Bread pudding with spinach, feta, and ham.

Well, it’s official. This past weekend has been the laziest on record, with no signs so far of an upswing toward productivity or wise time-use. I blame the fort, which we have only just dismantled because I was beginning to worry that at a certain point, my trajectory toward the hobo lifestyle would be irreversible, and I was dangerously close to packing my crap in a bindle, crafting a few sturdy shivs, and finding a van to live in, down by the river. (You can build excellent forts around vans.)

Here’s my fort.

On Thursday night, Corinne came over in her pajamas and we sat in the fort, eating homemade pizza and watching many episodes of The Muppet Show on DVD. The cat was there, and made things difficult, so we had to lock her in the bathroom.

By Friday morning, the roof was gone (the cat also thinks forts are super fun, especially jumping on them), so we ended up enjoying an open-air fort, the kind of fort kids in more temperate climates probably build.

We came to love the fort, and even considered making it a permanent fixture; is anything more fun than doing stuff in a fort? The correct answer is no. The problem is, it was beginning to function as a vortex into which all of my motivation (and Nick’s, which has always been perilously low anyway) was completely sucked. If I hadn’t needed to go downtown in the middle of the day on Friday, I might still be in those same, smelly pajama pants, hair not brushed, and covered in food because you cannot eat sitting upright in a fort.

So we agreed that today we’d get rid of the thing, put our furniture back up like how grown-ups have their furniture, and do the dishes because a lot of mess accumulates when you’re spending all your time horizontal on a pile of cushions but still eating the same amount (if not more). We did take it down, but not before playing in it most of the day.

We spent the morning in the fort, napping and brunching. Last night I assembled a bit of bread pudding, and put out some sausages to defrost, so that breakfast could be in the oven by the time we were ready to move from bed to fort floor. It’s a recipe that I’ve played with a bit, and it comes from the December 2008 issue of Gourmet (see the original recipe on Epicurious, here). The two best things about this recipe are that it’s best if you assemble it the night before you want to bake it, and also that it’s very versatile. I’ve made it vegetarian with basil leaves, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts, and I’ve used sausage and cheddar when I had leftover sausage and no Gruyere. Here’s my Greek-inspired adaptation, which is quite delightful and I insist you make it as soon as you can. If you end up with leftover Easter ham, well, then you’ve no excuse not to. It’s also good as a side-dish with dinner, so you could even make it for your next family feast.

Bread pudding with spinach, feta, and ham

(Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet, December 2008. Serves four, or six as a side-dish.)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 lb. ham, cubed
  • 5 cups roughly chopped spinach
  • 6 cups cubed stale bread
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil

Night before:

Butter two-quart shallow baking dish.

Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, garlic, pepper, oregano, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, toss ham, spinach, bread, mozzarella, and feta. Transfer to baking dish and pour liquid mixture over top. Cover, and refrigerate over night.

Next morning:

Preheat your oven to 375Β°F.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator, and drizzle olive oil over top the uncooked bread pudding. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake until golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

Serve as part of a completely delicious brunch, or alongside a fancy dinner. Serve hot, so cheese is at its melty best. And, if desired, eat in a fort. In your pajamas.

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5 thoughts on “Bread pudding with spinach, feta, and ham.

  1. First, as I commented on twitter, the fort looked awesome and I too am jealous that I cannot have one. Sad face. Also, I’ve never made savory bread pudding before so this is very exciting for me. Sometimes I forget that something sweet can be changed into something savory, you know? Just not cake. That’s off limits.

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  2. 1) I want some friggin’ fort time.

    2) Since I am once again on the GI Diet (which is totally healthy and not one of those crazy fads that lets you drop 50 lbs. in exchange for a heart attack), I have just about exhausted my GI Diet cookbooks. Basically I need a recipe with 0 grams of sugar, as low fat as you can get, with high fiber and high protein, for lunches … like cauliflower chickpea soup or turkey veggie chili … only not those because I eat those all the time now. Know anything? I need some new ideas before I go bonkers.

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    1. Fort time can happen anytime. ANYTIME!

      And I wrote you a little something, but I’ll keep posting things, one or two a week, that I think you might be able to use.

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