Camp Blogaway & Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites with Brown Sugar Balsamic Figs

 Who blogs?
What should you blog about?
When is the best time to post a blog?
Where do you find information on how to blog?
How do you get people to read your blog?
And the most important question of all
WHY?
I’m a chef, I cook… I can saute, roast, braise, bake, decorate a wedding cake, or make  Belgian waffles in the dark at midnight while dancing to the Bee Gees in a make shift kitchen (catering flashback, sorry).  I can cater fine dining meals, wine tastings, and romantic dinners on the beach. I teach cooking “technique”- what I’m not is a “tech-e” kinda gal.  If I hadn’t accidentally flushed my cell phone down the toilet I  would still be using my “razor” instead of my new i-phone, which causes me frustration daily. Let’s just say, I struggle with ANY new electronic device.  I refuse to use the GPS in my car, it’s beyond user “un” friendly and  I’m telling you that woman on the GPS is out to get me. She once had me on a 3 hour tour  from Santa Monica to Pasadena… BY STREET.  So the idea of writing a blog, photographing, and figuring out how to use the software to write and  publish it was probably the last thing I ever imagined myself doing.  I’m still not sure if I “upload” or “download” my pictures~ don’t laugh it’s true.
So far my blogging experience has been like stone soup- no recipe, a little of this and a little of that.  A taste, a stir, another taste,  trying to create something worth eating.  I can say I’ve learned a lot in a very short time, but some questions still are waiting to be answered.  In my effort to write the perfect recipe for blogging I attended ~ “Camp Blogaway“, hoping to gain new insight and applicable tools.  Here is what I picked up that I would like to share with you;

A mouthwatering picture is worth a thousand words- learn to take great pictures- taking a delicious photograph is more about the light than it is about your equipment. 
 And an aluminum foil reflector is a food blogger’s best friend. 
Be authentic – don’t write as an expert on topics of which you are a novice,  speak from a place of knowledge -take cooking classes, learn how to write recipes, and have others test them, find your voice.
“Mommy” Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with, driving a vast majority of web traffic and advertising to the masses with give aways and product reviews- picking up some great perks along the way. 
It seemed as if everyone’s desire was to have more followers, more traffic and more page views. There is an unspoken validation, a pat on the back if you will,  and a sense of accomplishment in those numbers.  To each blogger the numbers mean something different. But I think we can all agree that having others appreciate our creativity as we express it through pictures, stories and  recipes – feels good.
I still have a thousand questions about links, giveaways, Word press and so on… but I’ve decided that often our questions are better answered in our own voice … through experience. Sometimes words unspoken and  reading between the lines are just as,  if not more informative, than what you’ve heard out loud.  At the end of the day, whether blogging is a hobby or extension of our brand, each of us has to ask and answer to ourselves- WHY do “I”  blog.?

I blog about food like a teenage girl in love, it’s all I can
think about – I am smitten, romanced and sometimes giddy. 
I blog for Louise
~ the Chef I am and the writer-stylist-photographer I hope to be~
Why do you blog?
One of the highlights of the day for me was that I won a fabulous red Viking hand mixer with an appetizer that I brought!  I was tickled to win and wanted to share the recipe with you.
Tips for Working With Phyllo Dough

Never defrost phyllo on the counter or in the microwave- always allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator.

Don’t get frustrated- move slowly and remember in the end it will all bake together beautifully even if it tears.

Turn off fans and keep a damp paper towel over the top of dough in between uses.

Butter each layer well, but don’t over do it, too much butter cause your dough to brown to quickly.

Unused phyllo can be re-rolled , wrapped tightly and re-frozen

 Blue Cheese Phyllo Bites with Brown Sugar Balsamic Figs
makes 12-16 phyllo cups
1/2 stick unsalted butter – melted
5 sheets of phyllo dough
1/4 cup  balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar-lightly packed
4 fresh figs- firm but ripe
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary- stems removed and finely chopped
pinch of salt/cracked black pepper
4 oz soft creamy goat cheese
4 oz blue cheese
4 slices of bacon- cooked until crispy and broken into large crumbles
Whole figs and rosemary sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack into the middle of the oven

Rinse figs and remove stems- cut into fourths,  lengthwise
In a small nonstick skillet melt sugar and vinegar over low heat
Bring to a simmer and add in rosemary, pinch of salt and 7-8 grinds of black pepper
Add in figs and gently stir to coat
Simmer figs for about 5-8 minutes
Remove from heat and allow to cool

On a dry surface lay out a sheet of phyllo dough

With a pastry brush – butter the top of the dough all the way to the edges
Add another layer of phyllo and repeat until you have 5 layers of phyllo, buttering the top layer as well
With a sharp knife cut the phyllo into 12-16 (depending on the size of your dough) 3×3 inch squares
Pick up each square and place into a mini muffin baking pan, as your press down the center of the square the corners should automatically fold up.
Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the phyllo is light golden brown and crispy
Remove from the oven and allow to cool
Once cooled fill each phyllo cup with 1/4 teaspoon of blue cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of blue cheese, and 1-2 bacon crumbles.
Top with balsamic figs- 1 per cup
Garnish with fresh figs and rosemary sprigs

 * If you are planning to serve these for a party, you can make the phyllo cups ahead of time 2-3 days.  Store cooled cups in an airtight container.

11 comments… add one
  • Patti at Worth The Whisk October 1, 2010, 3:34 am

    Gorgeous, thanks so much for attending, for participating and for this BEAUTIFUL post!

  • Marie October 1, 2010, 3:49 am

    Looks delicious, wish I could have stayed to taste it!

  • Renee Fontes October 1, 2010, 4:36 am

    You had me at Belgium waffles.
    Midnight, in a make shift kitchen with poor lighting and trying to find vanilla, that's familiar too!
    I share your quest, I'm also searching for a path through this maze of opportunities and techno challenges. But let's do it to our own beat…while dancing to the Bee Gee's.
    By the way, I have the salt bucket.

  • Christina October 1, 2010, 1:31 pm

    You do take amazing pictures–they always inspire me. To eat! Your blog is a total inspiration. Thanks for sharing the ways you are learning and what motivates you as a blogger. Do you follow Eating From the Ground Up? There was an amazing post on the exact same topic and it is helping me to get past the first flush of excitement of having a blog and deal with the daily commitment of taking pictures and writing about them. I want to post more often and share the recipes I love, but I don't always know how I'm going to translate that into an actual post. I guess I'm afraid of not having anything new to say. And there's always the question: Will people even read it? But I love the potential to share the food I love with such a broad audience. Otherwise, I'd just be cooking for my husband. He is very, very appreciative, though! Anyway, I just wanted to extend some encouragement to you and tell you that you are very much an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  • marla {family fresh cooking} October 1, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Louise, you are an excellent blogger, chef, photographer & stylist. More importantly, you are a wonderful woman that I am happy to know and call friend 🙂 xxoo

  • She's Cookin' October 1, 2010, 11:49 pm

    You're doing what's right for you and doing it beautifully! I think your photos look like a pro's and your writing is from the heart. For those truly passionate about food -that's what it all boils down, too – not the page ranks, keywords, sponsors, book deals, etc. I got a good shot of these delicioius savory phyllo bites – it was the first thing I chose to try 🙂

  • Lana October 3, 2010, 6:00 am

    I can relate about your self-deprecating view on technology – I feel the same way. I delayed my first blog post for five years, thinking that HTML and computer issues would be my demise.
    I took the plunge, and I am so happy I did.
    I read your blog, and I am happy YOU took the plunge, too. You have so much to offer. Just keep on doing what you do:)

  • Kim October 3, 2010, 4:58 pm

    I'm with Priscilla. For me, it's not about the page ranks, keywords or sponsors. (I won't admit it's because I'm so technologically challenged I don't even know what all this stuff is!) I blog because I LOVE playing with food. And I'm lucky that my husband LOVES to play in the garden. In short, he gardens our vegetables, and I find ways to do something marvelous with them. :o) And I love sharing what we do with others. That's why I blog. :o)

    Your photography and recipes are delicious! Whatever you're doing, keep it up.

    [K]

  • urban muser October 3, 2010, 8:43 pm

    these figs look so good! i've never cooked with figs before. your food photos are always so wonderful.

  • Quyen - Kitchen Runway October 5, 2010, 4:16 am

    I loved these! Yum!! The combination of crunch, sweet and savory was perfect!

  • Otehlia March 27, 2011, 2:45 am

    wow, your photos are great, your stories are fun, and food–well I can only imagine. it looks delicious!

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