Usually when I make a make a new recipe it takes me several days to publish it. There are of course exceptions. For holidays I like to get a recipe up a few days before the date, so people looking to round out their holiday menu can actually reference it, rather than pinning and forgetting about it for the following year. And then there are recipes that are so absolutely amazing that I can’t wait to share! This plum sauce is one of them.
Bread pudding has always been a favorite of mine. Petit Oven makes the most amazing bread pudding I’ve ever tasted. Warm and spongy, swimming in a pool of salted caramel sauce. I sometimes joke, just give me a bowl of caramel! Their dessert menu is small, usually the bread pudding and one other item, though with to items of near perfection, what else would you want. I always consider bread pudding as an option to bring to family meals, but it’s not really an option. On one side, I have bread pudding haters (I know, I don’t really understand either), and on the other side I have gluten-free eaters. Considering I’ve never made one regular bread pudding, I was not about to start with a gluten-free version. And considering a recipe requires a full loaf of Italian bread, it’s not something my husband and I alone
could should eat. So it’s true. I’ve never had the opportunity to make a bread pudding. Until a few weekends ago.
I read somewhere that apricots are one of the only fruits that improve in flavor through cooking. I never want to believe such a thing could be true. All winter I indulge on dried apricots and apricot preserves, savoring each bite. When apricot season finally rolls around, after almost months of strawberries and a brief flirtation with cherries, I gladly shell out the $4 a pound for the petite fruit, rushing home like a child to enjoy my treasure.
The thing about apricots is they’re so small. Where as one peach may keep me satisfied, I need 3-4 apricots to do the same. I break open the first fruit, discard the pit and bite. Hmm, a little squishy–I must have picked an over ripe one. The next, firm but flavorless, another dud. After 3 or 4 apricots, I start to realize that cooking fact might have some weight to it. I’ve never enjoyed apricots fresh from the tree, but even the best looking specimens brought home from the greenmarkets never seem to achieve the flavor I expect compared to the jams, pies and crisps.
This simple meal has comforted me in both kitchens home and away. When my friend and I backpacked through Europe after college (wow, almost a decade ago…) it because a staple of our diet anytime we had access to a kitchen, whether it was the communal “kitchen” of a hostel or our own apartment for the week. It was a dish that made us feel normal. For a few moments, we weren’t dirty travelers living our of our backpacks for the next 10 weeks, having picnics of bread, fruit and cheese from the local Aldi and saving up for real restaurant dinners when we could (not that it wasn’t great!). But it was the moments when we had access to a kitchen that were magical. When we could pretend that we weren’t moving every few days, but grounded, just for a few days. We dined on pasta, salads, soups and occasionally some chicken or beef. The meals were always simple as we had a limited pantry to work with, but somehow the zucchini over pasta was always a favorite.
Just because it’s 100 degrees out right now is no reason to cut soups out of your diet. Chilled soups are incredibly satisfying. They pack a full meal of nutrients and taste in a tiny little bowl, plus is a meal guaranteed to cool you down. Most recipes with fresh peas are generally have the word “spring” in their titles, however I never seem to be able to find them at the market until late June. To me, once the thermometer hits a consistent 80°F plus, we’re in full on summer.