Saturday, April 15, 2017

Something Different: Guest Post: Artichoke Bread Pudding

My friend Ny posted this a while back and I just had to bring it here. I haven't tried it yet, but I drool every time I read it. Without further ado:


Okay, so this isn't the quickest or lowest fat recipe. In fact, it involves a deep frying step. But the flavor rewards are exponential.

  • 6-8 slices hearty white bread or equivalent, dried out and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups chicken stock, veggie stock, or water
  • 2 14-ounce cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot or onion (one fat shallot)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or less, I like nutmeg)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 pasilla or cubanelle pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced (charred-and-peeled is optional but tasty)
  • 2 to 4 sundried tomatoes, diced
  • about 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper, jarred or fresh
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 2 cups diced semisoft cheese (I used a mix of cheddar, swiss, and gouda,
  • since that was what was in my fridge)
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Grease a 2 quart baking pan and set aside. Turn the oven to 300F.

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat 2 inches of oil for frying. When it's hot enough, add the artichokes and immediately cover with a splatter screen -- it'll sputter a lot. Fry the artichokes on medium heat until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes (watch carefully for the last 5 minutes or so, as the transformation from bubbling to golden to burnt happens rapidly)

(You could skip this step but the browned savory flavor and creamy texture is so worth it. The tinny flavor of canning is entirely evicted. If you have fresh artichoke hearts, cook them through however you want, chop them, and use them that way.)

Meanwhile, in a 10 or 12 inch skillet, melt the butter, add the shallots, and cook over medium low heat until translucent. Add the salt, black and hot peppers, nutmeg, and thyme. Seed and dice the peppers and add them, and stir a bit and let continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and let cook a couple more minutes.

Get a large mixing bowl, and place the bread and broth in it. When the veggies are thoroughly softened, add them (and ALL the butter) to the bowl. When the artichokes are cooked, drain them briefly on paper towels, then add them to the bowl. (Eat a couple. They won't stay crisp in the pudding, but they will be richly flavorful.)

When ready, mix everything that's in the bowl. Add the parsley, cheese and eggs, mix again, and scrape into the prepared pan. Press parchment paper on the surface and bake for an hour, until cooked through. Serve hot or let cool and cut up into squares. This reheats very well and keeps for several days in the fridge.

In Which Kate Makes Things Take a Lot Longer

Hi friends, it's been way too long and I have a couple recipes to share this weekend, one from my friend Ny.

A friend posted today's recipe on Facebook. I don't use my Pinterest Page much, so I never would have come across this otherwise. 

I'm lucky. I no longer have to work two jobs to make ends meet. This means I have more time and resources, so I was able to adjust this recipe somewhat. Here's where I started:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 4-ounce can of green chiles (the author recommends El Paso. This is not a paid endorsement)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese

My ingredients list ended up a bit different, but the directions are the same. I doubled the recipe because this looked good enough to want to have again).

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves of chopped garlic (feel free to roast if you have time. I roasted because it gave the cream cheese time to soften up)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (I'm not getting paid to endorse this either, but you can probably guess the brand)
  • 2 poblanos, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried cilantro (I never seem to run out of this, I think it reproduces in the herb & spice cabinet)
  • Monterey Jack cheese
Since poblanos are pretty mild, I figured the chile powder and the jalapeno would kick it up a notch (thank you Emeril). The directions are easy. Note again that the cream cheese should be taken out of the fridge to soften a little while before you start or stirring will be a pain in the ass.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. If you don't have an oven thermometer, please buy one. When we got a new one, I discovered our oven was 30 degrees colder than the temperature I set it to. No wonder the scones took so long.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper until well-combined. I skipped the salt & pepper. Cream cheese is pretty salty, and there was plenty of pepper in the chile powder. Stir in the chiles until evenly mixed.
  3. Lay the chicken breasts flat in a baking dish--I put a little olive oil on the bottom. Cover with the chile mixture. I used two rubber scrapers for this.  Next, cover with Monterey Jack cheese. I confess I didn't measure the Jack, I just grated it over the baking dish until everything was covered.
  4. Bake (uncovered) on middle rack for 35-45 minutes (meat thermometers are your friend)
  5. Serve hot. The recipe recommends Spanish rice, potatoes, or greens. I went with black beans. 
I jazz up canned black beans as follows:
  • 1 14-ounce can of black beans
  • 1 14-ounce can low-sodium black beans
  • 2 green onions chopped (dark and light green parts only)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
Put all ingredients in a saucepan, stir well, simmer about 15 minutes or until hot.

I am firmly in the camp that black beans need a little acid to bring out their best flavor and I think that's why Nexx is so fond of them. More lime juice was definitely needed here. Nexx wanted more green onions. He says that about a lot of dishes that use them.

The chicken took about 45 minutes to reach 165 F. The Jack cheese was a beautiful golden brown:

The tortillas were very useful in scooping up cheese sauce that had escaped from under the crunch. I was very pleased with the recipe, though it is quite rich. I think more garlic next time and maybe a little more chile powder. I'd like a little more warmth to it.

Questions? Comments? Variations? Let me know!