4 tbsp) butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, depending on taste preference)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of dried bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to this mixture until its lukewarm. Now, in a large bowl combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat this until its well mixed and then slowly add the milk mixture.

Place the bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with raisins if desired, and pour the batter on top of bread. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm, perhaps with egg nog or warm cider.

Indian Style Rice Pudding

What to do with left over rice? Rice pudding! This recipe is based on an Indian version of rice pudding. There is cream, and coconut, pistachios, and a little cinnamon. The sweetness of the cream and coconut milk means you do not have to put in as much of sugar or butter the many traditional rice pudding recipes call for.

Here’s what you’ll need:
• 1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 1/2 ounces golden raisins, approximately 1/3 cup
• 1 1/2 ounces chopped unsalted pistachios, approximately 1/3 cup

In a large nonstick sauce pan over medium heat, combine the cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping. Once the mixture just begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and pistachios. Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Serve chilled or at room temperature.