November 23, 2010

... Parmesan-Scallion Pastry Pinwheels

'Tis the season for quick and easy appetizer recipes.  These little guys are really tasty and, although a little time consuming, very easy.

Amidst all of the sweets that tend to grace us by the tinsel-covered table fulls, these savory pinwheels will be just what you're looking for.  You know, after one sweet and before the next.

serves 8

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Unfold the pastry and brush with the egg.  Sprinkle with the scallions, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Roll tightly into a log.  Freeze until firm but still sliceable, about 20 minutes.

Slice the log into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: The pinwheels can be baked up to 6 hours in advance; store covered at room temperature.  Alternatively, make and freeze the log, tightly wrapped, up to 1 week in advance.  Let thaw slightly before slicing and baking.

Taylor's Notes:

The toughest part about this recipe was realizing that I hadn't allowed much time to let the puff pastry thaw.  After a little bit of patience, a lot of pacing, and about 20 minutes, the pastry was finally ready to use.  

I only used the green parts of the scallions and felt like I probably could have used one more.  I'm sure if I actually used the entire thing, three scallions would have been plenty.  

If you actually plan ahead (unlike I did), I would recommend leaving the prepared log in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  It'll make slicing much easier and the rolls will stay tighter while they bake.  

These were best when eaten warm and only 'ok' at room temperature.  I'd definitely plan to serve them hot out of the oven if at all possible.


... Goat Cheese with Pistachios and Cranberries

The title of this recipe couldn't be more true... goat cheese, pistachios, cranberries.  That's it, folks.  That's it and you have one great - and super easy - appetizer for the holidays.

And its colors couldn't be more perfect for the upcoming season.  So grab three quick ingredients, about five spare minutes and you'll have a great little appetizer to take to your next holiday party.

I tried it out on crackers and it was pretty decent.  Well, let me clairfy.  The cheese mixture was terrific.  The cracker and cheese combo was fine.  I think I'll toast some crostini next time and it'll hit the spot.  

Enjoy your holiday season!

serves 8

2 tablespoons roasted pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
1 8- to 10-ounce log fresh goat cheese

On a large plate, combine the pistachios and cranberries.

Roll the goat cheese in the fruit and nut mixture to coat.  Serve with crackers or bread.

Note: The cheese can be coated up to 2 days in advance; refrigerate covered.

Taylor's Notes:
I didn't find that rolling the cheese in the mixture really picked up the fruit and nuts quite like I'd hoped, so I ended up just pressing them onto the log.  Worked like a dream - I told you this recipe was easy.