Pull Apart Loaf


This one is by request. A while back my wife found a recipe on Pinterest, so we stole it and made it ours. You can’t have it back, Pinterest.

Actually, there have been a lot of recipes like that, but this one is for a Cheesy Pull Apart Loaf.

It is an amazingly simple recipe and the resulting dish is tasty and makes a good show piece.

You take a large bread loaf, whatever kind of bread you prefer, and begin by slicing it up. We just found a fairly large, round loaf with a nice crust on it (a.k.a. Rustic), at our local grocery store.

I suggest using bread that has a harder crust or bread that is somewhat dense and firm, as parts of this process may be difficult with a softer bread. Don’t let me stop you from experimenting, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Take that same loaf and begin slicing a grid pattern in the bread. I found it easiest to cut all of my lines in one direction and then turn the loaf to do the intersecting lines. You don’t want to cut all of the way through; only cut about three-quarters of the way into the bread. The squares should be between an inch and a centimeter on each side, making nice little cubes of easily removable bread.

If you have trouble keeping your lines straight, don’t worry. Some pieces of bread may work lose in the process, but leave them in and the melting cheese later on should keep them in place.

Then, take a block of your favorite cheese, and cut it into thin slices. The shape and length don’t matter as much as long as the pieces are thin.

Another suggestion, choose a cheese that melts well. Cheddars, Gruyère, or Emmental (Swiss), among others, will melt well make their way into all of the crevices of the bread; while some cheeses like Mozarella, or Provolone are going to become stringy and stay right where you put them.

Take the thinly sliced cheese and begin to place pieces down into the cracks between the squares. For mine, I put longer pieces laying long way in one direction and then stuck narrower pieces upright in the spaces between rows. This allowed the cheese to spread out evenly.

Ours was topped with a mixture of melted butter, onions, garlic, rosemary and poppy seeds; but you can really experiment here. The melted butter makes a nice coating, but you can top it however you want. I’m thinking bacon next time, and if anyone tries that let me know how it works out.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil to avoid a mess. Bake the whole thing at about 350 degrees, for around ten to fifteen minutes. If you are making it ahead, it does reheat well.

Sadly, I have only one picture from my trial of this recipe. It was a while ago, but I will post it here as a record of my exploits.

I really had fun making this one, and I hope you will give it a spin.

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

 Recipe:

1 Large Rustic Bread Loaf

1/4 cup chopped green or white onions

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

12 oz. Cheese, e.g. Cheddar or Monterrey Jack, thinly sliced

Garlic, Rosemary, or Other Herbs, to taste

Preparation Instructions:

Slice loaf in grid pattern with 1 cm to 1 in. squares.

Insert cheese slices into gaps between squares.

Top with melted butter and herb mixture.

Line baking sheet with tin foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Meyer Lemon Bars


Last night my wife tried out a new recipe for lemon bars and they came out good. Shopping in our local Wal-Mart we came across a bag of Meyer lemons, something never before seen in our rural version of the big box store. Being more in the country than in the city in my town, our selection at the store is somewhat limited, and while it is easy to drive into Oklahoma City and pick these up at other stores, it was quite the novelty to see all the way out here, and in the spirit of bringing new and varied selection to our town, we had to pick some up.

This was a complete impulse buy, which left us with the problem of how to use these little gems. While there are dozens, if not thousands, of recipes to use with lemons, we wanted something that would show off the unique sweet, tart flavor combination of this fruit. Meyer lemons are the result of cross-breeding between oranges and lemons, and were popularized in the kitchens of California’s Chez Panisse back in the seventies. I have a strange taste when it comes to citrus, my tastes coming and going, and I had yet to have a lemon bar that I actually enjoyed, while those same bar recipes made with key limes could be some of my favorite snacks. That being said, it may also be best to reveal my love hate relationship with pastries and baked goods as well. In general I am not a fan of most pastries, cakes, or breads, but I will try them when offered, and the times that I occasion upon ones that I actually enjoy, they are all I want to eat.

I was hesitant at first when my wife suggested lemon bars, but she is a fantastic cook and I trust her in these decisions most of the time. Then I became even more hesitant when I learned that the original inspiration came from a Paula Deen recipe, because if there are two things I can’t get past they are too much butter and too much salt. Luckily this recipe only called for two sticks of butter per pan, y’all. I will link to the original recipe below, though I won’t be including the changes made here; a chef must have some secrets. The crust is a simple butter, flour, and sugar mix, and all of the actual lemon flavor resides in the icing itself. Needless to say, as with all my wife’s desserts, they were wonderful. I sucked up my fear, tried them, and actually enjoyed Paula Deen’s butter bread. I’m probably about to eat one now as they are almost all gone, and like all deserts I decide to like, I can’t help myself.

The unmodified recipe is available here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/lemon-bars-recipe/index.html