travel, hike, eat. repeat.

my adventures are often on a budget… and always clumsy.

fall feast + onion, garlic, cheese stuffed Italian bread

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My roommate, Matt, and I hosted a housewarming party recently. We dubbed it a “fall feast” and prepared an overachieving menu, that included spiked hot apple cider, pumpkin bellinis, stuffed cheesy bread (we’ll get back to that later – wow, omg, can I have a loaf, a whole loaf right now?), not-your-bigoted chick-fil-a nuggets, eggplant and orzo bake, cupcakes, bacon and tomato dip and maybe that’s about it, but I probably forgot something.

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Here are a few thoughts and notes to my future self on hosting a party:

  1. Overachieving menus mean girl, don’t ever do that again. I spent 100 hours in the kitchen the day of the party, plus cleaning, plus hanging shelves and spray painting and –
  2. You know, probably decorate before the day of the party!
  3. Asking your boyfriend to hang shelves through a solid brick wall the day of the party is probably a mean thing to do. It will probably stress you and your boyfriend out, and you’ll probably get all snippy with him when he walks in while you’re frantically blow-drying your hair 15 minutes before the party start time and tells you, “Babe, this is going to take a while longer.” You should probably open up one of those bottles of bubbly in the fridge.
  4. People will cancel. The day of the party. Hours before the party. It’s how things work. You should probably open up one of those bottles of bubbly in the fridge.
  5. Pumpkin bellinis are the ultimate bridge-divider, the olive branch, the party starter, the party stopper (when they end), the bomb diggity. You should probably open another bottle of bubbly and let the party do its thing.
  6. Buy Cards Against Humanity. STAT. Or Apples to Apples. Or Catchphrase. Else the whole shebang devolve into training your dog. You should probably clean up the bubbly and drink some water.

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The party was a success. We had over 20 people RSVP and about 12-14 show! The deck did not cave in (legitimate fear)! And the house stayed warm – a party miracle! It was a fun night with fun friends, and Theo got lots of love and training towards the end of the night. I’m telling you – that’s what happens when you have a puppy and no games planned. You’ve been warned!

Hosting a party really is about the friends and fun, not a perfect house or perfect menu or meal. And fun it was, even if the nuggets needed just a little something.

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Martin made beignets. BEIGNETS!

The stand-out success of the party was a stuffed italian cheesy bread recipe I found on pinterest and promptly made… 4 times in one week. And twice again for Thanksgiving. It’s that good. I now exceed the maximum weight on elevators.

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the world’s best stuffed italian cheesy bread, adapted from this recipe.

1 loaf Italian bread (the bigger the better!)
3/4 bag of shredded cheese of your choice (I used Mexican 4-cheese blend)
1/2 large onion, or 1 small onion (diced)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced – I use a cheese grater to do this, and remember the golden rule of cooking: there is never too much garlic!)
1/8-1/4 cup olive oil (I don’t measure, I use what looks right – depending on size of loaf)
1 stick unsalted butter (melted)Parsley (fresh – chop a handful; crushed – 1 tablespoon, or to your taste)
1/4 cup dijon (optional. I don’t use this.)

steps

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix melted butter with diced onion, grated/minced garlic, olive oil, parsley and dijon (if you choose to use it).
3. Cut your italian bread with a serrated knife into “X” pieces. Cut into it like you’re cutting slices, but be careful not to cut through the bread entirely. Once it’s ‘sliced’ in one direction, slice again in another direction, creating thick square pieces. 4. Using a spoon (don’t use a brush, it doesn’t work as well), fill all the cracks of the bread, individually, with the butter/garlic/onion mixture. Use any leftovers to cover the top of the bread. Make sure the mixture gets deep down into the cracks.
5. Fill the cracks of the bread with the cheese. You should use 1/2-3/4 of the bag of cheese. Feel free to use even more if you wish.
6. Wrap bread in aluminum foil and bake tightly wrapped for 20 minutes. Take off the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15.
7. Pull apart the bread pieces and enjoy!

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