Category Archives: Ben’s bites

10 Minute or Less Bread Pudding With Rum Sauce

Bread pudding with rum sauce.

Bread pudding with rum sauce.

Bread pudding is one of my all time favorite desserts.  I hardly ever make it however because it takes a long time to bake and every recipe I have found makes enough to feed an army.  However I see much more bread pudding in my future (not sure if that’s a good or bad thing) because I have eliminated both of those problems with this recipe.  This recipe will make enough for two ordinary people to share or if home alone you could call it an individual portion.  I used raisins, bananas, and cherries in mine but use whatever extras you like pineapple, peaches, and pecans come to mind.  I use a coffee cup to cook the pudding but you could use to smaller ramekins for individual portions.  If you need more than two servings just double the recipe the appropriate number of times.  Enjoy! –Ben

Ingredients

Enough bread to fill inside of a large coffee cup torn to pieces.

1 Egg

1 Tbl Sugar

1 Tbl Brown Sugar

1/8 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Milk ( or Half and Half, or evaporated milk, just depends on how many calories you intake)

Raisins, Banana slices, and Cherries

Method

Grease inside of coffee cup (I like to use soft butter because it is easy).  Fill coffee cup with torn bread. In separate bowl combine remaining ingredients except for raisins, bananas, and cherries.  Beat wet ingredients with whisk until well combined.  pour wet ingredients over bread, add fruit and use spoon to get everything mixed up well.  Set aside for 5 minutes to let bread soak up wet ingredients.  (Make rum sauce while waiting. Recipe follows.)  After the 5 minutes have passed microwave for 1 minute then check for doneness by inserting knife through middle of pudding.  If the knife comes out clean the pudding is done if not place back in microwave for 15 second intervals until finished.  I plated the pudding fancy for effect by placing a plate over the cup and inverting but I usually just consume straight out of the cup.

Rum Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tbl Butter

2 Tbl Brown Sugar

1 Tbl Rum

Method

Combine all ingredients in microwave safe container and nuke for 1 minute or until butter melts and sugar is dissolved.  The sauce will thicken as it cools but to speed the process I usually through another small pat of butter on top and stir until it melts and combines.

Fried Crawfish Tacos

Open Taco

Open Taco

We boiled crawfish on Saturday and with Cinco de Mayo on Sunday I decided why not use the leftover crawfish to make a Mexican dish Louisiana style.  Frying the crawfish give the tacos a nice and satisfying crunch.  Since we boiled the crawfish I did not season them before frying since they already had plenty of seasoning from the boil.  If using frozen crawfish they will need to be seasoned accordingly.

Ingredients

1lb Crawfish

1 cup fish fry of choice ( I used Zatarains Southern Fish Fry)

1/2 cup yellow mustard

8 inch flour tortillas

1 Onion

Pepper Jack Cheese

Sour Cream

Pico de Gayo

Cilantro

1 cup vegetable oil

Method

Heat oil to 325 degrees.  Mix mustard with 1 cup of water.  In batches dip crawfish in mustard mixture then dredge in fish fry.  Fry crawfish in batches until golden brown about 5 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking together.  While frying crawfish slice onion and caramelize in pan over medium high heat.  Warm tortillas following package directions.  To assemble spread tortilla with sour cream.  Top with crawfish, cheese, onions, pico de gayo, and a little torn cilantro and enjoy.

Finished Tacos

Finished Taco

Cola Braised BBQ Pork

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I love BBQ pork.  But on a week night who has the time to tend to a pit for hours on end.  This recipe will get you close to that BBQ flavor you crave with a lot less of the work and time.  The secret, as they say, is in the sauce.  I make my own cola BBQ sauce that just makes this recipe that much better.  For the pork in this recipe I use country style pork ribs cut from a Boston Butt pork roast.  These really are not country style ribs but that is the way markets have chosen to label them.

Ingredients

 3lbs Country Style Butt Pork Ribs

Dry Rub

Liquid Smoke

1/2 cola of choice

Method

Lay pork onto sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.   Season liberally with dry rub and sprinkle with liquid smoke.  Bring both ends of aluminum foil to top and roll down.  Then roll in the sides to seal package and store in refrigerator over night.   The next day add 1/2 cup of cola by unrolling one of the ends and pouring in then reseal and rock package back and forth to evenly distribute cola.  Place in 250 degree oven for 3 hours.  Remove package from oven and carefully unroll one end and drain liquid from package.  Place entire pack onto cookie sheet and open fully.  Coat with BBQ sauce and place under broiler.  Add additional coats of sauce every few minutes till desired coverage is achieved.  Remove to cutting board and either pull or chop pork.

Cola BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

1 tbl butter

1/4 cup minced onion

1 garlic clove minced

3/4 cup cola

3/4 cup ketchup

2 tbl lemon juice

2 tbl Worcestershire

2 tbl Steak Sauce

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

   Method

Sweat onion and garlic in butter until onion is clear.  Add cola and bring to a slow boil.  Add all other ingredients and simmer until consistency will coat the back of a spoon about 10 minutes.  Sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.

I served it up on a hamburger bun with a little more sauce and sliced apples but coleslaw tastes great too. Add some baked beans and pasta salad and you have a BBQ meal with a lot less work.

-Ben

Crab Stuffed Tomato topped with Egg and Hollandaise

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Working in a grocery store is both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand I am always able to pick up what I need before leaving for home.  On the other I can spend a whole shift thinking about what will be for dinner when I get home.  The latter was the predicament I found myself in yesterday night.  The store aisles brought forth many different possibilities.  Somehow I decided on a tomato stuffed with crab meat, topped with an egg, and drizzled with a Hollandaise sauce.  The major short cut I took was making the sauce from a packet.  It was almost midnight and I didn’t have the energy to make it from scratch.  This recipe is enough to make two large tomatoes and would make an excellent brunch item.

Ingredients

Two Large Tomatoes

1/4 cup onion

1 tbs garlic

6oz crab meat

1 slice bacon cut into strips

1 tbs butter

1 tbs olive oil

about 1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 Packet Hollandaise Sauce (follow directions on packet)

Method

Cut tops of tomatoes and scrape out seeds with a spoon reserving meat inside of tomato.  Cook strips of bacon in nonstick skillet until crispy remove with slotted spoon.  Add the butter and olive oil to the skillet and cook onion until clear about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook about a minute more until garlic in fragrant.  Then add reserved tomato, crab meat, and bacon to skillet cook a few more minutes until warm.  Last add breadcrumbs just enough to soak up all the liquid in the skillet and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Fill tomatoes about 3/4 full of crab mixture packing mixture into tomatoes.  Be sure not to over fill tomatoes. One of mine was too full and the egg did not survive the trip into the oven.  Crack egg into the top of each tomato and bake in 450 degree oven until the egg whites have set and tomatoes split about 15-20 minutes.

Drizzle with Hollandaise sauce.

This recipe would be equally delicious using eggplants or mushrooms.

With egg yolk broken.

With egg yolk broken.

-Ben

Traditional Italian Stromboli

Sliced Stromboli with Sauce

Sliced Stromboli with Sauce

A Stromboli is a delicious Italian stuffed bread similar to a calzone but in a loaf shape.  Basically being an inside out pizza with the sauce on the outside means the sky is the limit for customization here.  I have gone ahead and made a more traditional Stromboli with Italian meats and cheese but pretty much anything you can imagine can be stuffed into one of these.

As I post recipes you will soon discover I am not much for exact measurements.  I feel they limit creativity and keep the cook from tasting as you go which is the only way to tell if something is seasoned enough for your liking.  I will try to guesstimate my measurements as best I can if I feel they are needed.

For this Stromboli I started out by making Alton Brown’s pizza dough (as shown in the beginning of this recipe) but any pizza or Italian bread recipe can be used or, to make it ever simpler, store bought dough would work just fine.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (Home Made or Store Bought)

Ham

Salami

Pepperoni

Mozzarella Cheese (sliced)

Red Onion (Sliced)

Bell Pepper (Sliced)

Sliced Black Olives

Egg mixed with a little water (for egg wash)

Sesame Seeds

Method

Roll out dough until it is a thin, even thickness (it will make two).  Then begin to layer the meats, veggies, and cheese onto the dough.  Roll the dough up into a loaf shape.  Place loaves onto a baking sheet or peel then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Cut three slits on top of loaves and place into a 450 degree oven until golden brown about 20 minutes.

Ready to be rolled

Ready to be rolled

Done Baking

Done Baking

-Ben

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