Friday, January 20, 2012

answer to a maiden's prayers

this blog has seen several iterations, from travel journal to home reno blog to a small business-centered space, but at its inception, it was all about the meals i was making as a newly married person. i don't blog much about food anymore, though as a full-time parent, i cook more now than ever. as 2012 dawned, bringing with it a new addition to our family (Virginia Frances, born on January 6), i realized i had to get more organized about the way i plan, shop for, and make our meals. my biggest challenge: dealing with all the recipes i've clipped from magazines over the years. i'm a nearly lifelong magazine junkie (seriously, i can remember hoarding my Highlights  magazines as a child) and have always struggled with what to do with issues i've already read but with which i'm not quite ready to part. enter technology: pinterest has now helped replace the shelter and design mags that used to fill boxes and boxes in my basement (okay, they still do, but i have big plans to divest myself of those this spring). but i was still holding on to years and years of Martha Stewart Living, among others, just for the recipes. a couple of years ago i started tearing out recipes and putting them in paper folders, but that was getting terribly unwieldy in my tiny kitchen. i thought pinterest might be my salvation again, but my "recipes to try" board there was starting to look like a Better Homes and Gardens recipe archive, and while i'm not embarrassed to admit to subscribing to the same magazines my grandmother reads, i didn't really need to recreate elsewhere. 

then this week i just stumbled upon a site i have to share, since it's already revolutionized the way i think of and file my recipe clippings. project foodie shares (and lets you save and share) recipes from the most recent issues of Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Cook's Illustrated, Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Saveur, Southern Living, Sunset, and of course, Better Homes and Gardens. and it's FREE. i feel like a huge organizational burden has been lifted from me. all this new digitizing is so divine, i fear it can't last - will project foodie go the way of my dearly departed-then-reconfigured bloglines, and will pinterest end up as the next myspace? let's hope not, since i'm off to save scores of recipes and images to both. first, i'll share a recent fave here, for old time's sake, from Sunset via

Wild Mushroom and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding 

3 cups cubed butternut squash, cut into ¾” chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
About 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed well
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
6 cups cubed rustic white bread, cut into 1-in. cubes, lightly toasted
3 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded gruyère cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heap squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add leeks with 1/4 tsp. salt; cook until softened. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes, and add mixture to squash.
3. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter in same pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in thyme.
4. Add mushrooms to squash-leek mixture. Stir in bread; scoop into a buttered 9- by 13-in. baking dish.
5. Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, the flour, and parmesan in a medium bowl. Pour custard over bread mixture and let stand 10 minutes. Top with gruyère, then bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown and custard is just set (poke with a knife to check), 30 to 35 minutes.
Make ahead: Through step 4, 1 day ahead, covered and chilled; or finish bread pudding 1 day ahead, chill, and reheat at 375° for 30 minutes.
Serves 8-10

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