Week 25: Regional (something specific to your region)

The glory of living where I do is that I am from the hometown of the Hot Brown, and near Bourbon Country. This is the one of my most successful ventures. I imagine the several quarts of heavy cream and the bourbon made it possible.

Hot Browns – recipe with the deviation of using Wright’s Steakhouse Bacon which made it my favorite thing that I have ever cooked.

Bourbon Bread Pudding recipe (I added a lot more bourbon):

deSha’s Bourbon Bread Pudding

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces white bread or rolls*
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Sauce

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bourbon

* 24 ounces is equivalent to two pans of frozen prepared rolls.

Combine raisins and brandy in small sauce pan. Heat to simmer, cover and set aside. Use a portion of the butter to coat a 2 inch deep baking dish. Melt the remaining butter and set aside to cool. Tear bread into chunks and alternate layers of bread with drizzles of the heavy cream (this is to maintain the shape and texture of the bread – do not mix or stir. Gingerly folding will work). Set aside for 5-10 minutes. Beat eggs and sugar until smooth. Add remaining ingredients to egg mixture (melted butter, raisins, brandy and vanilla). Toss egg mixture with breadvery gently to blend. Pour into pan and bake at 350 until browned and almost set, 45 minutes.Prepare sauce: Melt butter, stir in sugar and eggs and simmer to thicken. Take pan off of burner and add the bourbon and hold in warm place to serve. Do not cook the bourbon or it will lose it’s kick. Mix in after sauce is thickened and taken off of the heat. Serve warm topped with sauce. Can also be served cold.

Week 23: 20 Minutes or Less

  • Penne with Asparagus, Spinach, and Bacon

Fairly straight forward meal. Cooked bacon, used fat to saute the asparagus, then added spinach, garlic and onion. Tossed with penne.

Week 22: Sweet or Savory Tarts

  • Apple, Caramelized Onion, Gruyere Tart
  • Lobster Tart
  • Asparagus, Leek Tart
  • Zucchini, Tomato, Onion Tart
  • Sun Dried Tomato Tart

The grocery only had 2 sheets of puff pastry left, so I had to stretch it along with the pie dough I threw together and the puff pastry shells.

The apple, caramelized onion, Gruyere tart, was delicious. I caramelized the onions in a saute pan, sliced granny smith apples into thin slices. Then I arranged the apple slices, topped with onions, the shredded Gruyere.

For the lobster tart, I used the puff pastry shells, and added filled with a mixture of egg, imitation lobster chunks, salt, pepper, and onion, then baked. The batter was a little thin, so a lot leaked out of the bottoms of the shells, but it still worked.

For the next one, I sauteed asparagus and leeks and spread them over puff pastry with Fontina cheese, then baked

The following tart, I sliced the zucchini, diced the tomato and onion and spread it over a pie crust with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I wrapped it up like a torte, and baked it.

For the rest of the shells, I filled with a sundried tomato, onion, oregano, garlic, basil and egg mixture. They didn’t leak a much out of the bottom.