One of the things I love about sharing my culinary escapades are finding foods and recipes that most people seem to consider commonplace, but I somehow never heard of them - or had them once or twice but never came to appreciate how devourable they could be. I notice things like fake words and sentences that end with prepositions - I was an English major, so these things seemed more important than eating well - but I never absorbed things like beer-can chicken, red wine vinegar and red meat, or pull-apart bread. And which, I ask you, should be more important - a rule about ending sentences originally meant to apply to LATIN grammar, or the pride and pleasures of baking a cheesy, garlic bread that falls into your hands and melts in your mouth?
I'm not saying understanding language isn't important - language is still something I love dearly - but I feel like I missed out on all sorts of deliciousness in my youth. And if it were to come down to an either/or - absorbing all the superfluous rules of the English language, or learning how to create a beguiling banquet for me and my friends - well, I'll take the banquet. I mean, sure, I can eat my words, but they'll never taste like this:
Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread Recipe:
1/2 bulb of garlic
1 cup of parm cheese, shredded
1 3/4 wheat flour
1 3/4 cup bread flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
3 tbs butter
1 tbs Italian Seasoning, or some variation thereof
A drizzle of olive oil
2. In a large bowl, mix the salt, flour, and yeast
3. Slowly add the warm water, and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast starts reacting and it gets all foamy-like.
4. Stir until dough forms, then knead for about 5-7 minutes
5. Lightly oil a clean bowl, and place the dough in there, flipping once to coat the dough in oil. Cover, and let rise for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size
6. Remove the dough and roll it into a large circle, about 1/8" thick
7. Cut the dough into 1" x 2" rectangular pieces (about, there's no exact science here, as you can see from my mess below
9. Brush both sides of the rectangular pieces of dough with the butter mixture - make sure they are well coated with the butter and the seasoning
10. Stack the pieces of dough - I did this by turning a 9 x 5 bread pan on its side, then stacking the dough one row at a time, placing the grated parm on top of each row. So, row of dough, cover with cheese, row of dough, cover with cheese...etc. Use any leftover cheese or butter mixture on top of the dough. Don't worry if there's some room left over in the pan - the dough will rise again - you know, like the South.
11. Turn upright, and let rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat over to 350
12. Bake it like a Polaroid picture......that sounded by better in my head. Just bake it until it turns a pretty golden brown.
13. Let cool for about 20 minutes - then tear into it!