Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Freeman House Kitchen

In the childhood memories of every cook,
there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.
-Barbara Costikyan

Okay, so it may have taken a year (or so), but Freeman House is finally starting to look like an actual, inhabitable home! While the kitchen is one of the last rooms to go in, (yes, I've gone crazy!), things and supplies are trickling in to get the kitchen underway. After weeks of scouring classified ads, used appliance stores and surplus warehouses, I finally found a stove that seemed to fit. I paid a little over $100 for it on eBay, and it works like nothing I've ever cooked on before. Love it!

Speaking of other things to love, I found a beautiful loaf of panettone bread (www.boudinbakery.com) and some fresh pears today and decided to whip up a bubbly batch of bread pudding. Yum! I'd share some with you, but our friendly neighborhood plumber - the man who gave me the organ - had a heart attack Sunday, so the bread pudding went, warm from the oven, to him. A few leftover pears did hang around, though. I guess I could share those, and the recipe:

Panettone Pear Bread Pudding

1 (4 lb.) loaf Panettone bread (or you could use 1 1/2 loaves French bread), cubed

4 eggs

3 cups milk (or half and half, cream... whatever you've got)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional... but it is a good way to use up all those holiday spices!)

1 pretty pear, finely sliced

1/2 stick butter

So okay. Grease a 8x8 (or whatever you have that's close) pan and fire the oven up to 450 F. Layer bread cubes and sliced pears in baking pan. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over bread and pears and press bread down until it gets fat and soggy with the egg mixture. Dot with butter. Place 8x8 pan in a 9x13 pan and put the whole thing in the oven. Now carefully pour hot tap water into the 9x13 pan until the water comes at least halfway up the bread and pudding mixture. (This creates a gentle water bath that bakes the delicate pudding at a steady, even temperature.)

Bake for 45-55 minutes at 450 F. You may want to check after 30 minutes or so to ensure your pudding isn't browning too quickly. If it is, cover with foil.

There you have it! Yummy, creamy winter goodness!

You know, everyone says the kitchen is the heart of the home, and truly, it is. But I'd even go so far as to say that kitchens can also be the heart of our mental homes. Odd, I think. What do you suppose it is that makes one room hold such a powerfully sweet space in our memories?

Anyway, it's good to be in the kitchen again - finished or not. Something about a clean stove and bubbling pots does recall bygone days and childhood memories of Mom... of feeling safe... of being loved. And if we aren't blessed to have those memories, there's nothing to stop us from creating them for another generation of watchful eyes and tiny hands, is there?

Every good and perfect gift [ovens! warm kitchens! sweet memories!] comes from above.
- James 1:17


Farmgirl Susan said...

Hi Brin,
Your blog is great. I look forward to reading more. Love the quotes at the start of your posts. And your new stove is gorgeous. What a wonderful (and well-priced!) find.

Thanks so much for the kind comment you left on my blog. I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I think you'll be really happy with your seeds from Baker Creek and hope you'll keep me posted with how things go in your garden. Don't be intimidated--anything can always be replanted, (and often has to be) LOL. Arugula is a great place to start. I have the most gorgeous volunteer crop going in the greenhouse right now. The cooler months are definitely the time to grow arugula. So sow those seeds soon! : )

Anonymous said...

love the stove!