One Baguette, Three Different Ways!

My sister and I stopped by Porto’s for lunch the other day after our weekly Saturday workout, and walked away with freshly baked baguettes, one for each of us, to enjoy during the week. We love baguettes very much, but the only problem is that loafs are often so long that it’s impossible for one person to finish them up before they dry up and get all crusty!

Determined to use up the entire loaf of baguette without wasting an inch, I incorporated the French bread into pretty much everything I made during the week, and here are some of my favorites: A panzanella salad; a Caesar salad; and a bread pudding!

I made the panzanella salad pretty much the same way I made the bruschetta, and tossed in chopped cucumbers and, of course, pieces of a day-old baguette. The dry pieces of bread soaked up all the juices from the vegetables, making this Tuscan favorite absolutely irresistible! The best part about this salad is that the older and drier the better, the better, so don’t be afraid to toss in the bread that’s been sitting at your kitchen counter for two or three days!

I was inspired to make the Caesar salad at home after reading this delicious post by Fig and Plum. I followed Jessica’s recipe on the homemade Caesar salad dressing (which was heavenly). I tossed in some shrimps with homemade croutons (made by shallow frying the bread cubes in some olive oil) to make it a satisfying lunch!

I also made a bread pudding for dessert. Here’s the recipe!

Bread Pudding (aka Everything But your Kitchen Sink Dessert)
Serves 6

1/2 baguette, 1-3 days old
3 eggs
2 cups milk (I used reduced fat milk but you can use whole milk)
4 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
2-3 bananas (better if they’ve turned a little brown. I used the ones I kept in the freezer.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Cut the baguettes into cubes. Whisk together the milk, eggs, agave nectar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla extract in a bowl, and add the cubed baguettes. Let it sit in room temperature for about 30 minutes until the bread soaks up the milky goodness. Add the smashed bananas into the mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a pan and bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until the custard is cooked all the way through. Let it cool and serve. I like mine served luke warm, with a scoop my homemade Orange Pekoe Tea ice cream.

Now, that I’ve successfully overdosed myself with carb, I’m going to call my personal trainer sister for an emergency session!