Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tomato Bread Pudding at the Block Party
Yes! I’m happy to report we have an amazingly gorgeous day with a cloudless blue sky. All the windows are open and the house is drenched in sunshine. Sitting at Isaac’s football practice this morning, I sipped my iced green tea and soaked up the warmth. I’ll need these memories when the rain and gray return later this year ... but we’re not thinking about that today. On our way home from the field, Isaac looked at me and said, “This is your kind of day." No truer words were ever spoken!
Tonight is our annual block party and we could not ask for a better evening to be outside. I love this tradition! We pull barbecues out on to the sidewalk, set up beach chairs and folding tables, flip on some music and chat and share food with our neighbors. We have lived on our block for 16 years and it’s a terrific one. When Bob and I moved here, Sam was a newborn baby and we marveled at how old the kids in elementary school looked. Now we’re the ones with two sons towering over the preschoolers. Big sigh ...
As we are in the midst of tomato season, and I am making as many tomato dishes as possible, I have another recipe I must share with you (and it happens to be perfect for a block party). Tomato Bread Pudding (Quajado de Tomate), a Sephardic dish, is part omelet, part bread pudding. Tomatoes are the star, so only local, ripe tomatoes will do here. Eggs, bread, cheese and herbs are supporting actors and when combined with the tomatoes you have a mouth–watering plate of silky custard, salty cheese and sweet tomatoes. This is sublime comfort food. You can vary the herbs and cheeses you use, so this is a fun dish to get creative with.
Bring it to your next potluck, serve out big scoops, relax in your beach chair and catch up on the latest.
P.S. No lemonade stand this year ... instead two neighborhood girls set up a nail parlor! I am so excited!
Tomato Bread Pudding (Quajado do Tomate)
Adapted from Sephardic Flavors by Joyce Goldstein
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 thick slices of rustic bread (about 12 ounces), soaked in water and squeezed dry
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped (feel free to use other fresh herbs)
3/4 pound cheese (about 3 cups), grated or crumbled (you can use a combination such as feta and mozzarella, or parmesan and mozzarella - just be sure one of your cheeses is a salty one)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the chopped tomatoes in a colander, sprinkle with a little salt and let drain for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9x12 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, soaked bread, eggs, parlsey and all but 1/2 cup of the cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, spread evenly and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake the pudding until golden and set, 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.