Day 73: “Comfort Foods Fast”
March 14, 2011
This winter I have made more comfort foods than I have ever made in my life. I think winter has been unusually harsh this year and all that I am able to do is to make more comfort food. I think our collective waistbands as a country has expanded a bit too much this winter! So maybe that is why I have been attracted to cookbooks with the word “Comfort” in the title. Everyone has a different image pop into mind when they hear the words comfort food. I think homemade mac and cheese, my oldest thinks anything made out of chocolate and my son’s girlfriends thinks mashed potatoes. If you think of bread pudding, then this post is for you.
Another cookbook with comfort food…..but this twist is comfort food fast! Because when you are in need of comfort food you typically need it fast. I love the dedication in this book, “This book is dedicated, with much love and care, to all gourmets who are fond of Grandma’s cooking but would enjoy it even more if it wer updated and simplified”. Well said! Plenty of pictures and very unique recipes.
The Ruling: It was good and easy to make. I think I like my bread pudding with a hint of rum in it. I used cinnamon bread to make this with and we served it with some vanilla ice cream. It is a good way to use up old apples too!
Apple Bread Pudding, page 157
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups warm milk
- 4 cups cubed whole wheat bread (about 6 slices)
- 2 apples, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or sugar
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the sugar with the water and lemon juice over medium-high heat until the mixture forms a golden syrup, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not stir. Pour the caramel sauce into a baking dish, and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
- Alternatively, the caramel sauce can be prepared in a microwave oven in a deep 4-cup glass or ceramic baking dish. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in the baking dish. Microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sauce is a rich caramel color.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk and the bread cubes. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the bread. Stir in the apples, vanilla extract and maple syrup or sugar.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack; unmold and spoon ice cream or whipped cream over.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com . Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.
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What isn’t to love about a slow-cooked meal? It means we are home for several hours. It means that we are taking the time to keep our eye on the pot on the kitchen. For me, it means my whole family will be home for a meal. I love taking the time to prepare those meals that take just a bit longer. This cookbook is full of ones that inspire a lazy day at home…..coq au vin…..braised pork chops a la mapolitaine….and what I made, Cincinnati chili.
I had been to a chili cook off earlier and the week and I was treated to some great versions of chili. It really made me open my eyes to the possibilities of chili. The award-winning chili from that event can be found here where the winner was “Olivia & Keena’s Mexican Chocolaty Chili”, but my favorite was “Miles Pork Picadillo Chili”. I need to make that Pork one this week.
So it should be no surprise that I wanted to make a chili in one of my cookbooks. I have been to Cincinnati twice. I have tried their chili, but the problem is, I can’t remember what it tasted like. My sister is going to have to make this recipe and let us know if it tastes authentic. I do remember that I thought it was strange that they serve their chili on top of spaghetti. But after making this, I realized the consistency is perfect for spaghetti sauce.
Chili is one of those things that people have a favorite and they are pretty religious about it. It seems like the chili that you grew up with is the one that you stand up for as an adult. My memories of chili was using saltines with butter on them and dipping them in the chili…..yum. For some it is a chili with beans or without beans. For some it is the meat that defines the chili…..ground beef….shredded pork….chopped round steak…..chicken chunks. For some it is all about the heat level. This is not a four alarm chili, not even a two alarm chili. This my friends is a sweet chili. With hints of all sort of flavors, you are not quiet sure where to point at for the flavor. One friend that I had taste it said it had an over powering taste of bay leaf….he was right! I had just opened up a new jar of bay leaves and when I opened the jar I thought to myself, “so this is what a bay leaf is supposed to smell like”!
The recipe calls for a few things that I wasn’t so sure about. Such as place the ground beef in 4 cups of water and cook. I had never heard of such a things. But I guess there are people doing it out there as a friend of mine knew someone who prepared her ground beef that way. The other thing that was hard is that it asked for whole cloves and whole allspice. So when I gave someone a bowl, it was with the warning of watch out for the all spice and cloves! If you are adventurous you will love this chili. If you are a traditionalist, you will probably no like this chili. However if you are from Cinciannti……let me know if you love this chili.
Cincinnati Chili, page 34
- 2 pounds beef chuck, shoulder-blade, or brisket, coarsely ground
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1/4 cup grated bittersweet chocolate
- 2 to 4 tablespoons commercial chili powder
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 whole allspice
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put the meat and 4 cups water into a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Stir and bring to a boil on medium high heat; skim and discard the foam that rises on top. Reduce the heat and simmer the meat uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the tomato sauce and all the other ingredients into the beef. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Cover the pot and simmer for another hour, stirring once in a while. It can be made ahead of time.
- To serve: Reheat the chili over moderate heat.
To Joyful Simplified Living,