Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cheese Custard (Gluten Free)

Cheese Custard is something like Strata, that all-purpose egg, bread and cheese dish. The bread has been replaced by saltines, or in my case, gluten free crackers.  Otherwise, it is pretty similar. I made it last night while I was cleaning out son's room. First, I put all the ingredients into a baking dish. Then I let them sit while I cleaned. The recipe says to let it sit for 30 minutes. I let mine sit for nigh onto three hours. No ill effects. The point is, if you have a few minutes before the kids come home from school, you can put this together then, put it in the oven 40 minutes or so before you want to eat and eat it at 7:00.
 Son and daughter-in-law have moved to Alexandria, and Bob is on a mission to clean out his room so it can be used for something other than storing furniture. My job was to put all the items on top of the bureau in boxes so the bureau could be removed to the first floor, a way station for the donation truck which is supposed to come Friday.
I assembled a box and began loading it up. There were two china mugs which I kind of felt didn't really belong to son since they weren't imprinted with the name of a law school or some organization that hired lawyers, like the IRS.. There was a boomerang on a stand. That was his. There were several bottles of cologne. There was about $5.00 in change. I responsibly put that into a plastic bag and deposited it in the box.
 I went through a period in my life when every time I needed bus fare (before I finally succumbed and bought a Smart Card that I could load money onto) I would go into son's  room and pick $1.50  in change off the top of the bureau. But, since I'm not working, those days are gone. (Also, he doesn't live at home anymore, so the supply of change is not renewable. )
Around 8:10, Bob called from work. He sounded exhausted, so I offered to pick him up at Metro. I went downstairs and put the assembled cheese custard into the oven. When we got home at 8:50, I looked in the oven, expecting the cheese custard to be done. It was not. Bob took the dish out, stirred it up and put it back in the oven at 350 for ten more minutes. Then it was done. So be warned about the time.
For you gluten free enthusiasts, I bought Glutino crackers, which is what Safeway carries. They are okay for the purposes of making cheese custard. For the purposes of eating, they are pretty much like cardboard. So, if you are new at this gluten free stuff, don't think these will taste like Ritz crackers, which is what they are designed to look like.
This is a good, cheap, basic dinner that takes no skill to assemble and tastes good on a cold night. Serve it with a salad.

Cheese Custard

12 saltine crackers (or gluten free crackers if needed)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
3 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Place the crackers in the bottom of a greased one-quart casserole. Sprinkle with the cheese. Combine the eggs, milk, butter and cayenne and pour over. Let stand 30 minutes (or more, if you want).
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Bake ten minutes, lower the oven heat to 275 degrees and bake about twenty minutes longer, or until custard is set. (My advice is to start it at 400 degrees and then lower the heat to 350.)
Makes four servings.

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