Don’t Mind Me
Grumble. Growl. Grumble.
Monday mornings are not my friend. I feel like I’m part of the cast in Office Space. Agh. My computer is so close to getting blindfolded, tossed in the back seat of a sedan and beat to a pulp in a remote field somewhere. And don’t even get my started on the stapler!
On the bright side, my time in the kitchen over the weekend was super productive and quite tasty. I banged out four dishes at once while I had the house to myself for an afternoon. It’s so liberating to make a whirlwind of a mess, scattering dirty dishes and bits of dough over the counters in a flurry of activity without the fear of a finger wagging in your face, demanding to know when the kitchen will be inhabitable again. Of course, then I had to be the one to clean up afterwards, but I did it at a leisurely pace after I had a little feast of everything I’d made.
Where is all that energy now though?!? Agh. The truth demands to be heard and it’s saying: 1) I do the vast majority of my cooking for the blog on the weekends and 2) this is exactly why I do the vast majority of my cooking for the blog on the weekends. I can’t be trusted to muster the energy to cook during the week.
So here we are with the first recipe of my weekend’s work: savory buttery crispy pockets of chestnuts, leeks and cheese. Considering how long my chestnuts had been sitting around, I was a little worried they might have gotten to dry and hard to be showcased in this dish. My worry was unfounded though, as it so often is. The sauteing and baking softened them up nicely.
Oh, and having tried my new trick for phyllo* dough a second time, I must say I’ll never ever brush it with melted butter again. Spraying it with butter flavored spray (i.e., Pam) is definitely the way to go – fast, easy and no loss of flavor or flakiness.
*Anyone paying attention to my switch in spelling for “phyllo”? Last time I spelled it “fillo.” Next time I’ll be spelling it “filo.” I’m an equal opportunity speller and since all three versions are correct, I thought I’d give them each a shot (for the sake of those coming here via Google searches) before settling in to my preferred spelling. Oh, you want to know which one I prefer? Stay tuned, my friend. Stay tuned.
For now, I must get back to grumbling about Mondays and technological “advances” that seem to keep setting me back. Don’t mind me.
Grumble. Growl. Grumble.
CHESTNUT AND LEEK PHYLLO PARCELS
Adapted from www.merchent-gourmet.com
1 cup shelled chestnuts
2 T. butter
4 baby leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
4 T. crème fraiche or cream cheese
1/2 c. grated asiago cheese
1 T. chopped chives
salt and pepper
15 sheets of phyllo pastry
butter flavored cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 F. Chopped chestnuts into pea size pieces and set aside. Melt butter in a medium skillet and saute leeks and garlic over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped chestnuts and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes more.
Remove from heat and place skillet contents in a bowl. Stir in creme fraiche, parmesan and chopped chives. Season well with salt and pepper.
Lay out phyllo sheets and spray each generously with cooking spray before folding each sheet in half lengthwise to create a long narrow strip. Spray again and stack three folded sheet on top of each other. Put a large spoonful of chestnut filling on the end of each stack of pastry and fold pastry over it to create a triangle. Fold in the same fashion all along the pastry to finish in a triangle shaped parcel. Repeat until you have five parcels.
Place parcels on a baking sheet and spray tops lightly with butter spray. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until the parcels are golden and crisp. Serve immediately on a bed of salad greens.
(serves 5 as an appetizer)