Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ham and Cheese Puffs

1 cup water
1/3 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1½ cups old cheese, shredded
1 cup ham, finely chopped
¼ tsp dry mustard

In heavy saucepan, combine water and butter; bring to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, beating vigorously with wooden spoon until blended. Return to medium-high heat and beat until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. Stir in cheese, ham and mustard. Drop by teaspoonful onto buttered baking sheets. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crusty. Yield: about 50. Freezes well.

Mini Ham Puffs

2.5 oz ham, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
½ cup grated Swiss or cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
1 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray mini muffin pan (24) with PAM. Combine ham, onion, cheese, egg, parsley, mustard and pepper and mix well. Unroll crescent dough and press into one large rectangle. Cut dough into 24 squares using pizza cutter. Press one square into each muffin cup. Fill each with ham mixture. Bake 12-14 minutes or until puffs are light golden brown.

Phyllo Triangles with Feta Cheese and Pecan Filling

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp butter
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp dried parsley
¼ cup sour cream
Pinch pepper
½ pkg frozen spinach, chopped
½ pkg phyllo pastry (1 lb)
Melted butter

Cook onion in butter and combine all except phyllo in a bowl. Unwrap phyllo and place 1 sheet on work surface. (Cover remaining phyllo with damp cloth). Brush phyllo sheet with melted butter. Place second sheet on top and brush with melted butter. With sharp knife, cut phyllo lengthwise into 6 strips. Cut each strip in half crosswise to make 12 small strips in all. Place 1 tsp. filling about 1 inch from left end of strip. Pick up right corner of strip and fold it diagonally over filling to meet left side, forming triangle. Continue to wrap pastry around filling in triangular shape. Brush end of pastry with butter, tuck under triangle and pinch corners to seal Repeat with remaining filling and phyllo. Brush tops with melted butter.

Can be frozen at this point. Bake frozen triangles buttered side up at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden. Yield ~ 48.

Spinach Cheese Dip

2 packages cream cheese
1 box frozen spinach, thawed, chopped finely
3/4 cup Alfredo sauce
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup red pepper, finely diced
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp Cajun spice
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp hot sauce
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Grated cheddar cheese 

Soften cream cheese and blend with Alfredo sauce. Squeeze out water from spinach and pat dry with a paper towel. Chop finely. Add spinach and remaining ingredients with cream cheese mixture. Separate into small 5" diameter, air tight containers covering the bottom and filling up 1" deep. Sprinkle tops of dip with grated cheddar. Warm dip in microwave till top layer of cheese is melted (approx 30 seconds). Serve with nacho chips or warm baked pita slices (spray with Pam and bake in oven for 3-4 minutes - till toasted). Dips can be frozen, thaw at room temperature prior to heating. Yield approx 5 dips.

Just like Kelsey’s.

Arroz con Pollo

2 Tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 lb chicken parts, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1 bottle beer
1 bay leaf
2 cups medium-grain rice (Goya or Bomba is good)
1/4 -1 cup water

In a deep, heavy-based pot sauté the chicken in oil. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Sauté the sausage until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the platter. Pour off and discard the excess oil, leaving about 1 Tbs. in the pan.

Sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken and sausage to the pot and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric, if using, stirring to distribute the spices. Cook for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes, wine (or beer), and bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium high, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add extra water as required. Cook until the rice is done and the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. (If the rice is done but still very soupy, remove the cover and cook very gently until the liquid evaporates, taking care not to burn the rice.) Give a toss and then let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Original recipe at Fine Cooking

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Leek & Potato Soup


4 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 leeks, washed and sliced
2 large potatoes cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 L (one carton) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives, to garnish
Crumbled bacon, to garnish
1/3 cup light cream (optional), to serve


Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onions and leeks. Lightly season with salt and pepper and saute gently for 4-5 minutes until soft but not brown. Pour in stock and potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes til potatoes tender. Remove bay leaf.

Blend soup with an immersion blender til smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using cream, add swirl to each bowl and garnish with chives (best with fresh chives).

4-6 servings