Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bloomin' Onion Bread and Tapas night this month.

It's Appetizer/Tapas time again.       We do this once a month.   It's a great excuse to get together with friends, try new foods, try new recipes, and just have a fun time over all.   And people seem to like coming here as well.    Last month I did bite size Chinese style deep fried pork, some deep fried Wontons with cream cheese filling, and I also made a Tapenade with black olives.
Here's a picture of the feature dish last night.   
Bloomin' Onion Bread

The menu this month focused on a little healthier food.   Or at least I'm attempting healthier munchies.   I made some green peppers which I  threw in the oven with some sharp cheddar cheese on it, just until the cheese melted.   And forgot to take a picture of when I took them out of the oven.   These are good. 

   I made some Turkey Meatballs, which I baked and served with BBQ sauce and Sweet and Sour sauce.   And I have to say I wasn't too thrilled with them.   They were ok, and the leftovers will be eaten sliced up in a  sandwich this week.      I also made this recipe I read about earlier this week.   It's called a Bloomin' Onion bread.  I found the recipe on Foodgawker, and I know I've mentioned that website before.  And here is the poster,  The Girl who ate everything   who posted the picture and she got it from here,  Changeable Table .    And I really didn't do anything different to it, I followed the recipe exactly.   And it worked, I barely got to taste it, it was such a hit.    I think the green onions added a nice oniony taste, without overwhelming it.    However, next time, I think I will bake it a little longer after I uncover it, and at a slightly higher temperature as well.   But then again, I was also baking the meatballs at the same time, so that might have been why it seemed to need a few extra minutes.

And pardon me for missing a couple of shots, but I was running behind so didn't take all the pictures I needed to.   Hopefully I can explain them in detail.

Bloomin'  Onion Bread

1 round loaf of good Sourdough Bread
1 lb. Monterey Jack Cheese, cut up in slices, I would suggest using a cheese cutter for this, and I would have if I'd thought of it, instead I used my knife.
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tsp. poppy seed
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion, (I used a small bunch and just minced it)

Start by cutting the bread in slices, width wise and lengthwise, but not cutting through the base.   You want to have some nice little squares going.    This can get a little tricky, use a good sharp bread knife to cut it into the squares.

Then take a bunch of green onions, and cut them up into a fine mince almost.  I cut the onions lengthwise, and then chop them from there.

Melt the butter and throw in the onions and poppy seed, set aside.
Next cut the cheese up into slices and then cross cut them into small pieces.   I forgot to take a picture at this point, so you'll just have to look at the the following pictures to get an idea of how big to make them.
After you get the cheese cut up, you then place the slices in the bread like this, and this is after you put the bread on a piece of aluminum foil.    As you can see, I tucked the cheese in between each little cut.   You really want the cheese to melt into the bread.   And I did push the cheese down a little, but next time I make it, I'll shove the cheese in a little further. 

I then took the bread and placed it on a larger piece of foil, one big enough to wrap around the bread.
After that, I stirred up my mixture of butter, onions and poppy seed and spooned it over the bread, somewhat evenly. 

Wrapped it up and placed it in a 350 deg. oven for 20 minutes, then unwrapped it and let it cook for another 15 minutes or so.
Look at all that cheesy goodness.

On the platter and ready to serve.
By placing the bread on a smaller piece of foil, I was able to transfer it to the platter I was going to serve it on.   I would suggest placing a serrated knife by the plate, as people want to be able to cut all the way through to get some of the crusty bottom as well when they grab some of the bread.
And as usual, people brought some lovely foods to go with everything as well.    I didn't get over to the table to take a picture until the people had eaten everything, but this is what was left.
Sign of a good party, a decimated table full of food.
Clockwise from the 6 o'clock position on the table.   Meatballs, artichoke dip, pretzel salad (yup, the red thing is a pretzel salad, and I'll post the recipe as soon as Karen gives it to me, it was yummy), what was left of the Bloomin' Onion Bread, a marinated veggie salad, Pasta salad, brownies, applesauce cake, and last, cracker and hummus.   Oh, and in the middle,  Pork Chops cut into fingers.     Everything was really good.

I love to host parties like this.   You get to try new foods, you don't feel compelled to eat a main dish and try a bunch of side dishes, and it's not that expensive to do.    You have the freedom to spend or not spend as much as you like on your offering.   But best of all, sharing time and laughter with friends, that's the priceless part of the whole thing.  (K, climbing down off the soapbox).    Hope your Saturday was fun as well. 

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All about food. *giggle*

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes and more...

I've not done a lot of new recipes lately, been too busy with other stuff and basically living life.   We were invited to a Kentucky Derby party last weekend and I made some cupcakes to take with us.  I think cherries and chocolate go very nicely together, and cherries can take an ordinary chocolate cupcake and put it over the top.    I have to admit that I use cake mixes, almost exclusively.   My DH prefers them over 'homemade' cakes.    And since he's the major cake eater in the family, I use mixes.   But just because I do, doesn't mean I can't put my own spin on them sometimes.  

I took a can of cherry pie filling, fished out 18 whole cherries, put them aside and then threw the rest of the pie filling into a food processor and processed it until the cherries were chopped up just a little.    Set that aside while I got the cake mix put together.  

I always add an extra tablespoon of flour to the dry mix, my MIL has always done that, and when I used to bake chocolate cakes for my new husband, many, many years ago, he'd eat it, but said it was never as good as his mother's.    So I asked his mother, what brand of cake mix she used.   She told me whichever one was on sale, then said that she always added an extra tablespoon of flour for high altitude baking.    The next cake I made, I added the 'magic' ingredient and voila, I could now make cakes as good as my MIL's. 

I took my trusty ice cream scoop,(actually I got the idea from watching an episode of Cupcake Wars on Food Network)  and started filling the cupcake papers with a small scoop of cake mix, then I added about a tablespoon of the chopped cherry pie filling, then added a little more of the dough to the top.
Ready for the oven

When you fill the cupcakes this way, you do need to add about an extra 5 minutes or so to the bake time.   As always, check with a toothpick at the end of the bake time, if you have any raw batter clinging to the toothpick, put them back in the oven for another few minutes.    
Out of the oven 
After they'd cooled, I filled up some frosting bags with the prepared chocolate frosting and went to town on the cupcakes and decorated them.    I used the reserved cherries for a finishing touch.     Now, I have to say, these went fast at the party.   
All dressed and ready for the party
These were a little messy to eat, but oh so good. 

A couple days later we went to the monthly potluck at the Boat Club and I decided to reprise something I'd made a few months ago,  Bologna Cake .   And it was a hit, again.    This time I decorated it with some parsley from my garden.

  The toothpicks you see sticking out, well, I put those on so I could drape it with some plastic wrap for transport.     I served the Bologna cake with some Flipsides crackers, but Townhouse or any good cracker will work on this.  

Hope you have a great week.   We're getting some very much needed rain at the moment and I'm enjoying the show Gaia is putting on for us right now.  The rain, the lightning, the clouds, all make for a lovely Saturday to be spent inside trying to figure out what to post about here next.  

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All about food. *giggle*

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


When I was making the Curry Chicken and Rice, I knew I had to go and buy some fresh curry powder as the curry powder I had was over a year old, and I wanted something fresh.   I do want to say here, that if I made curry dishes on a regular basis, I would just make up my own mixture as needed, and not buy a pre-mix.   That way you can tailor the curry (English invention, by the way), to your tastes.  However, I digress, oh heck with it, I got sidetracked there.   

I was also looking in the drawer I keep the spices in, and realized that without meaning to, I'd somehow accumulated a tremendous amount of spices.   -insert a giggle here-    And I still don't have every spice I think I should have, however, there's still time.      Most of the spices are ones that I use on a regular basis, with a few that are earmarked for special dishes, like my curry powder.    And I've gotten pretty ruthless about chucking out my old spices, after a few months.   I like to write down the date I opened each jar on the label. And I write down the name on the top of the jar or bottle with my Sharpie as well.  

And you get what you pay for in spices, usually.   Buying some of the major brands does lend itself to having fresher spices, but also a higher price tag.   I've actually been buying a lot of spices that come from a company called Badia, and have been very happy with both the quality and the price.   Especially when I can buy and try the spices for only a couple of bucks or less.   Money talks, and I like to try to get as much value for my dollar as I can.   I've also learned to buy smaller quantities of spices I only use occasionally, and there is a brand named Tone who have begun to sell smaller sizes, and for reasonable prices as well.   And unless you use parsley every day or so, you don't need the economy size, buy a smaller jar or better yet, grow a pot.   They taste so much better when they're fresh.

And that brings up another topic entirely, that of growing  a few fresh herbs to use in cooking.   I currently have a rosemary plant (which is struggling), a large pot of parsley, the flat leaf variety, and a pot of chives.    I'll be planting some more basil this year and am going to put in some thyme as well.    I'm not sure just what I did right last year, but boy, did my basil take off.  (I was too busy enjoying it to take any pictures)   I was giving it away and finally just ended up giving the pots of basil away.  It was more than I needed, and there were others who appreciated having some lovely fresh basil.   I think I'll also keep my eye open for a marjoram plant and see what other herbs are offered for sale around here.

Some of my other herbs are growing quite well also.   Despite being mowed down by a bear, they are coming up from the roots.   I'm  talking Banana's here.   Did you know they are classified as an herb?  Yup, they are. And despite the fact the bear managed to walk over or knock over several plants this spring, I'm still hopeful we'll get some fruit stalks out of them this year.    I'll keep you updated on those.

For more recipes please check out   

All about food. *giggle*