“The air is full of spices.”
One of my favorite lines from the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility and it rings true in this house these last four days. It’s all chopped herbs, cracked pepper and sizzling butter! The electric oven is covered in snow out in the drive and waiting to be taken to the dump and now… I’m cooking on a brand new range.
I can’t believe it.
I did a good job faking it, but my range at the old house had turned into a piece of junk over the years. The glass had cracked one day while baking baguettes, three burners had to be lit with a match, it would never level out and oil would slosh to one side of the cast iron, knobs were broken off and I hated it. We moved here knowing there was an old electric oven. I hate electric ovens but I was not prepared for this beast. I was prepared to adopt my big girl panties and deal with it for a few months but I truly had no idea how bad it would be. First it blackened basic banana bread and then it destroyed by poor Amélie’s birthday cake. Turns out, smoke poured from it every time I used it. We had to bake on “warm” as any temperature would annihilate whatever I was baking. The burners we equally as unreliable and the smoke detector blared numerous times a day.
I thought I was gonna have a meltdown.
But first we had to begin to hammer out some of the more creative aspects of what this kitchen will look like when we are done with it. I am trying to create a kitchen that looks as mismatched and old as possible (remember the copper sink I have been storing in the barn for over a year???) Ditching the electric and going gas (propane) meant running a gas line and ordering a propane conversion kit for whatever range we decided on. The details were too much for this spontaneous soul but I sat down every night to scour stoves, read reviews and dream. I am saving (slowly) for a lovely La Canche but that is going to take a few years at least, so in the meantime, I wanted something affordable but with a real industrial/chef look to it. I’m super particular. I wanted legs, no backsplash, nothing digital, five burners and 36 inches. And I did NOT want to spend over $1500.
I always tell Joel, I’m NOT picky. I just know what I want. I would say it’s one of my finer features. (Insert evil, French accented laughter.)
I finally settled on the Cosmo, sort of a knock-off Viking if you you will. You can check out the Cosmo here. We named ours “Kramer” and I’m smitten. It’s free standing, thirty six inches, has five burners and a rotisserie inside. No more smokey stovetop only meals…. I finally could go back to creating in the kitchen. Kramer was installed on Friday and I haven’t left his side yet. The oven is so easy to keep clean (it’s a stainless top) and the five burners are rocking my world. So far I’ve made a few meals, four loaves of bread and two cakes and it cooks beautifully and evenly. The rapid boil burner is excellent and the center burner is huge for my big stock pot that I use to feed this family of eight.
This Door County Rustic Bread Pudding was my first creation! I named it that simply because I bought the bread at the Door County Bakery and the cheese from the Door County Creamery. I’m very much enjoying diving into the food scene here in “Edible Door” and we are committed to meeting everyone who creates fine food on this peninsula. We haven’t even scratched the surface and it’s going to be a wonderful lifelong adventure. Of course, you can make this with your favorite bread and a variety of hard cheeses.
I used my shallow dutch oven but you can use a casserole for sure.
Let’s do this! This recipe was inspire by Yvette Van Boven, one of my favs.
- 4 cups of old bread shredding into one inch chunks
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) of salted butter
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 handful of fresh sage
- 2.5-3 pounds of your favorite mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick (I used Baby Bellas but will chose specialty varieties when the farmers markets open)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups of white Vermouth (can substitute white wine or stock, but I wouldn't:)
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1.5 cups of heavy cream
- 10 ounces of hard goat cheese, diced into ¼ inch pieces (substitute Parmesan or pecornio)
- Fresh grated nutmeg
- Parsley to garnish
- Have a large bowl on hand and preheat oven to 350 F/170 C.
- Toast the breadcrumbs on a cookie tray in a hot oven until browned.
- Pour the toasted bread into the bowl and set a few chunks aside for garnish.
- Generously butter a shallow large dutch oven or casserole dish.
- Melt four tablespoons of the butter and add the onions and sage.
- As they begin to soften, add the garlic. (Garlic cooks faster than onions)
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and add to the bread bowl.
- Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet and add the sliced mushrooms.
- Sauté until the moisture from the mushrooms evaporates, trust me, it will.
- Add the mushrooms to the bread bowl.
- Carefully pour the Vermouth in the hot skillet and reduce by a bit more than half.
- Pour over the bread mixture and mix it all together.
- Allow it to rest for ten minutes so the liquids can be absorbed.
- Spoon everything into your prepared dutch or casserole.
- In the same bowl add the beaten eggs, cream and chopped cheese, reserving some of the cheese to dress the top of the dish.
- Grate in a little nutmeg and pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture.
- Dress the top with the remaining cheese, bread crumbs.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley.
I served this with a salad of crisp romaine tossed with a vinaigrette made of truffle infused olive oil, a pinch of sugar, lemon juice and pepper. I liked the truffle flavor with the mushrooms. I was shocked but we actually had a little leftover and the next morning it was phenomenal folded into scrambled eggs with a fresh topping of cheese and homemade applesauce when served.
Oh gosh, I need to get back to Kramer. Writing this is making my mouth water and it’s about time to start dinner.