Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Summery Scarf and Delicious Bread Pudding Recipe

It has recently occurred to me that for all the shawls that I've knit over the years happily thinking that I'm covering all possible basis for any outfit or color combination that I might own I have left a gaping hole in my wardrobe.  I have hardly any scarves.  And I'm not entirely sure why but all of a sudden all I want to wear are long flowing scarves.   

Maybe it has something to do with the desertification of California.  With the new arid desert climate it seems appropriate to wear more desert influenced fashion that is lightweight, streamlined and breezy such as my new Longshadow scarf designed by Anne Hanson.  Sadly California is suffering from an extreme and extended drought that is projected to last decades.  Residents are being asked (and in some areas like Topanga and Malibu residents are required) to reduce water usage by significant amounts.  Apparently some of us have been drafted to the front lines of the water wars. Pretty soon you'll know who lives in Topanga and Malibu because we'll be the ones taking sponge baths and using perfumes.  But we must learn to adapt to our new reality.  Note to self: read Arabian Nights.

In the past few years I've seen a lot of fabric scarfs being sold for summer but frankly I've never been a fan of fabric scarves.  And when lace is this easy to knit there's no reason not to create something unique and special that will make you stand out in the coming hot. sultry. desert. nights.  What are you waiting for!

Particulars:  Longshadows designed by Anne Hanson (Knitspot); US 4 needles; 1 skein Phydeaux Designs two-ply lace weight yarn (80% superfine merino wool, 20% silk) (875 yrds - 100 gm); colorway Grass.  This design like all of Anne Hanson's designs is superbly written. And because it has a resting row it was an enjoyable and surprisingly quick knit. You knit the scarf in two pieces and then graft together in the center so that the scarf is symmetrical with a scalloped edge on each end.I knit the small size but made it longer than the pattern directions as I wanted a long flowing scarf and ended up using approximately 675 yards.  Finished blocked dimensions 80" x 12."

Swallowtail butterfly alight on the wild sage growing on the Santa Monica mountains along the trails Simcha and I hike.

Bread Pudding Recipe

I'm not sure if you have noticed but lately I have been trying to focus more on healthy eating and lifestyle tips.  Truly I have.  But I believe that should also be tempered by the advice of my mother who at age 88 still enjoys life and is fond of saying "a little of what you fancy does you good." Personally I find occasionally eating something decadently wonderful does wonders for my outlook and one of my favorite indulgences is a special treat for breakfast on the weekend.  There's something about a special breakfast that sets the proper mood for the entire day.  And one of my favorite breakfast indulgences is bread pudding.  It's rather like gourmet french toast for grownups.

A bread pudding is an incredibly versatile and easy recipe.  You can add practically any combination of flavors to your bread and then simply pour over the egg custard.  Bake and wallah ~ a delicious breakfast treat.


Any bread that will easily absorb a liquid egg mixture (brioche or a similar bread that you would use for french toast or in a pinch even a store bought coffee cake for the ultimate in easy preparation).
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole milk - scant
+ additional milk to cover your bread filling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  Select dish to bake your bread pudding.  You can use a pie dish or make mini-loafs (pictured below) or a glass bottom bowl (oven safe).

2.  Add torn bread pieces and toss with filling of choice.  Arrange filling so that it is roughly 2 to 3 inches deep.  Keep in mind the dish will rise as it bakes and then collapse as it cools.

3.  Whisk together custard ingredients (3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, scant 1/4 cup milk).  Pour custard ingredients over bread mixture.  Then add enough additional milk to just about cover bread filling.  Leave some areas of bread showing.

4.  Bake for approximately 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.  The time will vary depending on how deep your baking dish is.  The bread mixture should rise as it bakes and absorbs the custard and milk (it will then collapse as it cools).

5.  Serve slightly warm still from oven.

Examples of what to use for your bread filling are as follows:  in the first picture I used fresh brioche mixed with a few sliced strawberries and peaches and a few bittersweet chocolate chips scattered about (roughly 2 tablespoons or less).  I find that with fruit you don't want to use too much, but a few nice chunks work well or adding a few raspberries are wonderful too.

In the picture below I used homemade raisin bread.  While I love the raisins and cinnamon this version isn't nearly as light as it is if you use a soft rich bread such as brioche or a coffee cake.

Until next time be well and love well and this summer go ahead and treat yourself to something special for breakfast ~ everyone deserves an occasional treat!


Bridget said...

What a lovely scarf - the color is perfection!

I have never made bread pudding, but I have always thought it was something I would like. This looks both yummy and doable, so thanks. :-)

Allie-oops Designs said...

That scarf is just gorgeous, as usual, Claudia!!! And you wear it so well!

I'm curious, is there any talk of desalination plants in CA? I mean, you have all that water on your doorstep - and I know they use them in other countries - just makes me wonder. Wish I could send you some of our rain, my grass is growing WAY too fast these days. I'd be happy to share!

Carolyn said...

oh my goodness, bread and butter pudding for breakfast - now that IS decadent. Always a favourite in our house. Bread pudding here is something else entirely, like a big pile of brown stodge with sugar on top - your Mum might be able to remember it.
Lovely scarf, as always, I'll be thinking of you here in our rain rain rain

Willow said...

Beautiful scarf! I've promised my sister in law a shawl--she might choose a scarf like this instead!

Renee said...

Delicious! The scarf and the pudding :-)
Your mother is a wise woman! said...

yum! going to try that