Artichoke & Garlic Chicken Rissoles

Rissole is an interesting group of dishes with an intriguing history. The original French rissoles were prepared by enclosing the main ingredients in pastry dough and frying them, but over time the original recipe has evolved and changed.

Many nations have created their own version of the rissole. This food is commonly on offer in street stalls as a casual snack food, or in fast-food restaurants. Some fancy restaurants also serve rissole dishes, although they may use fancier ingredients and dress things up with complex sauces to make their rissoles more interesting. Today, rissoles can be found in numerous European countries, but also in Australia, New Zealand, and even Indonesia and Brazil.

Some cooks refrain from using any sort of coating for a rissole, preferring to make a blend of meat, potatoes, eggs, and breadcrumbs which can be molded into a firm patty. Ingredients such as onions may be added to rissoles as well, along with various spices, especially in nations with a culinary tradition of heavily spiced food. They can be made with ground or cut meat, seafood, or vegetables, and the sweet varieties are usually made with fruit. Most of them, including both sweet and savory rissoles, are usually served with a sauce on the side. Primarily, rissoles were deep-fried, but today the name also encompasses the varieties that are baked in an oven or fried in shallow oil.

Today, I’m making artichoke & garlic chicken rissoles. The sauce gives the rissoles a nice punch of flavor and pairs so well with creamy mashed potatoes & roasted green beans.

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Artichoke & Garlic Chicken Rissoles
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Artichoke & Garlic Sauce
Chicken Rissoles
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Artichoke & Garlic Sauce
Chicken Rissoles
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Instructions
Sauce
  1. Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream to make an emulsion. Continue processing while adding the cream to make a fairly smooth consistency. Remove from food processor & set aside.
Chicken Rissoles
  1. Place chicken, panko crumbs, salt, egg, garlic & soup mix in a bowl. Combine well. Divide into 6 portions. Form each portion into a patty shape.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan, Cook rissoles for 2-3 minutes. Turn & cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate a wipe out saucepan.
  3. Return rissoles back in saucepan & add sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes until rissoles are cooked through. Nice to serve with creamy mashed potatoes & roasted green beans.

Potato Lefse

From a traditional homemade staple to a quick on-the-go snack from a gas station to ferries or even a fancy dish at a wedding, the story of lefse is intertwined with Norwegian history.

The first lefse didn’t contain potatoes, they were made from flour. Women would travel from house to house, village to village to make lefse to last the winter months. The flour lefse would cook up like a cracker and be able to last through the season. Many households stored their lefse is wooden boxes covered in cloth or just stacked on shelves. When you were ready to enjoy some lefse it was dipped in water and soaked between damp cloth until softened.

Then came the introduction of potatoes, abundant and easy to grow. The potato was incorporated into many Norwegian foods. Like Ireland, Norway suffered from the effects of the potato famine in the mid-1800’s, which is about the time that many Norwegians came to North America. They brought their knowledge and rolling pins. The result is a Norwegian ‘potato bread’ delicacy that is part of a special tradition replicated in many Norwegian-American homes for more than 150 years.

In Norway, the lefse is sweet or savory, thick or thin, can be made from wheat or potatoes, and can be served with a wide variety of accompaniments. Recipes and even names vary considerably across Norway. 

In many parts of western, eastern and central Norway, lefse are used as an alternative to bread. They are eaten with savory, salty foods or with sweet foods.

Common savory fillings include cured ham and cheese. They can also be served as wraps, with fillings such as smoked salmon and cream cheese. Common sweet fillings are sugar and cinnamon. These are often served folded or rolled into tubes. As with waffles, the combination of brown cheese (or ‘brunost’ is a tan-colored ‘whey cheese’ with a distinctive caramel flavor) and jam is another sweet option.

There is no one best lefse recipe. You can choose to make thick, sweet lefse, or thin ones for savory wraps, with potato or without. There are so many options, not to mention the countless ‘secret’ family recipes handed down through generations.

I recall the first time I ever had the opportunity to try Norwegian lefse. I was in grade school and my friend asked me to come to her house for lunch. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but I remember it tasted good … just like a thin potato pancake!

Brion & I decided to use our lefsa as a wrap and make fish ‘tacos’ out of them. It turned out to be a great choice!

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Potato Lefse
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Norwegian
Keyword potato lefse
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Norwegian
Keyword potato lefse
Servings
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Instructions
  1. In a pot, place potatoes & cover with cold water. Put a lid on the pot & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer & cook until soft. Drain & put potatoes through a ricer (or grate fine) while still hot. Combine with butter & refrigerate until cool.
  2. Combine potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. Mix just until blended. Add milk only if needed to combine dough. Cover & chill thoroughly.
  3. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces & roll into balls. Between 2 sheets of dry waxed paper roll each ball to a 6-inch diameter.
  4. Heat a flat griddle to 400 F.
  5. Grill lefsa, flipping mid-way through, about 60 seconds on each side, or until freckled.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature as is or with topping or 'filling' of choice.
Recipe Notes
  • The yield will vary depending on how much dough you use for each one.
  • SOME FILLING SUGGESTIONS:
  • Spread with butter & a sprinkle of brown sugar
  • Spread with mustard & wrap around sausage, brats or hot dogs
  • Spread with butter or cream cheese & wrap around leftover chicken, turkey, pot roast or your favorite deli meat. Eat hot or cold.
  • Use as a wrap for salads such as egg, tuna, chicken & salmon.
  • Spread with cranberry sauce, applesauce or Nutella.
  • Wrap around warm meatballs.
  • Wrap around scrambled eggs with or without crumbled sausage or bacon.

Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups

It’s hard to pin down the origin of banana cream pie, but it seems adding bananas to the pie happened around the end of the 19th century, when bananas went from exotic to commonplace. Until then, most North Americans have never seen, never mind eaten, a banana.

The turning point in the banana business came with technological advances in transportation and refrigeration. Steamships and railroad cars brought the fruit to market faster, and refrigeration slowed the ripening process. The combination was a bonanza for the industry.

One of the earliest known published recipes for banana cream pie called for sliced bananas and powdered sugar placed in a pre-baked pie shell. The ‘Woman’s Exchange Cook Book’ from 1901 advises cooks to then put the filled pie in the oven for a few minutes and then remove it once the bananas have been softened. After the pie is removed from the oven, the cookbook instructs the cook to cover the filling with whipped cream and to flavor it with lemon juice.

A recipe published just five years later in ‘The Blue-Ribbon Cookbook’ provided a banana and custard filling, but the two were not blended together into today’s familiar, creamy banana filling. Instead, sliced bananas lined the bottom of the crust, and the custard was poured over it. By 1950 we get a version covered with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

An old fashioned dessert , but one of the most comforting treats, banana cream pie offers a rich, sweet and velvety filling. If you like bananas like I do, it’s one of those desserts where you put a spoonful in your mouth and can’t help but lean back and close your eyes as you savor the buttery crust and creamy filling.

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Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups
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Banana Cream Mousse Filling
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Banana Cream Mousse Filling
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Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups.
  2. Use a food processor to grind gingersnap cookies into a fine crumb. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted. Combine melted butter with cookie crumbs and stir until there are no dry crumbs left. Divide ginger snap crumbs between the 12 muffin cups. Press down with a spoon or tart shaper.
Banana Cream Mousse Filling
  1. While the cookie cups are cooling, prepare the banana cream mousse filling. Whisk together the box of dry pudding mix and the milk. Add in the whipped topping and stir GENTLY until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag or a zip lock bag and store in the fridge until the cookies are fully cool.
  2. Take cookie cups out of muffin tin. Pipe banana cream mousse into each cup and top with a slice of banana. Sprinkle with a small amount of gingersnap cookie crumbles.
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

Neapolitan Swirl Cookies

I was intrigued by the concept of these cookies; in that they replicate the flavor profile of the ‘nostalgic’ Neapolitan ice cream. The name ‘Neapolitan’ comes from Naples, Italy. Many believe the history of Neapolitan ice cream can trace its roots back to ‘spumoni’ – a traditional form of ice cream originating in southern Italy and made of multiple blocks of ice cream put together. The most popular flavors of spumoni are cherry, chocolate and pistachio. Historically the colors of the Italian flag – green (pistachio), white (vanilla), and red (cherry pink).

As legend goes, in the 19th century, immigrants to North America from southern Italy (namely Naples) brought along the recipes popular in their homeland including spumoni. The dessert likely adapted to popular local flavors at the time being, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Over time, this flavor trio has evolved into much more, such as cookies, drinks, cheesecakes, trifle, fudge, rice krispie treats, parfaits and the list goes on.

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Neapolitan Swirl Cookies
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
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COOKIES
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Cream together butter & powdered sugar. Add egg & mix thoroughly. Sift in the flour, cornstarch & salt.
  2. Combine into a dough consistency. Divide dough into 3 equal portions.
  3. Add vanilla to the first one & combine well. To the second portion add strawberry flavor & red food gel; combine until evenly colored. To the third portion, add the melted chocolate & cocoa powder.
  4. Place each flavored ball of dough between parchment paper & roll out in a circle to an 1/8-inch thickness. On the chocolate piece place the vanilla layer & then the strawberry layer. Roll up in a 'cinnamon roll' fashion & place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using string, cut cookie roll in slices. This should create a nice 'feathery' look.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes or until just lightly browned on the bottom.
Recipe Notes
  • I make use of the Lorann flavorings whenever I can. Lorann's professional strength flavorings and essential oils are 3x to 4x stronger than typical alcohol-based extracts. They smell & taste amazing!

Scallop Crepes w/ Cauliflower Sauce

Can you believe the New Year is almost here and as the clock approaches midnight, it is a time to reflect and assess the year that has gone by…to hopefully, realize how precious time is. The word ‘new’ brings about thoughts of hope, and an opportunity to focus on a list of fresh goals, challenges, and opportunities.

Many cultures around the world believe the key to a happy, healthy, financially secure, and even productive year begins with eating certain lucky foods. The theory is ‘do good, eat good’, to begin the New Year right.

New Year’s Eve calls for a celebration. Whether you’re spending the night in, or you’re hosting an intimate party with friends, a scallop dinner is the perfect treat to finish off the year because scallops symbolize new opportunities or the opening of new horizons.

Brion & I enjoy seafood a lot so its not hard to fit some elegant scallop crepes into the menu.

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Scallop Crepes w/ Cauliflower Sauce
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Cuisine American
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
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Instructions
Crepes
  1. Place all crepe ingredients in a small blender & whirl for 1 minute at high speed. Scrape down sides, whirl for another 15 seconds. Pour into a small bowl & cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or more.
  2. Brush an 8-inch non-stick skillet lightly with melted butter; heat. Stir crepe batter; pour 2 Tbsp into center of skillet. Lift & tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry; turn & cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with melted butter as needed.
Sauce
  1. Pour chicken broth into a medium saucepan, add cauliflower florets & bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender. Drain in a colander, reserving the liquid, then place the cauliflower in a food processor & allow it to cool for 5 minutes before blending. Process, slowly adding 1 cup of reserved chicken broth. Add seasonings & process until 'creamy'. Set aside.
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, bring scallops, wine & pepper to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until scallops are firm & opaque, 3-4 minutes. Drain & set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, fry chopped bacon until slightly browned. Add 2 Tbsp butter, mushrooms & green onions & sauté until moisture has evaporated from mushrooms. Return scallops back to skillet & add cheese & enough of the cauliflower sauce to bring mixture together into a filling consistency.
Assembly & Cooking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Divide filling among the 12 crepes, spreading filling down the center of each one. Place remaining cauliflower sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Roll up crepes & place in a single layer on top of sauce. Cover & bake until heated through about 30 minutes.
  3. Garnish with sliced green onions if you prefer.
Recipe Notes
  • These crepes look & taste indulgent, but I've made the sauce with pureed cauliflower rather than lots of cream. It sounds a bit odd, but it works beautifully & compliments the flavor of the sweet scallops & salty bacon.

Cranberry-Raspberry Tartlets

So many of our berries can be used to make excellent dessert sauces as their naturally tart flavor pairs so well with rich sweet desserts. Cranberry-raspberry sauce is one such sauce. It is made with a combination of whole cranberry sauce and fresh or frozen raspberries, along with a bit of sugar and a little lemon or orange zest. Everything is cooked over medium low heat until the sauce thickens with the end result being a glistening red sauce with a sweet and tangy flavor that is especially nice atop these mini cheesecake tarts. It can also be used as a filling for cakes or trifles, or for a quick dessert, it can be poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Tarts are the epitome of elegance in the world of desserts. They showcase a perfect harmony of flavors, with their flaky or crispy crust and luscious fillings. But one key factor in achieving the ultimate tart is having a crisp, clean edge on the tart shell, which not only elevates the appearance but also enhances the texture. A well-defined edge results in a satisfying contrast between the tender, flaky layers, and the smooth filling.

Since the Christmas season is upon us, I thought of using some ‘tart rings’ to give these little tarts more of an upscale look. Using rings instead of tart pans makes for such a clean look. Being perforated allows for the ring to heat up quicker (along with it being very thin), which allows for better baking. This also allows steam to escape from the crust, which keeps your crust nice and crispy.

Baking is a passion for many because of the immersion between art and science. For me, I’m always in pursuit of another way to make an old idea new again or as they say, ‘the same only different’.

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Cranberry-Raspberry Tartlets
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TARTLETS
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Pastry
Cheesecake Filling
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TARTLETS
Ingredients
Pastry
Cheesecake Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, & vanilla in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your hands until the butter is broken down into pieces the size of peas and the ingredients are well combined. Add the egg and mix with a spatula until the dough is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently shape it into a ball. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, until cold but still pliable. It should have the texture of clay.
  3. When the dough has chilled, unwrap the dough and place it on a silicone baking mat on your work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 1⁄8 inch thick, using a second silicone sheet on top. The silicone mat makes it easier to lift the rolled-out dough onto the sheet pan later. Make sure to work quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm.
  4. Place the silicone mat with the dough on a baking sheet.
  5. Using the tart rings, cut out 18 circles of dough. Remove the rest of the dough from around the rings.
  6. Reroll remaining dough between 2 sheets of parchment. Using a sharp knife, slice strips about 10 inches long & 1- inch thick. These strips will make the sides of each tartlet.
  7. Working with one at a time, transfer a strip of dough to one of the tart rings and press it to the sides. Use your fingers to slightly push the bottom of the sides to the dough circle (to seal it). Repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Use a small knife to cut the edge to the rim of the rings.
  8. Transfer the baking sheet containing the tartlet shells to the freezer & freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  10. Bake tart rings for 8 minutes or until barely set (crust will complete baking with the filling in). Remove from oven.
Filling
  1. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth then add sugar & blend well. Add eggs & vanilla, beat until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over warm crust.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is firm & BARELY browned. Set aside to cool.
Topping
  1. In a saucepan, combine whole berry sauce & 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, orange zest & sugar.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens & is bubbly. Remove from heat & let cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  3. Place a dollop of sauce over each tartlet. Decorate & serve chilled.
Recipe Notes
  • I made these tartlets in 3 sizes from 2 3/4-inch to 2-inch.
  • If you find the dough is to soft to work with just add a small amount of flour, just enough to make it easier to handle.
  • This is a real nice crispy pastry dough. When its baked it would give the impression of being real hard but instead its crisp and so nice to bite into.

Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes

Persimmon fruit is delicious in their natural state, but they also add wonderful moisture and flavor to baked goods. Fall and winter is the season for persimmons, and with persimmons you can make the most wonderful, sweet or savory things.

A good persimmon (at its peak) has a mild taste that has been described ‘honey-like’. Its texture is similar to that of an apricot and its skin is tougher than an apple.

For Fuyu persimmons, make sure they are very ripe. Peel them, chop them, and remove their seeds. Use a food processor to puree the fruit. If you have ripe persimmons but aren’t ready to make use of them yet, you can freeze the pulp for up to six months. Freeze the puree in 8-ounce containers or ice cube trays. You can add frozen persimmon pulp to smoothies right out of the freezer. If you want to bake with it, bring it to room temperature and use it when thawed.

These little minis are a wonderful mouthful of  light and creamy cheesecake made with fresh persimmon puree and warm holiday spices. Take advantage of this wonderful fruit—in season October through February.

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Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
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Base
Cheesecake
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Base
Cheesecake
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Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place inserts into bottom of each of the 12 cavities of a mini cheesecake pan.
  2. In a small bowl combine gingersnap crumbs with melted butter. Divide between the 12 cavities & press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake on middle rack of oven for about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while filling is being prepared.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, persimmon puree, sour cream, egg, spices & vanilla. Beat until smooth & well combined.
  2. Divide filling between the 12 cavities in the cheesecake pan.
  3. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until set. Begin checking for doneness after 10 minutes, as oven temperatures vary considerably.
  4. Cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, then using your finger, push up through the hole in the bottom of each cheesecake & remove each one. Remove metal insert & cool completely in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Garnish with fresh persimmon slices & a bit of whip topping or your choice.

Blueberry Chocolate Yeast Braid

I’m not sure what it is about chocolate that makes it such a good pair with berries. Blueberries for one, are the perfect match for dark chocolate. Bitter, sweet, fruity and awesome!

Some years ago, Brion & I were in California at a winery sampling some of their wines. They offered us some chocolate covered blueberries and that wonderful flavor has never left me.

Since we are already into December and Christmas baking is up front and center, I thought it might be nice to experiment with a different filling for this yeast braid.

Christmas breads are often more decorative and have celebratory qualities to them, such as the Bulgarian Christmas Bread that symbolizes prosperity for the upcoming year. Other classic Christmas breads from around the world include Panettone or Stollen which are filled with fruits and nuts. Whether it’s for the sake of tradition or you just want to make something new and different, this is the best time of the year to get in the kitchen and whip up some beautiful ‘Christmas bread’.

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Blueberry Chocolate Yeast Braid
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Sweet Dough
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Sweet Dough
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Instructions
Sweet Dough
  1. In a small dish, heat milk to lukewarm. Add yeast & 1 tsp sugar; let sit for 5 minutes to allow yeast to activate. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, sour cream & egg. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk flour & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time, combining after each addition. Once the flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least one hour, in a draft free place until dough has doubled in volume.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch & lemon juice. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, for several minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat & cool until ready to use.
Cream Cheese
  1. Slice cream cheese in about 1/8-inch thick & about 4-inches in length. Lay out on a piece of plastic wrap to form a rectangle about 10 X 4-inches in size. Lay plastic wrap with cheese on a tray & place in refrigerator until ready to use.
Assembly/Baking
  1. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll risen dough into a rectangle 13 X12-inches in size. With a straight edge, mark it in thirds lengthwise. On the two outer pieces, mark 1-inch strips. At the top & bottom you will need a 1 1/2-inch piece. The center rectangle should be 10 X 4-inches in size. Cut out the 4 corner 'wedges' as it will make a nice clean braid this way. ( I just made a couple of little sweet dough buns with a bit of jam filling with this excess dough.)
  2. Start with the cream cheese layer. Using the plastic wrap, flip it in the center rectangle. Next, top the cream cheese with blueberry filling then lay the chocolate bar over all to complete the third layer.
  3. Cut the strips on either side of the braid. Pull the end dough pieces up over the filling then start to braid with the side strips until you reach the other end. Using the parchment paper, lift the braid onto a baking sheet. Cover with a dry tea towel & allow braid to rest & rise for about 30 minutes in a draft free place.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. before the braid is finished rising.
  5. Carefully brush braid with egg wash & bake for 30 minutes until it is browned nicely.
  6. Remove from oven & cool slightly before serving. If you have leftovers for another day, warm the bread slightly so that the chocolate will be soft & runny. Yum!

Apple Maple Boursin Muffins w/ Sweet Potato

Boursin’s story began in 1957, in a small Normandy village, located in France, when cheese maker François Boursin set up a factory producing soft cheese. At that time, he had no idea his name would become internationally famous.

Boursin Garlic & Herbs was launched in 1963 and quickly became a household name across France. Sixty years later, the original recipe remains unchanged and food lovers in more than 35 countries have spread their passion for Boursin all around the world. Perfect on bread, as appetizers or in a creamy sauce for main or side dishes. Since 2011, Boursin has been made in Canada in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, by Agropur, the Canadian dairy co-operative, for Bel Cheese Canada, the Canadian arm of Bel Group, the France-based multinational. 

There are seven flavors of Boursin Cheese sold in Canada: Garlic & Fine Herbs, Shallot & Chive, Bouquet of Basil & Chive, Cranberry & Pepper, Cracked Black Pepper, Fig & Balsamic, Apple & Maple.

Boursin is sometimes dubbed a Gournay cheese, Gournay being the name of the region in Normandy where Boursin was first made. The cheesemaker used the name when he was first asked to classify the cheese for customs purposes.

Today, I am doing a bit of recipe development with Apple Maple Boursin. The apple flavor and the silkiness of maple syrup perfectly complement Boursin’s incomparable texture along with some sweet potato, dates and dried cranberries. The whole combination creates an exceptional sweet and savory cheese muffin. Brion & I really enjoyed my new muffin creation.

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Apple Maple Boursin Muffins w/ Sweet Potato
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Instructions
Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread out on a large plate & place in freezer until; ready to use.
Muffin Batter
  1. Cook, peel & mash sweet potato. Chop dates. Slice, core & grate apple. Grate orange (zest). Chop pecans. Crumble Boursin.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. In a large bowl, combine first 12 ingredients using a fork. Make a well in center.
  4. Beat egg until frothy. Whisk in sugar, oil, sweet potato & sour cream. Crumble in 75 gm of the Boursin cheese.
  5. Pour into well & stir only to moisten. Divide between the 12 muffin cups. Remove topping from freezer & place some on top of each muffin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes then remove from pan. BEST SERVED WARM!

Chicken, Veal & Shrimp Pastetli (Vol-Au-Vent)

Pastetli were invented in the early 1800s in Antonin Carême’s pastry store in Paris, France where they’re called vol-au-vent, French for ‘windblown’ to describe its lightness. While they’re served as an appetizer in France, they’re eaten as a main meal not only in Switzerland but also in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is also from the Netherlands where the Swiss name Pastetli origins from. The Dutch call them pasteitje (little pastry). From there it came to the German Pastete. Just to add a little complication though, a Pastete in Switzerland is rectangle cake shaped puff pastry pie filled with sausage meat, mushrooms in a creamy sauce.

A vol-au-vent is a light puff pastry shell that resembles a bowl with a lid. The shell is generally filled with a creamy sauce (most often a velouté sauce) containing vegetables, chicken, meat or fish. The lid is placed on the filled shell and the pastry is then served as an appetizer, also known as bouchée à la Reine, or as the main course of a meal. When prepared, the pastry dough is flattened and cut into two circles. A smaller circle is cut out of the center of one of the circles, which then will be used as the lid. The circle without the center cut and the circle with the center cut are then joined together around the edges so as the pastry bakes, it rises into a shell with a hole in the top. The lid, which is baked separately, is added later. The pastry shell may be made the size of an individual serving, or it can be made in several different sizes to become a main serving for one or a larger size to be served for more than one.

Vol-au-vents rose to prominence in Paris in the 19th century. In post-war Britain, they were a mainstay of any self-respecting buffet, served to suitably impressed guests alongside welcome drinks at dinner parties. By the 1990s, they had become unfashionable and remained so for decades. Updated vol-au-vents started reappearing in chic restaurants a year or two before the covid pandemic (2020) erupted and have become the retro appetizer or main course to have.

You can even adapt them to make some elegant desserts. Fill with cream and fresh fruit or melt a chocolate orange with a dash of Grand Marnier and orange zest then spoon this quick-fix mousse into the cases and top with sweetened Chantilly cream and chocolate shavings.

For our main course vol-au-vents, I am making an interesting filling which includes, chicken, shrimp, mushrooms and tiny meatballs. Sounds a little odd but is packed with flavor.

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Chicken, Veal & Shrimp Pastetli (Vol-Au-Vent)
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Instructions
Chicken/Broth
  1. Add the rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, chopped celery, carrot and onion to a stock pot. Season generously with pepper and salt. Cut the chicken up: legs, wings and breasts. Also chop up the remaining carcass. Add it all to the pot. Then fill it with water (about 7 cups) until the chicken is fully submerged.
  2. Place the pot over high heat until boiling, then leave it there for 10 minutes. Turn the heat lower and gently cook the chicken for about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the heat and let it cool down for another 45 minutes.
Mushrooms/ Shrimp/ Cheese
  1. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Peel & devein shrimp. Grate parmesan cheese.
Puff Pastry Shells
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut (4) 5-inch circles from puff pastry. Beat the egg & prick holes in the large circles with a fork & brush with egg. Cut 12 more RINGS from pastry about an inch wide. Lay a ring on each of the 4 circles & brush with egg wash. Repeat this until there are 3 rings on each large circle. Bake the puff pastry shells for 25 minutes.
Finish the Broth
  1. Remove the cooked chicken from the hot stock. Reserve stock for later. Remove any chicken skin, bones, veins, cartilage, or sinew (discard all this) & pick the cooked meat from the bones. Shred the larger bits up roughly. Then transfer the chicken meat to a large saucepan.
  2. Strain the chicken stock in a fine sieve or colander over a large pan. You should end up with about 6 cups (1,4 l) of chicken stock. Discard the cooked vegetables.
Meatballs
  1. In a bowl, combine ground veal (pork), salt & pepper, egg & breadcrumbs. Mix well and make tiny balls of ½ oz (15 g) each. You should end up with about 20 of them. Cover the meatballs with cling film and store them in the fridge until later.
  2. Bring the stock to a gentle boil again. Once warm, add the meatballs, shrimp & mushrooms. Poach them for about 5 minutes. Then remove the meatballs, shrimp & mushrooms using a slotted spoon. Add them to the shredded chicken in the large saucepan.
Béchamel Sauce
  1. Take the chicken stock off the heat now. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well until you get a wet crumble. Gently cook this over medium-low heat for about a minute. Then gradually add splashes of the warm chicken stock until you get a sticky flour paste. Keep stirring. Don't add too much at once or the sauce will become lumpy.
  2. Whisk well. Gradually add more chicken stock (about 3 to 4 cups) until you get a pretty runny sauce. Bring the sauce to a low simmer & cook for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. whisk in Montreal Steak Spice, onion salt, garlic powder, mustard & grated parmesan.
  3. Add the béchamel sauce to the chicken, meatballs, shrimp & mushrooms. Stir carefully. Cover the pan for another 5 minutes and let the vol au vent filling warm through or place it back over very low heat.
  4. Put the vol au vent puff pastry casings onto 4 serving plates. Top with the chicken, meatball, shrimp & mushroom filling. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve the vol au vents hot.