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Friday, June 03, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Posted by Hello Meet Bradley Ogden

Bay Area chef Bradley Ogden rose to national prominence as the executive chef for San Francisco’s renowned Campton Place Hotel. Later, Ogden and partner Michael Dellar opened Ogden’s signature restaurant, The Lark Creek Inn in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, which has been acclaimed by leading critics and publications as one of the best restaurants in the nation. It was followed by One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, Lark Creek in Walnut Creek and San Mateo, Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, and Arterra in Del Mar.

Among other awards, Ogden has been named Best Chef California by the James Beard Foundation, one of the Great American Chefs by the International Wine and Food Society, winner of the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement, and Chef of the Year by the Culinary Institute of America.

In March of 2003, Ogden partnered with Caesar’s Palace to open a restaurant in Las Vegas, Ogden’s first restaurant outside of California. In 2004, Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace received "Best New Restaurant" award by the James Beard Foundation.

Ogden, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, feels perhaps the greatest influence on his cooking came from his early exposure to fresh, Native American foods. "Coming from the Midwest, I grew up with freshly caught trout, free-range chickens, and hand-picked fruits and vegetables. As my culinary training exposed me to new techniques and ingredients, I never lost my appreciation for those basic tastes." His philosophy remains: "Keep it simple; use the freshest ingredients available and put them together in such a way that the flavors, colors and textures combine to bring out the best in each other."


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 loaf day-old cinnamon-raisin bread or brioche
Eggnog ice cream (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter sides and bottom of eight 8-ounce ramekins or souffle dishes, approximately 2 inches high and 5 inches in diameter.
To prepare custard, whisk together in a bowl the eggs, pumpkin, half-and-half, sugars, vanilla and spices. Pour through a strainer and set aside.
Remove crust from the bread cut into eight 3-inch squares 1/2-inch thick. Cut the remaining bread into 3/4-inch cubes (you'll need 4 cups of the cubed bread).
Place one of the 3-inch squares of bread in the bottom of the buttered ramekin. Top with 1/2 cup of the cubes of bread and then pour in six ounces of the custard. Let sit for 30 minutes so the bread has a chance to absorb the custard, then top off with a little more custard.
Place the ramekins in a water bath and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Let the pudding cool at room temperature. Serve while still warm.
To serve, unmold the ramekins and place on a plate with the top side up. Top with eggnog ice cream.

Note: Ogden says the pudding can be prepared the day before and warmed on the day of the meal. To serve, top with eggnog ice cream or the ice cream of your choice.
Makes 8 servings.

Eggnog ice cream:
8 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup dark rum
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg

Lightly beat egg yolks in a 2-quart, noncorrosive, stainless steel saucepan. Add 1 cup of the heavy cream, the half-and-half, the sugar and the salt to the beaten yolks and mix well. Add the vanilla bean.

Set the saucepan over medium heat and stir the custard frequently until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 180 degrees). Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a medium bowl set over ice. Add the vanilla extract and nutmeg.

Add brandy to a saucepan and heat over moderate heat until reduced by half. Add the reduced brandy to the custard with the remaining heavy cream and dark rum. Stir together.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions.
Makes 1 quart.


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