Posts Tagged ‘cherry’

The 93rd episode of Good Eats is all about ways to utilize a variety of grains in the kitchen; wheat berries, bulgur, and couscous are the stars of the show. Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels that have not been processed. Bulgur, on the other hand, is whole wheat that has been cracked and partially cooked. Finally, couscous is actually not a grain at all, but a pasta that is often mistaken for being a grain because of its nutty flavor and usage in grain-like recipes. First up:  wheat berries.

Basic Cooked Wheat Berries

Alton first demonstrates his go-to method for cooking wheat berries, which can then be used in a variety of recipes. To begin, place 2 C of wheat berries in a large skillet, toasting them over medium-high heat until they begin to smell nutty. This toasting step is omitted in the online recipe, but certainly imparts more flavor in the finished wheat berries.

Place the toasted wheat berries in a pressure cooker, adding two heavy pinches of Kosher salt and 4 C of water, or enough to cover the wheat berries by about an inch.

Close the lid of the pressure cooker and bring it up to pressure over high heat. Decrease the heat and maintain the pressure for 45 minutes. If you have an electric range like I do, you may find that you have to adjust the burner temperature regularly to maintain pressure.

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Pressure cooker, being brought to pressure.

After 45 minutes of cooking, release the pressure from your cooker. I had never cooked wheat berries before, so I was not sure exactly what a perfectly cooked wheat berry would look like.

I found the wheat berries to have a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy al dente texture. I took Alton’s recommendations and used my wheat berries to make the next two recipes in the episode:  wheat berry tapenade and mushroom wheat berry pilaf.

Wheat Berry Tapenade

The first way Alton suggests to use cooked wheat berries is in his wheat berry tapenade. For the tapenade, combine three minced garlic cloves, 1 C chopped Kalamata olives, 1/2 t Dijon mustard, and 1 t Kosher salt.

Stir in 1 C of cooked wheat berries, and serve the tapenade with crackers or toast.

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Cooked wheat berries added to olive mixture.

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Wheat berry tapenade.

We ate this as an appetizer one evening and both thought it was super tasty. In fact, we ate a whole bowl. This tasted like any great Kalamata tapenade, but with much more to offer in the texture department. The salty, briny flavor of the olives supplemented with the tang of the mustard paired well with the nuttiness of the wheat berries. I did end up adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to my tapenade, as I felt it could use a small kick of acid. This is a healthy and fast appetizer to make (once the wheat berries are already cooked), and I will be making it again very soon.

Mushroom Wheat Berry Pilaf

I can only assume that Alton is a huge fan of his mushroom wheat berry pilaf, as an updated version of this recipe appears in his newest cookbook. The biggest difference between this version and the updated recipe is that the updated recipe uses no rice. For the pilaf, heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet, adding 1 1/2 C chopped onion, a pinch of Kosher salt, 5 minced garlic cloves, and 1 T butter. Stir after each addition.

Increase the heat to high and add 1 pound of sliced mushrooms (I used cremini), and 1 T soy sauce.

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Mushrooms and soy sauce added to skillet.

Continue to cook the mushrooms until they have reduced by half, which will take a little while.

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Mushrooms, cooked until reduced by half.

Once the mushrooms have reduced, add 1/4 C chicken broth, 1/4 C red wine, 1 C cooked wheat berries, 1 1/2 C cooked rice, 1/2 t chopped fresh thyme, 1 t chopped fresh rosemary, and 1 t chopped lemon zest.

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Mushroom wheat berry pilaf.

We ate this as an entrée and both really liked it. For a vegetarian entree it had a lot of flavor and a variety of textures. The mushrooms and soy sauce give this dish a lot of umami flavor, while the herbs give it a nice freshness. The lemon zest comes through in this recipe in a big way, giving a refreshing, bright tang that really lightens everything up. Plus, this is another healthy, delicious way to incorporate whole grains. This is a fantastic recipe that could be used as either an entree or a side.

Bulgur Gazpacho

You had me at “gazpacho.” I absolutely love a spicy, tangy gazpacho, so this recipe piqued my interest right away.

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Ingredients for bulgur gazpacho: cucumber, scallions, bulgur, cumin, tomato puree, tomato/veg juice, tomato, garlic, green bell pepper, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, and Kosher salt.

Start by bringing 1 C of water to a boil with 1/2 C tomato puree; I did this in the microwave.

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Water and tomato puree being heated to a boil.

Pour the tomato mixture over 3/4 C bulgur in a bowl, sloshing to combine. Cover the bowl with a plate and set it aside for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add 1 minced garlic clove, 4 sliced scallions, 1 C seeded/diced cucumber, 1 C chopped tomato, and 3/4 C diced green bell pepper.

Next, stir in 1/2-1 C tomato juice (I used spicy V8), 2 T balsamic vinegar, 1-2 t hot sauce, 1/2 t cumin, and 1 1/2 t Kosher salt. Stir the gazpacho until combined and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

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Bulgur gazpacho.

Sure enough, we really enjoyed this recipe. Though this isn’t soupy, it does have the vibrant, zesty flavors of a gazpacho. Also, with the addition of bulgur, this gazpacho has enough substance to stand alone as an entrée. There is also a lot of texture to this dish, coming from the variety of vegetables and the bulgur. This would be a really nice summer entree or side dish.

Steamed Couscous

Couscous is something we used to eat a lot, and this episode made me realize it is something we should eat more often. Alton begins his couscous segment with his recipe for steamed couscous, which can then be used in any couscous recipe. To make Alton’s couscous, prepare a steamer basket by adding water to the bottom pan, keeping the water level a couple inches below the bottom of the top basket. Heat the pan, allowing steam to begin to form. I used my pasta pot.

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Preheating steamer.

Meanwhile, rinse 2 C of couscous with water and turn it out onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle the couscous all over with Kosher salt.

Once steam has formed in your steamer, line the top part of the steamer with a damp kitchen towel and dump the couscous into the towel. Fold the towel over the couscous, forming a bundle. Place the lid on the steamer and set a timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, use tongs to lift the couscous-filled towel, dumping the couscous onto the sheet pan again. Drizzle 1/2 C cold water over the couscous, tossing.

Next, spritz the couscous with oil or non-stick spray, also lubing your hands. Rub the oil into the couscous for about three minutes, breaking up any clumps.

Once again, transfer the couscous back into the towel-lined steamer, folding the towel over the couscous. Place the lid on the steamer and steam the couscous for a final 10 minutes.

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Couscous after final 10 minute steaming.

I have to say that this couscous method is the most labor-intensive one I have ever used. The resulting couscous was fluffy and lump-free, but I don’t think I would go to the trouble of making couscous this way again. I did what Alton did and used my steamed couscous to make his cherry couscous pudding, which follows below.

Cherry Couscous Pudding

Although I have eaten my share of couscous, I had never had it in a sweet application… until this recipe. For this one, heat 1/2 C whole milk, 3 T sugar, and 1/4 C dried cherries. Once warm, set aside for 10 minutes to steep.

After 10 minutes, add the pulp of one vanilla bean to the milk.

Pour the milk mixture over your steamed couscous (see above), stirring to combine.

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Milk mixture poured over steamed couscous.

Add 8 ounces vanilla yogurt and refrigerate the pudding for at least an hour before serving.

Sprinkle individual servings of the pudding with cinnamon.

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Couscous pudding, sprinkled with cinnamon.

This recipe was a real dud. It was dry and flavorless, but I think I know what the issue was. In the episode, Alton cooked his steamed couscous as written above, using the full batch of couscous to make this pudding. In looking at the online recipe, I see that it calls for only 1 1/2 C of the steamed couscous. This may be a first, but I think the online recipe may be correct, while Alton’s preparation in the episode resulted in a super dry couscous that was anything but pudding-like. I am somewhat tempted to make this again with only 1 1/2 C of couscous, as surely it would have better flavor and texture. Honestly, this is the first couscous recipe I have not liked, and I cannot recommend it as it was prepared in the episode.

Clearly, I’m a fan of Good Eats, and I have really enjoyed every episode I have completed… until now. The 55th episode of Good Eats, which was the first to air in season 5, was just kind of a flop. Both the episode and the recipes in this episode lacked the creativity and excitement that I expect from Alton Brown and Good Eats. In short, this episode was all about gelatin molds. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a gelatin mold, but gelatin can be used for so much more than just that; it is used in marshmallows, aspics, and candies, among others. I feel that the Good Eats team failed their subject in this episode.

Sparkling Gingered Face

Yes, you read that recipe title correctly. The first recipe in the gelatin episode is indeed for a face-shaped gelatin mold. The original air date of this episode was October 24th, 2001, so keep in mind that Alton was probably going for a Halloween theme of sorts. To make the face, you’ll need a face-shaped gelatin mold, cold ginger beer, powdered gelatin, and cold sparkling wine. The online recipe also calls for some sugar, but Alton did not add sugar in the episode.

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Ingredients for Alton’s sparkling gingered face: ginger beer, gelatin, and sparkling wine.

You will need to adjust the amounts of the ingredients for the size of your gelatin mold. Ideally, you will want equal volumes of ginger beer and sparkling wine, and you will use one package of gelatin per cup of liquid. My mold has a capacity of nine cups, so I wanted to use 4.5 C each of ginger beer and sparkling wine, and 9 packages of gelatin. I will confess that I altered this slightly, as I only had one bottle of sparkling wine. Since a bottle of sparkling wine is about 3 C, I used 6 C of ginger beer. To begin, pour your cold ginger beer (always bloom gelatin in cold liquid) in a microwave-safe container. Sprinkle your gelatin over the liquid and give it a good shake or stir. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 5 minutes.

Microwave the gelatin mixture until it reaches a temperature of 150 degrees, giving it a stir every minute. My gelatin took 7 minutes to hit 150 degrees.

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Gelatin/ginger beer mixture after reaching 150 degrees.

Once your ginger beer/gelatin is at 150 degrees, add your cold sparkling wine, swirling the container as you add.

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Sparkling wine to add to ginger beer/gelatin.

Note:  You should always pour cold liquid into warm to avoid getting gelatin clumps. Refrigerate this mixture for about an hour, or until it reaches egg white consistency.

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Sparkling ginger mixture, after being refrigerated for about an hour. Ready to go in mold.

Pour the gelatin into your mold (I oiled mine) and refrigerate overnight. If your mold does not have a flat bottom, you can place it in a bowl to keep it level. It is not easy to transport a full gelatin mold, so you may want to fill your mold in the refrigerator.

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Gelatin mixture poured into my mold.

To unmold your set gelatin, use your fingers to pull the gelatin away from the sides of the mold. Place a serving dish on top of the mold and invert the mold onto the dish.

We ate this for dessert one evening and it was okay, though the texture was quite firm. The flavors of both the ginger beer and the sparkling wine were apparent, and you actually got a slight fizzy sensation on your tongue. Really though, this did not do much for us, and it’s just a bit odd to eat a gelatin face.

Spooky Edible Eyes

Alton did not officially prepare this recipe in the episode, but he did mention that the recipe was online, so I figured I should make it. For this one, you will need an eyeball-shaped mold, powdered gelatin, low-fat milk, water, sugar, coconut extract, and spray oil.

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Ingredients for edible eyeballs: coconut flavor, oil spray, gelatin, low-fat milk, food color, sugar, and water.

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My eyeball mold.

Begin by blooming 1 package of gelatin in 1/2 C low-fat milk for 5 minutes.

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Gelatin blooming in milk.

Meanwhile, put 1/2 C water, 3 T sugar, and 1/4 t coconut extract in a saucepan and bring this mixture to a boil.

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1/2 C water, 3 T sugar, and 1/4 t coconut extract, being brought to a boil.

Pour the hot mixture into the cold gelatin/milk (this is the opposite of what Alton told you to do in the first recipe), stirring until dissolved.

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Water/sugar mixture added to milk/gelatin.

Pour the liquid into oiled molds and refrigerate until set – about an hour.

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The eyeball mixture poured into the mold to set.

Once set, remove the eyes from their molds.

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My eyeballs, unmolded.

To make different colored eyes, bloom 1/2 a package (3 g) of gelatin in 1/4 C cold water for 5 minutes.

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1/2 package of gelatin blooming in 1/4 C water.

Add 1/4 C boiling water to the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Divide this clear gelatin among bowls and add food coloring to create different colors.

The online recipe tells you to use an eyedropper to add the colors to the irises on the eyes; I did not have one, so I used Q-tips. For the pupils, combine equal amounts of each food coloring in a dish, and use a Q-tip to form the pupil. I made my eyes bloodshot, using a toothpick to “paint” red food coloring blood vessels.

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My finished edible eyeballs.

I was actually quite happy with how these turned out appearance-wise, and they’d be great for a Halloween party. They honestly didn’t taste too bad either, though I wouldn’t call them delicious.

Cinnamon Cherry Heart

Continuing on with the gelatin organ theme, next up is a gelatin heart. This one is pretty straight-forward, requiring only powdered gelatin, cherry juice, and cinnamon extract… oh, and a heart-shaped gelatin mold.

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Ingredients for gelatin heart: gelatin, cherry juice, and cinnamon (or almond for me) extract.

I had difficulty finding cinnamon extract, so I wound up using almond extract in my heart. As with all of the recipes in this episode, the first step is to bloom 2 packages of gelatin in 1 C cherry juice for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the other cup of juice, along with the extract, to a boil.

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Cherry juice and extract being brought to a boil.

Add the hot juice to the gelatin/juice mixture and stir to dissolve the gelatin. Pour the mixture into your mold (I oiled my mold) and let it refrigerate for at least six hours before unmolding.

This gelatin mold tasted decent, but the texture was a bit too firm, making it somewhat unappealing. This one was just blah.

Panna Cotta Brain with Cranberry Glaze

Of all the recipes in this episode, I was most excited for the panna cotta, though the idea of it being in the shape of a brain made it slightly less appealing. The ingredients for this one are evaporated milk, powdered gelatin, sugar, a vanilla bean, heavy cream, fresh mint, fresh basil, food coloring, and bourbon (optional).

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Panna cotta ingredients: evaporated milk, gelatin, sugar, food coloring, vanilla bean, heavy cream, fresh mint, and fresh basil.

In a large container, bloom 4 packages of gelatin in 12 ounces evaporated milk for 5 minutes.

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Gelatin blooming in evaporated milk.

While the gelatin blooms, combine in a saucepan 24 ounces evaporated milk, 3/4 C sugar, 1/2 a vanilla bean, 1 1/2 C heavy cream, and a jigger of bourbon, if using. Bring this mixture to a bare simmer over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Also add one sprig each of crushed fresh mint and basil.

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Evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla bean, heavy cream, fresh mint, and fresh basil being brought to a simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat as soon as you start to see bubbles.

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After coming to a bare simmer.

Strain the cream mixture into the blooming gelatin and stir to dissolve the gelatin. There will be lots of lumps in the mixture, so you will have to stir for a little while.

To make the panna cotta really look like gray matter, add 2 drops of red food coloring and 4 drops of green.

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For a gray brain, add 2 drops of red food coloring and 4 drops of green food coloring.

Allow the panna cotta to cool to room temperature before pouring into a 6-cup brain mold, and refrigerate overnight. I noticed some lumps in my panna cotta, so I strained my panna cotta a second time as I poured it into the mold. I also oiled my brain mold to make unmolding easier.

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My gray panna cotta, poured into my mold.

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My panna cotta brain.

If you wish to serve your brain with some cranberry blood, you can make a cranberry glaze by blooming 1 package of gelatin in 1/2 C cranberry juice for 10 minutes.

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Ingredients for cranberry glaze: cranberry juice and gelatin.

Dissolve the gelatin with an additional cup of boiling cranberry juice, add a few drops of blue food coloring, and let cool to room temperature.

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Additional cup of cranberry juice, being brought to a boil under careful supervision.

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Blue food coloring added to cranberry glaze.

Unmold your brain, and drizzle some cranberry glaze over the top.

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My brain with cranberry glaze.

I had high hopes for this, but neither Ted or I liked it at all. I thought the flavor of the panna cotta was good, but its texture was unappealingly firm. And, the cranberry glaze did not set up on the panna cotta, as Alton’s did in the episode. Instead, it puddled around the bottom of the panna cotta. We ended up throwing the rest of the panna cotta in the trash. Maybe we just do not care for panna cotta?

Layered Gelatin Mold

Alton did not use a specific recipe for a layered gelatin mold, but gave options and tips for making one. His tips were to use roughly a cup of each gelatin flavor per layer, to add a new flavor when the previous one is still sticky, and to use a hair dryer to unmold metal molds. To make opaque layers, you can add sour cream to the gelatin, or you can add fruit between layers. I made a layered mold with altering opaque and clear layers, and using a bundt pan. It turned out to be my favorite thing from this entire episode.

With things finally settling down slightly for Ted’s health in December, I was able to devote a little more time to my Good Eats project. Already skinny, Ted had lost over 30 pounds after his second cancer surgery, bottoming out with only 131 pounds on his 6’1″ frame. Needless to say, weight gain became the goal in our household, and I cooked anything and everything that appealed to him, even remotely. Thankfully, some of the recipes from the last few episodes I was blogging about did have some appeal to Ted. Most recently, the recipes I tackled were all from Alton’s episode on puff pastry.

Puff pastry can be a tricky beast, but its difficult nature can be avoided by following Alton’s puff pastry rules and process.

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A box of frozen puff pastry.

Puff pastry is composed of numerous alternating layers of butter and pastry. The first rule of puff pastry is to avoid condensation during the thawing process. To do this, wrap your sheet(s) of puff pastry in a paper towel.

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Puff pastry sheet, thawing. Soon to be wrapped in a paper towel to avoid condensation.

Wait 15-20 minutes before gently trying to unfold the pastry sheet; if the sheet offers any resistance, give it more time to thaw. From this point, give the pastry a check every five minutes. Once you can unfold your pastry sheet, gently fold it into a triangle shape, and allow it to thaw for a few more minutes.

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Puff pastry, continuing to thaw in a triangle shape.

Once ready to go, unfold the sheet all the way, crimping the seams with your fingers.

Your puff pastry is now ready for use. It is always a good idea to place a sheet pan in the freezer (or outside, if it is cold enough). That way, if your pastry gets too warm, you can quickly cool it down.

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Chilling a sheet pan.

If your pastry gets too warm, you will know it, as it will begin to stick and get difficult to work with.

Fruit Tart

Alton’s first puff pastry recipe is for a fruit tart. To make two individual tarts, begin by thawing one sheet of purchased puff pastry as described above. Also, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once your pastry is ready, sprinkle sugar over both sides, and gently roll the pastry with a rolling pin to flatten the seams. Place two small saucers diagonally on the pastry and cut around them with a pizza cutter.

Note:  you will have some excess pastry to discard. Alton emphasizes that using a sharp tool is critical, as you do not want to damage the delicate layers of pastry. Once you have your two circles of pastry, place them on your already-cold sheet pan and put them in the refrigerator.

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My cut-out puff pastry circles.

Meanwhile, peel, core, and quarter a Granny Smith apple.

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Granny Smith.

Using a vegetable peeler, make wafer-thin slices of apple. To avoid browning, quickly place the apple slices in a mixture of 1 C water and 1 T lemon juice.

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Apple slices in water/lemon juice.

Once your apple is sliced (you will not need a whole apple), pull the pastry circles from the refrigerator and flip them over so the cut side is facing down; this will allow for maximum puff because the healthy edges are facing up. Prick the centers of each circle with a fork, avoiding the edges. “Docking” the center of each pastry circle will allow steam to escape from the centers, which will prevent them from puffing. This will give a nice puffy edge to each tart.

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Docked puff pastry circle.

Place a piece of parchment under your pastry circles and sprinkle them with sugar. Decorate the tops of each tart with your thin apple slices, positioning them in an interlocking spiral, and bake your tarts for 15-20 minutes.

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Thin apple slices arranged in an interlocking spiral on the puff pastry circle.

You want to bake them until they are golden and their edges are crispy.

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Apple tarts after baking – golden and with crispy edges.

While your tarts are still warm, microwave some apricot jam for ~30 seconds, or until just loosened up.

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Apricot jam, microwaved just until loose.

With a pastry brush, gently dab the jam all over your tarts, being careful to avoid disrupting your pretty apple slices. Let your tarts cool for at least four hours.

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Finished fruit tarts.

Alton prefers his tarts at room temperature, but I warmed ours up. Ted and I each ate a tart for breakfast. One tart was the perfect size for one person. Sure enough the tarts were pretty, not overly sweet, and they perfectly demonstrated the best of puff pastry. The puff pastry was flaky, buttery, crisp, and light. I could definitely see making these again. They were very easy and a great introduction to working with puff pastry, which I have had little experience with. For alternative fruit toppings, Alton recommended trying pears, mangoes, strawberries, or nectarines. I would like to try making these with nectarines in the summer.

Stacked Puff Pastry with Cherries

Next up in Alton’s puff pastry arsenal is his stacked puff pastry. When I watched this episode of Good Eats, this was the recipe I was most intrigued by. For Alton’s recipe, you’ll need two sheets of thawed puff pastry (see how to thaw above), one egg beaten with 2 T water, 1 can of drained pie cherries, and 1/2 C of bread or cake crumbs. You may want to slightly stagger the thawing of your puff pastry sheets, as you will work with one sheet prior to the other. Place your first thawed puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Thawed puff pastry.

Using a ruler as a guide, cut a 1-inch wide strip off of each side of the pastry, reserving them for later; these will be your walls. Use a pizza cutter to cut your walls.

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1-inch strips cut from each side.

Dock the center of the remaining center square of pastry with a fork. Since this will be the floor of your pastry, you do not want it to rise. Brush the edges of the square floor with egg wash, but not within 1/4″ of the very edge.

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One egg beaten with 2 T water.

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Pastry floor, docked with a fork and edges brushed with egg wash, avoiding very edges.

Place two wall strips of pastry on opposing sides of the floor, cut side out. Dab egg wash on the corners and place the other two walls on top. Dab the corners with more egg wash, and fold the tabs over. This will give you a square-shaped floor with raised walls all around.

Place the floor and walls in the refrigerator while you get the second thawed sheet of puff pastry. You will need to cut a “roof” for your floor and walls, which should be approximately 7 x 7 inches. Again, do your cutting on parchment paper to avoid sticking. Fold your roof in half (over a piece of parchment) and use scissors to cut some slats.

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Slats cut in roof.

Place the roof in the refrigerator with your assembled floor. While your puff pastry cools off, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add your cake or bread crumbs to your drained can of cherries, and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. The crumbs will absorb the excess moisture from the cherries.

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Pie cherries.

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Pie cherries and crumbs, sitting for 10 minutes to absorb excess moisture.

You are now ready to complete assembly of your stacked pastry. Spoon the cherry filling onto the pastry floor, avoiding the walls. You want to use more filling than you think you will need. Egg wash the walls, avoiding their very edges.

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Cherry filling spooned onto the floor. Use more than you think you need.

Place your roof on top of your floors/wall, cut side down to allow for maximum puff, gently pressing the edges. Egg wash the roof, avoiding the cut edges.

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Egg-washed roof.

Bake your pastry for 30 minutes before decreasing the temperature to 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes. Alton’s stacked cherry pastry looked quite perfect, with a pretty lattice top. Mine looked a lot more like a puff pastry bouncy house.

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My stacked puff pastry looked a lot like a bouncy house.

I quickly realized that I had not put enough filling onto my floor, as there was a gap between the roof and the filling. Also, I thought the filling would be better if it were slightly sweeter. I would like to try this again, using cherry pie filling in place of the tart pie cherries, and adding a sprinkle of sugar on top of the egg-washed roof. Though my stacked pastry was far from perfect, I still found it fun to make, so I think I’ll have to give it another go. And, the puffy magic of puff pastry was certainly on display with this one!

Salmon Turnovers

I made the final recipe from this episode on Christmas Eve. Salmon turnovers seemed like a perfect thing to share with my parents, as we began our Christmas celebration. Alton’s recipe calls for 1 C cooked rice, 1/2 C sauteed mushrooms, 1-2 T dill pickle relish, 2-3 scallions, 1 T parsley, Kosher salt and pepper, 1 sheet of puff pastry, 1 egg beaten with 2 T water, and 1 can of boneless/skinless salmon. To make my dinnertime prep easier, I cooked my rice and sauteed some mushrooms early in the day; I sauteed my mushrooms with some olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. To make the filling, combine the rice, mushrooms, relish, scallions, parsley, salt, pepper, and salmon in a bowl.

One sheet of puff pastry will yield four turnovers. Since we were having guests, I thawed two sheets. You will have excess filling, even with making eight turnovers.

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Two sheets of puff pastry.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thaw your pastry, as written above, and place it on a piece of parchment. Cut each sheet of pastry into four equal squares.

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Puff pastry sheet, cut into four even squares.

Place a generous spoonful of filling on the middle of each square and brush the edges with egg wash. Fold the pastry over the filling, forming a triangle, and use a fork to securely crimp the edges.

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Filling scooped in the center of each pastry square.

Use a paring knife to cut two slits in the top of each turnover, and brush the tops with egg wash.

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Vents cut in the top of each turnover, and tops brushed with egg wash.

Bake the turnovers for 30 minutes.

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I think the turnovers appeal to someone!

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The finished turnovers.

We all thought these turnovers were really good, and they would make a nice weeknight meal. The pastry was light and crispy, and the filling had a nice mixture of flavors. You really could use any filling you would like for these. I enjoyed Alton’s salmon concoction. According to the episode, Alton’s favorite turnover filling is a combo of Manwich mix and cheddar cheese. My brother and sister-in-law heated up leftover turnovers in the oven the following day, and said they reheated very nicely. The previous night, I had placed them in a paper bag in the refrigerator to allow the pastry to breathe. Alton’s turnover recipe has inspired me to make turnovers more often. They are so easy and really delicious. Puff pastry is really not difficult to work with if you follow Alton’s basic rules:  1) Keep it cool. 2) Use a sharp tool for cutting. 3) Dock the base. 4) Vent the top. 5) Always put the cut side down. 6) Rest before baking.