One of the reasons I started this blog was to document in words and photographs our journey to eating responsibly. We started with cutting out high fructose corn syrup and eggs from caged hens some years ago and slowly started to shift other aspects of our diet as well. Local and organic dairy, eggs, produce and local grass fed meat are now staples and if we can not afford grass-fed meat some weeks - we just don't buy meat at all. As freelancers, we have to be careful about how we spend, but there is great joy in knowing where your food comes from - the connection is one that speaks to our souls.
I have recently been speaking with Ron Silver, the owner and creator of Bubby's. One of our go-to brunch places in New York, Ron's passion for farm to table is infectious. In truth, the term "farm to table" does not seem to encompass the entirety of Ron's philosophy. Yes, they purchase their produce from local farms, but the connection is much deeper. Bubby's maintains personal relationships with all of their purveyors and the extent to which their products are used is astonishing. As an example, they use nearly every inch of the pigs they procure each week and in process, cure their own bacon (something my sister-in-law did recently as well - totally inspring!) The dialogue has inspired me to seek further depth in our connections to our plates while educating our children about the importance of American farms.
The following recipe is reprinted with permission from Bubby's Brunch Cookbook - it's an amazing tome to this hallowed meal that we seem to adore more than most. And it's the perfect holiday brunch - make it the night before while overnight guests are otherwise engaged and toss it in the oven first thing in the morning. Perfect.
I paired ours with a simple salad of spinach, arugula, radicchio, shaved Brussel sprouts, black grapes, almonds and a dressing whisked together of olive oil, orange juice and honey mustard.
BUBBY'S SAVORY BACON AND CHEESE BREAD PUDDING
1 large loaf of crusty white bread (I had used my baguette recipe to make and freeze loafs - they worked perfectly in this recipe)
12 oz. slab bacon
4 T. butter
1 lrg. garlic clove
1 c. coarsely diced onion
6 extra large eggs
3 1/2 c. heavy cream
3 c. grated sharp white Cheddar
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cut the bread into cubes and place cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, until just barely toasted. Remove the bread crumbs from the oven and set aside.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until very crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and discard the rest. Add the butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and saute the garlic and onions for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, bacon, garlic and onions and 2 cups of the Cheddar cheese. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and parsley.
Butter a 9x12 baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and sprinkle with the remaining cup of Cheddar. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm and golden.
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