Guava Portuguese Sweet Bread Pudding

You may be familiar with the fund-raising compulsion of various organizations, wherein the harassed members go about their work places and schools, even standing in front of supermarkets, etc. selling an item, say large chocolate bars, Krispy Cremes, or cookies.  Here in Hawaii a popular item is Portuguese Sweet Bread, very similar to Hallah.  We have a lovely lady who comes by with her own personal fund-raiser and sells the bread at our office (among others) once a month or so.  I don't as a rule eat that sort of fluffy white bread (though this does have potatoes and eggs in it) so would usually pass on the offer.  But things have changed, ever since discovering this fabulous use for it: French Toast and Bread Pudding.  Sometimes my mind takes awhile to see the obvious.  I am now ordering on a regular basis just for that purpose (you let her know ahead of time so the correct amount gets baked). 

So, a few days of French Toast if we're in a hurry, and this to die for version of Bread Pudding when a bit more time is available.  All from one loaf (unless you are baking for a larger number than two).  I cut a Bread Pudding recipe in half for our breakfast.

To make your pudding even more delectable, spread a bit of jam on the bread layers.  I used my Guava Jam, but marmalade would be marvelous, not to mention apricot, strawberry, raspberry, quince, etc. etc.  The possibilities are endless.  A dash of some liqueur or other to aid and abet is nice.  I used Jim Beam.


Sauerkraut with Kefir Whey, Juniper Berries, Cumin and Mustard Seeds

These days it almost seems as though I'm either posting about pumpkins, or something to do with kefir.  So, no exception here.  When you're thrilled about a subject what can you do but share the fun with the world at large.  I do realize that for some of you this is nothing new, still ...
When you have kefir in the fridge, a culture in process on your counter top, and some cream cheese draining right next to it, you have arrived in kefirland.  Also there's a lot going on in your kitchen.  Now with whey to utilize from the cheese, you can imagine my delight at discovering a recipe for making pickled veggies of various sorts, including sauerkraut.  Kefir whey shortens the fermentation period, so that hardly any salt is needed.  Though after fermenting at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, you do want to let it mature in the fridge.  Don't do as we did, eating it before the 2 to 3 recommended weeks were up.  Now it's almost all gone, just when the flavor's getting to the fabulous stage.  Please see if you can restrain yourselves.


Stuffed Mini-Pumpkins with Gorgonzola, Cream and Toasted Pine Nuts

Fall is the time of year I stuff the darling little pumpkins that seem to appear only then, like mushrooms after a rain.  There they are, calling out to me from the grocery bins.  Irresistible, and so cute on a plate, aside from being really delicious.

My favorite cheese for the stuffing is a blue, which goes beautifully with pumpkin.  These have Parmesan as well.  Basically you have a custard baked in the pumpkin.  They cook together.

Perfect for any vegetarians who may be visiting you at Thanksgiving.  Just stuff them a little pumpkin.  As you will note there is a bit of olive oil floating in the water I put in that cooking pan.  Bake them until the squash is tender and the custard set.  About a half hour.


Three Cheese Ravioli with Mushrooms and Caramelized Leek in Cream Sauce

That title could have been longer, with words like basil and nutmeg scented, fabulous, delicious and wonderful, but we have to be concise some of the time.  Limit ourselves occasionally.  My granddaughter helped me with stuffing the ravioli, which always makes things go faster (and with a certain entertainment value).

I used a mixture of kefir cream cheese, grated cheddar and parmesan Reggianito, with some minced basil, for the filling.  Half the stuffed pasta went into the freezer for another day and half were covered and reserved in the fridge for dinner.  Getting that done early made for a hassle free meal prep later.


Roasted Pumpkin Scones with Fresh Ginger and Cranberries

The aroma of roasted pumpkin is such an awesome thing to have perfuming your home.  Days later I was still smelling that delicious scent.  It seems to linger.  Since a little piece of that fabulous pumpkin was left, I thought how nice pumpkin scones would taste, with a bit of fresh minced ginger and some cranberries .  The sort of thing I wake up thinking about.  To go with my hot cocoa.

To tell you the honest truth, I will never boil or steam another pumpkin, which amounts to flavorless really, when compared to a roasted specimen.   An executive decision has been made in this kitchen.  I am only saddened to think of all those wasted years, of cooking pumpkin the wrong way, just the difference between diluting a flavor or concentrating it.

So, what you do with a little dab of left-over (aside from frying it up with an egg) is to mash and add to this lovely scones recipe from Alice Waters.  Which I did, with a few other adjustments.  Like adding some spices and cranberries, using  kefir instead of cream (but feel free to go with the cream) and a bit of soda to balance the acidity in kefir.