Last October, when I was out in California visiting my son Alex’s family, I picked up a freebie publication called California Home Design. In it was an article about a wine making family in Healdsburg who, with the help of local chef, put together one of those classic wine country dinners. Held in the middle of a vineyard, these parties are wildly photogenic as you can see in this photo from the magazine. And the menus tend to contain things that this Easterner has never heard of before or at least in combinations that I’ve never even imagined. California Cuisine, as defined by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael McCarty of Michael’s in Santa Monica, emphasizes freshly prepared local ingredients incorporated into recipes that are often a fusion of cooking styles as diverse as the population of the Golden state itself. Among the items on the menu at the Healdsburg dinner was a very different take on a Bread Pudding. In fact, the ingredient list made me wonder whether this was savory or sweet, a dessert or a side dish. So I set out to make it and to figure out when to serve it once I had.
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