ser·en·dip·i·ty: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

Serendipity. It’s all over the place, at least that’s how I see it. I have “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident”. Call them coincidences, chance or kizmit, those moments in life when the planets all seem to align in just the right way and the universe offers up a delicious course of events.

al·che·my: the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

This morning I had such a moment. It felt a little surreal while it was happening as I was so aware, almost like watching myself in a movie…cue the woman walking down the street and the guy in the elevator, both whom I was meant to run into at the exact instant I did and at at just the right place.  Suddenly I realized that life was taking an unexpected turn and the trajectory had been altered, if even by only a bit, it was significant.

When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.~ Joseph Campbell

I believe in the magical nature of life and I’m often inspired and amused by the synchronization of events. Complex little collaborations between time and destiny that produce something a little mystical and that’s the true alchemy of life.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

Last weekend I made a wonderful Challah bread pudding and used  some fresh organic berries from Driscoll’s to make a warm sauce to pour over the pudding and it was scrumptious.

Challah Bread Pudding with Warm Berry Sauce

6 cups of Challah bread cut into 1-inch cubes
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 quart half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter four 4-inch ramekins or four 6-7 ounce porcelain teacups. Fill the ramekins with the bread cubes.

Beat the eggs lightly and add the sugar, salt, half and half and vanilla. Pour over the bread and let stand for 20 minutes. You can sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and dot them with a few cut pieces of butter to give them even more flavor and richness and then place in a bain-marie (water bath) in the oven.

Using a deep glass casserole dish or a roasting pan placed on you oven rack, set the ramekins in the dish and then pour boiling water around the ramekins so that it is approximately half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Note: You can make these without the bain-marie, but the water bath helps the custard to cook without curdling and keeps the puddings moist.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. If they begin to get too brown, cover with foil.  Serve warm with fresh berries or with a warm berry sauce.

Warm Berry Sauce

2 cups mixed berries
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water

In a small saucepan heat the berries, sugar and water to the boiling point and then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes until fruit is soft.

If you prefer a thickened sauce, you can add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water and then whisk into the sauce and continue to cook for a few minutes while it thickens.

Cool sauce a bit and serve warm.

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