I got this idea the other day when I started thinking about how it’s already October! When fall rolls around, I start thinking about having people over for dinner. Then I start thinking about the holidays. If you don’t start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas now, then before you know it, they’re over! It happens to me every year! I say to myself, “Gen, this year you will buy the tree and do all of your shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Leaving plenty of time for a couple of holiday gatherings and maybe a quick trip to NYC for more shopping!” NEVER HAPPENS!
I roasted turkey a couple of weekends ago. Broke in our new kitchen! While the turkey was roasting I made the best buttermilk biscuits for breakfast. They came out of the oven at the same time as the turkey. I thought what a great “open house” meal to have on a weekend after let’s say, apple picking…oooooor after sledding…ooooooor on a Sunday if you want to invite some friends for brunch (which, by the way, I NEVER do!) It would be so Martha Stewart of me. I started envisioning inviting friends to join us for a morning of ice-skating, and then back to our house for turkey and biscuits! This is how it plays in my head. The snow falling gently outside, a toasty fire going in the fireplace, cups of spiked hot mulled cider and yummy bite size morsels awaiting us as we come back from a morning of ice skating. It will NEVER happen, but it sounds sooooo nice! (We don’t even have a fire place in the new house.)
|Store Bought Puff Pastry Dough
I started thinking about what was coming up besides the holidays, that would be a great excuse for a gathering??? Hhmmmmm…I’ve got it! The Head of the Charles Regatta is next weekend here in Cambridge. People get together from all over the world to row and watch the races on the Charles River. I’ll invite friends over for a hot cup of mulled cider and a snack. Then we can head to the river and watch the races. Will it happen?? I don’t know, but if it does, I am going to make these! Cheese Melts.
I’m not one for using store bought ingredients. Sorry Sandra Lee, but semi home cooking is not my style! I like everything made from scratch. EXCEPT for puff pastry dough! Making puff pastry is a labor of love. I always keep a box of frozen pastry dough in the freezer. Trader Joe’s is a great place to shop for this treat. They have the frozen dough and tons of reasonably priced cheeses that are great for the fillings! I found a cranberry covered goat cheese, which I paired with walnuts for one filling. You can get creative on the shape. I tried a couple of twists, but I ate them before I photographed them. They were really pretty, but tasted even better! You can make these cheese melts way ahead and freeze them on sheets of parchment. Then when they are frozen carefully drop them into a baggie to take up less space in the freezer. When you are ready for them, take them out, lay them on a sheet pan, let them thaw, paint them with the butter, and bake. PERFECT FOR HOLIDAY GATHERINGS!
These are the combos I tried the other day:
Swiss, Parmigiana and Dijon Mustard
Roquefort and Fig Spread
Cranberry Chevre with Walnuts
They were all really good!
1. Let puff pastry thaw. Take one sheet and roll out to 1/8 of an inch thick
2. Lay your ingredients in a strip across the sheet of dough. (I started with a thin spread of dijon, then a sprinkle of parmigiana)-continue down the dough with strips of filling-in the picture above I started by making individual strips 2 inches wide-both methods work well
3.Take a second sheet of dough and roll out to 1/8 of an inch thick. Place on top of the sheet with the fillings and gently roll with rolling pin to seal the two sheets together. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes or cut strips 1/2 inch x 3 inches and twists. Lay on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Using a pastry brush, brush tops with melted butter. Bake 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or room temp.
“Kitchen Contessa Cooks with Kids”