First I would like to apologize for not making my normal schedule of posts. I had a little health issue that sucked away my will to sit upright and focus on anything. (TL:DR – I had an infected tooth, the antibiotics did horrible things to my innards)
Since this joyous (ahem) adverse reaction to the antibiotics did damage to my lower esophagus, making swallowing food almost impossible without excruciating pain, I decided to try eating soft foods that were ok to eat cool or room temperature. No ice cream because the tooth that needs a root canal hasn’t been done yet, and cold makes it ACHE. Miserably.
I decided on rice pudding.
I’d like to take a step back for a moment, if I may. This house is a divided house. My husband likes Coke, I used to drink Pepsi products. (I gave up soda a few years ago.) He adores anise and black licorice, I think they are disgusting. I love Sushi, he thinks it’s bait. I love coffee, he thinks it smells great but tastes like burnt twigs. He thinks cilantro tastes like soap, and I don’t. (at least THAT one has some scientific background to it!) I do mayonnaise on sandwiches, he prefers mustard. We both like rice pudding, but he prefers tapioca pudding, which he calls Fish Eye Soup. Occasionally we will go out to a local Turkish restaurant which has wonderful food and get the baked rice pudding there.
Eric bought me some rice pudding, but he got the low-calorie stuff, which I don’t like very much. I decided I would check out Ol’ Betty Crocker and see what she had for a rice pudding recipe. In the process, I stumbled across bread pudding. I LOVE bread pudding! It’s so easy to make, more filling, a little different than rice pudding and you can tweak it endlessly! So I decided to make both.
I used the rice left over from Friday night’s take-out meal, and it turned out to be basmati rice, so the rice pudding came out a little bit like sweetened popcorn flavor. I used an Italian round loaf for the bread pudding, for its texture and flavor. I realized I didn’t have 1.5-quart baking dishes, something I will have to remedy, so I used the 2-quart and made it a bit thinner. I added raisins and dried blueberries to the bread pudding, because I ran out of raisins.
They both came out fine. I let them cool, cut them up and stored them to take to work. I can’t tolerate eating food that is much above room temperature while my esophagus heals, so my plan was to have bread pudding or rice pudding for breakfast, egg salad for lunch, and whatever I could manage for dinner.
So on the way to work Monday morning, I’m thinking about different tweaks you can do to bread pudding – use cinnamon-raisin bread, add chocolate chips, use Brioche, add dried blueberries and cranberries to make it a sweet and sour pudding, etc., etc. And then it hit me – bread pudding is the basis for French Toast Casserole! If I just drizzled maple syrup over my bread pudding it wouldn’t be any different than eating French Toast Casserole!
So breakfast Strata is really just a Savory version of Bread Pudding. Or, French Toast Casserole is for people who want bread pudding for breakfast, but don’t want the stigma of eating PUDDING for breakfast. Or it’s for people too lazy to tear up the bread slices.