But here we are. Halloween is four days away, which means that November is right around the corner. Half-way down the next block is Thanksgiving, with the 'baking like crazy, drag out the box of decorations, and "holy crap, did you know there are only 26 shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas?!?!"' holiday season. And it's barreling down the roadway like an 18-wheeler that's lost its brakes.
So before the insanity begins, let's linger on Fall. Let's take the time to watch the change of colours in the trees, enjoy the days with a nip in the air (I have worn long sleeves, a jacket, and a scarf already--all on the same day!) and even enjoy the Indian Summer weather (like today's 90 degrees). I went to the farmers market in Burbank last Saturday morning. It was lovely. I hadn't gone in awhile. It felt good getting up early and heading out in the morning chill, even before my first cup of coffee. By late morning, that chill was replaced by an absolutely gorgeous Saturday of bright sun and blue skies. I ended up at Granville Cafe, having brunch with the woman that knows me best (pegging my menu choice before I uttered a word), where we enjoyed a patio table, eavesdropping on conversations from the next table, and totally digging on the Dutch pancake with prosciutto and Gruyere in front of me. A thin, dinner-plate sized pancake with slivers of ham and cheese speckled in the batter. Some of the prosciutto pieces were a little crunchy from settling to the bottom while on the griddle, some bits of cheese were just perfectly melted. I left exactly two bites on my plate after coming to the realization that I was just shy of eating the whole thing. You cannot say I don't have a hearty appetite.
I spent the next couple of days fixated on those tastes. While I considered making my own Dutch pancake, I opted to use the baguettes that had veered down the stale path and made a bread pudding, though I swapped out the Gruyere with smoked Jarlsberg and a bit of cheddar. It felt practically decadent buying prosciutto, since it's not something I buy all that frequently. A savory bread pudding is one of those foods that screams Fall to me. It's a perfect dish when the weather begins to turn cold. It's also easy as pie to whip together. You'll probably have left-overs. This is just as delicious for the next day's breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Prosciutto and Smoked Jarlsberg Bread Pudding
5 cups bread, cubed (i.e. baguette or sourdough)
½ cup onion, sliced thin
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups half and half
¾ cup shredded smoked Jarlsberg
½ cup shredded smoked Cheddar, plus ¼ cup additional Cheddar
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 oz prosciutto, chopped