The other day I was sitting with a friend during her own food photo shoot for a international critically acclaimed newspaper, and she reminisced about the first food she tasted of mine over a decade ago. It was cheesecake which she loved. It got me to thinking I haven’t made one in a while. While I love to bake , I’m not a frantic baker as Certain Someone and I prefer the savory side . But every now and then I knock a dessert out of the park he loves, like my trifles or puddings. It’s no wonder he enjoyed this creation too. If you have some boxes of Girl Scout Samoas, obligatorily procured a few month ago from co-workers, some macadamias in the freezer, and cream cheese and eggs, this recipe is for you. Rather than use cream or sour cream in this cake I decided to add coconut to the theme by using Cream of Coconut, which is thicker and sweeter than coconut milk. Continue reading “Coconut Macadamia Girl Scout Samoas Cheesecake”
Here is a quick and easy idea for a twist on the usual standard dinner fare. I’m not a big fan of skinless boneless chicken breasts, but utilize them occasionally in cooking. I always have some puff pastry in the freezer left over from catering. This particular evening I had some frozen béchamel sauce I had leftover from making lasagna. As a chef I save as much I can in the freezer to repurpose later in another dish. “Waste not , want not” especially with food costs soaring. Some frozen broccoli, béchamel, chicken breasts, Dijon mustard, and Gouda make for an easy elegant stunning meal. I called these galettes which we normally associate with a free from sweet pastry. Why not savory? The chicken breast stays tender as it cooks up in the creamy sauce and puff pastry. Be sure to use a thermometer to check chickens doneness without compromising the presentation before serving. Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165-175 F . Here is quick link for Béchamel , a mother sauce that should be in your repertoire.
- Chicken breasts
- Thawed frozen Puff pastry sheets to equal amount of chicken pieces
- 2 cups Béchamel sauce ( see link in post)
- 1 cup grated Gouda
- 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 egg beaten for pastry wash
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare you béchamel. Add grated gouda and broccoli. Let sit for 20 min until a little thickened and cooler before assembly.
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper .
- Place a chicken breast atop a piece of puff pastry on the sheet pan.
- Add a few tablespoons of thickened cooled sauce and quickly wrap to seal. Brush with egg yolk.
- Reheat Béchamel with chicken stock.
- One galetttes are browned and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165-175 F , remove from oven.
- Serve hot with more sauce ladled over the pastry.
In other news this has been an amazing week as I go through some career transformations and validations. An illustration I did a while ago and forgot about for my former employers contest, was picked up and reposted on the Cosmetic Brands IG page! For me this is a huge validation of my creative talents and skills .
I still have to figure out where I’m going with both blogs. But if you’re looking for light savory recipe check out my latest post at the The emBRACEABLE Gourmand . Don’t miss a recipe.
Certain Someone and I love Oysters Rockefeller. It’s one our favorite steakhouse appetizers. I love the elegance and refinement of bubbly oysters baked in their shells on a salt bed with spinach, a splash of Pernod, butter, cheese and garlic. The origins of the original dish are clouded in a veil of secrecy. It was created at the famous Antoine’s in New Orleans and named in honor of the richest man in land, John D Rockefeller because the secret ingredients were so rich. Many have tried to replicate it, but no one has, as the original recipe is a secret. Some say there is no spinach, while others say watercress and spinach. All we do know is the sauce is a blend of green produce and the chefs at Antoine’s insist there is no spinach. Most versions I have sampled have spinach and it works all right for me and is easily attainable for the average home cook. One day I hope to have the real deal.`An anise flavored spirit like Pernod is optional, but I would highly urge you to use , as it pairs wonderfully with shellfish.
Oysters Rockefeller has always been a special treat when dining out, or for a special occasion, like the holidays. Here I take a classic variation of Oysters Rockefeller and take out the fuss of shucking and shells, by using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls as a bed for luscious oysters and tasty stuffing. This will make a wonderful addition to holiday table.
- 1 package Pillsbury® Crescent Butterflake 8ct
- 4 tablespoons butter salted
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/ 4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
- ¾ cup fresh spinach
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon celery seeds
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan plus an additional ¼ for topping
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Pernod
- 1 small approximately 8 oz jar of fresh shucked pasteurized oysters
- Non stick spray
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the minced shallots, garlic and soften for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped parsley, spinach, kosher salt, pepper, fennel seed, and celery seed. Cook and stir until spinach and parsley have just wilted. This will take only about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Remove from heat.
- In a glass bowl, add the spinach mixture, ¼ of the parmesan cheese, Pernod, and the Panko bread crumbs.
- Pulse until smooth with an immersion blender. You may also use a food processor with this process.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Set aside.
- On a clean surface, unroll crescent rolls.
- Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray.
- Using two serving spoons take a triangle of dough and fold to fit into spoon curve. Add some parmesan on both sides and press spoons together to form.
- With each dough shell pressed and molded, lay at an angel in the muffin tin. You can continue to press edges together with fingers. This is your crescent dough shell.
- Add a oyster to each “crescent dough shell”.
- Add a generous spoonful of spinach mixture to each oyster on crescent dough shell.
- Top with more shredded parmesan cheese.
- Place in oven and reduce heat to 375 F after 2 minutes.
- Bake for 8 minutes until the dough is very golden and the oysters start to bubble.
- Remove from oven.
- Carefully remove each Crescent Rockefeller from muffin tin and place on a baking sheet with lined with parchment or a silpat.
- Place back in oven for an additional few minutes to crisp up the edges and underside of the dough base.
- Serve with lemon wedges immediately.
Pernod is traditional is Oysters Rockefeller and works well with oysters. It can be omitted, but will alter the traditional taste. Other anise flavored spirits can used as an substitution.
*I have a received compensation from General Mills and my opinions are my own.
Here is another recipe I developed , incorporating Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans.These Latin inspired hand pies, empanada’s, can be filled with many sweet and savory fillings.Using Old El Paso Refried beans with chicken and cheese add an extra creaminess. I used premade empanada dough discs , which can be found in the Latin food freezer section in specialty supermarkets. You can also use a basic premade refrigerated pie dough. Or if you have the time, patience, and skill, try making your own empanada dough. Either way your guests will enjoy these snacks, or even a meal in one. Play with sizes to determine your portions or style of serving. The accompanying sauce has a zesty coolness of cilantro and lime. Perfect for dipping.
Empanada’s can be baked or fried. In this recipe I fried them. If you fry at the optimal temperature( around 350 degrees minimum), the result is perfect and food is not greasy. I love how frying blisters the dough and makes it perfectly crunchy and flakey. If you choose to bake your empanada, bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes on a silicone mat lined baking sheet. Be sure to brush tops with a bit of oil.
So you see the methods and options for empanada’s are endless. Savory, sweet, vegan, meat filled. Enjoy. And remember using a product like Old El Paso Refried beans adds more creaminess and goes with a multitude of filling options.
This is an endorsement of product from General Mills/ Old El Paso in which I developed a few recipes for compensation.
- 10 premade empanada discs or ready made pie crusts cut into rounds( approximately 4 premade rolled crusts)
- 1 cup boiled chicken breast, diced or shredded
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup Old El Paso Traditional refried beans
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- Vegetable Oil for deep frying.( amount varies on size of deep fryer or skillet)
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dip
- 1 cup sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¾ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ small onion minced
- For Empanadas
- Heat deep fryer to 350 º
- In a small bowl mix diced chicken, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Take a small rounded tablespoon of seasoned chicken and place atop disc.
- Add a bit of cheese, and refried beans.
- Do not overstuff.
- Take each end of dough to fold over into half moon shape.
- Seal edges shut by pressing dough together, and then laying down on flat surface and using a fork to press in edges to seal.
- Fry empanadas a few at a time. Do not overcrowd fryer.
- Drain on paper towel. Keep warm on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 200 º oven.
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dip
- In a small food processor or bowl/cup of immersion blender, add all sour cream, lime, cilantro, and onion.
- Pulse to blend.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve with empanadas.