Back from New Orleans
We are back from New Orleans. It was hot and humid, but livable. The one thing I had a hard time getting used to was how high they set the air conditioners in the convention center and the restaurants. It was unbearable and very cold. In fact I had to leave a meeting because I was so cold. The food was wonderful. I really enjoyed eating my way through New Orleans. I did ok walking in the exhibits area, but on the sidewalks and the streets …I kept tripping on cobblestones and my knee would finally give out and I had to go to the hotel by cab. This happened most times we were out seeing the town…so finally we planned on going by cab. We went to eat one night at the World War II museum near our restaurant called “The American Sector”…it was fun and the food was good. They even made their own soft drinks.
We go on the 15th to Phoenix for a week. Cindy will be meeting us there…flying in from Knoxville. It will of course be hot, but most things that are outside are open from 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. We are driving down through Flagstaff and meeting Cindy the next day when her flight comes in.
I recently learned of another Japanese concept that I find interesting and encouraging: Kaizen. Kaizen is the process of continual improvement through small and incremental steps. It started as a Japanese management concept and continues to be used in business, as well as in areas such as psychology and life coaching. It reinforces my belief that as long as you keep moving forward, even if by baby steps, you will eventually get where you’re going.
One of the beauties of Kaizen is that the steps can be so small that you don’t mind doing them over and over again, until they become habit. Once established as habit, you don’t have to think about them anymore. Kaizen encourages the practice of starting with something easy so you’ll see immediate benefits to encourage you to continue.
I find Kaizen comforting. Changing small things doesn’t scare me, and I believe I’ll make more progress by doing a little every day (or most days) than if I become too harsh a taskmaster for myself.
I am trying to continue with my watercolor painting. This one I did before I left for New Orleans. I did not have time to draw or paint in New Orleans. But I did get some pictures of things I might paint. I have been also taking pictures around my yard and the town.
Steve and I went to the French Quarter on the second day in New Orleans. We took a bus down to the French Market. Had lunch nearby…I had red beans and rice…and listened to the jazz band play. At the French Market , Steve bought a ceramic frog for a fellow teacher that collects frogs.
We than went to a candy company that makes pralines and bought a ¼ of a pound. They were wonderful. We went that night to the Palace Café on Canal Street, which was wonderful. We both got a desert and shared…I got white chocolate Crème Brûlée and Steve got the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. Wonderful.
White Chocolate Bread PuddingServes 12
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
6 C - Heavy whipping cream
2 C - Vitamin D milk
1 C - Sugar
20 oz - White chocolate, chips or small pieces
4 ea - Eggs
15 ea - Egg yolks
24" loaf of stale French bread (or Fresh French bread, sliced and dried in a 275° oven)
White Chocolate Ganache
½ C - Heavy whipping cream
8 oz - White chocolate chips or small pieces
1 oz - Dark chocolate, grated for garnish
Stir together whipping cream, milk and sugar in a large heavy saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate pieces. Allow chocolate to melt for several minutes, then stir until smooth. Whisk together whole eggs and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour hot cream and chocolate mixture into the eggs in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you pour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all contents from the warm pot. Set pudding aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Thinly slice stale French bread and place in a 9" x 12" metal baking pan. Pour half of the pudding over the bread and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Use your fingers or a rubber spatula to press the bread into the pudding so that the liquid is absorbed and the bread becomes very soggy. Pour the remaining pudding over the bread and stir. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes, or until bread pudding is golden brown.
While bread pudding is baking, make white chocolate ganache by bringing cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate. Allow chocolate to melt for several minutes, then stir until smooth.
Warm white chocolate bread pudding can be spooned directly out of the pan, or cut into slices. If serving in slices, chill bread pudding for 6-8 hours to allow to fully set. Loosen the sides from the pan with a knife and invert onto a cutting surface. Cut into squares, then halve squares to make triangular slices. Place bread pudding slices on a cookie sheet and heat in a 275° oven for 15 minutes, or until warm. Serve topped with warm white chocolate ganache and garnished with dark chocolate shavings.
Maybe someday I will try to make it.