Friday, October 16, 2009


Are you smelling the incredibobble fragrance of that gorgeous bread? Is your mouth watering copiously? Are your taste buds quivering with excited anticipation? Yeah. Me, too. I can't take credit for this lusty loaf of leavened heaven. Should you happen to wander over to the "Tasty Kitchen" section of Ree Drummond's "Pioneer Woman Cooks" website (see Ree's link in sidebar) and should you happen to cruise through the section on breads, you would soon come to this outrageously good recipe for Fast Bread. That is not the same thing as "quick bread," you understand. We're talking about a fast and easy yeast bread that comes out totally tender-tasty and loaded with the prized Wowie! factor.

While I was waiting for the bread to rise and bake (not very long), I whupped up my own version of a basic cheese spread. I say "basic" because you can go just about anywhere you want from the bare bones, adding or subtracting seasonings of choice, perhaps adding different cheeses like Parmesan and/or crumbled feta and/or bleu cheese and maybe even a generous helping of tiny canned salad shrimp or whatever lights your candle. But the first thing you want to start with is the roasted garlic.

Now, Lord knows, you don't want to fire up the big oven for one little head of garlic. Or even one big head of garlic. This is the kind of thing your microwave does very well. This is sorta-kinda the way Barbara Kafka suggests doing it in her excellent Microwave Gourmet cookbook. Whack the tips off of a head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Set it on its little bottom in a 4-cup measuring cup and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. (She suggests 2 tablespoons if you're roasting 4 heads.) Then you add about 2 ounces of chicken broth (I mixed a bit of chicken bouillon with hot water), cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 5 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes still covered, then cool and pop the tender, nutty-sweet cloves out of their skins. You will not believe how great your kitchen will smell while this is going on but you will probably find yourself suddenly doing a lot of deep inhaling.

Okay, that's the first part. Now comes the fun stuff -- and I apologize for forgetting to take a picture of this bit but I was undergoing creative chaos and the thought of clicking a shutter couldn't squeeze its way though the crowd.

Drop those cloves into your blender or the mini-bowl of the food processor and add about a cup of finely grated cheddar cheese, a scant tablespoon of softened butter, a bulging tablespoon of stone ground mustard (mine is blended with stout) and maybe a couple tablespoons of white wine. I have some lovely Gewurztraminer that was perfect for the job. At the last minute I tossed in about 2 tablespoons of canned, sliced jalapenos (you can use pickled or plain) and processed it until I had a creamy spread and the peppers were minced up tiny.

You'll end up with about cup of spreadable goodness that you can smear on bread or crackers. Or you can plop a glob onto the top of a hot baked potato or steamed veggies. It'll taste better the next day, after the flavors have melded a bit in the refrigerator but you don't need to wait that long for the first taste. As you can see from the above photo, I didn't. And while I was savoring that, I slathered some more on the other two slices of bread and slid them under the broiler.

This is how they looked in the time between the depths of the oven and the depths of my mouth. I wish you could smell the aroma arising therefrom. Heaven.

Okay. This needs a closeup. Just feast your eyes on those teensy bits of garlic and jalapeno and whatever those flecks from the mustard might be. Yes, I know. It's a thing of grace and beauty, is it not? Ohboyohboyohwowie! I'm just sayin'. . .


Wendy said...

Ohboyohboyohwowie indeed. I did a double bookmarking on this one. Dee, that's some great stuff there.

Dee said...

Thanks, Wendy. I hope you have as much fun eating the goodies as I'm having. (Yes, I just left the table after another helping.)

John Bailey said...

Oh. My. Goodness!

Bonnie said...

Some day I will learn to read John's post first before yours. I haven't even had breakfast yet and this is just plain cruel as reaching for the monitor does nothing. :-)

Did you see the recipe from the 1800's on my post? Brown Soup.

Dee said...

That's the operative word, John -- goodness!

Bonnie, sorry about the hunger pangs. And, no, I hadn't seen your recipe yet but I'm headed there now.

kate et jim said...

Now this is certainly something I can do! Just have to get some of that mustard, is all!

I can smell it! I really can!

kate et jim said...

BTW - I've copied and pasted and sent it to myself! yum!

Dee said...

Kate, you're crackin' me up. (grin) I think you should be able to use any kind of mustard you want, though. Remember, this is a "basic" recipe and you're free to improvise according to mood and supply. Good luck and good eating!