homemade went into overdrive this weekend as we celebrated by husband’s birthday…it started with his favorite – pork chops, green beans and black-bottom pie with homemade ice cream…then, for a small cocktail party this weekend, i pulled out all the stops with a series of really yummy appetizers from (wait for it) barefoot contessa. i just can’t get enough…so, here they are…
parmesan and thyme crackers (from barefoot contessa “back to basics”)…these little crackers are rich and flaky and perfect with a nice bottle of wine…love them..
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 tsp. minced thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tsp. water.
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9 inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 days. (arugula files note: My log was a little dry so instead of creating a roll, I made square cookies).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 3/8 inch rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.
next we tried the savory palmiers…again, you just can’t go wrong and they’re so simple and elegant…the guests loved them…
savory palmiers from barefoot contessa “back to basics”
16 ounces puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
kosher salt, to taste
Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it is 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry, using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them faceup 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchement paper.
Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown.
bruschetta with peppers and gorgonzola (you guessed it…barefoot contessa “back to basics”)
Good olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces creamy Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the capers and basil, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the baguette crosswise into 18 thin round slices. Brush the bread rounds lightly with olive oil on 1 side. Arrange them in rows, oil side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Top each toast round with a teaspoonful of the pepper mixture. Place 2 small pieces of Gorgonzola on top. Return the toast to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes and warm through. Serve immediately.
we topped it all off with some cape codders (vodka, cranberry juice and lots of lime juice) and some bottles of wine…so fun and so exciting to try these new recipes and add them to my collection…