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