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Enjoy a Make-Ahead Salad Filled with Freshness

Enjoy a Make-Ahead Salad Filled with Freshness

tomato saladA friend recently went through a lifetime of cookbooks and gave me 11 cases to go through. Needless to say, it’s going to take some time, especially when I pause all the time to read through a recipe for this or that.

I’m not going to keep all of them, of course. After all, there are a few duplicates in there. But you never know where you’re going to find a treasure. The following recipe for Green Pepper, Olive and Tomato Salad comes from “Pantry Pleasures,” a fundraiser for the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary in Grand Rapids, Mich. The year the cookbook appeared is a mystery, though my guess would be in the early 1970s.

I was drawn to it because of the freshness of the ingredients, many of which are personal favorites. But the real appeal is that you can make this a day ahead. So, if you know you’re going to be running short on time, here’s one course that you won’t have to worry about.

It’s also easy to play around with the ingredients to suit your tastes. I added an English cucumber. Radishes and cabbage would also be good additions. (If you use red radishes, add them shortly before serving because the color of the skin will run and turn the whole salad pink.)

Green Pepper, Olive and Tomato Salad

2 green peppers, chopped in thin strips or small pieces
1 cup sliced olives (green or black or a combination of both)
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges or bite-sized pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large red onion, cut into thin half-rings
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed or avocado
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together peppers, olives, tomatoes, celery, onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Marinate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 12-15 servings.

Adapted from “Pantry Pleasures: Mercy Hospital Auxiliary”

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Treat Your 1015s Like Potatoes

Treat Your 1015s Like Potatoes

onion2

Oven-roasted onions make a low-carb substitute for a baked potato.

Baked potatoes are not on a low-carb diet. So, if you have diabetes or eating Paleo, what are you going to have for a side dish to that steak?

 

1015s in the oven

1015s in the oven

The answer is easy, according to “Hullabaloo in the Kitchen II,” a cookbook from the Dallas County Texas A&M University Mothers’ Club.

Use Texas 1015s instead.

These recipes come from former Gov. Rick Perry and use 1015 onions, which were developed by Aggies to showcase the vegetable’s natural sweetness.

The recipe is also a great way to use leftover brisket, should you have any after a barbecue. Later in the cookbook is a vegetarian version stuffed with broccoli and Parmesan cheese.

onion1Lone Star-Style Whole Roasted Onions

4 (14- to 16-ounce) Texas 1015 onions
Olive oil

Place whole, unpeeled onions in as small a baking dish as possible. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast uncovered at 375 degrees. Onions are done when easily pierced with a fork (soft but not mushy), about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on size. To serve, cut an X through the top of each onion and squeeze slightly at the bottom so it opens like a baked potato. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with sour cream and chives, or try with your favorite baked potato toppings.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Hullabaloo in the Kitchen II” from the Dallas County Texas A&M University Mothers’ Club

Texas Barbecue Beef-Stuffed Onions

4 Lone Star-Style Whole Roasted Onions without X cut, at room temperature
6 ounces lean deli roast beef or leftover brisket, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
3 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Cut a thin slice off the top of the cooked onions. Gently squeeze each onion from the root end (editor’s note: I did the opposite, cutting the root end off and it worked well). Remove center to leave a shell of about 1/2 inch. Finely dice the onion centers. In a medium bowl, toss diced onion with roast beef, barbecue sauce and cheese. Stuff each shell with 1/4 of the mixture or as much as will fill each onion. I sprinkled a little extra cheddar on top. Reheat at 375 degrees until hot, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Hullabaloo in the Kitchen II” from the Dallas County Texas A&M University Mothers’ Club

1015 Onions Stuffed with Broccoli

3 Lone Star-Style Whole Roasted Onions without X cut, at room temperature
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

Peel and cut a thick slice off the top or bottom of the cooked onions. Halve the onions. Remove centers leaving 3/4-inch edges. Chop center portions to equal about 1 cup. Set aside. Cook broccoli according to package directions. Drain. Combine chopped onions, broccoli, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Spoon into centers of onion halves. Place in a casserole dish. Melt margarine in saucepan over medium heat. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in cream cheese. Spoon over onion halves and bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from “Hullabaloo in the Kitchen II” from the Dallas County Texas A&M University Mothers’ Club

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Give Your Terrine a Texas Twist

Give Your Terrine a Texas Twist

Here’s an easy appetizer recipe that showcases the best of what Texas has to offer, which has come to include goat cheese as well as both black and green olives.

terrine1You can also adapt it to suit your tastes. If you don’t like black olives, double up on the green. Don’t want the green olives stuffed with jalapenos? Then use them with pimentos or anchovies or whatever you like — except for pits, of course.

You have to make this dish ahead of time, which frees you up to attend to other details before your party begins.

Texas Goat Cheese Terrine with Olives

15 ounces fresh goat cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream, or more, as needed
3/4 generous cup jalapeno- terrine2and garlic-stuff green olives, finely chopped
3/4 cup salt- or oil-cured black olives, pitted and finely chopped
Fresh herbs, such as thyme or chives, minced, for garnish (optional)

In a bowl, mix the goat cheese and 3/4 cup heavy cream to make a smooth, rather light spread. If it is too dense, add more cream. Evenly spread 1/4 of the mix across the bottom of an 8-inch square serving dish or bowl. Spread the green olives evenly over the surface of the cheese. Spread another 1/4 of the cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle the black olives evenly over the top. Spread another 1/4 of the cheese mixture on top and flatten it out.

terrine3Use the remaining goat cheese like frosting to spread an even white layer on top.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. You can do this a day in advance.

Before serving, bring the terrine to room temperature. Sprinkle the herbs on top, if desired.

Serve with your choice of corn chips, pita chips, crackers and celery sticks or other crudites.

Makes 10 servings.

Adapted from “Olives, Anchovies and Capers” by Georgeanne Brennan

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Ghirardelli Brings Its Chocolate to the River Walk

Ghirardelli Brings Its Chocolate to the River Walk

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company has opened a store at the Shops at Rivercenter, 849 E. Commerce St.

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

It features chocolate, of course, in the form of gifts as well as a fountain, where guests can enjoy Ghirardelli World Famous Hot Fudge Sundaes, shakes and floats and a full line of espresso beverages.

Store hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, click here.
 
“As we continue to expand our restaurant and retail division, Ghirardelli Chocolate is honored to open our flagship location in Texas, bringing visitors and shoppers an unforgettable, sweet experience,” said Marty Thompson, president and CEO of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. “We have been bringing quality chocolate to the public for over 164 years and are excited to continue this tradition in the great state of Texas.”

To celebrate, here’s Ghirardelli’s recipe for Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies. They’re easy to make and easier to devour.

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies
12 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
10 ounces Ghirardelli 60 Percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

From Ghirardelli Chocolate

Save

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Give Your Mint Jelly a Twist

Give Your Mint Jelly a Twist

mint julep jelly2About 15 years ago, I planted a single mint plant in the ground and I’ve enjoyed the way it’s taken over portion of the backyard. I usually use the fragrant leaves in tea, in savory dishes, such as buttered peas, and, of course, in mint juleps.

I had never thought of using it for mint jelly until recently, and I couldn’t shake the idea. I’m not one of those who likes mint jelly with lamb, so that wasn’t the flavor I was aiming for, though you could certainly do that if you leave out the bourbon. This Kentucky-born boy wanted, instead, to go back to that julep flavor. So, I decided to adapt a recipe I found on recipegoldmine.com.

It was easy, because I had thankfully remembered to get all of my ingredients and all of the cooking equipment, such as a strainer, ready ahead of time. That includes making sure you have your canning process set up before you start making the jam.

Next time, I might make mojito jelly with a few minor alterations. I’ll use lime juice instead of lemon and maybe add a little more to the mix, adjusting the water slightly. And of course, I’d use rum instead of bourbon.

Have fun with it. That’s all that matters.

Mint Julep Jelly

1 1/2 cups mint leaves, packed
3 cups water
1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
4 or 5 drops green food coloring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (1.75-ounce) box fruit pectin
4 cups sugar

Stirring in the pectin

Stirring in the pectin

Bruise the mint leaves. (An easy way to do this is to grab a handful and crush it into a fist. Repeat until all of it bruised.) Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let steep for 10 or 12 minutes. The water will be green with a touch of brown.

Strain the mint from the water. Measure 2 3/4 cups if you’re using bourbon or 3 cups if using just water, and pour into a saucepan. (Reserve the remaining mint tea to drink later. Squeeze the mint leaves to extract even more.) Add food coloring, one drop at a time, and lemon juice. Add pectin and stir until it dissolves. Bring to a boil.

Add sugar slowly with one hand, stirring it in with the other. Cook fast, stirring occasionally until it comes to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down, then cook 1 minute more.

Pour into sterilized jelly glasses and seal, using your preferred canning method.

Makes 4 to 4 1/2 half-pint jars.

Adapted from recipegoldmine.com.

 

 

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Green Beans Made Easier

Green Beans Made Easier

green beansGreen beans have always been easy to make. But thanks to Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, the process just got easier.

Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables v2The authors of “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” (Gibbs Smith, $25) have simplified one step that will make your beans look as good as they taste: Instead of dunking your steaming hot beans into an ice bath in order to keep their color, as most recipes call for, all you have to do is run them under some cold water.

You can learn more vegetable tips from Dupree and Cynthia Graubart at this year’s San Antonio Book Fair. Their demonstration is set for 10 a.m. April 2 at the Central Market Cooking Tent at the Central Library Plaza on Augusta Street. A signing will follow.

Once you’ve got those green beans cooked up, follow the authors’ suggested variations, adding flavors and textures to make your favorite standby vegetable new and delicious. Of course, I’d add bacon to the list, too. After all, it’s considered a vegetable to some.

Green Beans

1 pound green beans, tipped, tailed and stringed
2 tablespoons butter or oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring enough salted water to a boil to cover the beans. Add the beans and return to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, utnil the beans are no longer raw but still crisp. Drain and run under cold water to fresh and set the color. The beans may be made a day ahead and refrigerated or frozen at this point.

When ready to serve, heat the butter or oil to sizzling in a large frying pan. Add the beans and toss until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2016_SABF_POSTERVariations:

–Top the hot beans with tomato conserve or warm tomato sauce.

–Toss with 1/2 cup pecan halves.

–Saute 1 pound of quartered or sliced mushrooms along with 4 chopped shallots or scallions in 4 tablespoons butter or oil for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the cooked green beans to the mushrooms and reheat. Add a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs if desired.

–Toss with the grated rind of 1 lemon, no white attached.

–Toss with 1 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander seed and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

–Toss with 2 tablespoons sesame seeds or chipped pecans.

–Toss hot drained beans with a vinaigrette. Toss just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

–Toss green beans with a mix of sliced roasted cherry, grape or small tomatoes, and add sliced green or black olives, sauteed pecans and/or crumbled goat cheese or other soft white cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

 

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Yes, You Can Squeeze Flavor from a Spring Turnip

Yes, You Can Squeeze Flavor from a Spring Turnip

Turnips get a bad wrap. Most of us only know them as these oversized, rock-hard roots that you couldn’t squeeze a drop of water from.

turnips and red peppersYet if you can find turnips at a farmers market, give them a chance. They taste very little like their larger cousins, which Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart call “storage turnips” in their new “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” (Gibbs Smith, $25). The two will be discussing their book at this year’s San Antonio Book Fair. Their demonstration is set for 10 a.m. April 2 at the Central Market Cooking Tent at the Central Library Plaza on Augusta Street. A signing will follow.

“Turnips meld well with bell peppers and make a striking contrast that is particularly good with quail and turkey,” they write. “This may be made ahead a day or so and reheated.”

They also recommend storing spring turnips for no more than a few days, while those so-called storage turnips will last a few weeks.

One nice feature of Dupree and Graubart’s recipes is that they include variations to show you how versatile these vegetables can be.

Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables v2 This helped when testing the recipe. I had enough turnips on hand, but not enough red peppers, so I added a small golden delicious apple as the variation suggested. It worked perfectly with apple and red pepper both in the blend. And the dish was even more attractive with its blend of red, green and white. But flavor that is the real bottom line, and this recipe tastes so good that it’s a keeper. I would also serve it with pork chops, roasted chicken and maybe even a hearty fish, such as halibut or flounder.

Turnips and Red Peppers

1 pound red bell peppers
1 pound small white turnips, peeled
3 to 6 tablespoons butter, divided use
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

turnipsCore, seed and slice the peppers. Cut the peeled turnips into quarters if the turnips are golf-ball size, or into eights if the turnips are larger. (Smaller young turnips can skip the next step.) Add larger turnips to a pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes to blanch; drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, and add the peppers, young turnips or parboiled larger turnips and the garlic. Cook over medium heat until the turnips are tender when pierced with a knife and peppers are still crunchy; add more butter if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Variation: Turnips and Apples

Substitute any firm cooking apple for the peppers. Cut into wedges, leaving skin on and proceed as above.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

 

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Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetable Salads

Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetable Salads

Cooks in the South have definite ideas about vegetables — and they aren’t always correct, no matter how tasty their creations are. Often the term is confused with side dishes, so you’ll find restaurant menus with something like macaroni and cheese listed among the vegetable options. Tasty, to be sure, but hardly a vegetable.

Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables v2So, don’t go to Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart’s “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” (Gibbs Smith, $25) expecting to find a host of side dish recipes. Instead, the authors have followed up their definitive “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” with a sharper focus on the rich bounty of vegetables from throughout the region and how to prepare them in traditional ways your family will love.

The authors will present a free talk on their book during this year’s San Antonio Book Festival. It’s set for 10 a.m. April 2 at the Central Market Cooking Tent at the Central Library Plaza on Augusta Street. A signing will follow.

2016_SABF_POSTERIn the introduction, the writers claim, “We traveled all over the South and enjoyed seeing how and where its vegetables are grown. We ate tomatoes from the hills of western North Carolina and ripe melons from the sandy fields of southern Georgia. The Georgia commissioner of agriculture loaned us his plane, and we loaded its storage area with zucchini, squash and Vidalia onions to take home.” And on they go to include sivvy beans, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peanuts and cucumbers.

Great stuff, unless you’re one of those sticklers who would categorize tomatoes, squash, zucchini, melons, cucumbers and all other foods with seeds as fruit.

Does that matter? Hardly. Faced with this trove of great recipes, you’ll discover flavors that could conjure images from your childhood or enlighten you about how good turnips, butter beans, collard greens with “pot likker” or fried ramps can be.

I headed for the kitchen shortly after opening the book in order to make three salads, all of which came together easily and yet offered bold, rewarding flavors that made me want to revisit them again a few days later. In the next week, we’ll be running more recipes from “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” in addition to those below.

To read more about Dupree and Graubart’s “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” and to find an exceptional biscuit recipe, click here.

Traditional Coleslaw

Traditional Coleslaw

Traditional Coleslaw

“The diversity in coleslaw comes from the size of the cabbage pieces,” write Dupree and Graubart. “It’s very finely machine chopped for cafeterias and schools, and we’ve all gotten to like it on top of barbecue on a bun. Halved and quartered before slicing thickly, makes it more rustic and adds a homemade feeling, sort of “grandmother loves me.” And sliced thinly is like a gourmet chef is coming in your kitchen. Using commercial mayonnaise enables making this dish several days in advance. Some people salt, rise and drain the cabbage before using, to reduce the tendency of the cabbage to release water.

“Homemade mayonnaise is discouraged in all slaw recipes because it is easily diluted as the cabbage weeps. This dilutes the acid in the mayonnaise, which acts as a preservative for the egg in the mayonnaise. In a commercial mayonnaise product, the eggs are processed and therefore still have preservative properties.”

4 pounds green or red cabbage, sliced, grated or shredded
2 Vidalia or other sweet onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, preferably store-bought
Dijon mustard
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cider vinegar

Toss the cabbage with the onions and mayonnaise; taste. Add mustard, salt and pepper as desired. Add a little cider vinegar for a zesty flavor.

Variations:
–Add grated carrots.
–Add a bit of hot red pepper.–Crown with chopped salted peanuts.

Makes 10 to 15 servings.

From “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

cucumber saladRoberta’s Tomatoes and Cucumbers

“Roberta O’Neill Salma and I worked together when we were young women, and we’ve kept our friendship alive,” Dupree writes. “She is a painter and she makes simple ingredients look like art, her food tasting as good as it looks. Her husband shops for the fruit and vegetables and is very picky. Salt brings out the liquid in the tomatoes, making a mouthwatering tomato juice. Omit the vinegar if the tomatoes are ripe and juicy.”

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley
Up to 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, if needed
2 pounds cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or other fresh herbs, optional

Sprinkle the tomatoes well with salt and pepper, and toss with the herbs. cover and leave 1 hour or up to 2 days to extrude the juices. Taste and add vinegar if necessary.

Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and let sit in a colander over the sink for 30 minutes. Rinse well and drain. Stir inot the tomatoes. Add chopped herbs if using, stir, and pour into a serving bowl.

Variation: Add a few thin slices of red onion.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

 

celery saladCelery and Olive Salad

“Frequently used only as an accent in salads, soups and stews, celery is overlooked as a vegetable,” Dupree and Graubart write. “It can step into service nicely, particularly when the storage bin is bare.”

1-2 ribs celery,
2-3 Kalamata or French black olives
2–3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Remove tough celery strings with a knife or scrape off with a peeler. Place the celery rib flat side down and slice on the diagonal as thinly as possible.

Cut the olives off the pit and in small pieces. Toss together with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, adding more oil as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled.

Variation: Add 1 teaspoon grated orange rind, no white attached.

Makes 2 servings.

From “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

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Show Your Love with a Slice of Homemade Pie

Show Your Love with a Slice of Homemade Pie

A homemade pie is a sure sign of love to many. And who can resist the light fluffy custard in a buttermilk pie? This version, from “Cambridge Cooks,” a cookbook to benefit Cambridge Elementary School in Alamo Heights, comes together easily. Just remember to beat a lot of air into the eggs, and remove it from the oven when the top is a golden brown. Serve it with the garnish of your choice, from a mint sprig to macerated berries to a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Buttermilk Cafe buttermilk pieButtermilk Pie

3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (9-inch) deep dish pie crust, unbaked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add butter, buttermilk, flour, sugar and vanilla. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. Pour into pie crust.

Bake for 35-45 minutes.

From Ann Buehler/”Cambridge Cooks”

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When Life Hands You Stale Doughnuts …

When Life Hands You Stale Doughnuts …

Use kitchen shears to cut up stale doughnuts easily.

Use kitchen shears to cut up stale doughnuts easily.

Someone at work brought in doughnuts this week, and at the end of the day, there were more than a half-dozen left untouched. (I must not work with Lutherans, because doughnuts don’t last long at my church on Sundays.)

Anyway, they were just too good to go to waste, so I gathered them up and took them home with me, so I could make bread pudding with them, using a recipe that SavorSA had run in the past.

Doughnut Bread Pudding

Enjoy this easy recipe from our archives.

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