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Late-night snack turns out to be unwelcome surprise

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I'm quick to share home cooking success stories, especially when they are the result of massive experimentation that actually works.

So it's only fair that I be as equally forthcoming when food flops occur.

This is one of those stories, a truly tragic culinary tale . . .

I came home late one evening, and the wife and kids were already in bed. Not quite ready to retire myself, I glanced over and noticed half a loaf of crusty (and getting harder by the minute) French bread on the counter, apparently left over from the family's evening meal.

Not wanting to waste such good-quality bread, I immediately cut it into chunks, dumped them in a small baking dish and sprinkled butterscotch chips on top. Then I whisked up a bowl of milk, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla to pour over the bread, letting it soak up the liquid for about 20 minutes.

After that, I baked that bad boy in a water bath and soon had a gorgeous warm Butterscotch Bread Pudding ready to devour. I quickly made a homemade caramel sauce to drizzle over it and then stepped back to admire my work.

It was truly gorgeous and I was so proud of my late-night craftsmanship. I scooped some in a bowl, sat down on the coach and took a big, highly anticipated bite.

So that seemingly plain-looking leftover loaf I had found on the counter? Garlic bread.

And I'm here to tell you, Butterscotch Garlic Bread Pudding will so NOT be the next big thing.

Anyone care to share some of their most memorable food flops? C'mon, fess up. Call, email, Facebook or Tweet me the details and we'll all have a good laugh.

With one another, not at one another.

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Now on to a happier note . . .

Back in the category of cooking successes, I made a ridiculously awesome Butternut Squash Soup this week, which came together in mere minutes.

After sauteing chopped onions in olive oil with some thyme and a little salt and pepper in a large soup pot, I added several cups of homemade chicken stock and a mound of oven-roasted butternut squash. (See instructions below.)

I let this come to a boil and then simmer a bit before using a hand immersion blender to puree the soup right on top of the stove. After a bit more simmering, it was good to go.

We topped each bowl of soup with giant croutons, crumbled bacon and a dollop of sour cream for a dinner to remember.

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Oven-roasted squash is the bomb. And like the soup above, it's super easy to make.

Just slice a whole butternut squash in half lengthwise and drizzle the cut side with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on a cookie sheet and roast at 400-450 degrees until the skins start to slightly brown and the pulp inside is a little soft.

After it cools, use a spoon to scoop the golden pulp from the skin and use it in a variety of tasty ways. In the soup above. In risotto. Mashed with a little butter and fresh herbs for a spud sub.

So good.

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Now that Hot Bologna-gate is behind us, I need help tracking down another sandwich recipe.

My friend Tina writes, "Would you happen to know the recipe Blossom Deli used to make their egg salad sandwiches?"

Sure don't, but man were they great!

She's tried to duplicate it but hasn't come up with the right mix just yet.

"It did not have pickles, celery or onions — just chopped egg whites and a wonderful fluffy 'yolk' sauce," she recalls. "I have tried using sour cream, salt, pepper and a little milk and it came close, but now they are not there for me to compare." (The restaurant recently closed, again.)

"It was my favorite, so, of course, when I went there for an occasional lunch with friends, I would always have something with the egg salad included."

I've tried tracking down Blossom's most recent owner, but to no avail. Anyone have any thoughts or leads on the recipe?

Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfoodguy@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.

com/foodguy.


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