The Foodie kitchen remodel is finally nearing it’s completion. We’ve moved home after almost 3 weeks away and I can barely eat a meal out I’m so obsessed with trying out all the new appliances. But, it wasn’t all roses. It was one of the more stressful experiences and has forever ended any notion that I’ll “custom build a home”. So, before I share my first recipe back in the new kitchen I feel I should share some some advice if ever you decide to venture into a remodel.
1. As Hubs says- “Happy wife-Happy life”. Unless you spend your life in the kitchen, remember marriage is about compromise. Let her decide so you don’t have to compromise your happiness.
2. Do not expect your marble layer to exterminate the rattlesnake you see slithering in your backyard. Just put on your Old Gringos, and attempt to whack the darn things head off. Remember this phrase- “Ayuda Me!”. You’ll need it to yell at them as they stand open-mouthed, staring out the window in shock at you. That’s right, You, the Gringa, in your shorts, cowboy boots and saw (where does Hubs keep the shovel?) killing a rattlesnake while they offer no help whatsoever. It appears chivalry is in fact dead. In the meantime, they’ll argue back and forth about who actually has the nerve to come outside and help you. Chances are by then, the snake will be dead. But, they’ll feel especially important sawing it’s head off with the tile trowel after it’s stopped hissing and striking at your boots. (And, people say the suburbs are boring?)
3. Do expect them to take home the snake as a prize, recanting, as I imagine it to be, a much more heroic story where they are actually involved in it’s demise.
4. Do decline the offer of rattlesnake tacos. Even a foodie doesn’t want backyard reptilian for dinner.
5. Try not to scream profanities when you walk back into the kitchen and realize they’ve spent all afternoon putting up a backsplash you did not order.
And that sums up just one memorable afternoon in a 3 month remodel.
One of the first things I tried in my new Viking oven was this tried and true recipe I make every fall. Even the pickiest anti-veggie person will ask for seconds, compliments the sharp cheddar cheese. Everything as always, is better with cheddar. I love recipes where you can prep them a day in advance, store them in the fridge and bake them prior to dinner time. This makes for a great do-ahead dinner party especially if your guests are vegetarian, it’s the perfect main course. It’s also a great potluck dish.
Butternut Squash, Kale and Cheddar Bread Pudding
If you decide to make this dish a day in advance, bring it to room temperature before baking (about 45 min in advance)
2-3 lbs butternut squash
3 Tbl. Olive oil
2 C. Whole Milk
¼ C. white wine
1 Tbl. Dijon
1 loaf day old baguette or ciabbata, torn into 1-in chunks (1-2lbs)
2 bunches Kale, ribs removed, chopped coarsely
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed and cut butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Or, take the easy route and buy the pre-cut squash at Trader Joes. Toss in olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet, salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20-25 min.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl, add milk, wine and mustard. Add baguette pieces and let soak 30 min.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Spray a 13×9 dish and transfer wet bread into baking dish. Spoon squash and kale over bread. Pour remaining egg mixture over. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes more until golden, bubbly and set in the center.