Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year's at Nancy's

Every year on New Year's Day our friend Nancy has a brunch for friends - It started out being a bunch of us who used to hang out at a little restaurant called the Cookie Cafe. When it closed, we no longer saw each other on Friday nights - so what better way to get together - music and food.

Now, we have added new friends and even our neighbors come out - (how is that - go half way across the county to see someone who lives two blocks away!)

Since the start we've had a preponderance of old "rock and rollers" but now there is a contingent of great bluegrass pickers & singers - nothing could be better -

This year a couple of us brought our spinning wheel. Ellen's husband is one of the bluegrass players - I brought my wheel too - everyone was very interested in what we were doing -

And it gives us all an opportunity to bring our best dishes or try a new one.

I have traditionally made Aebelskivers - which are a little round pancake made in a special pan. But when I do that, I don't get to visit with anyone, because I'm in the kitchen making them - so I decided to bring a hot dish similar to a strata - Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Bread Pudding. It was very good. I doubled the recipe (as shown is the regular recipe) except for the apples and only used them in the middle - I think it would have been nice to have had some warm maple syrup or some hollandaise sauce to give it a little bit of "oomph" - Here is the recipe:


3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

4 cups cubed firm bread

1 pound bacon, cooked, drained and chopped

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

2 1/2 cups milk

1 tbsp Dijonaise (or other Dijon style) mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

5 eggs

1. Grease 2-quart casserole. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook apples in butter 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Stir in brown sugar; reduce heat to low. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender.

2. Layer half each of the bread, bacon and cheese in casserole. Add the apples. Repeat with remaining bread, bacon and cheese.

3. Mix all remaining ingredients; pour over cheese. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

4. Heat oven to 350ºF. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I fried up my bacon bits the night before (on New Years Eve - woo hoo) and had planned to put together the dish so it would have overnight to sit - but the fridge was still full of Christmas ham, and other assorted leftovers, so, I got up early to make it on Friday a.m. - so it only sat about 1/2 hour before I put it in the oven - it was OK - (I mooshed it a lot with a big spoon) Using the packaged shredded cheese saved me a lot of time too - it's premeasured to two cups - oh, and I didn't peel the apples either - just chopped them up in 1/2 inch cubes...

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