blooming onion pizza bread

Blooming Onion Pizza Bread LeadFootball Sunday is here. So is Football Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Take your pick. When we find a free Sunday, it’s so much fun getting together with other families to hangout, watch football, eat, drink and chat the afternoon away.

The next time you head out to someone’s house or they head to yours for the same type of merriment, this “Blooming Onion Pizza Bread,” is a great #appetizer to serve. The pizza bread is simple to make, easy to serve and goes a long way – plus it’s appealing to all age groups.

Ingredients:
1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread
12-16 ounces mozzarella or Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1 (3.5 ounce) package pepperoni, halved
3 Tb butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 Tb Parmesan cheese
Pizza/marinara sauce for dipping
Blooming onion pizza bread #02

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving. Place bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and insert cheese slices and pepperoni between cuts. Combine butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Drizzle or brush mixture over bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle bread with Parmesan cheese. Wrap bread completely in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and pepperoni is a little crispy.

mother’s day spirits (our mom’s faves)

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Christi and I were both blessed with amazing moms who are there for us no matter what. They are our biggest champions, friends, confidantes and aren’t afraid to keep us on track when we act sassy or grumpy (yes…who knows your mood better than your mom). We will each be celebrating our mom’s tomorrow on Mother’s Day. We thought it would be fun to highlight their favorite cocktails on Cashmere Apron this week (Nina’s fav is the Blue Cheese and Bacon Martini and Mary’s is the Grapefruit Basil Martini – both recipes follow).

Cheers to Nina and Mary – the best of the best. We love you – Happy Mother’s Day!

BLUE CHEESE & BACON MARTINI (Nina’s favorite)
Ingredients

2- 1/2 shots Gin
1/2 shot of brine from cocktail olives
1/8 shot extra dry Vermouth
Blue Cheese stuffed olives for garnish
Bacon crumbles

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CHRISTI & HER MOM, NINA VISITING NYC

Directions
Fry bacon until very crisp and chop up very fine. Rub the rim of your chilled martini glass with butter and roll the edge of the glass in the bacon crumbs. Shake all martini ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into glass. Garnish with a few olives. Makes one drink.

 

Grapefruit Basil Martini Lead
GRAPEFRUIT BASIL MARTINI (Mary’s favorite)

Ingredients
2 ounces Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 ounce Vodka
1 diced fresh Basil leaf plus additional for garnish

Mother's Day 01

 

Directions
Add crushed ice to a Martini shaker. Pour in the freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice and vodka. Add the diced fresh Basil leaf. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with a fresh  Basil leaf for garnish. Makes one drink.

pancetta crisps with goat cheese and pear

Pancetta Pear Lead

Two days and counting…I love to picture all of the homes across America preparing for Thanksgiving. Different traditions…different ways of preparing the big bird…different homemade “favorites” that make our mouths water. Although the Thanksgiving meal itself eliminates the need for any appetizers, we always feel compelled to serve something “light,” to kick off the occasion. It’s part of our custom to have a fun little cocktail hour – sparkling crystal glasses, whimsical cocktail napkins, a snazzy drink, football on in the background and that special holiday feeling in the air.

This appetizer looks gorgeous on a beautiful tray. The crisps are airy and flavorful with a hint of sweetness from the lightly drizzled honey. We paired a decorative platter of Pancetta Crisps with Grapefruit Basil Martinis (click for our recipe) made from freshly squeezed grapefruits picked right off the tree. Champagne always works too. Enjoy your holiday cocktail hour!

Ingredients
12 thin slices pancetta (about 1/3 lb.)
1 Bartlett pear
1/2 (4-oz.) package goat cheese, crumbled
Freshly cracked pepper
Honey
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Pear Pancetta 2

Directions
Arrange pancetta slices in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack using a spatula. Let stand 10 minutes or until crisp. Core pear with an apple corer. Cut pear crosswise into 12 thin rings. Arrange on a serving platter. Top evenly with pancetta and goat cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with honey just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Created by Sheri Castle, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Southern Living
November 2007

parmigiano crisps with chocolate & sea salt

Parmigiana Crisps LeadTomorrow night we are invited to an intimate dinner party at our neighbor’s home for a “Pre-Thanksgiving,” Thanksgiving meal. Last year they treated us to a homemade Oktoberfest dinner but October schedules this year were insane for everyone so we switched gears and rolled our tradition into November.

As my neighbor and I chatted in the street one evening, we talked about their native Michigan and a wonderful cooking school she and her husband attended several times. The cooking school gained so much popularity that attendees can now only register for one class per year. When the Thanksgiving themed course came to their attention, there was only one spot available and the husband took it immediately. My neighbor painted a mouth-watering picture of a golden turkey so divine we will be begging for the recipe. They have used that coveted cooking school recipe time and again. And, the rest of the menu is apparently just as amazing. Needless to say, I will be starving myself all day tomorrow so I can indulge tomorrow night!

I am bringing the appetizer and this recipe came to mind. I found it a while back on The Whole Foods website and love it. The recipe is simple to make but is sophisticated and looks so elegant on display. The Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps marry the salty and sweet in a flavorful crunchy bite. The crisps aren’t heavy so everyone will still have room for the feast. Serve the crisps with a good bottle of Prosecco and you will have the ideal starter for any dinner party (especially during the holidays). And if you are looking for a unique homemade gift during the holidays, wrap these up in wax paper in a decorative box and give them along with the Prosecco.

Ingredients
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Parmigiano Reggiano
6 Tb finely chopped dry roasted whole almonds (skins on)
4 ounces good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 scant teaspoon vegetable oil
Sea salt for sprinkling

Parmigiana Crisps Collage

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss cheese and almonds together in a bowl. Form 12 mounds of cheese mixture on each lined baking sheet, spacing them 3 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon, press down on each mound to form a 1/4-inch thick circle. Place one baking sheet at a time on middle oven rack. Bake rounds 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let crisps cool on baking sheets.

Once crisps are cooled completely, line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Toss chocolate with vegetable oil in a small bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip about one-third to one-half of each crisp into melted chocolate, hold a few seconds above chocolate, then place on the lined baking sheet. Immediately scatter a tiny bit of sea salt over chocolate. Let chocolate set before serving. You can put crisps in refrigerator or freezer to speed setting.

This recipe is from Whole Foods

 

holiday brie+spicy raspberry syrah preserves

Holiday Brie 2
I discovered the Spicy Raspberry Syrah Preserves in a local wine store recently. It was LOVE at first bite. There are different blends to try but I love the slight spice of the chipotle chili against the tartness of the raspberries that make up this particular preserve.

This is an extremely simple and eye-catching appetizer that looks beautiful on any table any time of year but especially during the holidays.

Ingredients
One wheel segment of creamy Brie
One 11 ounce jar of Spicy Raspberry Syrah Preserves by Black Sheep Gourmet
One package of Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps (now available in wheat-free varieties)
One package of organic plump raspberries
Fresh herbs of your choice (basil, rosemary, sage)
Decorative plate (the one you see here is 30’s era depression glass from my grandmother)

Holiday Brie final collage 2

Directions
Place wheel segment of Brie on a decorative plate about 25 minutes before serving. Drizzle 2 to 3 teaspoons of the Spicy Raspberry Syrah Preserves over the top of the Brie but don’t cover all of it. Top with a few leaves of fresh herbs (I chose basil) and add a raspberry.

Surround Brie with Raincoast Crisps (there are many varieties to select from; I used Cranberry Hazelnut but all of the varieties are delicious) and fill in the rest of the plate with fresh raspberries. Place decorative plate on a natural wood cutting board and scatter a few leaves of the fresh herbs and raspberries on the board for added effect.