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Recipes from 'Food Matters' by Mark Bittman

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Breakfast Bread Pudding

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 11/2 hours, largely unattended

Not your usual bread pudding; this has less custard and more bread, fruit, and nuts. For variety, use pears, peaches, cherries, or blueberries instead of the apples. Or go savory (see the variation).

Butter or grape seed oil or other oil for greasing the pan
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup honey, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
4 medium to large apples, cored, peeled (or not), and cut into chunks or slices
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts (optional)
8 slices whole or multigrain bread (preferably stale), cut in
1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

1 Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 11/2-quart or 8-inch-square baking dish. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the apples, raisins, and nuts. Then fold in the bread cubes, using your hands or a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly coated. Let the mixture
sit for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed; give another good stir. (You can prepare the pudding ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.)

2 Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and smooth out the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and only a little wobbly in the center. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting.

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Chocolate Semolina Pudding with Raspberry Puree

Makes: 9 to 12 servings
Time: 1 hour

Somewhere between a cake and pudding, this lovely dessert is served warm, with a simple raspberry puree that balances its richness. Other fruits that work well here include stone fruits, but (except for cherries) they have to be peeled first (page 149). Figure on about a pound of fruit for just over a cup of puree.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, plus butter for the pan
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup (2 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup semolina
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound fresh raspberries
Sugar (optional)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Put the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add cocoa powder and semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.

2 Beat the yogurt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter and chocolate, the semolina, the baking soda, and the vanilla; beat until thoroughly blended. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor. Depending on how flavorful they are, you may want to add a tablespoon of sugar or a squeeze of lemon juice to the mixture, but taste first to see if either is necessary. Then strain the puree, stirring and pressing the mixture through a sieve with a rubber spatula to leave any seeds behind; be sure to get all the puree from the underside of the strainer.

4 When the pudding is done, let it rest for a few minutes, then cut it into squares or rectangles and serve warm, on some of the puree, with a few whole berries on top.

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Vegetable Pancakes

Makes: 4 servings
Time: At least 30 minutes

A surefire way to get anyone to eat any vegetable, these crisp babies are delicious as a side dish, alone as an appetizer, or served on a bed of Nicely Dressed Salad Greens (page 135) as lunch.

Root vegetables are most common, but you can use whatever looks good to you, alone or in combination: zucchini, yellow squash, winter squash, corn, or chopped scallions; even spinach or chard is good (just cook it, squeeze it dry, and chop it first). And consider tossing in a tablespoon of fresh herbs or spices.
Sweet potato and corn benefit from a bit of cilantro, zucchini comes to life with dill, and ginger or cardamom will warm up winter squash beautifully. Serve with Olive Oil Drizzle (page 158), a sprinkling of Parmesan or chopped nuts, or any salsa.

About 11/2 pounds grated vegetables, peeled first if necessary
(3 cups packed), and squeezed dry
1/2 small onion, grated; or 4 scallions
1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup white or whole wheat flour, more or less
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive or vegetable oil or butter for greasing the pan

1 Heat the oven to 275°F. Grate the vegetable or vegetables by hand or with the grating disk of a food processor. Mix together the vegetables, onion, egg, and ¼ cup of the flour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a little more flour if the mixture isn’t holding together.

2 Put a little butter or oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, drop in spoonfuls of the batter, using a fork to spread the vegetables into an even layer, then press down a bit. Work in batches to prevent overcrowding. (Transfer finished pancakes to the oven until all are finished.) Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Excerpted from "Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating," copyright 2008 by Mark Bittman. All rights reserved.

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