Spinach Croissants

April 14, 2020

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So yeah…I told you all about how motivated I was in Stage I of our lockdown. Just an amazing little cleaning whirlwind. Full of energy, and raring to beat everything into a shining perfection of organization. Well, that anomaly has passed and I’ve moved into Stage II – complete lethargy. There is definitely still a lot that could be cleaned and organized around here, it isn’t like I’ve run out of things to do. It is just at this point I don’t really care to do them. I mostly just get up in the morning and start reading all of the depressing news from around the world. And even once I tear myself away from the old computer, I obsessively go back to those news sites again and again throughout the day to check for updates. Definitely not good. As a fun diversion, I’m trying to refocus on planning a trip for us when this is over.

Famous tourist attraction Hamnoy fishing village on Lofoten Islands, Norway with red rorbu houses. W

Yup. You were right – I’m not dreaming of a beach vacation. I’m looking at the Arctic again!

And speaking of trips, I have a bunch of blogs in the works from trips we’ve taken in the past which I have yet to write up. You know the thing, the Husband and I take a trip and then I will cook up a recipe which is inspired from the locale and share that along with some lovely photos. I also give you recommendations for accommodations, activities, restaurants and tours, should you be inspired to visit on your own. you can see the ones I’ve done previously by clicking on “Travels” in the top navigation bar. So be on the look out for a few of those in the future. But for today, I would like to share this amazing recipe for Spinach Croissants!

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Remember back in February when I told you all about those scrumptious Fruit Filled Morning Buns?

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These Spinach Croissants are also made with Baker’s Croissant Dough. This type of dough is a yeasted laminated dough. Basically you mix up a yeasted dough, roll it out and place a layer of butter on top of it. You then enclose the butter within the dough and proceed to roll it out and fold it over and over again. This creates a dough which has multiple alternating layers of dough and butter. The butter evaporates when baked and that is what forms all those lovely flaky layers in a croissant.

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Once the dough is ready, rather than filling it with anything sweet, these little devils are stuffed full of a savory filling made up of spinach, cheeses & roasted red peppers. And no meat in sight, so perfect for Meatless Monday.

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These Spinach Croissants are amazing! That buttery, flaky pastry dough simply melts in your mouth and the savory filling is just delicious. These croissants are conveniently portable and are great at room temperature but also crisp up well if you are reheating them. While it is a bit time consuming to make up that laminated dough, it is 100% worth it! Make a batch up today!

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Spinach Croissants

  • Servings: 9 square croissants
  • Print

recipe from: Sift Magazine Holiday 2018 issue: King Arthur Flour (and here)

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 1/2 recipe Baker’s Croissant Dough (detailed below)

For the Filling:

  • 1 Tablespoon (14 grams) Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces/106 grams) diced onion
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 ounce/21 grams) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50 grams) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) diced roasted red peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Directions:

For the Filling:

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the spinach and bread crumbs and stir until well combined. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool to lukewarm.

Stir in the cheeses and peppers and season with salt and pepper.

Note* This amount of filling is enough for a full batch of the Baker’s Croissant Dough. So, you can either use all of the dough, halve the filling ingredient or just save the other half of the filling for later. The spinach filling is great as a topping for pizza as well!

Line two baking sheets with parchment.

To assemble:

Roll the dough into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Trim 1/4″ of dough from the edges; this will give you a higher puff in the oven.

Cut the dough in thirds in both directions, to make nine 4″ x 6″ rectangles. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling on one side of each rectangle.

Fold the dough over twice to enclose the filling, with the seam ending up on the bottom. Press the croissant down slightly to flatten it.

Place the croissants on the prepared baking sheets and let them rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. They should expand noticeably, and when you gently press one with your finger, the indentation should remain.

Partway through the rise time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

When the croissants are not quite doubled, brush with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes more, until the croissants are a deep golden brown, even where the dough overlaps (that’s where you want to look when checking for doneness).

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Watch out, the filling will be hot!

Store, wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to two days. Refresh for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven before serving.

Baker’s Croissants Dough

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 large eggs + enough warm water to make 2 cups (454g) of liquid
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar, divided
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups (659g to 723g) All purpose Flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (71g) Bakers Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk, optional
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; for sweet pastry)

For the Butter:

  • 1 7/8 cups (425g) unsalted butter, cool to the touch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (60g) All purpose flour

Directions:

For the dough: Put the eggs and water in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups (362g) of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended; set aside to let the sponge work.

For the butter: Cut the butter into 1˝ chunks and combine with the salt and flour at low speed in a stand mixer just until smooth, with no lumps. Be careful not to beat too much; you don’t want to incorporate any air.

Spread the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into an 8˝ square. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Finish the dough: Add the melted butter to the sponge. Whisk together the remaining sugar, 2 1/2 cups (298g) of the flour, the dry milk, and salt and add to the sponge. Mix until the dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes; touch the dough lightly with your finger. If it’s still sticky, add the remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is the desired consistency. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a 9˝ square, then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Laminate the dough: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and gently roll it to a 12″ square.

Unwrap the butter square and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in a square. Pull the corners of the dough into the center of the butter diamond. Moisten the edges with a little water and pinch the seams together well to enclose the butter. Dust the top with flour and turn the packet over.

Tap the dough all over with a rolling pin, encouraging it into a rectangular shape. Once it’s pliable, roll it to a 20˝ x 10˝ rectangle, picking it up and dusting lightly with flour as needed.

When you’ve reached the proper size, use a dry brush to sweep off any excess flour and fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter. Take care to keep the edges straight and line them up directly over each other. If the dough slides around, use a little water at the corners to tack them in place. This is your first turn.

Rotate the dough out so it looks like a book about to be opened. Roll the dough out once more to 20˝ x 10˝ and fold it as before. This is the second turn. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.

Give the dough two more turns after its rest, then wrap the dough well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before using. You can also freeze the dough at this point.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Spinach Croissants:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

Whole Milk Powder or here from King Arthur

Dough Rolling Mat

Pastry Tool

Silicone Pastry Brush Set

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

 


Chip Butty on Waterford Blaa

March 11, 2012

I’m sure the title of this post has quite a few folks scratching their heads. What is a “chip butty” and what in the world is “Waterford Blaa”?! So, I’ll start with the first unknown. A chip butty is a sandwich made with a white, buttered bread roll and filled with hot chips or french fries, as they are known in the States and often served with ketchup or brown sauce. Butty is likely a contraction of “bread and butter”. But let me rewind a bit…you got me right, I did indeed describe a French Fry sandwich! French fries are one of my favourite foods, right up there with cupcakes. And when I say french fries, I really mean proper thick-cut chips, not those skinny little shoestring fries. Why didn’t I ever think of making a sandwich out of them before? Yum, yum, YUM! I can’t tell you how happy I was to encounter this creation when I was in college in Ireland. It was definitely a tasty and cheap staple for poor students! Probally not so good for you, but, Oh…let me tell you, Chip Buttys are so awesome I’m willing to accept the bad along with that kind of good. Fantastic comfort food you just have to try. I would cover my chips with salt and lashings of malt vinegar before I stuffed them into my waiting buttered bread roll and then I would add just a wee bit of ketchup.

I just had to share this recipe with you for St. Patrick’s Day. Who wouldn’t love to see a french fry sandwich at any St. Patrick’s Day gathering? But I wanted to be specific about the type of bread you could use. In school, we would just buy “baps” which were soft white flour rolls. However, there is a type of bread which is specific to County Waterford know as “Blaa” (pronounced Blah…you know like blah, blah, blah…) which is just perfect for a Chip Butty. A Blaa is not a Bap. Although both are doughy soft white buns or rolls, Blaa is covered with white flour. Apparently in the 17th Century, Waterford experienced an influx of French Huguenots who taught the local population to bake these rolls. Originally they were called “blaad”, which was later corrupted to “blaa” and were made from leftover pieces of dough. The baking of Blaa, using the traditional recipe, has continued  for generations in Waterford. It is so popular there that about 12,000 Blaas are consumed there daily! They are so proud of this bread in the county that they have recently applied to have Blaa registered in the EU with a Protected Geographical Indication which would designate Blaa as unique to Waterford and would  dictate that only those rolls baked in Waterford can indeed be marketed and sold using the “Blaa” name. Only four other Irish food products have this designation: Clare Island Salmon, Connemara Hill Lamb, Imokilly Regato cheese and Timoleague Brown Pudding.

So, all there you have it. You now know more about Blaa than you probably ever wanted to know. Blaa really is delicious. It is a yeast bread, so you have to allow for some rising times, but it is very easy to make. We gobbled a bunch up with our chip buttys and then used our few remaining Blaas as hamburger buns. I can see why Waterford loves them so much.

A Blaa with two a’s is made with fresh dough

About the size of a saucer, that’s the right size you know:

But where did they come from, did they happen by chance

No, the Huguenots brought them from France

-Eddie Wymberry

Waterford Blaa

Recipe from: I Married an Irish Farmer

Yield: 8 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 10 gram active dry yeast (about 1 tablespoons & 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 10 grams caster (superfine) sugar ( about 2 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 500 grams Bread Flour, plus more for dusting (A little shy of 4 cups)
  • 10 grams sea salt ( about 1 3/4 teaspoons)
  • 10 grams Unsalted butter ( about 3/4 tablespoon)

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 275ml lukewarm (98° F) water. Leave for 10 minutes. It should get nice and frothy, indicating that the yeast is alive and well.

Pulse flour and salt a couple of times in food processor to combine. Add the butter, cut into small bits and pulse 2-3 times.

Transfer flour/butter combination to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Change to dough hook and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will go from rough to shiny.

Place in a bowl, cover with cling film, and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. Remove from the bowl and knock back , pushing the air out the dough. Rest for 15 minutes, to give the gluten time to relax; this will make shaping easier.

Divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Rest for five minutes more, covered.

Dust a baking dish with flour and place the dough balls, side by side. Dust with flour. Leave in a warm place for 50 minutes.

Preheat oven to  410° F (210° C, gas mark 6.5). Liberally dust the blaas with flour from a sifter for a final time and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Proper Chips

Ingredients:

  • 4 Baking Potatoes (I usually use Russett)
  • Oil for Deep Frying ( I like peanut oil, but you could use Canola)
  • Sea Salt

Directions:

Peel potatoes and cut into wedges about 1/2″ thick. Place the wedges into a large bowl and cover with ice water. Leave wedges to soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes well and spread out on kitchen towels to dry.

Heat oil in deep-fryer or heavy saucepan to 340°F. Cover a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

Add the potato wedges to the hot oil and deep-fry for about 4 minutes. Take care not to over-crowd the fryer. You will likely have to do this in batches. After 4 minutes, remove from deep-fryer. The wedges should have a pale golden hue. Set on paper towel covered baking sheet and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes or so.

Turn the heat up on your deep-fryer to 375°F. Add the semi-cooked potato wedges to the hot oil and deep-fry until a golden brown colour is reached. It should take only 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Serve while hot. (Though truth be told, I’ve been known to eat chips stone cold right out of the fridge :p )

Assemble your Chip Butty’s on your freshly baked Waterford Blaa.

Directions: (I’m sure you’ve got it from here, but just to be consistent…)

Cut one of the Blaa in half. Butter both halves of the bread.

Fill it with your freshly fried Chips.

Add salt, malt vinegar, ketchup or whatever you desire.

Enjoy!


Irish Rarebit

March 8, 2012

For day 8 of my St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I thought I’d post one for Irish Rarebit. This version is a bit of a twist on the classic Welsh Rarebit recipe. What makes this recipe particularly “Irish” is the use of Smithwick’s Irish Ale (first brewed 300 years ago in Kilkenny) and Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese as well as an Irish Brown Bread (a St. Patrick’s Day recipe offering of mine from 2011) base.

For the Traditional Welsh Rarebit recipe see this post on one of my favourite blogs, Frugal Feeding. The traditional Welsh version is very simple. No embellishments like paprika, tomato or bacon. And whatever you do, for heaven’s sake, don’t use French’s yellow mustard in that Welsh recipe! 🙂 All that being said, Rarebit, no matter which nationality is attached to it, is essentially cheese on toast.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling this concoction at all, cheese on toast is absolutely dee-lish. I’ve had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I never get sick of it. It’s always fantastic! And what makes this Irish Rarebit particularly yummy besides it’s stellar Irish ingredients, is that I added some freshly sliced tomato and crispy bacon slices into the mix. Simplicity at it’s best!

Irish Rarebit

Recipe adapted from: Elizabeth Kelly for the Examiner

serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup Smithwicks Irish Ale
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tsp. Coleman’s English Mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 12 oz. Kerrygold Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 slices of Irish Brown Bread
  • Bacon and Tomato slices as you wish

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk egg. Set aside.

In a double boiler, combine Smithwick’s Irish ale, butter, Coleman’s mustard and cayenne pepper. After the butter has melted, whisk in Kerrygold Cheddar cheese a little at a time. Stir until cheese is melted and mixture in smooth.

Whisk in egg and stir until mixture thickens. DO NOT BOIL.

Toast Brown Bead and top with tomato or bacon if you wish.

Spoon cheese mixture over the toast and pop it into a toaster over or broiler until the cheese topping has just started to brown.

Enjoy!


Chicken & Leek Pasties

March 5, 2012

Chicken & Leek Pasties…YUM! The origins of the pasty (pronounced pass-tee) are unclear, but it is most usually associated with Cornwall, England not Ireland. However, I ate my first pasty while living in Ireland and therefore when presented with one, warm memories of Ireland always accompany it. That’s why I thought I’d include this recipe on Day 5 of my St. Patrick’s Day offerings. A pasty is a pastry case filled with a meat/vegetable mixture, sealed by crimping the edges and then baked. Basically, a meat pie. I think I’ve mentioned before that I love meat pies, no matter what name they go by, be it pasties, empanadas, bridies, peirogis, pot pies or calzones. All of them deee-licious!

This is my favourite Pasty recipe. It is slightly adapted from the River Cottage Every Day cookbook. I doubled the amount of filling that the original recipe called for and combined the chicken and filling in the pan before filling the dough. These pasties are a good size for a meal, but you could reduce the size a bit and they would be great little appetizers!

Chicken & Leek Pasties

recipe adapted from: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “River Cottage Every Day” and Serious Eats

yield: 4 Pasties

Ingredients:

For the rough puff pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

For the Filling:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5-6 Leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme  leaves
  • 1 1/3 Cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons English Mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • The breast of a rotisserie chicken, shredded (if using fresh chicken – 12 ounces )

To finish:

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk, for glazing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.

Add the cubed butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add just enough ice water ( 8 – 10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.

Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so that you end up with a rectangle about 3/8″ thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (like folding a letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter turn, then repeat the rolling, folding and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme and cook gently for 5 -10 minutes, until the leeks are very tender. Stir in the cream and cook gently for 4 – 5 minutes to reduce and thicken. Stir in the mustard, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir thoroughly to coat and combine. Let cool.

If using fresh chicken, season well and fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked. Once it has cooled, shred and add to leek mixture.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/8″ thick. Using a plate or cake pan as a template, cut out four 8″ circles.

Brush the around the edges of the circle with the egg wash. Spoon the leek/chicken mixture on to one half of each circle. Fold the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp the edges to seal.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops of the pasties with the egg wash. Slice a couple small slits in the top of each pastie. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Eat hot or cold as you wish.

Enjoy!


Chicken Potpie

April 15, 2011

My husband LOVES Chicken Potpie. I don’t know many folks that don’t. This nostalgic dish can truly warm body and soul on a damp, rainy day. A hearty, delicious, tried and true comfort food. With the dreaded “tax day” coming up (not today, April 15th, but Monday April 18th this year due to the extension) there are probably more than a few out there who might need some comfort! This recipe is mouth-watering, very easy to make and will go a long way towards soothing your frayed and frazzled nerves. You begin by preparing the buttery, flaky pastry dough, guaranteed to bake to a beautiful golden brown. You saute the veggies.

veggies cooking

Once done, you add them, along with the shredded chicken to a savory, thick gravy. After the potpie filling has cooled for about an hour, you simply assemble the pies and pop them into the oven. I made several different portion sizes. The version pictured above was baked in a large popover pan and is a good lunch sized portion. I baked some in 7 oz. ramekins for the petite appetites,

Petite Pies

as well as some in large 22 oz.-“hungry man” sized ramekins.

The Hungry Man!

Believe me, once you bite into one of these deliciously gratifying pies, you will feel your mood lift and will swear the skies actually brighten! Get creative and make some of these today. Your family will go wild!

Mmmmm! How can you resist?!

Chicken Potpie

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound, quartered Button Mushrooms

1 Cup chopped Leeks, white and pale green parts

1/2 Cup Carrots, finely diced

1/3 Cup fresh or thawed frozen peas

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon All-purpose flour

4 1/2 Cups Chicken stock or broth

1/3 Cup Dry Sherry

2 teaspoons fresh Tarragon, minced

4 Cups cooked, shredded Chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!?

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Double-Crust flaky pastry dough (see below for recipe)

1 Large egg

Ingredients for Double-Crust Pastry Dough:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup plus 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, chilled

1/2 Cup Ice Water

Directions for the Pastry Dough:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into chucks and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. ( I actually do this in the food processor. It takes about 5-6 pulses to get the flour butter mixture to have that coarse meal appearance.)

Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time and either mix with a fork or pulse your food processor after each addition. The dough should be crumbly and will not hold together on its own but will when gathered into a ball and compressed with your hands. If it is too dry, add a bit more ice water. Again 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Can be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months.

Now you are ready to begin making the Chicken Potpie filling.

Directions for Chicken Potpie:

In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the leeks and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peas.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let bubble gently for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the stock and sherry and then the tarragon. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Stir in the shredded chicken and the mushroom-leek mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let cool until lukewarm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spoon the chicken mixture into six 1 1/2 cup ovenproof soup crocks or ramekins. Or if you’d like to make the smaller popover shaped chicken potpies as pictured above, lightly grease the individual wells of a large popover pan. Line each well with pastry dough making sure there are no holes in the pastry lining and that it is snug against the walls of the well. Work the pastry so that it comes up just over the edge of the well so that you can easily attach a lid. Cut your lids out to be slightly larger than the diameter of the popover well. Poke a couple of holes is the lid so that steam can escape during baking. Fill the pastry lined wells with the Chicken Potpie mixture. Brush the underside of the lid with the egg wash. Place lid on the top of the individual pie and crimp around the edges. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash.

If you are using ramekins, after you have filled them, place the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. (If the dough is chilled hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes until it begins to soften before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a rectangle about 20 x 13 inches and 1/8 inch thick. Using a 6-inch saucer as a template, use a knife to cup out 6 rounds. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Lightly brush each round with the egg. Place 1 round, egg side down, over each ramekin, keeping the pastry taut and pressing it around the ramekin edges to adhere. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with the egg. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. If you are making the popover sized pies, you will likely be able to reduce your cooking time to 15 minutes. Transfer each ramekin or popover to a dinner plate and serve.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food by Rick Rodgers


Serendipity Grilled Cheese Sandwich

March 29, 2011

I’m sure you’ve whipped up some of the fabulous Caramelized Pear and Rosemary Conserve from my previous posting by now, that is if you’re not still waiting for your pears to ripen. I had mentioned that we had used it as a spread in sandwiches. Well, this is an example of one of them, the Serendipity Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The recipe for Caramelized Pear and Rosemary Conserve came from The Serendipity Diary and this sandwich is one of their creations as well. They modestly call it the “Pear & Grilled Cheese Sandwich”, but I have re-christened it. This sandwich is very easy to prepare and is such a treat to eat. I used Jarlsberg Cheese, but a Smoky Gouda or Gruyere Cheese would also work well. This sandwich is a great vegetarian option, but if you’re feeling a bit more carnivorish, try it with a slice of salty Virginia Ham thrown on as well. The salty and sweet combo is to die for!

Serendipity Grilled Cheese Sandwich

recipe from The Serendipity Diary

Ingredients:

Two slices of whole wheat bread

Caramelized Pear and Rosemary Conserve

Spinach

Jarlsberg Cheese

Butter or Olive oil (if you wish to pan-fry the sandwich)

Directions:

You just grab two slices of whatever bread you prefer, we love whole wheaty types of bread. Spread  a thin layer of the Caramelized Pear and Rosemary Conserve on each slice. Top one slice with spinach leaves and slices of whatever cheese you prefer. Place the other slice of bread on top to form a sandwich. Either place it in a Panini Maker and grill it until the cheese melts, or you can melt some butter in a frying pan and grill each side until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown. Enjoy!


Chicken Star Soup with Onion & Shallot Muffins

February 25, 2011

Last week we enjoyed two beautiful 70 degree, Spring like days. On Tuesday we faced ice and snow again. Are you kidding me?! Ugh! I guess that is often how it goes around here. We have several “teaser” days which trick us into believing Spring is here just to get smacked down with a “wintry mix” once again. I thought some nice home-made chicken soup might ease the pain a bit. Now, when I say “home-made” I suppose I should clarify the term a bit. It is home-made in the sense that I made it here in my home. However, it might be a bit of a cheat, because my chicken stock is from  the lovely folks at Swanson and my chicken meat came from a rotisserie chicken purchased at the local Giant supermarket. Unlike Grandma, I wasn’t slaving over the stove all day. I spent about an hour on it. But let me assure you, this soup is really yummy and definitely hits the spot on a damp and sleety day.

Mmmmm.....soup!

You can add any type of pasta you like to this soup. I chose Stelline pasta-a pasta shaped like little stars. Fun!

Stelline Pasta

One thing I have learned regarding adding pasta to soup though, is that you should cook it prior to adding it to the soup. I thought it would be fine just to throw it on it “raw” and let it cook while in the soup. That doesn’t work out so well. It absorbs way too much liquid this way and you end up with something that is much more solid than any soup should be.

Onion & Shallot Muffins

I thought a savory muffin would go along great with this dish as well, so I made Onion & Shallot Muffins while the soup was simmering. I was a bit nervous that these muffins would be too oniony. I mean a shallot is an onion, so are these guys going to turn out like little onion bombs? The answer is absolutely not. They were very moist with a delicate, subtle onion flavour. A really hearty, biscuit-like muffin.

Don't forget the butter!

The Jarlsberg cheese adds great flavour and texture as well. These would complement any soup/stew recipe, or are great all on their own for that matter. Give them a try!

Chicken Star Soup

12 cups low sodium chicken broth

2-3 tsp. Montreal Chicken seasoning

1 Cup chopped celery (4 stalks)

4 carrots-chopped

1 Cup onion-chopped

1-2 cloves garlic-finely chopped

Breast from 1 Rotisserie Chicken-shredded

1/2 C. fresh cilantro-chopped (if you don’t like cilantro flavour, substitute flat leaf parsley)

Chalula hot sauce, red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste.

1/2 box Stelline pasta-or the pasta of your choice

Directions:

In stock pot, or large pan combine broth and Montreal chicken seasoning. Bring to a boil. Stir in celery, onion, garlic and carrot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add Chicken, cilantro and other spices to broth. Bring to low boil.

Prepare 1/2 box of Stelline Pasta according to the directions on the box but cook for only 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain well and then add to soup. Stir well.

Turn heat down to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Makes about 15 cups of soup.

Basket of Onion & Shallot Goodness

Onion & Shallot Muffins

5 Tbsp. (3 fl. oz/80 ml) olive oil

1/4  cup (1 1/2 oz/ 45 g) finely chopped red onion

1 medium to large shallot, minced

3 cups (15 oz/ 470 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 oz/170 g) grated Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese

3 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. crumbled dried oregano

1/2 tsp. celery seed

2 large eggs

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) milk

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease 11 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavoured nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cup one-third full with water to prevent warping.

In a frying pan over medium heat, heat 3 Tbsp. of the oil. Add the onion and shallot and sauté until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the cheese, the parsley, baking powder, salt, oregano, and celery seed.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, remaining 2 tbsp. oil, and milk until blended. Add the cooled onions, along with any oil left in the pan. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the onion mixture just until evenly moistened. The batter will be lumpy. (I actually had to add more milk-about 1/2 cup, because the batter was too dry. This batter is quite thick)

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the remaining 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz/45 g) cheese.

Bake the muffins until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 25-30 minutes. a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book




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