Farewell Dinners and Chanterelle Bread Pudding

On Wednesday I say goodbye to California and to the amazing friends I have here.  I feel truly blessed to have spent the past 7 years here.  I will miss the wild beauty, the farm-fresh produce and, most of all, the people who have shared my life and given me so many warm and loving experiences.  I have been lucky enough to share my last few weeks with close friends and to cook some amazing dinners together.

Maya and Teagen

Teagen and Maya

On Friday night, my friend Erick and I decided to cook dinner for some friends.  Our friend Beth had made some homemade applesauce and we decided to roast a pork loin with sage butter to go with that.  Erick had told me about grilled brussels sprouts that he had made.  I loved the idea and asked him to make them again.  I made a chanterelle and guyere bread pudding inspired by one that I saw on Umami Girl.  Beth brought a salad and a cheese plate, and Maya brought some cheesy-puff pastry starters.  Of course there was plenty of wine.  Best of all was the laughter, the tales, and the loving warmth amongst friends.

Me and Beth

Me and Beth

I made a variation on this bread pudding for Thansgiving and had added bacon.  Usually my motto is that bacon makes everything better.  However, in the case of the chanterelle bread pudding it overpowered the other flavors.  So this time I decided to make it without the bacon, to add some sharp parmesan and to make it even more moist.  The result was a cheesy, warm, comforting dish that I definitely plan on making again in the future.  Perfect as a hearty side it would also make a great vegetarian main and paired with a salad would be a soul-satisfying comforting meal.

Dinner

Chanterelle and Gruyere Bread Pudding

-1 Loaf Italian Bread or Baguette, cut into small 1/2 inch cubes

-2 Shallots, finely chopped

-12-15 Cremini Mushrooms, stems discarded and very finely chopped

-1/2 lb Chanterelle Mushrooms, coarsely chopped

-4 Cups Whole Milk

-3 Tbsp Butter

-6 Eggs

-6 oz Gruyere, shredded

-4 oz Parmesan, shredded

-4 Thyme Sprigs

-8 Sage Leaves

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, thyme and sage.  Heat until scalding but not boiling.  Remove from heat and cool.  Remove herbs.

3.  Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté until translucent and golden.  Add mushrooms, salt to taste, and sauté until water releases and they are tender.  Remove from heat.

4.  Beat eggs in a medium bowl.  Add milk to eggs, stirring.  Add cheese to mixture.

5.  Place bread in a large bowl.  Add milk mixture tossing to coat.  Let stand 20 minutes stirring occasionally until bread absorbs most of the liquid.

6.  Fold in mushrooms.  Grease a baking dish and pour mixture in.  Bake 45-60 minutes until golden and warmed through.

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