Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Leftover Cornish Pasties

If you've never heard of a Cornish Pasty, well, it is high time you educate yourself because apparently there's even more excuses to wrap delicious food in pastry crust and eat it than pot pies and gallettes.  One of my favorite restaurants in Phoenix makes it their mission to do so to almost every food imaginable - chicken tikka masala, carne adovada, cajun chicken, you name it.  They also have one called "The Pilgrim", which is all the Thanksgiving joy you ever need in one convenient pie crust package.  If I ever had to spend a holiday at a restaurant, Cornish Pasty it would be.

I never considered the brilliance of attempting this at home, however, until one year in college when I was kindly invited over to my dear friend's family's home (where I gratefully spent many a college holiday) for Thanksgiving, and learned that they make pasties out of their leftovers each  year.  I ask you, did you ever believe that there was a way to make Thanksgiving leftovers, arguably one of the top 10 food genres on the planet, EVEN BETTER? Well, this surpasses it all, and is shockingly not going to require you spend too much more time in the kitchen the day after you've just churned out a feast that made you want to order takeout for three weeks after the leftovers run out.

Preheat oven to 375
2 single pie crusts (or one double), unbaked
Thanksgiving leftovers!
1 egg for egg wash

All need to do is make a few extra pie crusts when you are making your pies.  Last year, for six of us, my friends and I made two extra (single) pie crusts in preparation while we were in the Thanksgiving cooking craze, then threw them in the fridge.  On Friday, we rolled them out (keep it a little on the thicker side) and cut them into 6 equal circles (we traced the circles with a plate, whatever seems to work).  We then invited each guest into the kitchen to fill half of their circle of dough with whatever leftovers their heart desired.  A winning combination is definitely sweet potatoes and/or mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. Be sure to leave space need the edge to seal the dough. Add a little gravy to keep it moist but be careful not to overdo the liquid- save the cranberry sauce and most of your gravy for dipping.  Fold the empty half of each circle of dough over the filling, creating a semi-circle pressing down on the edges with a fork to seal.  Be sure to mark each person's pasty - traditionally, Cornish pasties were marked with the individual initials of each family member to distinguish them.  Brush with an egg wash and place in the oven.  Check at 20 minutes, but they'll likely need longer.  Bake until crust begins to brown.  Enjoy with caution, as it may cause you to declare the leftovers BETTER than  your meal the day before.

Party Menu

Just add people!  :)

Clockwise, we have:

1.  Endives with goat cheese.
2.  In the blue bowl, fava puree with cherries and parsley.  Cucumbers on the side for dipping.
3.  A salad with grapefruit, avocado, endives, spring greens, marcona almonds, and a mustardy-lemony-mapley dressing.
4.  These tomato puffed pastries - they were the only thing I probably wouldn't make again.  Or, would make in the summer with better tomatoes or use some slow-roasted tomatoes.
5.  These no-bake cookies.  (FYI, I made them with vegan butter substitute for some vegan guests.  Worked just fine.)
6. Smitten Kitchen's orange olive oil cake, cut into cubes with whipped cream for dipping.
7. Newfangled cheese ball.
8.  Just above that, apricot butter with bread.
9.  Ottolhengi's gorgeous beet dip with chili and yogurt.  I wish I had seen his suggestion to thicken with mashed potatoes, but tasted amazing.
10.  The cumin chickpea puree from this recipe.

Not pictured, we also had:

11.  Grape, rosemary and ricotta toasts.
12.  Stuffed dates.
13.  Lemon cookies.
14.  Chipotle-orange pecans.
15.  And last but not least, probably my favorite:  Candied chocolate-dipped oranges.

Plus, some guests brought extremely tasty sriracha-roasted cauliflower with sesame dip.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chocolate-Covered Candied Oranges

When I was a kid, one of my favorite parts of Christmas (and Annalise's too, as I recall) was getting one of those foil-covered chocolate "oranges" that divide into neat little segments in my stocking.  This is like that, all grown up.  Super easy, although the oranges need to dry for at least 6 hours, so plan ahead.

2 oranges
about .6 lb dark chocolate
Sea salt
1 cup sugar 
2 cups water

A bain-marie or some way of suspending a bowl over boiling water.  

1.  Slice your oranges into thin rounds.  They DON'T need to be paper thin; my thicker slices did a better job being dipped in chocolate.

2.  Get the sugar and water boiling.  When they come to a boil, add the orange slices, then reduce the heat as low as possible; cover pot with a towel or sheet of parchment paper; and leave for an hour and a half.  

3.  Remove the oranges from a slotted spoon and let them dry on parchment paper overnight or for at least 6 hours (I did overnight).  They will still be a bit tacky and won't be completely hard, but they should be solid enough to withstand dipping in chocolate. 

4.  Cut the orange rounds in half.  Melt the chocolate in the bain-marie or bowl-atop-saucepan.  Dip each slice in the chocolate, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Place on waxed paper and allow chocolate to harden.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Apricot Butter

Boozy, salty, sweet, fruity butter.

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup cognac or other brandy
2 TB brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Equipment:  Long match or stick lighter.

Soak apricots in cognac in a small saucepan for 10 minutes.  Then turn on heat and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, ignite! Whee! The alcohol will shoot some tall blue flames into the air and will burn for a good little while.

Once the flames die off, turn heat to medium, add brown sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Take off heat, scrape into a food processor, and allow to cool.  Add the butter and process.  Salt the mixture to taste and eat on bread.

Look how fun!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

This recipe is my favorite thing to make with new potatoes, but every time I go to look it up online, I have trouble finding it, and panic.  So, time to post, with full credit to "The Right Recipe," since I only made one change.

Group One:
3 lbs (I would estimate this is about 6-8 cups) of small new potatoes - I've used red, white, and purple, all to good effect
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup olive oil

Group Two:
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 TB balsamic
1/3 cup olive oil or lemon olive oil

Group Three:
Baby arugula - recipe says two handfuls, but I use an entire 5oz prewashed package
Good parmesan, finely grated so it will melt into the potatoes (or goat cheese as in the original)
Salt & pepper

As the recipe says, the key to the whole thing is to roast the potatoes very slowly so they will become incredibly soft, not crispy.  For this reason, get the smallest potatoes you can, or chop them into halves or quarters.

Toss the Group One ingredients together and spread on a baking sheet.  Bake at 250 for up to an hour until they are light brown and completely soft. You really don't want them to be "al dente" at all, so leave time to bake them for as long as need be.

Whisk the Group Two ingredients together to make the vinaigrette.  As soon as the potatoes come out of the oven, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a serving bowl and spread the garlic around with a fork.  Throw in the hot potatoes and then the vinaigrette.  Make sure to do this while the potatoes are hot so they will absorb the vinaigrette.

Before they get too cool, add the parmesan and toss so it will melt.  Once they have cooled to "warm," add the arugula, which should wilt just a little and be well-dressed.  (I find this recipe makes plenty of vinaigrette, but if there isn't enough for the arugula to be dressed, make more.)  Season and serve warm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baked Delicata

This is not a complete recipe but it IS one of my favorite fall-squash-related things.  Whenever I get my hands on a delicata squash, I tell myself to try something new with it, but I never can.

Slice up one or two delicata squash.  LEAVE THE SEEDS IN and the skins on, and discard the ends.  Slices should be no more than 1/2 inch thick.

Toss the slices in a bowl with enough olive oil to generously coat them, plus salt.  Lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with just a liiiiittle bit of honey, then flip them over so the honey side is down.

Bake at 350 until the bottoms are a deep, caramelized brown and the edges are wrinkling and caving in - about a half hour.  The seeds will get a little crispy and the squash itself will be completely soft, as will the skins.

Eat them hot as a side dish, hot or cold as a snack, or chopped up as a salad ingredient.