Friday, January 30, 2015

Cheesy Onion Pull-Apart Bread



You know what Sunday is?  The Superbowl.  Yep. And my Seahawks are in it. For the second year in a row.  (Woo-hoo!!!!) And, win or lose, when it's over I will be sad, because I will have to wait until fall to watch football again. (But I'll be less sad if we win!).

I would venture to say that Superbowl Sunday is probably the king of all snack days in America.  Chips, dip, chicken wings, pretzels, and drinks that fizz are all on the top of the list of what Americans will be filling their grocery carts with in the next few days.

I found this recipe a few years ago, and it's definitely a superb snack for football watching with friends or anytime you want something easy that looks and tastes impressive with very little effort.  When feeding a lot of people, this is a nice one to pull out of the oven along side a main dish and a salad.  Or use it as a party appetizer.

Unless you bake the bread from scratch, I wouldn't even call this a recipe.  More like a method for dressing up a loaf of bread.  But oh-so-yummy. Which is perfect.  You do not want fussy food while watching football. You might miss a Richard Sherman interception while you are working on the food.  You wouldn't want that.  Horrors.

So, try this one out this weekend on your snack table.  It will disappear between Seahawks touchdowns.  ;-)

(Note: I believe the original recipe credit goes to the-girl-who-ate-everything, which is a really great recipe blog.  Definitely check it out!)


Me with my grandpa.  A 12 since mid-1970s.


The Step-by-Step



And this is everything you'll need.  That's it.  Preheat your oven to 350F and put your Seahawks jersey on.  (Blue and green hairspray optional).



So first we cut the bread like this.  Pre-game show on in the background?  Good.  Make sure you don't slice all the way through the bottom.  



Cover a baking sheet with foil.  

HELPFUL TIP:  Take a little squished ball of foil and put it in the middle of the pan.  When you put the sliced bread on top, the lump in the middle underneath will help the cuts in the bread "open" a little, which will make it easier for you to get the goodies in the cracks.



Put your bread on top of the lump of foil.  

Now take your cheese and slice it in thin, small slices.  Stick the slices in all of the cuts, making sure  every square of bread has cheese on all sides.  This part is a little tedious, I'll admit.  

Only a few minutes 'til kickoff?  Perfect.  Don't worry, we won't miss it.



Melt the butter, and mix in the poppy seeds and green onions.  Pour over the bread, and attempt to drizzle a little into all the cracks and over the surface of the bread.  Trade a little smack talk with that one guy on Facebook who likes to give your team a hard time. (Is HIS team in the Superbowl?  I think not.)



Mmmm.  Now you'll need to stick this baby in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  It'll be ready by the end of the 1st. 



Commercial break, time to pull this out of the oven.  Now how does that look?  

I'm just about that action, boss.


The Recipe

MAKES 1 LOAF TO SHARE (6-10 SERVINGS)

1 round loaf crusty bread (sourdough is really good, but not necessary)
About 16 ounces of cheese (about 500 grams), sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped green onions (spring onions)
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).  Slice the bread horizontally and also vertically without cutting all the way through the bottom crust.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil.  Take a small-ish ball of foil and smush it flat and place in the center of the pan.  Put the sliced bread loaf on top of the smushed ball of foil.  This will help the slits in the bread open a bit.

Arrange the cheese in the slits of the bread, making sure every surface of cut bread is touching cheese.

Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup and add the poppy seeds and green onions.  Mix and pour over the bread.  Try to get the butter into the slits as well as over the surface of the bread.

Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown a little.

Remove from oven, serve while hot.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dutch Babies





Here in a Ukrainian village, living far away from the nearest real grocery store, I have learned to meal plan.  I normally take inventory of the freezer and then plan dinners for a week.  

The flaw in the plan is when I fail to take the meat out of the freezer in time.  Or when I get caught up in some ministry issue and my perfectly planned dinner just ain't gonna happen.

Most of my American friends would run to the grocery store for a frozen pizza or get Thai take out  or just take the family to Olive Garden.  I do not have any of those options.  If I have bacon, I'll usually go the pasta carbonara route.  But if I don't....  I make breakfast for dinner.  (Whoever invented breakfast for dinner -- you are a genius!).  Usually the go-to is waffles.  But sometimes I like to do something different and we have Dutch Babies.

This is also a great recipe for a fun dessert (especially when you have nothing in your pantry but the basics) or a breakfast worthy of company.

My husband asked me to explain that we do not actually consume infants from Holland for breakfast or dinner.  I am not sure why they're called Dutch babies.  Some people call them German pancakes. It's sort of a cross between an enormous pancake and a souffle.  Whatever European lineage you would like to attach to this dish, it's delicious, impressive and simple.  Did I mention 4 ingredients and on the table in under 30 minutes?  

Right, so let's do it....


The Step-by-Step



First, let's double-check if you can do this.... do you have a blender? Check.  Do you have an oven-proof frying pan (hint: will the handle melt in the oven or not?)  Check.  Ok, we are double-checked and ready to go.

So turn on your oven to a toasty 425F (220C) and put 4 tablespoons of butter in the pan.  Stick the pan in the oven.


Now get out your blender, and have the rest of the ingredients pre-measured and ready to go.



Now crack the eggs into the blender.  If your 3-year-old has a thing for cracking eggs, then take the extra 7 minutes to let him pull up the step ladder and crack the eggs.  If not, that's ok too.

Whirl the eggs for three minutes.  After 3 minutes, start adding about half of the flour, and then about half of the milk and then the rest of the flour and then the rest of the milk.  Blend a bit more until it's smooth.  

Soothe the 3-year-old who is running away with his ears covered because the blender is "too loud".




Take the pan out of the oven WITH A POTHOLDER.  (For some reason, using a stovetop frying pan in the oven makes me very likely to grab the SCREAMING HOT pan handle with just my bare skin.  Ouch.)

Pour the batter into the melted butter into the pan.  Pop that baby (Dutch or otherwise) back into the oven for about 20 minutes.



When it's done, it will be all puffy and golden like this.  Gorgeous.  Call everyone to the table.  Dutch babies are so much better straight from the oven, fluffy and hot.  



Today I had some blueberry sauce on hand, so that's how we topped our dutch babies.  But my favorite is a squeeze of lemon juice plus a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  You could also use fresh fruit, jam, honey or syrup on top.  The possibilities are many.  Whatever you like.

Cut in quarters and dish up to the waiting hungry monsters. 


The Recipe

MAKES 2-4 SERVINGS

4 Tablespoons butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
(Additional toppings as desired)

Preheat oven 425F (220C).

Put butter in an ovenproof skillet and let the pan with butter heat up in the oven.

Measure the milk and flour.  In a blender, whirl the 3 eggs for 3 minutes.  Add half of the milk, then half of the flour, then the rest of the milk and the rest of the flour.  Blend just til smooth.

Pour batter into the hot pan (careful! use potholder!).

Bake in the oven 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Top with fresh fruit, lemon juice + powdered sugar, honey, jam or syrup.