Tag Archives: bread

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comI am pretty sure Lauren was fully convinced of my craziness upon serving this meal. Bread pudding? For dinner? Without ice cream? Pretty crazy ideas in this household.

This dish definitely deserves one of those “Best of…” stamps of approval they put in magazines. Not that I don’t love every dish on here… I wouldn’t post them without my utmost approval But, this dish is something special. It’s savory, crunchy, and creamy all at the same time. Yum.

I swear I am not crazy.

I promise I am not certifiable, but some people might think I am crazy. Well, more ditzy than crazy… and trust me, that’s not by my own definition. But, I promise I know what I am talking about. Most of the time.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself ditzy. Just smart… in a unique, not duct-taped glasses, frizzy hair, and nasal-y voice sort of way. And not smart in the way that I sound like I actually know the answer when I give you an answer. And let’s be honest, I never ever raise my hand in class.

I am just unique. And I am okay with that.

I am also okay with a second helping of this dinner…

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.com

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

Makes 10-12 Servings

1 1-pound loaf of bread (I used challah, but use whatever you like), cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz. Italian seasoned pork sausage, casings removed
6 tablespoons butter
12 oz. assorted mushrooms (I used all cremini), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss bread with ¼ cup olive oil, thyme, and garlic and salt and pepper to taste on a sheet pan. Spread out in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally so that all sides are toasty.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook through, about 10 minutes, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Remove to a separate plate.

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender and juices have evaporated, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, and salt and pepper.

Once vegetables are cooked, toss together toasted bread, sausage, and vegetables. Distribute in the prepared baking dish. Evenly pour cream mixture over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until custard is set and top is browned, about 60 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Source: Adapted from Epicurious



honey white challah bread (and a 1 year blogiversary)

Well… a few weeks ago, I remember telling you that I would try to update more often. And now over a week goes by before I put up a new post.


I guess real life got in the way again, although nothing special really happened this week. Well, besides starting research again and soaking up the sun as much as possible.

Oh, and it was my one-year blogiversary on Thursday. I had all these big plans to bake a special cake and post it on here to celebrate.

Yeah… that never happened.

So, here’s some bread instead.

To tell you the truth, I’ve always been intimidated by challah bread. The intricate braiding. The whole yeast thing. Everything pretty much told me to stay away from it in the kitchen and just buy a loaf off the grocery store shelves.

That’s why I was pretty excited when I saw it was May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge.

And from experience I can tell you for sure that there is absolutely nothing to be intimidated by. Seriously.

Just a sneak peek for what’s in store: bread pudding with the leftover challah. Delish.

(Blog-checking lines: May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.)

Honey White Challah Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

1-½ cups warm water, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons (about 3 packets) active-dry yeast
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-½ teaspoons salt
5 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed (total of about 8 to 9 cups)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to proof for about 5 minutes until foamy.

Add remaining 1 cup of water, honey, oil, eggs, salt, and 5 cups flour. Knead using stand mixer or hands for about 10 minutes, until a smooth ball forms, adding more flour as needed.

Transfer dough ball to a clean and oiled bowl. Flip dough around so all sides are covered in oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.

Punch dough down and divide into two sections to make two separate loaves.

To make a six-stranded braid, divide one dough ball into six equal pieces. Roll to form “snakes” that are slightly thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch all six strands together at the top. Starting from the left-most strand, carry the strand over two strands, under the middle strand, and over two more strands. This will now be the strand that is farthest to the right. Repeat again new strand that is farthest left. Over two, under one, over two. Repeat until strands are entirely braided. Tuck both sides under so that a nice loaf is formed and pinched ends cannot be seen.

Repeat with remaining section.

Place loaves on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Brush risen loaves with egg wash (one egg with one teaspoon water). Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Source: Tammy’s Recipes


The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

I had never heard of povitica before this challenge. Then, when I read the recipe, I was convinced I would never be able to make it. Stretching the dough out that thin? No way, no how. But, truth be told, this loaf was a breeze to make. Not to mention it was gone within two days. That’s pretty good at my house.

Don’t be surprised if you see povitica pop up around here again sometime soon. I’ll admit, walnuts aren’t really my thing. While this loaf was good by my standards, I can only imagine how awesome it would be with a fruit or cream cheese filling.


Makes 1 loaf (this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to make however many loaves you want)

To activate the yeast:
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. warm water
1 ½ tsp. active-dry yeast (1/2 packet)
For the dough:
½ c. milk
3 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. table salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted and divided
For the filling:
1 ¾ c. ground walnuts, about 10 oz.
½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ c. milk
¼ c. unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the topping:
2 tbsp. cold strong coffee
1 ½ tsp. sugar
Melted butter

To activate the yeast:
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and yeast. Add warm water and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.

To make the dough:
Add milk to small saucepan set over medium high heat. Heat milk, stirring constantly, to just below boiling. Remove from heat and let cool until it is about 110 °F.

In a large bowl, mix together the cooled milk, sugar, and salt. Add egg, melted butter, yeast mixture, and ½ c. flour. Mix thoroughly and continue adding flour slowly until dough starts to pull away from the edges of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, adding flour as needed (you may not need to use all 2 cups), until a nice smooth ball is formed. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough around a bit so it is covered with oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and then place a kitchen towel over the top. Let rise in a warm place for about 1-½ hours, until doubled.

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, combine ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat until mixture is boiling. Add to bowl with walnuts along with egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Set aside until ready to use. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of milk if the mixture gets too thick.

To assemble the roll:
Spread a clean sheet over a large work surface, preferably a kitchen island or a large table. Lightly sprinkle with flour (but, use as little flour as possible). Turn out dough onto the towel. Roll out, working from the middle outwards, until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter.

Brush melted butter over the top of the dough. Continue rolling out, or stretching the dough out (use the tops of your hands and gently work the dough outwards), until the dough is extremely thin and opaque. Make sure the dough isn’t sticking as you work with it by occasionally lifting it up a bit. The dough should be so thin that you should be able to see your fabric through it.

Spread filling evenly over the top of the dough. Gently lift up the edges of the cloth to roll the dough up like a jelly roll (or just use your hands instead of the cloth).

Gently transfer the dough to a lightly oiled loaf pan. Place it in a U-shape in the pan and coil it around itself .

Mix coffee with sugar and brush over the top of the loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Remove plastic wrap from dough and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 °F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes, until cooked through (if bread starts to get too browned on top, tent with foil).

Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Brush with melted butter. Cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before removing.

asiago cheese bread

Well, I was supposed to be baking some wonderful fall cookies today, but then I realized it had been ten days since I had last posted on here. That’s almost neglect! Anyway, I scrapped my plans so I could post on here (that, and I didn’t have the stick of butter that I needed for those cookies).

I don’t normally make yeast breads. It takes so long to let the dough rise then punch it down then rise again and… well, you know the drill. But, seriously, the yeasty flavor you get from all that work? Totally worth it. Not to mention your house will smell awesome.

On a tangent, I love cheese. I also am fervently in love with carbohydrates. Therefore, I am in love with cheesy carbohydrates (that might be a logical fallacy, but I definitely couldn’t tell you for sure)… ergo, I am in love with Asiago cheese bread. And, you probably will be too (especially if you’re the cheesy carbohydrate-loving type).

Asiago Cheese Bread

Makes 1 large loaf

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package active-dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup diced Asiago cheese (about 8 ounces)
  cooking spray

In a large bowl, whisk together 1.5 c. flour, sugar, and yeast. Add 1 ¼ cup warmed water (about 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit) and beat for about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour, until bubbly.

Stir in oil, thyme, and salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in remaining flour ½ c. at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is easy to handle. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle flour on work surface. Knead dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and springy (sprinkle more flour if the dough starts to stick). Knead in 1 c. of cheese. In a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray, add dough. Turn around a couple times so that it is coated with the spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle flour on work surface. Punch dough down. Shape into a football-shape, about 12 inches long. Place the smooth side up on the cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 45-60 minutes, until almost doubled in size.

Position oven racks in the middle and bottom positions. On the bottom rack, place an 8” square pan. Fill with warm water until water is about half an inch from the top of the pan. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray loaf lightly with water using a spray bottle. Sprinkle with a little flour. Cut a half-inch deep slash down the center of the loaf using a serrated knife (go about the length of the loaf, leaving half an inch on either side). Sprinkle the remaining cheese in the slash.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until loaf is browned and has a hollow sound when tapped. Remove to a cooling rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Source: Betty Crocker

granny’s zucchini bread, and birthday wishes

I’ve been waiting a while for this day. I’m young enough where this day brings excitement and not annual dread. It’s true… it’s my birthday, 20th to be exact. I didn’t make any plans today, outside of dinner reservations at a nice Italian restaurant. So, yes, happy birthday to me!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, quite a bit of difference from my middle-of-the-summer fervor. But, I’ve been busy… and I haven’t been cooking much lately. I just got home from a week-long vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks. I met an adorable stray dog down there, a black lab mix we named Pearl. Out of some stream of good luck or the answers to my prayers, Pearl’s parents found her. She had been missing since July 4 and was on the brink of starvation when I found her. She was seriously one of the best and well-behaved dogs I had known (outside of my own, of course!), especially for only being one and a half years old.

Anyway, enough about that! On to the recipe. I was at Granny’s house a couple of weeks ago (remember Granny’s Creamed Peas?). Granny had made a loaf of zucchini bread and, of course, we had a slice after dinner. Delicious. Seriously. She took me out into Grandpa’s garden and gave me two huge zucchini and the recipe to her bread.

There’s quite a bit of cinnamon in here, but I promise it is by no means overpowering. It gives an added (and I think needed) spice to this bread that sets it apart from others. Add the crunch from the pecans and you’re golden.

Granny’s Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini, peeled first (about 2 small or 1 large zucchini)
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
½ c. chopped pecans (I bought pre-packaged chopped pecans and chopped them even finer)
1 tsp. salt

Line the bottom of two 9×5” or 8×4” loaf pans. Spray with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in zucchini and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add to zucchini mixture in three parts, mixing only until combined. Stir in pecans.

Pour evenly into lined pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with only moist crumbs. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

blue cheese and balsamic leek crostini

I love these crostini, but that’s probably because I am obsessed with easy and elegant dishes for entertaining (way to alliterate, huh?)… not to mention a trio of three strong flavors that all play off each other perfectly: blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and bacon. This appetizer only takes about 30 minutes to make. But, most of those 30 minutes, you don’t even need to fuss over anything.

I don’t often cook or eat appetizers at home. But, that trio I mentioned earlier is sure to persuade me to make these delicious bites again sometime very soon. I hope it persuades you too!

Blue Cheese and Balsamic Leek Crostini

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 4 servings as an appetizer; 2 as an entrée


3 medium leeks, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into ¼ inch pieces crosswise
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 oz. blue cheese (I used an extra creamy Danish blue cheese)
12 1/2-inch thick baguette slices (that’s  half of a regular sized baguette or a full demi baguette), or 6 slices larger bread (like sourdough)
2 oz. bacon, cooked and drained

Add cut leeks to a large bowl and fill with water. Swish the leeks around for a bit and make sure all are clean. Remove leeks from water (DO NOT DRAIN IN A COLANDER! All of the sand from the inside is on the bottom of the bowl… just pull out the leeks with your hands.) and place on a plate.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Add leeks (you do not need to dry them before this step) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir to coat leeks in butter. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, until softened.

Remove lid and add balsamic vinegar. Increase heat to medium low. Cook for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, toast bread until golden brown under a broiler. Spread hot bread with a small amount of blue cheese. Once leeks are done, top cheesy bread with a dollop of the leeks. Sprinkle with crispy bacon. Serve warm.