February 5, 2011

Tampa Foodie Fun~ Spinach Shiitake Bread Pudding

I took a fun trip out to Tampa Monday with my Mom & Grandma, who were in town for my dinner party on Saturday. I'm a planner by heart so I had lined up a list of exciting culinary excursions for us. First stop- the delicious, fun world of Datz Deli. The creative menu and fun atmosphere at Datz is a restaurant filled with, as they say, Pure Culinary Bliss!

Check out their website for the recipe of the day, blog, menu, and cooking class info!
 Sign up to become a Datz Foodie and get coupons and email updates. http://www.datzdeli.com/
I had purchased 3 Groupons www.groupon.com (CHEAP gift certificate specials emailed to you for local businesses!) for a Datz cooking class for us.
 Monday's class was called Mad for Mushrooms.
The cooking class menu included 4 courses and wine for just $20 (reg price)!
What a fantastic foodie find!

The cooking class kitchen.

 1st course, Pecan-Porcini Pate with herb goat cheese (my fave!)
and crusty olive oil soaked bread. 
Next, we were served Spinach-Shiitake Bread Puddings.
Recipe courtesy of Datz Deli


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 leek, white and tender green, cut into 2-inch julienne strips (or substitute onions)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 5-ounce bag baby spinach
  • One 1-pound round loaf of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and leek and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the spinach to the mushrooms with the bread, Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and toss.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil, then gradually whisk into the eggs. Stir the custard into the bread and let stand, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins and set them on a baking sheet. Spoon the pudding into the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Turn the bread puddings out onto an ovenproof platter. (Optional) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan and broil for about 30 seconds, or until golden. Serve hot.

 Chef Nikki preparing marinated Portabella mushrooms for the entree course.

              Inventive use of space in the small cooking class kitchen~ it's a chain link fence!

         Plating the Couscous.

   A meal Fit for a Foodie!

 Israeli Couscous with Portabella Mushrooms and Grilled Chicken Breast.

        Mad for Mushrooms!

  Housemade Gelato
   Mom, Grandma, and me after a delicious meal.

      Housemade Italian Gelato~

            An example of their unique dessert creations.

          Gourmet Artisinal Chocolates

            The Market.
Of course, I had to buy something so I went home with a jar of Chili Ponzu.
   Colorful French Macroons

                 My decedent chocolate treats!

As soon as we got in the car I couldn't wait to have a nibble!

Next stop: Ikea for some mega shopping then on to relaxing TeBella Tea Company on Davis Islands in Tampa, another Groupon find (gotta love the savings!).
 They sell over 85 varieties of loose-leaf tea, tea accessories and locally made confections, including French macaroons, artisinal chocolates and homemade biscotti.

                 I picked up some Savannah Bee Company Honey for my Honey-Lovin' Dad!

   Mom's Tea Sampler featuring Charleston Chai, Mate Chai, and Maple Fig.
The favorite? Charleston Chai!
Grandma tried Jasmine Pear, Appe Cinnamon, and Gyokuro.
The favorite? The Japanese Gyokuro of course!
Rare Japanese Tea selections that made my Grandma giddy with excitement!

I chose Iced Tea (being a Southern gal and all) in the Tea of the Day: Blueberry Muffin!
Afterwards we made quick stop at our favorite Oriental Market in Brandon,
http://www.mdorientalmarket.com/ and then headed home.

We were all wore out after our Tampa adventure
 but of course we would do it again in a heartbeat~

Happy Cooking!
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