Lucky you: two posts in the same week! I'm trying to make up for my extreme laziness when it comes to keeping this blog up to date by bombarding you with details of my culinary life! Anyone who has been to France and who is not allergic to gluten (can't even imagine...) can attest to the "cult of the baguette" (no sexual pun intended...well, maybe) that reigns supreme here. Fully indoctrinated into this cult, I can proudly say I have my own favorite bakery which makes the best bread in Besançon if I do say so myself, I buy bread almost daily, and I somehow feel I haven't eaten unless bread was involved. One thing I've noticed is that bread isn't really considered like a food full of carbs and simple sugars. For example, even if you're eating pasta, rice, couscous, or even pizza, you eat bread with it. When I once suggested that we didn't need to have some kind of grain as part of the meal because, after all, we'll be eating bread, the suggestion was quickly brushed aside and pasta was cooked. The bread is not just food but pain facultatif. So what do you do with leftover bread? No one wants to eat it the next day because fresh bread can be found within minutes and you can only make toast so much...Well you don't throw it away. One idea is to make bread pudding, sweet or savory.
All you need to make it are things that are probably sitting around your kitchen anyway: milk, eggs, leeks, and old bread. You can mix it up lots of different ways: you can add mushrooms, sausage, cheese, puréed winter squash, really any vegetable you want! So basically it's stuffing - how appropriate for after Thanksgiving!
I made mine with blanched leeks, dill and tarragon. Cut the bread up into cubes and mix it with a simple custard made with two eggs and about a cup of milk. You'll want to let the bread soak up the liquid before putting it in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. If all the liquid gets soaked up too fast, just add a splash more milk - you want it to be a little runny when it goes into the oven.
This makes a relatively quick, very easy, and very cheap meal that keeps well for days. Just serve it with a salad and perhaps some pâté if you happen to be one of those people who can't imagine eating a "real" meal without some kind of meat. I made a very seasonal salad of endive, apple, walnuts, and comté (recipe here).