Pizza Dip Presented in a Bread Bowl

(Jan. 22, 2021) The definition of habit is characterized as an automatic, unconscious action as opposed to an intentional, goal-related objective.

We are two-thirds of the way through January and my New Year’s resolutions are already on the back burner. I find myself repeating the same old routine and my best intentions have been reduced to a mere wish.

Sometimes we need to pick ourselves up and see the delightful things on our daily plate.

For example, I am sure you have ordered an appetizer on numerous occasions. Does one know the history of an appetizer? Do you know the difference between an amuse-bouche, canape, hors d’oeuvre and appetizer?

Entertaining is an art that encompasses a cornucopia of knowledge. Collecting recipes that tickles one’s taste buds is just a start.

Science and history are important and should be included in one’s repertoire of comprehension. With that thought in mind, let us review the tantalizing antiquity of one of my favorite courses for consumption.

If we want to know the origins, we have to turn the pages of time to the ancient Greeks and Romans. These food enthusiasts were famous for sampling a variety of fabulous foods.

In fact, ancient Romans would regurgitate lavish meals so they could return to the table for more. You can see where the smaller portions and more selections would “feed” such gluttony.

Wealthy Frenchmen started a trend from the lavish sit-down dinners by incorporating petite plates for a meticulous presentation, which ultimately included more courses.

In the 1860s, the term “appetizers” seems to have appeared simultaneously in England and America. Historians believe this was an anglophone equivalent for the French word “hors d’oeuvres.”

In 1920, the laws of Prohibition advanced the concept of appetizers. As bars and taverns were shut down, secret watering holes began appearing all over America.

One way of ensuring patrons did not leave inebriated and draw unwanted attention to the secret saloons was to serve small portions of food throughout the night.

Once again, appetizers were introduced to Americans which popularized the tiny portions to new levels of acceptance and predilection.

As time progressed and depending on one’s geographic location, the term “appetizers” and “hors d’oeuvres” became synonymous. However, perfectionists of culinary terms know there is a difference.

A review is necessary for those who covet perfection.

An amuse-bouche is a single bite of food that is perfectly presented. Generally, it is an offering that is intended to wet your appetite and show off the chef’s skills.

Canapes are savory hors d’ oeuvres made on a bread base, like a cracker, that allows one to pick up the delicious delight with one’s fingers.

Hors d’oeuvres are generally presented to guests while waiting on their main course. Typically, an hors d’oeuvre is one to two bites.

If one attends a cocktail party and dinner is not included, chances are hors d’oeuvres will be provided instead.

Appetizers are the first course served at a meal. They are not considered an hors d’oeuvre since they are created to harmonize with the following courses.

They do not have to be eaten with one’s fingers and are not limited to one or two bites.

Football playoffs are finally here. For most fans, this means covering countertops and coffee tables with a variety of tasty, finger food.

Unforgettable occasions depend on memorable menus. Pizza dip served in a crusty bread bowl is sure way to get the crowd going.

A crispy bread bowl is hollowed out, filled with your favorite marinara sauce, and smothered with gooey cheese and a smorgasbord of pizza toppings.

If you are going to include sausage, pepperoni, or bacon, precook the meats for the allotted cooking time will not be sufficient.

Get creative with the dip and do not feel one has to conform to tradition. Pineapple, spinach, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and roasted garlic are just a few suggestions.

You might even want to serve a smoke salmon pizza dip with crème fraiche, slivers of red onions, capers and fresh dill. In other words, there is no limit to the possibilities.

Waste should never be an option in any kitchen. The bread that is hollowed out can be sliced and toasted for the dip. Crackers and the addition of toasted slices of bread give your guests options.

While we are on the subject of bread, do not be limited to a round loaf. A rectangular shaped loaf or even a baguette will also work.

The only criteria are the bread must be crispy and able to handle the variety of fillings.

Slices of cucumbers, carrot sticks, celery sticks and Belgium endive, can be used instead of utensils. This dip is messy, so make sure there are small plates and cocktail napkins readily available.

A sharp knife should be served with the dip, the bread is quite crunchy and thick in diameter.

The following recipe is just meant to be a guide. Have fun, enjoy the games, and know this dip is sure to score a touchdown. Enjoy!

Pizza Dip Presented in a Bread Bowl

Ingredients

1 large Italian or French bread bowl

3 cups favorite marinara sauce

1 ½ cups Italian style cheeses

2 cups favorite pizza toppings

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped (garnish)

finely grated parmesan cheese (garnish(

freshly ground coarse black pepper (garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place bread bowl onto a foil lined baking sheet. Carefully hollow out the middle. Do not go through the bottom or sides of the bread.

3. Pour marinara sauce into the bread bowl. Top bread bowl with toppings and cheese. Tent foil loosely over the top of the bread bowl, you do not want it to touch the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. You can also toast the leftover bread at this time. It should only take about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bread.

4. Remove bread bowl from the oven, discard the tin foil, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Broil for the final browning process. This will only take a few minutes, so you need to watch it closely.

6. Garnish with fresh basil, a light dusting of parmesan cheese and black pepper.

7. Serve with an assortment of crackers and veggies.

Secret Ingredient – Small Portions. “Real success comes in small portions day by day.”

– Denis Waitley

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