Goat Cheese, Pesto & Caramelized Onion Triangles

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to call this.  If Awesome Puffs was a bit more descriptive, I would have said that.  

I recently went to a party that served no food.  A birthday party.  Not even cake.  Just bottled water – and a shortage at that.  Booze would be a distant dream.  I was stupefied.  In all fairness, I do have a tendency to go overboard with the food.  Feeding people is my passion.

With that said, if you come to my house for anything, I will do everything in my power to feed you.  Whether I cook or order in, you will not leave without eating.  If this rouses images from Misery, I wouldn’t blame you.  I even gave my FedEx guy muffins!

Why you ask?  Could it be that my mom will absolutely take offense and give you the stink eye if you don’t eat at her house?  Or could it be that I myself would want to eat if I went to someone’s house?  Whatever the reason, we all benefit with food.  And these triangles.

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What started out as a random experiment turned out to be a family and guest favorite.  These pastries are easy to assemble and easy to store in the freezer for lunch, guests or a great filling snack.

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Caramelized Onion Triangles

yields 8 pastries

Ingredients:

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Unfold your puff pastry sheets (working one at a time) onto a lightly floured surface.
  3. Most puffed pastry sheets I worked with already come divided in four.  If so, just separate at the perforations.  If not, roll out to about 16 inches and cut into four squares.
  4. On each puff pastry squares (you should have 8), spread with a tablespoon of pesto on one half of the triangle, leaving about 1/2 inch border on the puff pastry.
  5. Top with approximately a tablespoon of goat cheese, tomatoes, and onions.  Just put enough that you can close the triangle without tearing.
  6. Fold the clean part of the triangle over and crimp around the edges with a fork.
  7. Repeat with all remaining squares until you have 8 triangles.
  8. You can freeze at this point in a airtight container or bag.
  9. Bake in a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Allow the pastries to cool on a cookie rack so they maintain their crisp crust.
  11. If you have extra ingredients, make a sandwich! :)

7 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, baking, Favorites, Lunch, Vegetarian

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

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I love one pot meals.  I love being able to build layers and layers of flavor in one dish.  And it’s usually in the form of pasta for me.  I usually do meal prep for at least two days on Sundays.  Being able to reach in the fridge without having to do any additional food preparation is really a help with an impatient toddler.  

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This dish is quite decadent.  For a friend lunch I had at home, I was able to serve this with sandwiches and salad, without any leftovers.  It’s a great side dish you would similarly get in a cafe or bistro that you can make yourself at home.

For dinner, this pasta dish would be wonderful with grilled chicken or a great piece of salmon.

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fusilli pasta
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pesto
  • 1 (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 and 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (I used sunflower seeds because it’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the fusilli pasta in salted water to al dente per the pasta instructions.  Drain and cool to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and puree.
  4. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta.
  5. Add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, salt, and pepper.
  6. Mix and test for salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Paneer Bhurji

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I have a bone to pick with my parents.  They never introduced me to enough Indian “street food” or chaat.

A year ago, I stopped off at a local Indian grocery store for a quick samosa and was instantly drawn to the long line at the chaat portion of the store.  I, like usual, watched what everyone was ordering and just went for it.

Who knew an order of aloo paratha with paneer bhurji would be so life changing?  After that, I went on to try aloo tikki, pani puri, golgappa, pav bhaji, etc.

I felt more cheated than ever.  When I asked my mom why she held out, my mom’s only non-responsive response is, “We should try to make it ourselves.”  And, just like that I’m on a new mission to make all my favorites – starting with this favorite.

Paneer Bhurji

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup paneer, grated (you could also try firm tofu)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 serrano, finely chopped (remove seeds if you want less heat)
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic/ginger paste and serrano pepper and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander and garam masala, and cook until the raw smell of the spices is gone, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the grated paneer and stir to incorporate with the onion/garlic/ginger mix.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the paneer is soft.
  4. Add half of the cilantro and allow it to wilt in the heat and mix to incorporate.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with additional cilantro.

3 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Indian, Vegetarian

Brownies [ w/ Melted Chocolate ]

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I love brownies.  They are my go-to dessert when I need comfort in the form of chocolate.  I do have a problem.  I cannot pick a favorite brownie recipe.  Maybe you can help me out.  Here is what I know about brownies:

-  Has to be fudgy.
-  Not cakey.
-  Has to have top flaky layer.
-  No nuts.
-  Has to exude chocolate.

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With that said, I rely on two recipes and have many more on my to-do list.  The first  one I’d like to share with you involves melted chocolate (as opposed to cocoa powder).

The results?

-  Definitely fudgy.
-  Definitely has the top flaky layer.
-  Definitely chocolatey.

I loved every bite.  It had a chew and soft enough to melt in my mouth.  With that said, I think I’ll look to see if other recipes really pack more of a chocolate punch.

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What’s your favorite brownie recipe?

Brownies (with melted chocolate)

barely adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease an 8×8 inch square pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water.  Cook over medium heat until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Start checking after 25 minutes because you don’t want to overbake.  Cool in the pan and cut before serving.

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under baking, Brownies, Desserts

Home Fries

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Saturday breakfasts are sorta my thang now.  Sundays are usually donut days, and weekdays are quick toast and egg or oatmeal days.  Saturday mornings, despite the pancake debacle, have become a special time of week for us.  I usually wake up an hour before everyone and get things started without any interruption.  It’s a glorious time – no screaming, no asking for anything, and total control of my kitchen.

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I have attempted home fries many times in the past.  I have usually been left with something of a mish-mash that resembles coarse mashed potatoes.  Nothing about that is right.  I recently attempted it again determined to get it right.  And, huzzah – going into the repertoire.  Under a farm fresh over-easy egg, it’s just heaven.

Home Fries

barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl, top with 1 tablespoon butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave until edges of potatoes begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes until the onions are golden brown.  Transfer to small bowl.
  3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula.  Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes.  Stir in onion, seasonings of your choice and salt and pepper to taste.  Try not to mess with the potatoes too much because you don’t want to break them apart.

8 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Tres Leches

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As we approach Cinco de Mayo, I look forward to great food.  Guacamole.  Fajitas.  Chips and salsa.  Mexican wedding cookies.  Tres leches cake.  After having a slew of spicy and flavorful dishes, this cake is a light and cool dessert that absolutely fits the bill.

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As if I need a reason to make and eat this cake.  A cake soaked in a blend of sweet milks and covered in fresh whipped cream.  I say, have it all-year round.  Birthdays, weekends, found-another-sweetened-condensed-milk-can-in-your-pantry days.  I definitely don’t need a reason.  Just a fork.

Tres Leches

adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking pow der
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together.  Set aside.
3. Cream butter and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well until fully incorporated.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well
blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the
top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon
vanilla together until thick in a stand mixer.  Spread over the top of cake.  Place cake in fridge until time to serve.

4 Comments

Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts

Banoffee Pie

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My career, in my opinion, has taken a nose dive since the baby was born.  Going from a 100 hr/week attorney to a part-time attorney has been a major hit on my career self-esteem.  So, when one of my cases recently was scheduled for back to back depositions and a settlement conference, it was my time to get back on the work horse.  And, I loved it.

After very successful depositions, I marched into the settlement conference with dare I say — a swagger.  My client and I sat in one room while the opposing party was in another and the attorneys were to walk back and forth with settlement offers.  Walking back to my client’s room, I happily thought that I put aside the mom clothes and was back to my old self.  I took one step inside my client’s waiting room when she said, “I think you sat in chocolate.”  Mortified, I stood there for a minute attempting to salvage this most unprofessional situation.  But, she was right.  Somewhere between feeding my kid a chocolate chip granola bar and driving, I sat in it.  Oh, and my suit was tan/light brown.  It paired well with my dark chocolate chip stain.

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Luckily, my client quickly said, “Oh, I figured your son did that,” and went on about her life as a mom.  And, there I was – in my professional element, exchanging mom advice with my client.  The settlement went well and on the drive home, I accepted the duality that has become my life, where the mom part is the base and everything else is seemingly built around that.  When I got home, I celebrated by making a pie.  No chocolate.

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups graham crackers, finely crushed into crumbs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (14 oz) cans dulce de leche 
  • 4 large bananas, sliced
  • 2 heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3 tbsp confectioner’s (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a 9-inch pie plate, mix together the graham crackers and butter, and evenly press into the pie plate for the crust.  Bake for 5 minutes to set the crust.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the crust is cooled, spread the dulce de leche from one can over the crust.  Layer with bananas.  Finish with the last can of dulce de leche.
  4. Chill in a refrigerator.
  5. Make the whipped cream:  With a stand or handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.  Spread evenly over the cake.  Serve immediately or put back in the fridge to chill.

4 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Pie