Parmesan Baked Beans

Parmesan Baked Beans

As with most families these days, I have some vegetarians in mine. Being the conscious cook, I decided to try and make a vegetarian version of baked beans that would be so delicious that no one would miss the pork or even realize something was different. I based the beans off a hearty Italian tomato sauce, and added every non-meat based version of umami I could think of. Within 5 minutes of getting to the annual 4th of July party, my vegetarian aunt reminded me that she hates beans. Oh well! These beans were worth it anyways.

Banana Walnut French Toast Bread Pudding

Banana Walnut French Toast Bread Pudding

Last year at Easter brunch at my Aunt’s house, she asked me “Dan, where is that french toast bake that you told me you would bring when we talked on St. Patrick’s Day?” You guys probably can guess the end of that story, but the moral is, don’t give me a future task at 10pm on a Saturday St. Patricks! That night I put a reminder in my calendar for the week before easter 2013 to make a fun french toast/bread pudding bake.

My goals for this dish were as follows. Don’t make it to desserty; keep the sugar on the lower side so it registers more as a french toast than a full on bread pudding. Make it very juicy; I wanted the texture to be creamy and not dried out at all. Make it as different from my Mom’s bread pudding as possible; She makes a really good one and this needed to be different to avoid comparisons. I personally thought the goals were achieved and it tasted really good, but my Mom of course couldn’t help but do some comparing.

Stuffed Tofu with Noodles

Stuffed Tofu with Noodles

When I was frying some tofu one day, I noticed that it sticks together really easily. As the tofu cooks, it basically binds to any other tofu cooking nearby. This gave me the idea to one day stuff cubes of tofu, considering that whatever the stuffing may be, the tofu would hold it in nicely. When “one day” finally came, I made a vaguely Asian turkey meatball mixture to stuff into the little cubes.