Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cookish: Fixing a screw-up

So, a few days ago, I made some Amish Friendship Bread, but it didn't turn out quite right. It just didn't taste the same and it was rather dry. So, what to do? I didn't want to just throw it away, but it wasn't all that tasty.

The solution? Bread pudding. The bread is already cinnamon-y and sugar-y--a great start. Of course, you can make bread pudding with any bread, preferably a little stale. French bread, challah, brioche--take your pick. I had about a loaf and a half of friendship bread, which I cut into large cubes. I tossed these cubes in 1/2 stick of melted butter and placed the cubes in a 9-in. square baking dish. In a bowl, I mixed 4 eggs with a scant 3/4 cup of sugar and a hearty sprinkle of cinnamon--keep in mind that the bread already had sugar and cinnamon in it, so if you are using regular bread, you may want to increase the quantity of both. I also added 2 tsp of vanilla, but I'd up this to a tablespoon next time. Add a pinch of salt. Heat up some milk--I used 3 cups, but it made too much liquid, so I think I'd just heat 2 cups next time. Add the warm milk to the eggs and pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar and bake in a 375-degree oven. Begin checking after 25 minutes, but it will probably take 30 to 40 minutes to set up.

It was quite yummy! Next time I might bake it in a bigger dish for a better crunchy top to squishy middle ratio. Mmm-mmm, good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bookish: An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon is the latest book in the Outlander saga. I don't recommend picking this up if you have not already read the other books in the series. I think you would be hopelessly confused and not very invested in the characters. This book picks back up in the midst of the impending revolution. There is a lot of side plot this time with Lord John and Willie--not all of which makes that much sense if you haven't read all of the Lord John books, but it's ok. The book drags a bit in the middle, after Jamie and Claire first attempt to get to Scotland (unsuccessfully) and then they just slog around while you are screaming "Get ON WITH IT! You are supposed to be in SCOTLAND!"

But I digress...

There is also some fun interactions with Bree and Roger, though again, there is a dry spell in the middle.

Things REALLY pick up at the end, though, and Diana totally leaves us hanging at the end! Makes for a very exciting ending; unfortunately, we've got many years to wait for the resolution.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bookish movie: Disney's A Christmas Carol

Go see it in 3D--you won't regret it. This is a story that has been told countless times in myriad variations. We all know it, right? Ebeneezer Scrooge, the original grinch, is a miserly, miserable old man who hates Christmas. He is given a chance to redeem himself and change his terrible ways. He is visited by three ghosts and comes to the realization that he must change his life. Instead of trying to create a new variation on the theme, the filmmakers actually stuck fairly close to Dickens's orignial tale. The dialogue is very good and true to the story and the animation is quite interesting. A word of warning: the ghosts are creepy, scary, and menacing, for the most part. This is not really a movie for little bitty kids--it is a ghost story, after all. The animation is a little weird at times, and I don't think it would be as compelling if not in 3D--so spend a few extra bucks and see it that way!