Almost Paradise

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Usually when traveling with friends and family to the mountains, or anywhere for that matter, we make elaborate plans for cooking meals. Menus are discussed and discarded like last year’s bathing suits (just not quite the right fit). For this past trip, we decided to bring along a few planned items for one dinner, plus the bare necessities, and see where that took us. We had some interesting – which is not to say delicious meals and made a game out of inventing the best leftover concoctions. My personal triumph was the leftover steak from night one making a second appearance as Korean grilled beef wrapped around spring onions, including a dipping sauce I couldn’t recreate on a bet! But hands down our most beloved dish was Bear Bread. This recipe got it’s name from a couple of sources – the obvious being bare (bear) necessities – a good Smoky Mountains term, and also from a favorite cabin name we’ve adopted to mean anything good in the mountains, “Bearadise”.

You can use the term loosely, like “enjoying this view is just Bearadise,” or “My idea of Bearadise is a sunset cocktail.” We decided it perfectly described the divine garlic bread we made the last night of our stay, and so Bearadise Bread became Bear Bread. The recipe involved using the last of the garden herbs I always bring, and cooking the last head of garlic in the last stick of butter! French bread (I’m sorry but that is almost a bare necessity) and Parmesan cheese leftover from the first night made this just perfection. Taking time to slow cook the garlic in butter was the secret. You may have had a thousand different versions of garlic bread, but until you taste Bear Bread, you just won’t have experienced true culinary “Bearadise”!

Bear Bread

Ingredients

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1 loaf French bread, sliced lengthwise

1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled (no chopping!)

1 stick butter

Pinch of red pepper flakes (or black pepper)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs –basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley (Dried herbs could be substituted – use what you have!)

¼ tsp salt

Directions

Melt butter in a small saucepan over very low heat.

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Add garlic cloves and cover the pan.

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Cook stirring occasionally for about 20 to 30 minutes until cloves barely start to brown and are very soft. Cool 10 minutes.

While garlic cooks, preheat broiler.

Mash butter and garlic with red pepper flakes, cheese, herbs, and salt.

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Place bread on a baking sheet cut side down and broil for a minute.

Remove bread from oven, turn over and spread garlic mixture on the cut side of the bread.

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Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

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*We served this with a tomato sauce we made from canned tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, and a pinch of sugar, slow cooked until most liquid evaporated. Delicious!

Thanks to Caroline for the fabulous photography!

© Deer One Publishing 2019