Comfort, finding sources of comfort, is all some people have been able to think about this week. I happened to find comfort from the storm and the marathon cancellation with my family. Comfort can often be found in food as evidenced by the 100 pieces of Halloween candy I have eaten this week, not just the nourishment, but the time spent and the togetherness when eating.
Prior to Sandy’s arrival, I cooked up a storm. Not knowing how bad some places would get hit, preparing was more like going camping, gathering lots of tasty food and wine, a travel Scrabble in case we lost power, and other things to get us through.
Looking through my Wine & Food Affair cook book, I saw a recipe for a tomato bread pudding, thought it sounded amazing and also like something we could eat at room temperature if we lost power. I decided to whip up my own version. I would make this all winter, and luckily with access to greenhouse tomatoes like Backyard Farms, it’s possible.
4 large tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 large baguette
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk
4 large eggs
1 cup shredded parmesan or other cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto
Cut tomatoes into chunks, spread out in pie plates, and roast at 400 until they begin to shrink. Once tomatoes have started to shrink/look wrinkled, remove from oven and set aside.
At the same time you can get your roasted garlic ready. Simply chop off the top of a head of garlic, drizzle in olive oil, wrap in foil, and pop into the oven. When you start to smell the garlic, it’s done. Just keep an eye on it; burnt garlic is not a good thing!
Chop your roasted garlic, and set aside.
Rip bread into big chunks, ensuring that the soft inner pieces are really exposed to let the cream/egg mixture soak in.
Mix milk, cream, garlic, cheese, and pesto, pour over bread and toss to coat everything. Add in tomatoes and toss again.
Bake at 350 until bread looks golden brown and top is set, sort of like a custard. Serve with a green salad.
One of the things I love about this bread pudding is that it can be altered for the season. I almost made it with squash, swapping the pesto for some sage. I could also see it being delicious with fresh summer corn. It’s certainly not super healthy, but there are times when comfort comes first. This week has been one of those times.
I hope you are all staying warm and safe during the bad weather predicted today!