Doughnut Bread Pudding

I like Paula Deen. I am Southern, she is one of my people. My grandmother does not cook like Ina Garten or Giada or even Alton. She cooks like Paula. I like butter and lard and fried things and mayonnaise and cheese, and I will make no apologies for this.

With that declaration in mind, I present you with this:

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Doughnut. Bread. Pudding.

Allow me to fill in the back story. My job kind of sucks, and in an attempt to at least pretend like I enjoy it, I bring in doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. It is impossible to be in a bad mood around all that gently deep fried doughy goodness. Last Friday, I bought a dozen glazed and a dozen assorted. I still had the assorted dozen left when I left the office Friday, so I took them home to deal with later.

Sunday rolled around, and I had ten very stale doughnuts sitting on the kitchen table. So I turned to Paula. Her recipe is here. I has to adapt it for what I had on hand, and also because canned fruit cocktail is vile and disgusting. Here is the recipe, more or less:

One dozen stale doughnuts
3/4 cup toasted pecans
One can condensed milk
2 eggs
1/2-3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2-3/4 cup milk
Spices, as desired (see note below)

Roughly chop doughnuts and pecans, place in a large bowl. Whisk half the can of condensed milk, regular milk (start with 1/2 cup of each, add more if needed), buttermilk and eggs. Pour over doughnut mixture and stir to coat. Mixture should be wet, but not gloopy. If needed, add more milk. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish and bake at 350 for 40-55 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy on top.

In the meantime, on a small pot, heat other half of condensed milk until caramel colored. Thin with milk if needed. Salt to taste. Serve over bread pudding.

Finished product:

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Note: my doughnuts included four pumpkin cake, two chocolate cake, three glazed and one chocolate iced glazed. Thanks to the pumpkin, I only needed a little cinnamon and chili powder. Depending on your doughnut composition, you might want to adjust.

pecan pancakes and high class mimosas

I am EXTREMELY picky about my pancakes.  I like them fluffy, slightly sweet, and with pancakes and real grade B maple syrup.  I do not like them dense, undercooked, with “pancake” syrup (whatever the hell that is), or with fruit.

Because of these proclivities, I rarely ever make pancakes, because I get so disappointed when they don’t turn out right.  Better to have them at Tex and Shirley’s, the Old Pancake House, or one of my grandfathers (both of whom mastered the art of pancakes and set me up with a pancake perfection complex as a small child.)

I woke up Sunday morning craving pancakes.  Sundays, as I’ve mentioned, are usually spent at the bar at Vinoteca with ADM.  Unfortunately, she and I have been there so much we’ve eaten everything on the brunch menu several thousand times over.  So we’re boycotting until they change up a little.  Anyway, she called and asked about brunch plans, and we decided I would make pancakes, and she would supply maple syrup, OJ, the paper, and a bottle of champagne.

I should stop here to point out that:

1) the bottle of champagne she brought over was  probably a little to high falutin’ for mimosas, but that’s how we roll

2) the previous Sunday at brunch, one of ADM’s friends showed up with a tupperware full of spiced nuts (go ahead, get the jokes out now) for each of us.

She came over and the pancakes commenced.  I’m sure it doesn’t amaze anyone to know that the winning recipe came from…Cook’s Illustrated!  I’ve reproduced it below (shhh, don’t tell them) along with a recipe for spiced pecans.  Our friend’s is a family recipe, so the one below is one my grandfather tried out on us over Christmas.  The pancakes were fluffy and amazing, and cooked in no time in my nonstick skillet.  I’m glad they turned out well, because the cinnamon rolls from the day before were an unmitigated disaster.

Pancakes

(from Cook’s Illustrated)

Note: be sure not to let the batter sit for more than an hour before using.  In fact, use immediately if at all possible

1 cup all purpose flour (I used White Lily, the jewel of the south)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg, separated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup spiced pecans

1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix milk and buttermilk in a small bowl and whisk in egg white.  Combine butter and egg yolk (stir quickly if the butter is warm, I melted in the microwave and mixed in the same bowl) and add mixture to milks and egg white.  Dump into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When a drop of water “confidently sizzles” (actual phrasing from recipe) in skillet, pour batter in 1/4 cup at a time.  Wait for the edgest to brown and the middle to bubble (2 min) and flip.  Cook 1-2 minutes on other side and serve with lots of butter and maple syrup (Grade B only please)

Sweet and Spicy pecans
From Parade, by Dorie Greenspan (via my grandfather)

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 egg white
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Beat the egg white lightly with a fork in a larger bowl; toss in the pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mix and coat pecans evenly. Using your fingers, one by one lift the pecans out of the bowl and transfer to a baking sheet, separating them as best you can. Discard any leftover sugar egg mix.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer to another baking sheet, breaking pecans apart as necessary; let cool completely. Kept covered in a dry place, pecans will stay fresh for 5 days.

lasagna

One of my roommates asked me just now if I had recently cleaned my cast iron skillet.  Or, as he called it, “the iron thing”.  He asked because he said he likes to wipe it out, for “dust reasons” if it hadn’t been cleaned recently.  I find this to be a hilarious inquiry, because this is the same roommate who

1) cleans out the bathroom once a semester, and feels that is perfectly acceptable.  I repeat, that means the bathroom is cleaned two, maybe three times a year.

2) just before asking me that ridiculous question, he took down his rice cooker.  WHICH HAD RICE LEFT IN IT FROM THE LAST TIME HE COOKED. WHICH WAS AT LEAST A WEEK AGO. That’s right, my cleanliness is being called into question by someone who left rice sitting in the rice cooker on top of the cabinets for days.

The irony.

Anyway, getting back to the title of the post, I made lasagna tonight.  I love lasagna, because I love tomato sauce, because it’s a great clean out the fridge meal.  I try to keep crushed tomatoes around, and I usually toss in whatever vegetables (in this case, an onion, some garlic, and half an orange bell pepper) I have around.  I happened to have mozzarella in the fridge, leftover from pizza last week.

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Voila!  Also, it gave me a reason to whip out my lovely little Le Creuset baking dishes again.

Skyr

So it took me a while to learn how to eat yogurt.  My mother was NOT on the low-fat bandwagon, and until recently, full fat yogurt was not something readily available in the wilds of North Carolina (where they have full fat everything else).  So I didn’t really start eating yogurt of any sort until the end of high school.

img00138Which brings me to today.  Last weekend, while doing my first major grocery shop in about 6 months, I happened across Siggi’s skyr in Whole Foods.  I vaguely remembered a metrocurean post about it, and decided to pick up the plain and orange-ginger.

Verdict?

It takes some getting used to.  I was expecting something along the lines of Greek yogurt, but this is skim, and I usually buy the full fat or 2% Greek yogurt, so the mouthfeel, while still very creamy, is a little different.  The orange isn’t overwhelming, but it’s still a bit more tart that I was prepared for.  I’m about halfway through it at this point, and have decided that I like it, although it’s different.  I think it’s still on sale at Whole Foods, so give it a whirl and tell me what you think.

chicken tikka masala

As i’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on vacation since December 24th.  Which means I’ve been cooking a lot.  Last night it was pasta and chocolate pudding (post to come) with Ace, Tuesday night was homemade pizza, and Monday night-  chicken tikka masala.

chicken-tikka

That was all that was left

I got the recipe from my new best friend, Cook’s Illustrated and had an impropmtu dinner party with Emmzzee, one of my roommates, and the Snow Queen.  Emmzzee and I decided we needed to tinker a little- more heat, and up the garam masala and perhaps toast it a little longer.  Unfortunately, the chicken was supposed to be broiled, but for some reason my oven doesn’t broil so much.  So I tossed it in a nonstick skillet- I’ll be glad when it warms up a little bit and I can toss the chicken on the grill.

The recipe was dead simple- mix yogurt with garlic, ginger and some spices.  Broil.  Meanwhile, sautée onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala and other spices.  Add a can of tomatoes, the chicken (chopped in 1-inch chunks) and simmer.  Add some heavy cream and serve over rice.