Book Club Bars

This week I had another meeting of my drink wine and gossip Book Club. You may have heard me rave about the fun nights, delicious food and awesome company; and this month’s gathering was no exception.

We read “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire, and gathered at my friend Pony’s house for a feast.


(From when I saw the play, Wicked).

And a feast it was!
Pony set up a beautiful Bloody Mary Bar and Grilled Cheese Bar!
Such a fun idea for a party!

(All pics were swiped from our hostess with the mostess, Pony)

Bloody Mary Bar


– Start With: A big pitcher of bloody marys
– Garnishes: Olives, Cucumbers, Pickled Veggies, Jalapenos, Limes, Celery & Capers
–  Seasonings:  Hot Sauces, Horseradish, Salt, Pepper

Grilled Cheese Bar


On one end of the counter, Pony set up:
– 2 kinds of sandwich bread
– Sliced Fruits and Vegetables (Tomatoes, Basil, Red Pepper, Red Onion, Apples & Pickles)
– A ton of fun cheeses (Goat cheese, Cheddar, Colby Jack, Swiss and Brie)
– Meats (Prosciutto & Bacon)
– Dressings (Honey Mustard, Ranch, Honey & Raspberry Preserves)

AND since my friend Pony is wildly clever; she made a little sign of some possible combination ideas!
So cute!

On the other end of her counter she had a panini press all ready to go. Once people finished putting their sandwiches together; the sandys got buttered and pressed and were and done in just a minute or two. Delicious and fast!


(This is Pony’s sandwich all made up!)

As always, the other Clubbers brought delicious wine appetizers and more wine desserts.

In addition to the gorgeous salads, dips, taquitos and pita chips (my fave!) I made Mini Artichoke Bread Bowls for an appetizer.  Dessert was an assortment of Italian cookies, Biscotti and Make Your Own Smores; what can we say, we like DIY!

Another Successful Book Club, check!

Mini Artichoke Bread Bowls

Mini Artichoke Bread Bowls
Adapted from Picky Palate

2 x 13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf,
1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
1 can of Artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
6 tbs  whipped cream cheese (its softer to work with and lighter in calories)
1/2 Cup NF cottage cheese (or Ricotta Cheese)
1/4 c.  fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Pinch of each: Garlic Powder & Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 oz shredded Swiss Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. I used mini muffin tins, regular muffins and smallish glass bowls to bake in) to have a variety in sizes; although I would recommend using a mini muffin tin for appetizers.

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add garlic. Saute garlic until lightly browned, then add artichokes. Add a sprinkle of black pepper and salt here. Toss together for about 3-4 minutes until artichokes are coated with oil/garlic, then take off heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, artichokes and garlic. Stir to combine. Next add the Parmesan Cheese and seasonings (except salt). Taste here; and then add salt, the cheese and artichokes can be salty, so check for seasonings first.  Mix well.  Set aside.

Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 12 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick, next slice those rounds in half (for the mini-muffin size).  Using a rolling-pin or just a big mug (like I did); roll out your dough into rounds.  Press each round into the mini muffin tin, being careful to push the dough into the bottom and up the sides.

Using a tablespoon (I used a rounded coffee spoon), spoon filling into each muffin cup. Its ok if the filling is mounds over the top. Sprinkle shredded Swiss  cheese (or more Parmesan) over the tops  and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned (or check for doneness by popping out one out and seeing if the  underside is golden brown).  Remove and let cool for a few minutes.   Because of the cooking spray these should pop right out of the muffin tin. Makes 36 mini spinach dip bread bowls
Serving Suggestions:

– Making the mini-muffin size, I loved serving these warm, fresh out of the oven.
– Making the regular muffin size would make a perfect “bread roll” for served with a green salad or tomato soup.
– Making bowl size allowed this “artichoke bread” to be sliced like regular bread and I was thinking how awesome this would be as bread for a warm breakfast egg sandwich.  Yum!

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One Response to Book Club Bars

  1. Jen says:

    Why is Pony named Pony?

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