Friday, December 21, 2012

Chocolate and Orange Filo

 Since the filo dough that I bought came in a 1 lb package... and since I just happened to have some chocolate glaze icing leftover from a cake that I had made... and since I had an orange that was drying out but I didn't want to throw away, I decided to combine them all. *grin*

*I probably used less than half a roll of filo dough to make this. So being generous, it was probably about 1/4 lb.

I started by layering the filo dough in the bottom with melted butter brushed between the sheets. I used 6-8 sheets.
Then I spread about half of chocolate around the middle of the filo dough. Then I cut up 1 orange and sprinkled it around amidst the chocolate. (And, I didn't do this at the time, but as I was eating it I realized it desperately needed some spice to it. When I do this again, I'll probably sprinkle some cinnamon, a little brown sugar, and maybe even a little ground cloves in with the orange and chocolate.)

5-6 more sheets of filo dough, with butter in between of course. Then more chocolate...

And THEN, you roll the whole thing up and turn it sideways!

Brush the top with butter....

About 25 minutes in 375 degrees...

And Viola!  (we have a very messy but delicious dessert.)

One way to make this prettier and less messy is to make several individually sized rolls. (next time...)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Filo Dough with Meat Filling

Here is another one of my creations. I started making this sort of thing when I was in college, only with regular tortillas dipped in butter instead of the filo dough. Only a few months ago did it graduate to this form...which is probably where it will stay for a while, since it is truly fabulous just like this. Once again, I'll remind everyone that I never measure anything, so all the measurements are approximations... and especially with my main dishes, it's easy to play with the proportions and still get it roughly the same. 
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 lb filo dough
1.5 lb ground beef
2 large onions, diced (white, yellow, or sweet -- I've used all of them before)
1/2 lb of mushrooms, chopped
oregano (I have some wonderful Turkish oregano from Penzey's Spices--but sometimes I use regular Italian seasoning too...and sometimes I use both!) 

1. Saute the ground beef with the onion and mushroom in a large skillet. When it starts losing its juices and becomes brown around the outside, add about 2 tsp of minced garlic and 2 tsp of cinnamon (I know it's a lot, but that's part of what makes it so good!). Sprinkle salt generously over the whole skillet and follow it with a healthy dusting of oregano (or Italian seasoning.) Once the meat is cooked through, test the mixture to see if you like the flavor. I usually end up adding more salt and cinnamon.

2. As the meat mixture simmers, prepare the filo dough by laying sheet by sheet in a casserole dish and brushing lightly with melted butter between each layer. Use about half for the bottom. 

3. Spread the meat mixture in the middle of the filo dough.

4. Layer the second half of the filo dough on top of the meat, pressing down around the edges. Fold the sides of the bottom layer of filo over the top layer. Brush the very top with whatever butter is left, and sprinkle a couple caps of lemon juice over the top. Bake at 350 till the top is puffed up a little bit and it's crispy and golden. Serve by cutting into squares. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate and Cherry Puffs

Bachelors, this ones for you. The skill level and time commitment is low and the result is very impressive. This recipe is once again from Kathryn Hawkins amazing Chocolate! cookbook.

1 lb ready-made puff pastry
6 oz semisweet chocolate
cherry pie filling
1 egg, beaten

When a recipe only has 4 ingredients, you know it can't be too bad. Here are the instructions.

1. Preheat the overn to 400 degrees. On a lightly flours surface, roll out the pastry to approximately 16 in square. Cut out sixteen 4 in diameter circles. (I think mine were more like 3 inches--I used the largest rimmed glass I could find.)

2) Arrange eight circles on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Divide the chocolate into 8 pieces (I used chocolate chips, so I just sprinkled some in the middle and didn't bother with the dividing or measuring.) and place in the center of each circle. Top each piece of pastry with 1 tbs of cherry pie filling. Brush the edges with beaten egg and cover with the remaining pastry circles. Seal the edges well.

3. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden. Best served warm.

Paul and I rated this one a 6/10. But here's what I wrote down the day that I made them: Don't let the 6/10 rating fool you! These taste fantastic and are SO easy to make. (Paul gave it an 8). The reason I gave it a 6 was because of the cherry pie filling--to me it tasted hackneyed. I'd rate it much higher if there were a more exotic filling. I like the fruity flavor, but would prefer a different texture than pie filling, and probably something a little spicier (like with cinnamon.) With 1 lb. of puff pastry, I think we could make 12 pastries." 

and a couple days later... "Took these to the CHBC marriage workshop and a lady said that they were like poptarts! Which I guess they are..." 

So there you go. Basically homemade pop tarts. Easy, delicious, comfort food desserts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creamy Chicken Soup with Celery and Mushrooms

I just threw this together for dinner tonight, literally having no plan for what I was doing as I was cutting up the chicken... but marvelous creativity pulled through once again, and I'm writing this blog post not just to share it with everyone (who should all try it...) but so that I myself will actually be able to make it again! 

2 large chicken breasts
bacon grease
white pepper
italian seasoning

2 cups celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups mushrooms, chopped large
1 tbs minced garlic
4-6 tbs lemon juice
1 can cream of mushroom soup

1) Slice the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and saute in the bacon grease over medium heat. When the meat starts to whiten, sprinkle white pepper across the top, a little salt, and a generous amount of italian seasoning. Leave uncovered until it cooks through, then take off the heat. 

2) Put a couple tbs of vegetable oil in the bottom of your soup pot and let it heat up. Add the celery and let it cook while you chop the onion. (roughly a minute or two) Add the onion, and let it cook while you wash and chop the mushrooms. (3-4 min) Add the mushrooms, garlic, and lemon juice. Let everything cook and simmer for about 5 minutes. When the mushrooms start loosing their water, sprinkle salt all over the top of everything in the pot, and add the cream of mushroom soup. Refill the soup can twice with water and once with whole milk. Bring to a rolling boil. 

3. After the soup has boiled for about 5 minutes, add the chicken, and turn the heat down. Let the soup simmer for 30 min for the flavors to mix.