Rachel's Recipes: These two appetizers will be a hit at parties

By: Rachel Chaddock, Special to the Telegraph
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And here we have part two of my holiday part food column duo. I had promised these two recipes in part one and by jingo, I’ve delivered, at least on the recipes. For those of you who may wonder about the other delivery, rest assured the baby’s due date is about three weeks from now. In the midst of all the holiday baking and candy making I’ve been doing, it was almost a relief to switch over to something savory. I first came across the recipe for the sausage bread when my sister made it a couple of years ago during the holidays. It was wonderful, and I don’t even want to think about how many servings I consumed. She gave me the recipe then, and I filed it away without really looking at it. It comes from a gentleman named Joel Locke, and he served this at the law firm where they both work in Carson City, Nev. — and you thought the only good thing to come out of Carson City was silver. I never made it, however, although I mentioned it to friends and even passed along the recipe. Still, since I’d alluded to it last week I figured I ought to just buck up and try to make it for y’all. I am glad none of you can see inside my kitchen sometimes. I made this recipe and muttered to myself, “This is just not right. Are you kidding? This can’t be how it goes,” as I cooked fatty pork and more fatty pork and topped it with oils and then cow fat and then more cow fat and sprinkled bacon like some deranged pixie and then baked the whole thing off on my previously unsullied homemade bread (which has never seen anything more wicked than Irish butter). I even left off a step calling for yet more fat, oil, garlic powder and Creole seasoning, because I just couldn’t bear it. But rest assured, it works, and the end result is just as amazing as I remember. Just close your eyes and think of Paula Deen. If you are in poor health, or have heart problems, or are supposed to watch the fat intake, please give your attention to the veggie tray. * * * Louisiana Sausage Garlic Bread ingredients: 8 ounces bacon 1 pound of your favorite sausage (I used half sage and half hot for this recipe) 1 onion, chopped 6 scallions, chopped 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon bacon grease 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 1 loaf French or Italian bread, sliced 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used a sharp cheddar) directions: Cut bacon in small pieces and cook in a skillet until crispy. Save the fat for another use (cornbread, perhaps?), reserving one tablespoon. In a pan cook the sausage with the garlic until about 80 percent cooked (you’re still going to see a little pink but the sausage has a nice brown on it). Add the butter, bacon grease, and olive oil, chopped onion and green onion. Sauté on a medium fire until the onions are clear, about 10 minutes. Slice the bread into one-inch slices and top the bread with the cooked ingredients, spreading evenly. Sprinkle a light coating of cheese over it the sausage mixture. Finish by sprinkling the top with bacon (I am not going to lie; that is just fun to say, and do). Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until edges of bread start to brown. Serve hot. * * * After the sausage bread the artichoke dip is a bit anticlimactic! This one is my own recipe, born of my stubborn streak when our dear friend Rob Sperry informed me that he never ate artichoke dip because he “hates mayonnaise.” “Well, you’re going to like mine,” I told him, and then went home and made this instead. It’s nice for a party because it’s gooey and cheesy and comforting, and is vegetarian (for those horrified by the sausage bread) and also comes together in about 5 minutes. You can even put everything together the day before and bake it just before you’re about to serve it. There are never any leftovers, and this even got the stamp of approval from two of my stepchildren, one of whom is picky and one of whom will eat anything as long as you tell her it’s not very good for you. I ought to try that with carrots. Anyhow, please enjoy - and have a lovely holiday season! * * * Baked Artichoke Dip ingredients: 2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese 1 large egg 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste or sriracha sauce or hot sauce (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper directions: Blend the cream cheese and artichoke hearts in a food processor until smooth. Add the egg, lemon juice, and hot stuff and blend until combined. Transfer the blended mixture to a 9 x 13” baking dish. Add in the mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, and the pepper and mix with your hands until all is combined (you can also use a spoon for this, but trust me, your hands are easier. Just make sure they are clean). Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. Serve hot with a sturdy chip (like pita chips or bagel chips).