Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry

A while back, I was asked to provide a recipe for several people to make for appetizers at a church function.  It had to be something simple, that could be made in advance, but that was a bit of a step up from the average appetizer.  So I decided upon Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastries.  The recipe is originally from Paula Deen, though I added a bit.

Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry
adapted from Paula Deen (my additions in italics)

2 (10-oz.) pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 TB butter, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (box should contain 2 sheets)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Drain spinach well, removing excess moisture by pressing between paper towels.

Melt 4 TB butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds.  Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir together spinach, mushroom mixture and cheese; set aside.  Roll 1 pastry sheet into a 13x11-inch rectangle.  Melt remaining  4 TB butter and spread half over the pastry.  Spread 1/2 of the spinach mixture over the butter.   Roll up, jelly roll style, starting with a long side.  Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheet, butter, and spinach mixture.  Wrap rolls tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes, until the rolls are stiff.  Cut rolls into scant 1/2 inch slices.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet covered with parchment.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

You could also add crumbled bacon to the spinach/mushroom mixture, though you would need to adjust the salt accordingly.

You could brush the tops of the pinwheels with an egg wash before baking, if you desire.
Printable Recipe

Make these, and make a bunch.  It is hard to eat just one!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TWD: Baking with Julia - Savory Brioche Pockets

Our Tuesdays with Dorie recipe this week was Savory Brioche Pockets.  I guess it was really a Wednesdays with Dorie for me this time, as I surely didn't get this posted on time!  Ah, well.  Better late than never!  I truly did have the pockets done in time, I just didn't get time to post.

Anyway, these were delicious but a bit of work...  The brioche dough takes a while, but it is REALLY yummy.  This is the same dough that was the basis of the Pecan Sticky Buns, and the making of the dough is described on that post, if you are interested.

Moving onto these yummy little treats - they are filled with caramelized onions, mashed potatoes mixed with goat cheese, and asparagus.  I know I have mentioned it before, but caramelized onions really make everything in the savory world delicious.  Mmmm.  The recipe had you cook the onions for only 20 minutes to caramelize, so either that is just crazy or I had my burner too low, as it normally takes me about an hour to caramelize.  Regardless, caramelized onions are worth the time!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Snowball Cookies

On Friday, on the way to pick up the clever girl from preschool, I remembered that her "graduation" was Saturday and I had volunteered to bring cookies to the subsequent open house.  Of course at that time I was on the way HOME from the grocery store, so I would need to make cookies with ingredients I had on hand.  That is not generally a problem.  But then when I picked up the clever girl and asked her what kind of cookies we should make, she told me that someone already brought in chocolate chip cookies for the open house.  Hmmm.  My "go-to" cookies are chocolate chip or brownies.  But if someone else was bringing chocolate chip, maybe I should try for something without chocolate.  GASP!  What?  A COOKIE with no CHOCOLATE?  Oh, boy.

Maybe we should make peanut butter cookies?  No, we have no roasted peanuts.
Maybe we should make oatmeal cookies?  No, not in the mood.
To my folder of favorite recipes I went - and found SNOWBALL cookies!  Yahoo!  This will do the trick.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baby Overalls

I originally knit these baby overalls while I was pregnant with the clever girl, over 5 years ago.  So I apologize that I don't remember all of the details of the knitting process...  The pattern is from the book Easy Baby Knits by Claire Montgomerie. 

The pattern calls for an aran weight yarn, and I used Baby Cashmerino, by Debbie Bliss, so I had to do all sorts of math to get the sizing and gauge right.  It would certainly be easier (and faster) in the aran weight yarn, but Baby Cashmerino is so wonderful and I happened to have it in my stash at the time!  The pattern calls for snap tape for the bottom (or to just knit the bottom together but I find that to be terribly inconvenient for diaper changing purposes).  The only snap tape I found had tiny little snaps that didn't actually stick together very well, so I ended up sewing snaps onto pieces of grosgrain ribbon, and sewing those onto the outfit instead of the snap tape.  Much more secure! 

It is so rewarding to see my kiddos in clothes I made, and doubly so that they can both wear some of them!  This won't continue for long, as the clever girl's clothes eventually got more "girlie", but I'll enjoy it while I can! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TWD: Baking with Julia - Fresh Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Our recipe this week for Tuesday's with Dorie was Fresh Rhubarb Upside Down Cake.  It was actually supposed to be baby-cakes, as in individual 4-inch cakes, but the recipe also provided instructions for making one big cake so that is the route I took.

My only challenge with this recipe was in locating the rhubarb.  Four weeks ago today, the clever baby was born via an emergency c-section (all is well, no worries) and I was told that I could not drive for at least 4 weeks.  My parents came in town to help and then my in-laws came (they leave today - boo!)  I didn't want to ask my in-laws to drive all over town searching for this illusive ingredient.  The grocery store closest to my house is crummy, and they certainly did not have fresh rhubarb.  My in-laws checked another grocery store of the same chain and had no luck there either.  Luckily, Mr. Clever Mom works near a gourmet grocery store so I begged him to stop by on the way home and of course, this particular store had rhubarb!  Yippee!  This recovery is so hard, mostly in a mental way, as I am used to being able to do things like, say, drive, lift things, exercise, etc.  Ugh.  But I am listening to my doctor and obeying the rules.  The last thing I want is to set myself backwards!  And happily, I have had lots of help.  So enough moaning and lets get on to the recipe!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Baby Bolero...

We woke up to chilly weather today!  It is in the low 50's and let me tell you, in Houston, Texas, in May, that is downright crazy.  Practically freezing!  I LOVE it!  I am a huge fan of cool weather (I know, I live in the wrong place for that) so I was thrilled to wake up to this cool air this morning.  And it meant that I could pull out this super cute Baby Bolero that I knit for the clever girl back when she was a wee one.  Now the clever baby gets to give it a go!   He is also wearing a long sleeved onesie that I dyed orange when I made the snuggle blankets.  I think he looks quite dapper, don't you?

The pattern for the Baby Bolero can be found in the book "One Skein" by Leigh Radford.  It is a super fast knit and truly only needs one skein of worsted weight yarn (unless I guess your skein is super tiny or something).  I have actually made this bolero before using two different colors, making the sleeves and trim one color and the body another.  If you need a quick project for a gift or for your own baby, check this out.

There is this sweet eyelet detail on the back of the sweater, too.  It is supposedly an Arabic symbol for protection.  I don't know if it is or not, but I like the idea!  Babies certainly need protecting, don't they?  My sweet clever baby is all wrapped up, cradled in his grandma's protective arms.  What could be better?