Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Banana chocolate chip bread pudding, for the morning after (also known as 'Better than make-up sex' bread pudding)

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Update, April 2020: I've made banana chocolate chip bread pudding more times than I can count since this post first appeared a decade ago. It's getting us through our COVID-19 quarantine at the moment. The first time I made this recipe it was a peace offering. Now it's our ultimate comfort food. Enjoy.

Husbands and wives argue. It's just one of those things - a given of marriage, a by-product of sharing so many of the important issues and ho-hum mundanities of life. A little irritation leads to big words. Stubborn begets stubborn. Heels dig in. Movement and compromise seem unnatural, uncomfortable, even impossible. You reach a level of exasperation where you wonder how you ended up in this life and wildly consider all the possible avenues out of it. And then you leave the room, slam the door, hold your head in your hands, and fume. Or weep, depending on the particular situation and your particular personality.

Married people out there, I see you nodding your heads. And for all you smug singles who think this will never happen to you and your future spouse...I think you know what I'm going to say, so I won't bother.

I've heard the old saying about not going to bed angry, but that doesn't always work for me. When I get heated up, I need more time for my steam to dissipate. But ultimately I'm a peacemaker. Which is why, a few weeks ago, I made banana chocolate chip bread pudding early one morning before heading to work. We'd gone to bed mad, and I meant the bread pudding as my fragrant, sweet, silent apology. Which, fortunately, is how it was received. [April 2010]

Banana chocolate chip bread pudding
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, or brandy
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 loaf challah, torn into small pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced or cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cream, milk, liqueur and salt. Add the bread pieces, bananas, and chocolate chips and toss to combine thoroughly - you want all the bread covered with the custard mixture. Leave the bread pudding mixture in the bowl about 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes to redistribute the ingredients.

Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, then pour in the bread pudding mixture. Bake until the bread pudding is puffed up, golden brown on top and set in the center - when you jiggle the pan, the middle shouldn't wobble. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack at least 30 minutes. It will deflate as it cools, but that's normal, so don't be concerned.

Serve warm or at room temperature. I think whipped cream is gilding the lily, but if you like it, go ahead.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Meyer lemon spaghetti with goat cheese

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Dinner for one: Spaghetti with Meyer lemon and goat cheese

[Update: I originally wrote this post in 2010. It's now a decade later and much of the country is sequestered at home because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, including my family. I pulled out this recipe yesterday to share with my older son, who is across the country holed up in his apartment in Connecticut. I'm sending him a box of Meyer lemons from our tree so he can make this anytime he wants. Stay safe, friends, and STAY HOME.]

When I was young, single and living in New York City, I often ended the day with a simple bowl of pasta. I was working long hours in the publishing business, and while I did have a social life, there were plenty of 14-hour workdays when I'd arrive home at 11pm starving, exhausted and fed up. On nights like that, a bowl of hot pasta with olive oil and garlic was a good friend indeed.

My husband Michael is a protein kind of guy, so my bowl of pure carbohydrate comfort doesn't appeal to him. But today one kid was away on a playdate, and Michael and the other son had gigantic burritos for lunch. When dinnertime rolled around, I was the only one who needed a meal. And I needed a warm bowl of pasta.

This is one of the simplest, yet most delicious, pasta dishes I know. It requires only a few ingredients: spaghetti or angel hair, a lemon, some cheese, a splash of olive oil. If you're feeling fancy and have fresh basil (I didn't), slice it into thin strips and toss it in. Be sure to inhale deeply before you take the first bite - it adds significantly to the pleasure.

Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

Yield: 2 servings
Total time: 10 M
This fragrant, simple pasta dish requires only spaghetti or angel hair, a lemon, some cheese, and a splash of good olive oil. The best comfort food on the planet.


  • 1/2 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 Meyer lemon (you can substitute regular lemon, but don't use as much of the juice or it will be too sour)
  • 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan) cheese
  • 2 ounces fresh, soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


How to cook Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente, and not a moment longer.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, grate the zest of the Meyer lemon into a large bowl. Juice the lemon into the same bowl, then add the cheeses, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a healthy grind of black pepper. Ladle a bit of the hot pasta cooking water from the pot into the bowl. Whisk everything together until it's smooth.
  3. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it to the bowl with the lemon mixture. Toss, grind on a bit more pepper, and eat. Makes dinner for two, or dinner for one plus tomorrow's lunch.
Created using The Recipes Generator