Friday, February 18, 2011

Before I Die (Part 4)

Dear readers - I sincerely hope you understand the posts for this week. I do not have a death wish, nor do I intend to shuffle off this mortal coil in the near future. In fact, my grandmother lived to just days before her 93rd birthday, and my mother lived to be 90, so I've warned my daughters that they will probably be stuck with me for many years to come.

Despite the focus of this blog, which is "glorying in the beauty of carbs", I really do strive to prepare healthy foods for myself and my family. Carbs are not necessarily evil. Whole grain, non-meat, vegetarian--those can all be carbohydrate foods. But once in a while you need to break away from the crowd with wild abandon and just ENJOY LIFE!

I know that I could subsist on tofu and brown rice, fresh spinach, bananas and wheat grass juice, but what a bleak existence that would be. In the end, I'm still going to die. So once in a while I'm going to forgo the whole-grain, low-fat, low-protein diet, throw caution to the wind, and just have FUN with food.

This week is devoted to just those types of revelries.

Gilliland's Irish Bread Pudding
1 2-pound loaf sliced white bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Irish Whiskey
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, slit
8 eggs
1 cup sugar
cinnamon-sugar (3 tsp sugar plus 1 tsp cinnamon)
Carmel-Whiskey sauce (see below)

Spread bread slices with some of the soft butter. Toast lightly on one side. Cut bread into 1/2-inch squares. Set aside. Plump raisins in Irish whiskey. Set aside.

Heat milk and cream with vanilla bean, scraping out seeds from bean. Cool. Discard bean. Set milk aside.

Beat eggs with sugar. Add to milk mixture. Stir in bread cubes and raisin mixture. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour bread mixture into well-buttered 13x9-inch glass baking pan. Dot with remaining butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar to taste. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-60 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Serve with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce. 

Caramel-Whiskey Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups whipping Cream (plus a few tablespoons more)
1/4 cup Irish whiskey

Melt sugar in water over low heat until caramelized. Add butter an 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and cook to desired consistency. Cool, then add whiskey and more cream (if needed).

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