Monday, October 26, 2009

MIYM: Breadcrumbs

A few years ago, The Frugal Husband made a smoker.  He saw it on Alton Brown's Good Eats, and he decided to make one for himself.  FruHubs is so good like that.  (If you'd like instructions, go here.)  The first thing he smoked was a pork butt, and it changed The Frugal Hostess's life forever.

Can you believe that she had never had a pulled pork sandwich before?  Isn't that just absurd?!

Now, they have smoked pulled pork sandwiches semi-regularly.  The best way to eat pulled pork is with lots of yummy barbecue sauce on a sandwich roll with sesame seeds - delicious.  If you serve it with salad and potato wedges, you will be extra happy!

But what happens when you buy a package of eight rolls and only have enough pulled pork for seven sandwiches? When life gives you extra bread, make breadcrumbs!

Old bread
Extra bread
Heel of bread
Hot dog bun
Hamburger bun
Stale crackers from party - crackers make EXCELLENT breadcrumbs, FYI.
In other words, whatever you have in the bread family.  TFH throws the above items in the freezer until she has enough to make a big batch of breadcrumbs.

1.  Thaw anything frozen.
2.  Spread on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
3.  Break into pieces.  Toss pieces into food processor or blender and process or blend to desire crumb.  If you don't have those, put into a big Ziploc bag and crunch up.  That is so fun, BTW, that you might want to just do it that way.
4.  You can stop there.  Or, you can add spices.  FruHo always adds spices because her daddy always used Italian breadcrumbs for everything, and she is a traditionalist.  And by traditionalist she means, breacrumbaditionalist. Spice options: pepper (any color), salt, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary (chop finely first), onion powder, garlic powder.  Spice requirement: red pepper flakes.  No idea why, but this is the one ingredient that never varies.  It makes the breadcrumbs slightly spicy and highly delicious.

Another thing to do with old bread is make croutons.  Thaw, cut into cubes, mix in a bowl with spices and melted butter, then spread on a baking sheet and bake.

And the cheater's way to make croutons, if you need a small amount of them for Caesar salad or something, is this: Toast two pieces of bread in the toaster.  Cut into crouton-esque cubes.  Melt butter in a pan over low heat, toss in the bread cubes, and add spices as desired.  You could also melt the butter in a microwave (use a coffee cup) and do the rest in a bowl.

A last idea, if you have children or grandkids, is to save your old bread for a while, then thaw it out and go feed some ducks at a park.  Whatever you do, don't feed birds at the beach, or you will create a scary swarm of dive-bombing seagulls that poop on your head.  Not that The Frugal Hostess has any experience with this.

Don't waste bread, yo.

photo by net_efekt
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  1. Bread crumbs are good! I save bread cubes for bread pudding, too. That tail end of the french bread that the kids won't eat? Saved for bread pudding and croutons. Bread pudding is also good for those egg yolks you have left over after making a meringue.

  2. TFH doesn't love bread pudding - at least not the raisiny, cinnamon-riddled variety - but she agrees that you've got a great idea! What kind of bread pudding do you make?

  3. Love the idea of locally produced bread crumbs. Why buy those over-hyped Panko crumbs imported from Japan. Imagine the giant foot that made that carbon footprint. Thanks Frugal Hostess for supporting the loconomy.

  4. Dear FruHo,

    I love you and love reading what you write, even though I will never amke my own breadcrumbs.


  5. How can your family be from New Orleans and you don't like bread pudding?! You simply must not have had the version laden with bourbon.

  6. LOL -- I'm with Sara: I make the kind involving bourbon. But I typically make that as a sauce so that the kids won't get too high.

    I use two recipes: one is the croissant bread pudding from Ina Garten (but not made with croissants, I just follow the custard recipe and sub in what I want). I tend to use dried cherries or golden raisins for fruit in it, if I want it. It would also be awesome with dried raspberries, if they were plumped first.

    The other one is a pumpkin bread pudding that is an Emerile recipe, I think. I got it about 200 years ago from a Williams Sonoma catalogue, so I'm figuring it is out there in the public domaine kicking around somewhere.

    But bread pudding can be whatever you want it to be -- it's flexible. You can also thicken spaghetti sauce with it, or you can use it in Italian bread salad: that's good, and the bread really needs to be stale for that to work well.


  7. OK, OK, TFH will give bread pudding another shot - FruHubs loves it. Croissant bread pudding with cherries sounds awesome. Birds and Cherries makes a white chocolate bread pudding that is also SO good. It must be the cinnamon is some bread pudding that TFH doesn't enjoy. And the wet bread. Arg.

  8. Ina's original Barefoot Contessa cookbook -- I don't think that there is any cinnamon in her recipe, but if there is, it is minimal. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Plump the dried cherries in warm water first. Good on you for making something for FruHubs, even if it is not your favorite. I heartily recommend feeding husbands things to make them feel special now and then. It doesn't exactly translate to more or better lawn care, mind you, but it does make them more compliant.


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