Cornbread Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce: The Final Result…Rich, gooey goodness

I wasn’t raised eating bread pudding.

I mean, I had heard of it, but I had never seen it in person. Not at my house, or at a friend’s house, or on a restaurant menu in town.

A friend of mine swears it’s because bread pudding is not a southern dish. However, when you look it up in the great Google machine, there are lots of references to Southern Bread Pudding and recipes in Southern Living magazine and other southern cooking magazines.

Crazy good bread pudding in Perdido Key
Crazy good bread pudding in Perdido Key

I don’t suppose it really matters why I didn’t have it until a couple of years ago. I’m just glad I finally did. Wow, is it ever good!

When I was at the beach last fall, I had a bread pudding at a little hole in the wall place that made me think I had died and gone to heaven.

Of course, after finally getting to try some bread pudding, I decided that I wanted to try making some for myself.

And what do you know, right after that I saw a recipe for Cornbread Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce. Bingo! Continue reading

Cornbread Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce: The lost and found of a great cornbread recipe

This post is about cornbread. Okay, ultimately, the dish I made was Cornbread Bread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel Sauce, but without cornbread, that wasn’t going to happen.

How many times have I heard this in my life??
How many times have I heard this in my life??

There is a whole spectrum of good cornbread. The texture can range from coarse to almost like cake. You can have yellow or white. Some people add things like corn kernels or jalapenos. (IMHO, that is just wrongwrongwrong. But then, I am a purist.)

As a born-and-bred Southerner, you would think that I would have mastered cornbread as a child. And in a way, I did. Continue reading

The Mystique of Inspiration

Where does inspiration come from?

It may come from a photo or a story. It can come from something someone else wrote or did.

Maybe it comes from something you pass every day, or on just the right day.

Inspiration can be in the unusual or the ordinary.

We usually think of inspiration being related to artistry — a great performance, a work of art, a novel or poem that moves you. Have you ever thought about inspiration in the kitchen?

Oh, wait . . . inspiration is reserved for great chefs, right?

NO! Absolutely not!

You can find inspiration in the kitchen just as well as any chef you’ve ever heard of. Just look around you.

Open your pantry and think about what you have that might taste good together. Or do the same thing with your refrigerator. Or maybe the grocery aisle.

Food Network logo
Can you tell how much I love Food Network? I swear they aren’t paying me. But if they want to, I can be bought!

Sometimes I get inspiration from watching what other people are doing on cooking shows. Chopped is a really good example of inspiration coming from what is in front of you. Or Cupcake Wars.

I used to play a game with one of my best friends for his birthday cake. I would ask what kind of cake he wanted and he would start listing things he wanted in it. The challenge was to figure out how to combine all the ingredients into something wonderful.

Try that with someone in your family or one of your friends. See what happens.

I bet you will find inspiration! (Remember, Sponge Bob came from somewhere!)

Come on...you know you've wondered how they came up with the idea of Sponge Bob! (It makes complete sense when you remember
Come on…you know you’ve wondered how they came up with the idea of Sponge Bob! (It makes complete sense when you remember “inspired” means “(of air or another substance) that is breathed in”.) Just sayin’.

Don’t sweat the small stuff…

I tried to bake a cake for my mother’s birthday – it took me four hours. It was terrible, and I cried for three days.

—¬†Rachael Ray

(See? Even the pros fail sometimes!)

The Zen of Homemade Pizza (Or Serenity from Dinner for 16)

Serenity is not the word that normally comes to mind when you think about having a weekly dinner for anywhere from 10 to 25 people.

Crazy, yes. Chaos, yes. Serenity…not so much.

Serenity — the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled (according to Google, anyway).

Strangely enough, though, serenity is often what occurs in the time before the craziness hits.

The calm before the storm
The calm before the storm

For the past nine years, I have been part of a group who meets for dinner on Sunday nights. We call it Sunday Night Dinner, or SND. (We like to save our creativity for the food.) Imagine having a holiday dinner every week. That’s kind of what it is like. We set a theme or main dish, and everyone brings something to contribute. There are several people who love to cook and experiment and lots of willing guinea pigs to sample the results.

Last night was pizza night. Sometimes someone will show up with a takeout pizza on pizza night, but usually it is free-styling homemade pizza. (On one pizza night, a random person once observed, “Wow! When y’all said pizza, I was thinking pepperoni or maybe sausage. But y’all get serious about some pizza!”) Continue reading

To my dream reader…do you know who you are?

When I looked at you right after you were born, I didn’t think about the everyday, mundane things of life, like teaching you to cook.

I remember my aunt teaching me to cook. I was probably ten when I started helping her in the kitchen. Most often, my main job was to chop the nuts. I can remember staying up all night doing the baking for Christmas. No, really, alllll night. I remember flopping down on the sofa to eat an orange while she smoked a cigarette before going to bed. We joked that it would keep us from having to get up for breakfast. Continue reading

Christmas morning goodies #2: Hanky Pankies

I have started to write this post every day since Christmas.

And every day I realize that I didn’t get a picture before the Hanky Pankies were all gone.

Seriously. They are gone that fast. This is all I ever have to take a picture of:

This is what leftover Hanky Pankies look like. Seriously.
This is what leftover Hanky Pankies look like. Seriously.

What are Hanky Pankies, you ask? They are little bits of sausagey-beefy-cheesy goodness. Everyone loves them. Continue reading