Thursday, July 8, 2010

Salty and Sweet

 . . . the perfect combination.  Last night we enjoyed some of the bounties of summer from our co-op (thankfully harvested by someone more tolerant of the heat and bugs than I am).  Among the dinner selections was one of my favorites - fried okra. 
I wish some progressive movie theater (do you hear me, Alamo Draft House??) would offer this as an alternative to popcorn.  I'm not hating on popcorn, I mean I can eat that stuff even when I'm not hungry.  Fried okra though elevates the "salty" crunchy snacky goodness to a whole new level.  I'm sure the gourmet chefs at the movie theater (i.e., the half-awake, partied-out teens) would probably just screw it up anyway by hiding the okra in a heavy batter.  I like mine with lots of salt and a little corn meal, just the way Mama used to make (and still does)! :-)

The main reason for my post is a "sweet" discovery I made following a creative attempt to come up with a dessert without having to venture out (into the heat) to the grocery store.  Look at this . . . doesn't this photo look ethereal?
  What does it look like to you?  Hopefully bread pudding.  That's what I was going for . . . only I made it with, get this, leftover blueberry muffins.  Yep.  I'm sure that idea isn't original to me, but it was pretty darn tasty.  I made the muffins Sunday or Monday with some co-op blueberries, and what was supposed to make 12 actually made 24.  I just put the leftovers in the frig not having the heart to throw them out.   I filled a greased loaf pan with crumbled muffins - 12 in all (and these are "regular-sized" muffins, not jumbos).  Then I put 4 eggs in a large measuring cup and used 1/2 evaporated milk and 1/2 regular milk to make 3 cups.  I added 1/4 c. of sugar (which you'd vary depending on the sweetness of your muffins), a teaspoon of vanilla, and a few dashes of cinnamon.  After mixing well, I dumped the liquid over the muffins and let it sit for about 15 - 30 minutes (at this point you can add a little more milk - it  should be just below the top of the muffins).  Then I finished the pudding in a 350 degree oven, cooking for just under an hour (until a knife comes out clean).  I served it warm with some melted Blue Bell vanilla  (my lazy creme anglaise).  Of course, with this successful result, I started imagining the possibilities with all the different muffins and additions you could make . . . banana nut muffins with chocolate chips,  carrot cake muffins with walnuts, chocolate muffins with peanut butter chips, lemon poppy seed muffins with dried cranberries . . .
Let me know what you do if you get creative and try a muffin pudding!

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