Traditional Tuesday – Bread Pudding

Over the weekend, I decided to clean out the bulk of my refrigerator. What I came across were the following: Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese. So it’s Sunday morning and I don’t want to waste food so I decided to create a family style portion of this comforting, hearty dish, which can also serve as a perfect potluck dish.

What is bread pudding?

Bread pudding is a dish that comprises of layering pieces of bread with a bunch of ingredients and mixing it with egg cream mixture prior to baking the concoction.

Where did bread pudding originate?

There are various version of where bread pudding originated from. The concept of this comforting dish came from the idea of utilizing leftovers while not wasting food. After reading the versions, I personally came to the conclusion that the bread pudding originated from the Egyptians. The Egyptians call their dish “Om Ali”, a dessert containing bread, milk or cream, almonds, and raisins. The Romans also created their version using stale bread, milk, fat and sweetener. In the Middle East, they create their own version called “Eish es Serny” which contains dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel. Currently, there is an Indian dish called “Shahi Tukra”, which is made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds. Of course, the real geniuses behind this comforting dessert do not get the proper recognition for creating bread pudding.

Now let’s get into on what food history has addressed the origins of bread pudding. Historians have stated that bread pudding originated in the Middle Ages with the invention of custard. By the 13th century the dish was labelled as a “poor man’s pudding” because it was made from leftover bread and was consumed by the lower classes. By the 18th century, the dish was served to people who were sick because the bread was easy to digest.

Over the last few centuries bread pudding has evolved to become a versatile dish where it can be made sweet, which popular in most high end restaurants (found in desserts) and savory.

A year ago during NYC restaurant week I had the privilege to eat the the Australian restaurant “Burke and Wills” located in the Upper West Side, which permanently closed early this year. They served an amazing dessert that was part of their three course prix fixe called “Bread and Butter Pudding” which was made with bread, toffee sauce, marscapone, and hazelnut.

Burke and Wills “Butter and Bread Pudding”

Over the weekend, I purged the refrigerator by utilizing all of the Whole Wheat Bread, Mushrooms, Eggs, Milk, Thyme, Cream of Mushroom soup and White Cheddar Cheese to made a Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding .

The dish came out almost perfect because I used what I had leftover so this version had an unequal ratio. There was way more bread than there was mushroom and cheese. The cream of mushroom soup and thyme saved the day because the flavor of the dish was on point. In addition this dish serves six people and after consuming a third of what would be considered one slice was already filling. I had a lot of fun making this dish and would like to explore different variation of creating bread pudding. I definitely want to explore creating a different version that is gluten and dairy free.

Traditional Tuesday – Pan Fried Noodles

In the past week or two, I have had this craving of pan fried noodles with some type of gravy sauce.  When I was child I was considered a picky eater.  My father who is a chef would bring home a variety of dishes and even cook some too.  I was told I had expensive food tastes as my two favorites were sharkfin soup and pan fried noodles with beef.

Even though my food palate has evolved over time and I eat everything now, I will always have a love for an order of family style pan fried noodle dish with either beef or seafood during my family outings at a Chinese restaurant.

I went grocery shopping last week and came across a packet of “Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles”.  Immediately, I had a huge craving for this dish so I purchased a packet and searched online for the best recipes to replicate the dish in most healthy way possible with the ingredients I have at home.  As a result, this recipe is adapted from two recipes that I found made the best pan fried noodles.

During the creation of this dish, my phone decided to not cooperate with me so unfortunately I do not have my usual photo of my ingredient layout.  In addition, there is no exact calorie count.

Please note that leftover cooked vegetables (carrots and cabbage) were used in stir fry portion of this dish.  This dish serves 2 people.

Chicken & Marinade adapted from RecipeTinEats:

2 Boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced (120 calories/serving)

1 teaspoon of reduced sodium soy sauce (3 calories)

1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 tsp flour or cornstarch

white pepper

  1. Slice chicken breasts into thin slices
  2. Add all ingredients and combine
  3. Let it sit in room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

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Pan Fried Noodles adapted from Serious Eats 

1/2 lb. of Hong Kong style pan fried noodles (300 calories/serving).

2 tablespoons of Canola oil (120 calories/serving)

1/4 cup of water

  1. Add 1 tbsp. of canola oil to the wok
  2. Separate noodles by hand and add them to the oil in medium high heat.
  3. Pat noodles to make it into a pancake for about 1 minute
  4. Add water to create steam so the noodles would not burn.
  5. Swirl the pan so the noodles on the periphery could get crispy.
  6. Slide the noodles unto a big plate, obtain another big plate and invert the noodles to transfer.
  7. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. of canola to the wok.
  8. Return the uncooked side noodles to the pan and repeat steps 3-5.
  9. Slide the noodles unto the big plate.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry adapted from RecipeTinEats

Sauce

3 tbsp. of flour or cornstarch

3 tbsp. of water

3/4 of chicken bouillon dissolved in 3/4 cup of water

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce (20 calories)

1 tsp. sugar

  1.  Combine above ingredients to create this stir fry sauce.

Stir fry

1 tablespoon minced garlic (15 calories)

1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)

2 shallots, chopped

leftover cooked cabbage and carrots.

  1. Heat olive oil and add garlic.
  2. Add marinated chicken and stir fry until golden brown
  3. Add shallots and cooked vegetables
  4. Add stir fry sauce and let it simmer for about 1 minute.
  5. Place stir fry and sauce over the noodles.

Unfortunately I do not have the finished product as my phone died and I was hungry.  The dish was less starchy and salty compared to what I have eaten at Chinese restaurants.  The texture of the dish was pretty close.  The dish was cheaper to make than ordering it at the restaurant.   Creating this dish was an experience in itself and the techniques used to cook at home versus at a restaurant is different due to space and availability.  I definitely want to make this again using different ingredients so stay tuned!