Connie likes tomatoes. I LOVE tomatoes. Therefore, at this time of year I'm just kind of getting tired of them. He's ready to move on. His least favorite foods, soup and fruit would be fine alternatives. Just please turn down the level of the tomatoes. Well, except for the BLT's. Those have bacon you know. That makes up for a LOT of food problems. I suppose if I wrapped these beautiful Indiana peaches in bacon he'd be happier. Or, maybe I could put a bit of bacon in the gazpacho? Whatever. It was time for a break from the tomatoes. I'd seen a recipe for savory bread pudding with sausage in it. I'd bought the sausage and sour dough bread. All was good except for the fact that I couldn't find the recipe. I went back through all the magazines in the car. Nada. Checked all the cookbooks I'd been reading in the car, family room and on my bedside table. Nada. Well, I didn't check ALL the cookbooks. I omitted the cocktail one. Then, I realized the cover said Cocktails and Appetizers. Ah hah! There it was.
Connie'd cut out a recipe for eggplant, feta, honey and thyme. That'd be perfect with this. And, no tomatoes. I read the recipe thru and just had to add some grated gruyere. About 1/2 - 3/4 c of grated cheese. Because the bread puddings cooked at 325 and the eggplant was supposed to roast at 400, the eggplant went on the grill. It was probably more brown that it was supposed to be but still tasted fabulous. The bread puddings? Five out of five. I'm not a huge fan of those bread stratas. The kind the family serves every Christmas morning. I find them gummy and tasteless and try and grab a corner so there's at least something I'm semi happy to eat. These are cooked in muffin tins with nice crusty bread. Read, chewy. Yummy and chewy. With sausage and cheese. Yup, these were a five. And, one of the best parts is that the leftovers are in the freezer. They can be nuked one or two at a time and will be perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Savory Muffin Tin Bread Puddings
8 oz sweet Italian sausage
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1 T canola oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 c milk
1 c grated gruyere cheese
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1" cubes
Preheat your oven to 325. Crumble the sausage. Brown and drain the sausage, mushrooms and garlic. Beat the eggs and mix in the milk. In a large bowl combine the sausage mixture, egg mixture, grated cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Use 2 1/2" muffin cups. Coat 12 with butter. Ladle the bread pudding in.
Bake for about 40 minutes. The tops will be a bit puffy and brown when they're ready. We froze the leftovers and have found that they reheat perfectly well in a toaster oven.
adapted from Cocktail Time by Sandra Lee
Eggplant with Honey, Feta and Thyme
I have no idea where I got this recipe... It's so easy. You can either peel the eggplant ahead of time or leave the peels on and nibble around them. Either way, slice the eggplants into 1/4" - 3/8" rounds. Drizzle them with olive oil. Grill both sides until they're nice and brown. Turn off the heat to the grill, sprinkle the eggplant rounds with crumbled feta cheese and close the grill lid. Let the cheese get happy for a few minutes. Serve drizzled with honey and fresh thyme.