I'm in kind of a rut. I've successfully either made totally disappointing dinners, or just simply made the same old stuff. Last week I prepared some food for my friend Whitney's store. She celebrated the anniversary of her store, Collage. My intention had been to take pictures of the results and all was going as planned until I realized that the camera we'd found was full of pictures (from this summer, believe it or not). So, two pictures later, I was done.
I was quite happy with the recipes I'd used for the party: artichoke and spinach dip with crudites, goat cheese stuffed mushrooms, cheese straws, bacon-wrapped dates, and lemon buttermilk baby cakes, cowboy cookies, and snickerdoodles. Everything turned out well, but I was a little disappointed in the flavor of the mushrooms [room temperature]. Alternately, I much preferred the bacon-wrapped dates in the room temperature version as opposed to still hot.
I feel like I always learn something with my cooking jobs. I think the most important thing that I learned last week was that I love puff pastry. I thought I hated it. I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the package in the freezer section and then put it back when I read the ingredients. I actually discovered that Giant has their own generic brand of puff pastry that, while it includes palm and coconut oil, does not include any partially hydrogenated oils. I'm not saying it's healthy, but it's kind of addicting in the simplicity. Since then, I've been thinking of ways to use it again. I found a recipe for apple turnovers and since I had cherries in the freezer I decided to do a little experimenting.
Last Wednesday my mom and I took the kids to Philadelphia to visit my sister and to do some educational touring. My mom really wanted to try the Tavern Inn for lunch, a historical inn that still serves colonial recipes. For lunch I had the white bean and cabbage soup. Supposedly, this is Thomas Jefferson's recipe (more likely it probably was a servant's recipe, I can't picture him making soup) and it was delicious. The recipe was totally vegetarian and I was desperate to recreate it. I've never made a vegetable stock before, but last night I set out to see what I could accomplish. Let's just say the result was less than delicious. My eleven-year-old actually loved the soup, but I found it very tasteless. I think if I ever make it again I would use a ham bone (screw the vegetarian thing...).
Tonight we had porchetta sandwiches (so delicious and salty). I had some leftover cabbage from the soup debacle, so I thought I'd make cole slaw. I remembered Ina Garten had a recipe for cole slaw with roquefort. I am in love with Ina. Her recipes are downright flawless, simple, delicious, and straightforward. What kind of kills me about her is that she always qulalifies her recipes in terms of, "good roquefort", "good chocolate", "good vanilla". I hope it's fine that I usually only have sub-par ingredients on hand. I just can't justify scharfen-berger chocolate or madagascar vanilla. What can I say, I'm just too frugal. Anyway, all that to say - I made the cole slaw, used crumbled gorgonzola (total cost, $2.49) and the result was totally mouthwatering. Oh, and I totally only had spicy brown mustard on hand, and it was fine. I think that's the mark of a good recipe, it's delicious no matter how it is adapted.
1 sheet puff pastry
sour cherries, thawed and fully drained
1/2 cup sugar
4-5 T cornstarch
3 T cold water
1 egg beaten
sugar for dusting
1. Roll out puff pastry with floured rolling pin until relatively thin.
2. Thicken cherries. In a large saucepan, mix cherries and sugar. Mix cornstarch and cold water in small cup until well blended. Pour into cherries and cook over medium heat until "juice" is clear and mixture is nicely thickened. Set aside mixture until cooled.
3. Cut pastry into squares. Brush outside "square" with egg wash. Place 2T cherry mixture in middle and fold diagonally.
4. Place onto cookie sheet, brush each turnover with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake at 395 degree for 8-10 minutes or until brown.
Ina's Cole Slaw with Roquefort
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, scrubbed, peeled and grated
1 cup good mayonnaise (see what I mean?) :)
1/8 cup dijon
1 T whole-grain mustard
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3/4 cup Roquefort cheese
1 apple, finely chopped
1. Mix ingredients and allow flavors to meld for at least 2 hours.
***I decided to add the apple for a little crunch. I'm sure you could add different types of cabbage, shredded sweet potatoes, shredded golden beets, etc.***