I think back and laugh at my high school self. So immature and just plain stupid. I remember the day I went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert, my first concert ever. A friend of mine scored free tickets off the radio (something that would never happen to me), and after considerable begging, my dad let me go. My sister was totally jealous.
After belting “I Want It That Way” and “Larger Than Life” with a group of girls younger than me, and attempting to get the attention of my dream man, Kevin, I was hoarse the next day. At church, I bragged to anyone that would listen that I went to the concert. Aside from my little sister who was interested in Nick, no one cared. Still reeling from the experience, I went to school on Monday and told everyone. As if I wasn’t uncool enough, I really solidified my place on the high school popularity totem pole, right above the algebra teacher.
I had these tortilla rollups for the first time in high school. Specifically, a classmate made them for the Spanish class potluck. While I promised myself I would make these forever and always, like my interest in Backstreet Boys, I have only had these at get-togethers. I recently made them – just for myself and I swear on Kevin that it is wonderful.
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp shallots, minced
- 2 tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup bell peppers (use either red, yellow, and orange – or a mixture of them), minced
- 1/2 cup celery, minced
- 1 tbsp kalamata olives, minced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/4 tsp of Tabasco sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 large flour tortillas
- Mix together cream cheese, shallots, parsley, garlic, bell peppers, celery, olives, Parmesan, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Cream until well combined. Add more salt if necessary.
- Spread a thin layer on each tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly and set on a plate. Once finished spreading and rolling, place the tortillas in the fridge for an hour to set.
- Slice each into 1/2 inch slices, and serve.
I loved going to my OB appointments. One, my OB was the nicest and most professional doctor I have ever met. Two, the hospital offered fresh pastries every single time we went. So, after my appointments, Binks and I would grab a coffee and pastry downstairs. Luckily, my appointments became more frequent towards the end of my pregnancy.
After I delivered, I was very sad that I wouldn’t see my OB anymore. He shared the most important part of my life with us and then, just like that, he was gone. I remember wishing he could be Isaiah’s pediatrician. Not possible.
After my delivery, holding that danish, I surprised myself at how much I would miss these danishes. Paired with a dark roast coffee, the flaky pastry paired with sweet cherries and a hint of almond became a highlight to the day. I wished I could repeat this experience as often as I wanted. Quite possible.
Turns out, as with most things, the homemade version is way better. Using fresh cherries and controlling the sugar, you can get a result that highlights the fresh cherries without being overly sweet. Feel free to use fresh cherries, but I used frozen cherries because I had it on hand.
Cherry Almond Cream Cheese Danish Braid
- 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
Cream cheese filling:
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups of frozen or fresh cherries (keep juice if frozen)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar*
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp milk, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Prepare cream cheese filling: Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and almond extract. Set aside.
- Prepare cherry filling: In a saucepan, over medium heat, add cherries, water, juice, sugar, and cornstarch, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and stir in almond extract. Mix over low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and cool.
- Roll puff pastry into a thin 12 x 12 square. I roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
- Evenly spread cream cheese mixture down the middle third of the pastry. Place cherry filling on top.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the outer third edges diagonally, spaced about an inch apart. Then, criss-cross the cut edges to form braid.
- Place onto parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes., rotate halfway during baking.
- While baking prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. Thin the glaze to your desired consistency. Brush the glaze onto the danish while it’s still hot.
- Serve warm.
It’s my birthday today. Not just any birthday. I’m officially 30. Big one right? I find myself not caring. I would say that it’s because I’m too busy with a baby and business to care, but I don’t think that’s quite it. I think it’s denial. As if now that I’m starting my 30s, I feel a sense of filing away my 20s and accepting all that’s happened in the file as the past. And, that’s a lot of stuff . Namely, all that revolves around my dad. It’s hard to file away his passing as something that has happened. While others around me make a deal about my birthday, the one thing that stands out is that this year, my dad will not call me to say “happy birthday.” Although seemingly minute, birthdays are the one thing we grew up caring about. My dad would make it a point – no matter where we were in life – to always call on our birthdays. He didn’t care much for cards or presents (bummer when we were kids!), but the words were said. And, genuinely so. I fully intend on carrying this tradition forward.
These stuffed mushrooms were my dad’s favorite. People love them, but I loved that my dad loved them. He did not like cheese or cheese-y dishes. (One of the many ways we are different.) However, my stuffed mushrooms were the exception. Over time, I have perfected these to be a family favorite. I would venture to say that this recipe is sorta my thang. I make these mushrooms at all get-togethers where there are a manageable amount of people. What I mean by that is a feed-able amount of people. I wanted to make these at my baby shower, but the amount of people (50!) would not have made this dish feasible. Although the recipe creates 12 mushrooms, I expect everyone to eat at least 3. Case and point – I made 12 for a group of 4 and we had no left overs. While I stand behind all the recipes I post, this one is extra special. It’s out-of-this-world delicious and surrounded by meaningful memories. And, those kind of memories are not so easily forgotten.
- makes 12 mushrooms
- 12 whole white mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided in half
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided in half (or fresh bread crumbs)
- Wash and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Finely dice the mushroom stems. Set aside.
- Heat pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat. Add the shallots, garlic and mushroom stems to the pan, and cook until the mixture is generally dry. You want the moisture from the mushrooms to evaporate.
- Add black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and remove from the heat.
- Once removed from the heat, add the cream cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup), and half of the Panko bread crumbs (1/4 cup). Stir until everything is incorporated and combined.
- Pipe into the mushrooms. Arrange mushrooms on a baking tray. You can refrigerate or freeze the mushrooms at this point for later use at this point.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over mushrooms.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are browned.
After my sweet baby boy has come into my life, it’s rare that I find time to savor anything. Meals are hurried through so that I can get to something else that I need to do with him. Binks and I actually take turns eating sometimes so that we can hold our fussy baby. It’s a circus and I find myself longing for the days when I would sit down and enjoy my food. The days where I could spend 20, dare I say an hour, on a complete meal. These days, naps are short. But, long enough to grab one of these and savor all three bites.
The complete product is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Completely decadent and oh so easy to make. I was nervous about whether the use of cream cheese would add a tangy taste. It did not. These bite-sized treats are great when you want a chocolate treat without the fuss.
recipe from Allrecipes
- 1 (16 oz) package of Oreos
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
- 2 packages (8 squares each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted over a double boiler
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Crush 9 Oreo cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs and set aside.
- Crush remaining cookies in the food processor and place in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix together until fully incorporated.
- Roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
- Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Dip in melted chocolate and set on cookie sheet. The truffles will firm up and store in air-tight container in fridge.