Sunday, November 29, 2009

RECIPE: Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

A delicious savory bread pudding that rivals the big roasted bird.
6 to 8 servings
November 2009

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.
  • Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.
  • Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

POEM: DIRECTION

You'll only arrive at this house through
the woods we grew with purpose
Those birches dance
in costumes curled & fringed
Lights wink between the two
still flirting with the handsome oak next door
While below graped canopy
four chairs collect deep shade
emptied now of long-awaited guests
Sensitive ferns beside smooth purple stones
focused on this visitation
Heavy, cool air, fuels the spreading greenness
embedded in every surface, as if footsteps
you might fit your sole into each morning
and trace, still sleepy, a path older than ants.

eaf

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

POEM: Prospero's Prospect, Jay Johnson

This I abjure:
rough young magicians with red hair
and freckles and the memories
of them which have dissolved me in tears.
Full fathom five
my father lies and my beloved
and my beloved and
the ones I thought, however briefly
beloved
and of their bones is coral made
and of my heart
is hope squeezed not quite dry.
Even as the leaves cover paths
and grasses parch, there is nothing
but expectation
of the island, the prospect
of the buoys tolling in the sea
the cloudless sky
the spells
for which no longer have I breath,
of the final nothing at all.

                               JAY JOHNSON
                               as featured in the Gay & Lesbian Review