Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Finger Food

New Year’s Eve ……. normally this eve would bring about lots of parties and celebrations but the start of 2021 looks much more subdued. As expected, cities have cancelled or modified their plans due to the pandemic. Although tradition has been silenced this year, one thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st.

When I was growing up, I recall one of the Christmas tree ornaments my mother had was a mushroom with a white spotted red cap. At that time, I remember thinking it seemed unusual as a Christmas tree ornament but never really questioned it. Many years later, through my interest in food history, I understand the connection.

In Germany and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe this iconic mushroom (Amanita muscaria) has long been considered a symbol of good luck and is intertwined with the Yuletide Season.

‘The Mushroom’ of Christmas and the New Year is frequently found growing underneath pine trees because the roots of this specific mushroom can only grow in the root zones of certain trees. There is some speculation that the red & white of Christmas and the use of pine trees may be linked to these humble mushrooms.

Even though the Amanita muscaria mushroom is toxic and should never be eaten it is still symbolizes the hope for good fortune in the coming year. The tradition of gifting mushroom imagery has stuck around, especially for those of German or Austrian descent who still exchange the pretty red & white mushrooms at Christmas time (often in the form of cards or other trinkets). Its not hard to understand why ‘meringue’ mushrooms are a popular decoration for the ‘Yule Log’ cakes.

After all these years, I understand the meaning of my mothers little mushroom ornament. New Year’s of 2020 seems like a good time to make a mushroom finger food in hopes of having the good fortune of Covid 19 coming to an end so we can all resume ‘normal’ life in 2021.

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Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Finger Food
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat; add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, add the mushrooms & sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are completely soft & all the liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, sage & thyme; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Add the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up all of the browned bits, & cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
  6. Unfold the thawed sheet of puff pastry & cut out 36 circles from dough, placing them evenly spaced on the baking sheets. Using a very sharp knife, make four small scores around the perimeter of the dough, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch from the edge.
  7. Top the rounds of puff pastry with a small spoonful of the mushroom mixture, trying to keep the filling within the score marks. Top with grated Gruyere cheese. Brush the edges of the dough rounds with the egg wash.
  8. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 15-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Shrimp Pot Pie

There are many kinds of comfort food. The humble pot pie seems to be one that fits into that category quite well. In 1951, the first frozen pot pie was created by the C. A. Swanson Company and was made of chicken.

If you do a search for a seafood pot pie on the internet, very often what you find is basically a copy of chicken pot pie with seafood subbed in. The sauce or gravy is a ‘cream of whatever’ can of soup. Nothing wrong with that, but I find if you use a combo of clam juice, half & half cream and some seafood spices, you can come up with a more defined flavor.

The nice thing about a pot pie is that it can be made to feed a crowd or as an individual meal. Whether it has a bottom crust or not is up to you. Toppings can vary from mashed potatoes to cornbread or biscuits etc., etc. Above all else, you can make some extras to freeze for another day. As the saying goes … its all good!

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Shrimp Pot Pie
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword shrimp pot pie,
Servings
SERVINGS
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. Thaw frozen puff pastry in refrigerator. Keep chilled until you are ready for it. The pastry will be used for a top crust ONLY. Butter the bottom & sides of your casserole dish; set aside.
  2. In a large pot, pour the clam nectar; bring to a simmer over medium heat & add the shrimp. Poach shrimp JUST until they are opaque & cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Pour the broth & shrimp into a bowl & set aside.
  3. Return the pot back to the stove; over medium heat & melt the butter. Stir in onion, celery & mushrooms; saute until vegetables are translucent, 5-6 minutes then stir in the garlic, flour & seasoning. Cook, stirring for 1 minute then add the shrimp & broth. Cook for several minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Add 1/3 cup half & half & simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. In a small saucepan, place potatoes & peas. Add enough lightly salted water to barely cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat & cook at a low boil until the potatoes are just tender, 7-8 minutes. Drain. Taste the shrimp sauce; add salt & pepper to taste. Add potatoes, peas & tomatoes (if using). Pour mixture into buttered casserole dish.
  6. Place the chilled pastry over the filling, tucking it down between the filling & the dish or drape it over the sides. Poke a steam vent in the top with a paring knife. Place the casserole on a baking sheet. Beat the egg with remaining Tbsp of half & half. Lightly brush the pastry with egg wash.
  7. Bake casserole until filling is bubbly & top is golden brown about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack & allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Fresh Fruit Pizza

The quintessential summer BBQ dessert! Fruit pizza is like a giant cookie, covered with luscious cream, layered with colorful fresh fruit, topped with glaze and a drizzle of chocolate, if you please.

If you have been following my blogs, you have probably already noticed, choice is something I’m big on. Fruit pizza is a classic dessert with so many possibilities. I have always enjoyed to start with the original idea of a recipe and see how many ways I can vary it without getting too involved or requiring a lot of extra ingredients and time.

Since CANADA DAY celebrations are right around the corner I thought it was a good time to enjoy Fruit Pizza personalized’Here are some ideas to mix and match to your liking.


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Fresh Fruit Pizza

Personalize not only with ingredient choices but the design as well

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings


Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust

Oatmeal Crust

Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough

Cream Cheese Topping

Cool Whip / Custard Topping

Honey - Yogurt Topping

Citrus Glaze

Pineapple Glaze

Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)

Chocolate Drizzle (optional)

Servings


Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust

Oatmeal Crust

Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough

Cream Cheese Topping

Cool Whip / Custard Topping

Honey - Yogurt Topping

Citrus Glaze

Pineapple Glaze

Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)

Chocolate Drizzle (optional)

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
For Shortbread & Oatmeal Crusts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar until light. Add any flavorings. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until well blended. Press dough into pan & prick with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool completely.

Frozen Puff Pastry
  1. Follow package directions. Cool completely & place on serving tray.

Crescent Roll Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Pinch together crescent roll dough as you press into a 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Topping
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, lime juice concentrate & sugar until smooth.

Cool Whip/Custard Topping
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry pudding mix & milk for 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.

Honey - Yogurt Topping
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt & honey.

Citrus & Pineapple Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thickens. Remove from heat & cool slightly. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the fruit with glaze. FOR PRESERVE GLAZE: mix preserves with water & brush onto fruit.

TO ASSEMBLE FRUIT PIZZA
  1. Spread topping of choice onto cooled crust & arrange fruit onto. Brush with glaze of choice. Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Dip a large spoon into chocolate; drizzle, quickly letting the chocolate fall in thin ribbons from the end of the spoon. If chocolate seems to stiff, add a drop of vegetable oil. Let pizza stand until chocolate is firm.