Archive for January, 2009

Ruuuuuuuude Pad Thai

January 29, 2009

Pad Thai

Touch my ass if you’re qualified.

Sometimes you’ve got to listen to Midnite Vultures and make insane pad thai in the deadest part of winter.  It’s looking like Thursday is becoming my night to treat myself with tasty food and hilarious comedies.  Well, maybe the Office isn’t really hilarious any more, but I have a new appreciation for 30 Rock and that’s going strong.  Even Kath & Kim happens upon a good gag from time to time (i.e. Kim: “Ugh, you guys should just elope!” Kath (holding a canteloupe): “We can’t elope, Kim!”)  All right, anyway, I decided to make pad thai as pantry sort of a night dish.  We had a couple limes, some old rice sticks, and some pork that needed using.  After picking up some cilantro at the store, we were all set.  I followed a recipe from the July 2002 issue of Cooks Illustrated, and it came out as perfect as I have ever gotten pad thai.  No sticky, gummy noodles, no overly fishy or sour sauce, no too huge chunks of un-scrambled egg.  This shit was straight rude, seriously just icky good.  The sweet, sour, and spicy flavors were all really well balanced and the noodles were deliciously tender and homogenously combined with the peanuts and scallions and crispy mung bean sprouts.  I could eat this pad thai until it came out my ears.  Dawn Yanagihara, I owe you one girl.  It also synergized just right with Beck’s sexy, funky, nasty album, which I listened to as I prepped dinner.  This guy’s got so many faces, but nothing of his beats this CD, it’s like Prince and Prince Paul teamed up to build a robot out of some pots and pans and a GameBoy and ran the whole thing with a twisted up rubber band like those balsawood planes.  Maybe because pad thai is also sexy, funky, and nasty, but they compliment each other perfectly.  Someone should hire me to be some kind of music sommelier to tell you things like if you’re eating one of those brie wrapped in puff pastry things, you should be listening to “Let It Die” by Feist (depending, that is, on what beer or wine you’ve paired it with).

But back to the pad thai.  I guess the main thing here is the importance of the mise en place.  Get everything together before you start cooking, because it all cooks so fast that you really just need to be able to grab and go.  Mise en place, if you don’t know, is the French phrase for having everything together before you start cooking.  You know how on TV, they have all the  ramequins so they don’t ever measure anything and they just dump the stuff in and chuck them into the sink?  Mise en place.

The mise en place

Here is the mise en place from tonight’s pad thai.  This might not even totally qualify because the noodles were in a bowl of hot water in the sink at this point and the pork was marinating.  Also, as you can see I am not Ming Tsai or Rachel Ray; I do not have a huge set of matching ramequins.

As far as changing this dish, shrimp is really good in it (I just happened to have pork), as is tofu.  You might want to increase the amount of fish sauce or cayenne pepper slightly to your taste, and also if you are one of those people, you can use tamarind instead of the lime juice.  I didn’t because I don’t have tamarind.  Supposedly, it is better and more authentic.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Ingredients:

Small pork tenderloin

pinch five spice

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup of water

5 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

8 ounces dried rice stick noodles, about 1/8″ wide

2 large eggs

pinch salt

3 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons chooped roasted unsalted peanuts

8 oz. package bean sprouts

6 scallions, green parts sliced thin on a bias

White parts of 3 of the scallions, minced

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

Directions:

Cut pork into small strips and marinate in 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and five spice for about an hour.

Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl; soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes.  Use this time to prepare the other ingredients.  Beat the eggs and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Stir lime juice, remaining fish sauce and rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil into water and set aside.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 2 minutes.  Add pork and cook, tossing occasionally, until pork is carmelized on the outside and cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes.  Transfer pork to a plate and set aside.

Off heat, add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic and white part of scallions, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes; add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds.  Add noodles to eggs and toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine.  Pour fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated.  Scatter 1/4 cup  peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallion greens, and cooked pork over noodles; continue to cook, tossing constantly until noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes.

Transfer noodles to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining scallions, 2 tablespoons peanuts and cilantro; serve immediately.

Makes 4  servings.

Pad Thai

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Chicken Finger Sub

January 25, 2009

Chicken Finger Sub

I Googled chicken finger subs before writing this because I wasn’t sure if this was solely a Buffalo-area phenomenon or not.  It appears to be pretty much isolated to Western New York, which sort of makes sense, although the rest of the nation is seriously missing out. I used to work at a pizzeria and sub shop and if you’re not from here, you would not believe how popular they are.  You can walk into any Jim’s Steakout location, even at 3 in the morning, and find the place cram-jammed with people seeking these hot, crunchy, spicy fingers with  Buffalo wing or barbecue sauce.  They’re complimented with creamy bleu cheese dressing slathered all over a sub roll and topped with shredded lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.  These things are probably my guiltiest pleasure; they are so delicious as a Friday night kind of dinner with some Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke or something and even better as a hung-over Sunday kind of thing where you don’t even eat until 4 in the afternoon.  There is something about getting down in your PJs and unwrapping that white paper blotched with glops of bleu cheese dressing run through with bright red-orange veins of hot sauce and reviewing your notes or something.  Fat kid heaven; seriously next level shit.

I decided to make my own with the baguette I made to eat on Thursday while I watched the Office and 30 Rock.  The Buffalo wing sauce is usually made with some vinegar-based chili pepper sauce like Frank’s Red Hot, but I switched that out for Sriracha.  This stuff is seriously spicy and is so great on nearly anything, it was a perfect fit for a chicken finger sub and would be awesome on some chicken wings.  I also didn’t have any bleu cheese dressing, so I made my own out of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and these bleu cheese chunks I had in my fridge:
Rosenborg Bleu Cheese

This stuff is out of control, crazy good and could be used on anything you want bleu cheese for.  I don’t know where it came from, but we’ve had it for a while and it is still great.  Lastly, I didn’t have any lettuce to shred for the sub, so I just used baby spinach and it was great.  Washed down with a crispy, hoppy Southern Tier IPA and a healthy dose of Jack Donaghy, this is a hell of a dinner for a once-fat kid now grown.

Chicken Finger Sub

Chicken Finger Sub

Ingredients:

Sub roll or baguette cut in half

shredded lettuce

thinly sliced onions

tomatoes (optional)

Chicken fingers:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast pounded flat and cut into 2 or 3  “fingers”

1 egg

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

salt

pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha

Bleu cheese dressing:

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

blue cheese cubes, chunks, or crumbles

pepper

Directions:

Mix the sauce ingredients together until fully incorporated, adjusting the proportion to your taste.  1 1/2: 1 is pretty spicy, you might want to decrease the amount of Sriracha to make it more mild.

Mix the bleu cheese dressing ingredients together.

Beat the egg and season with salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken fingers in the egg mixture, and then coat them with breadcrumbs.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry the chicken fingers until they’re golden brown on each side.

Lightly toast the baguette or sub roll.

Mise-en-place

Dip the chicken fingers in the sauce and put them on the roll.  Top them with lettuce or spinach, onions, and tomatoes if you want them. Liberally spread some bleu cheese dressing on the top of the roll and make it into a sandwich.

This isn’t rocket science.

Makes 1 chicken finger sub.
Chicken Finger Sub

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Baguette? Oh, ho, ho, baguette!

January 23, 2009

Baguette

Guess who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and only cried once today?  This moi!  In the past 2 days both my oven and my coffee maker have stopped working, a terrible combination when right now the main part of my mind is occupied with baking and with finishing my personal statement for law school applications.  Thankfully my grandma lives just around the corner and I was able to bake these baguette-oids at in her oven.  From what I’ve read online, baguettes are supposed to be a real challenge for novice bakers such as this myself, but since I love that crunchy, chewy, Gauloise-smoking stuff, I decided to give it a whirl.  I got the recipe from the King Arthur company because their picture of it just looked exactly how I wanted mine to come out.  They didn’t.  Not exactly, anyway.  Still, it was a fun experience; I love the idea of baking bread from starters, and though a little gluteny, my baguettes actually tasted pretty damn good.  They formed a nice crust too, though I didn’t “spritz” them with water because I don’t have a little bottle of the stuff like in Austin Powers 2, I just put a pan of water in the oven on the rack below the baguettes when I was baking them.  I heard that was supposed to work.

Baguettes

Baguette

Ingredients:

Starter:

1/2 cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

Dough:

All of the starter

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Mix the starter ingredients together until you have a smooth mini-ball of dough.  Let it sit covered for 14 hours.

Dissolve the yeast in the cup of water with a pinch of sugar and let it bloom for 10 minutes, then combine with the rest of the dough ingredients and knead it together by hand or with a dough hook until you have a soft, cohesive dough, with a little roughness still to the surface.  You might need to add a little bit more water.  Let this rise covered with lightly greased plastic wrap for three hours, punching it down every hour.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto it.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form them into “rough, slightly flattened oval[s].”  Let these rest another 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.

Fold each piece of dough in half and seal the edge.  Fold it in half again, and then carefully shape into a log about 15″ long.  If you want to make a couche out of a floured dish towel, now is the time.  I just put them straight onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Anyhow, cover those bad boys up again and let them proof for another 60 – 90 minutes.

Baguettes after proofing

Preheat your oven to 450 and move the baguettes to a parchment-lined baking sheet or baguette pan or peel if you’re baking them on a stone. With a sharp knife, make a few slashes in each loaf at about 45 degrees.  Spritz them down with water or else do what I did and bake them with a pan of water below them in the oven.  Pop the baking sheet into the oven or transfer them to the stone and bake for 25 minutes.  Pull them out and cool them on a rack, or King Arthur suggests turning the oven off, cracking the door and letting them cool in there.

Baguette

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The gnocchi experiment

January 19, 2009

Gnocchi Carbonara

I was actually thinking of naming this blog Big Gnocchi Plates at one time, the idea being that is in the same hypothetical Ghostface song name vein, but I had never made gnocchi before, and haven’t even liked it much in the past.  Anyways, I got to thinking about gnocchi lately (after hearing an anecdote about a woman at the nursing home where my friend works who was convinced that her family had been there and made gnocchi and sang songs and from seeing Tyler Florence do it on TV), and so I decided to give it a go.  I’ve also been thinking about carbonara lately, and an eggy, bacony, cheesey sauce seemed the perfect breakfast for dinner-y accompaniment to a potato pasta.  Besides bacon, potatoes, and eggs are all things that I have and the idea of getting my mom to eat raw eggs is extremely appealing to me.

In the end, the whole thing was pretty lackluster.  The gnocchi were a little tough and a lot misshapen, and I didn’t have enough cheese so the sauce was thin and sort of eggy.  The taste wasn’t bad, just a little bit bland.  I think if I were to do it again in the same proportions, I would use an egg less in the sauce and one and a half times the cheese.  Also, some fresh herbs like basil or parsley in the gnocchi would really knock this out I think.  I’m going to post the recipe as I did do it,  rather than how I would next time.

Gnocchi all formed up

Gnocchi Carbonara

Ingredients

Gnocchi:

4 small potatoes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs beaten

Carbonara sauce:

1/4 lb. bacon cut into lardons (you can use pancetta or guanciale if you are the kind of person that has these things)

3 eggs beaten

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 450.  Wash the potatoes and prick them all over with a fork.  Bake them for an hour.

Halve the potatoes and scoop out the insides and run them through a ricer onto a marble surface or into a bowl.  Allow to cool for about a minute and then add 3/4 cup flour, eggs, and salt.

Work the potatoes, flour, eggs, and salt together into a sticky dough and knead in pinches of flour until it is dry and smooth.  Make the dough into a ball.  Don’t knead them too much though or they will become tough and dense.

Gnocchi dough

Pull off handfulls from the dough ball and roll them into long snakes.  With a fork, cut off bite-sized pieces and holding it by the small sides, roll the tines of the fork over it to make it look like gnocchi.  This is hard to get down and only about a third of mine ended up looking right.  The rest were like little buff turds.  Lay them all out on a piece of parchment paper until they’re all formed.

Little buff turds

Set a big pot of salted water on the stove to boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, render the bacon and crips up the bits in a skillet and then remove the pan from heat (I took it outside and stuck the bottom in the snow for a couple seconds to really cool it down).

When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the gnocchi in batches.  Fish them out with a slotted spoon once they start to float and put them in a bowl.

Reheat the bacon and add 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Toss in the gnocchi, the cheese, and the eggs.  Toss it all together until it’s warmed through and incorporated and add plenty of pepper.

Serve in warmed pasta bowls with more pepper and cheese to taste.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Gnocchi Carbonara

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“College” Pasta

January 12, 2009

Lemon Tarragon Pasta

I basically lived on this stuff for the last two years of college.  It is super easy to prepare, and can be made on a college kid’s  budget in even the tiniest of kitchenettes.  All you really need for this is a stove and a couple of pans, one to cook the pasta and broccoli in and one to make the sauce in.  I guess you could say that this is my own recipe (you can barely call it that, it’s so simple), and it perfectly demonstrates my philosophy that even with the extremely limited means of a college student, one can make healthful, delicious meals for oneself.  There is no need for the Easy Macs and scrambled eggs for dinner you think of when you imagine the dietary habits of off-campus collegians.  I have liked it so much that I still make it even when not limited to it by my budget.  This makes a huge bowl of pasta in a light, garlicky lemon sauce and can easily be halved or modified or substituted.  I have made it with lemon juice out of a bottle, fresh tarragon, shrimp, chicken, and asparagus before.  Even the bumblingest of amateur cooks can whip this together in only the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta.  My personal preference is to make this with fresh lemon juice and zest, dried tarragon, broccoli, and whole grain thin spaghetti.

Lemon Zest

Lemon Tarragon Pasta

Ingredients:

4 oz. whole grain thin spaghetti

1 crown broccoli, broken into bite-sized florets

juice and zest of one lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 – 4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons dried tarragon

1 tablespoon romano cheese

crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

Add pasta to boiling salted water and cook.

When there is 3 minutes left for the pasta, saute garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil until it just starts to brown.

Remove from heat and add lemon juice and cheese to the oil, and stir until it’s melted.  Stir in tarragon.

When there is 2 minutes left for the pasta, stir the broccoli right into the water with the pasta.

Drain the pasta and broccoli and toss with the sauce and lemon zest.  Serve with additional cheese and red pepper to taste.

Serves 2 or 1 really hungry college guy (or 1 really hungry alumnus)

Lemon Tarragon Pasta

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Hummus amongus?

January 10, 2009

Hummus

I was originally going to make a pun about Hummus firing rockets from Gaza or something, but I don’t want to be too topical, you know? Topical jokes are one of the lowest forms of humor in my mind, it’s too easy with not enough payoff in the end. I am one of few people who have stuck with SNL, watching it any time I’m home on Saturday night from the time that I first started watching it in high school. It seems that every time the show goes through a cast change, whichever age cohort that is the show’s key demographic decries the show as “sucking now.” It happened with fans of the show’s golden age in the early nineties, it happened with my age group when the show started featuring Kenan and Seth Meyer and Andy Samberg more prominently, and of course when your major players get shaken up, there has to be a transitional period. The thing is, though, the show is still funny during these periods if you know where to look: in the sketches that come after Weekend Update. This is where the weird, often improvised, and usually questionable sketches are thrown, after people get their fake news and turn the show off. One of the most hilarious Will Ferrell-era sketches was one where he played a doctor who had lost Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon’s baby. Tim Meadows played Dr. Stephen Poop who can do nothing for their baby, but can do the robot for $50,000.

Nowadays, SNL has had a rennaissance with their topical political humor; even going so far as to add an extra Thursday night political edition during election season. These efforts, while appealing to the masses I guess, leave me bemused at best. How easy is it to do a charicature of a public figure? No, give me the bizarre stuff remniscent of Kids in the Hall and Upright Citizens Brigade and The State (Lamps: the Musical anyone?). While I am glad that the light stuff has brought people back to the SNL fold, it has also lead to the show rehashing several sketches that were really funny before in an attempt to show them off to their new wider audience. Things that were hilarious, but should have been one-offs like Virgania Horsen’s Hot Air Balloon Rides (a sketch that played to Kristen Wiig’s strength of creating a full-fleshed and funny character perfectly) and Justin Timberlake’s Omeletteville got recycled, the same thing with the guys listening to an old song and reminiscing about increasingly bizarre moments in their lives, or even mediocre-at-best gags like Bill Hader’s Vinny Vedecci.

The online popularity of the Lonely Island-produced digital shorts has also been a huge (and hilarious) boon to the show, though I’m pretty sure they used to air in the third act as well. I am not against topical jokes and recalls to previously successful sketches, they both have their place (topical humor being a staple of SNL’s repertoire for years, especially during the cold open), I just wish that they weren’t the bulk of the show. I understand that you have to cater to your audience and give them what they want, but the producers would be well-served to let some of the more subversive sketches get more prominent time-slots.

I’m certainly not trying to be a hater, SNL has a ton to offer if people are willing to give it a chance.  Next time that you stay in on a Saturday night, try staying up for the stuff that comes after Weekend Update, maybe with a bowl of this delicious hummus that I’m posting as a MacGuffin to allow me to rant about the state of Saturday Night Live.

Hummus

Ingredients:

1/2 can of garbonzo beans (chickpeas, cecci beans, etc.) drained, saving the liquid

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

lemon juice

cumin (optional)

paprika (optional)

Hummus

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Add in bean liquid or more olive oil or even some sesame oil and keep pureeing until it is the consistancy you desire.  That’s it.  You can also add anything you want to flavor the hummus from mushrooms to pesto to sundried tomatoes to roasted red peppers.  Whatever you want.  I decided to keep it pretty simple, but did add some amazing paprika that my friend brought me from Romania.

Garnish with some whole chickpeas and some more olive oil or tahini if you want to if you want to make it a dip. Enjoy with some pita or on a sandwich or however you want! I just had some on rye with avocado slices and some bacon. Daaaammmnnnn.

Makes with about a cup and a half(?)

Hummus

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Delirium Noël

January 4, 2009

Delerium Noël

I’m not usually a big fan of Belgian beers.  I can’t handle all the abbey dubbels and tripels that are en vogue these days and converting all the wine people to beer people.  Not that there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just not usually my thing.  I do, however, make an exception for the Delirium series beers from the Brouwerij Huyghe.  The original, Delirium Tremens, is delicious and their Christmassy Delirium Noël is no different.

I’m an unabashed sucker for nice packaging (believe me, I’ve got stories), and these beers deliver in that department.  The bottle is brown glass, though as you can see, it’s sprayed with a plastic faux-ceramic finish.  Very nice.  The label is also adorned with the adorable pink elephant mascot of the Delirium ales, though – get this – on this one he is bedecked in a Santa hat and striped scarf.  Marvelous!  All kidding aside, they’ve done a great job here, and the classiness is compounded with the festive red foil, wire cage, and champagne cork rather than just a regular old bottle cap to top it.  Well done.

The beer pours a wonderful dark brown with a ruby cast when held up to the light and it smells of all those great Belgian sugary fruits and alcoholiness.  It’s 10%, folks, a bomber of this will get you nice and slanty.  I’m not going to go into all the talk about the lacing and phenolic compounds and all; I am a beer dork in recovery and I can’t abide the jargon.  If you’ve had a Belgian ale, especially a dark one, there aren’t any surprises or anything, just an extremely well done fruity and spicy and just beer-y beer.  It looks, smells, and tastes great.

Delirium Noël

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I had the blue box blues

January 2, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

Okay so here’s my penance for the trendy palmiers.  This is macaroni and cheese, and not “grown up” macaroni and cheese with truffle oil and pancetta, not fettucini alfredo, not gruyere and swiss mac and cheese.  This is old school cheddar cheese, elbow pasta, and bread crumbs on top.  Macaroni and cheese needs nothing added to it; it is so damn good you can eat it just by itself or as a side dish to something else.  Just a huge plate of this old stuff with maybe some broccoli that you mix in and then Sriracha on top is so delicious on a day when you are hungover as all dickens and you lost your wallet.  Man, get out of here.

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

6 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg

12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper

Preheat your over to 350.

Boil a pot of water, salt it, and cook the pasta in it.

While the pasta is cooking, melt half of the butter in another pot and whisk in the flour and mustard, making sure there are no lumps.  Keep stirring the roux for about 5 minutes until it is nutty brown, then add the milk, bay leaf, and paprika.  Simmer this for about ten minutes, then pull out the bay leaf.

Beat the egg lightly, then stir it in a little bit at a time so it doesn’t cook in your sauce.  Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and add the Worcestershire sauce.  When all the cheese is melted and saucy, fold in the pasta and dump it all into a casserole dish.  Top it with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.  Melt the rest of the butter and drizzle it over the top and bake for about 30 minutes.  Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves one.  I’m serious, I will eat it all.

Macaroni & Cheese

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This is not one of THOSE blogs

January 2, 2009

Savory Palmiers

You’re never going to see anything here whose name has to be included in quotes, you’re never going to see any foams or carefully constructed asparagus teepees.  You’re not going to see caramels with fleur de sel on top.  While not a conscious effort to buck any particular trend or trends in cooking, I (or I hope anyways) to not just do the same thing that you see on every cooking blog on Foodgawker and Taste Spotting.  That being said, for New Year’s Eve I made savory palmiers to bring to my friend’s house.  These were ridiculously easy to make, tasted really good, and had the potential to look nice too if you were neater about it than I was.  The idea is that they look like elephant ears or something.  I’m sure you’ve seen sweet palmier cookies before, they’re kind of heart-shaped and spirally.  Mine looked like that too, except the pesto and caramelized onion filling kind of seeped out.  They were a big hit though, so you know, no remorse.

Palmiers

Pesto and Caramelized Onion Palmiers

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 an onion, sliced into thin rings

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pesto

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon romano cheese

1 sheet puff pastry

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

crushed red pepper (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your over to 375.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and then throw in the onions once it’s good and hot.  Toss the onions around until they’re all coated with butter and olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.  Let the onions go until they’re slightly brown, and then add the vinegar and stir it up.  Reduce the heat to low and braise the onions in the vinegar for maybe 15 minutes until they’re totally soft and the vinegar is thick and syrupy.

In a food processor, add the pesto (I had some frozen from a while ago, you can easily make your own or buy it), the onions, the cheese, the nuts, and some crushed red pepper if you want it spicy and just process it until you have a horrible-looking green-brown paste that just the hell smells delicious.

Just spread that right onto the puff pastry sheet going all the way out to the edges even.  Now you want to fold it up from the right and left in a manner than is sort of hard to explain.  Basically on each side you are going to fold it 1/4 of the way in, and then 1/4 of the way again.  It is now about half the original width.  Then carefully fold it in half again.  When you’re done it should look like this, only better:

Palmiers

Then, with a bread knife slice the roll into 1/2″ slices and put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.  Whisk the egg and water together and brush the palmiers with it.  Bake them for about 8 minutes on each side, brushing with the egg was when you flip them, until they’re golden and puffy.

Makes about fifteen

Palmiers

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