Monday, May 10, 2010

A Secret Weapon in the Cookery Arsenal

Frozen puff pastry.  In my neck of the woods, it's Pepperidge Farm brand. It keeps (in the freezer) a long, long time. And when you find yourself needing a fancy entree or dessert or appetizer -- there it is, ready and willing to provide a base for whatever you choose to put on it or wrap it around.  

I've topped chicken pot pie and made scrumptious fruit tarts and elegant Napoleons with my secret weapon. Most recently I made the appetizers pictured above.  Really easy, fairly quick, and very tasty.
Here's the original recipe - straight from the Pepperidge Farm site. (No, I'm not getting paid -- it's just that I really love the versatility of this stuff.  If, however, Mr. Pepperidge wanted to send me some . . . I'd sure put it to good use.)

White Pizza Appetizers
Ingredients
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets  (1 sheet), thawed
Garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese  (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olive
1/4 cup finely chopped green or red pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed

Directions
Heat the oven to 400°F.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 15x10-inch rectangle.  Cut in half lengthwise.  Place the pastry onto baking sheets.  Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork.  Sprinkle with the garlic powder.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the pastries are golden.  Divide the cheese, olives, pepper and oregano among the pastries.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Cut each pastry into 16 squares.

And here's my version, altered to suit the ingredients I had on hand and doubled because I was taking the appetizers to a party (there was a fourth rectangle that didn't fit on the tray, alas, so I ate it for supper, after the party.


Ingredients
17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets  (2 sheets), thawed (Take it out of the package and it'll thaw in about a half an hour
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese  (about 4 ounces)

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Asparagus spears -- cut in two inch lengths I'm not sure how much I used -- a good handful, I guess.
Olive oil
Konriko Cajun salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
Directions
Heat the oven to 400°F.

Toss the vegetables  in olive oil, spread on cookie sheets, sprinkle with  Konriko salt and roast about fifteen minutes till cooked but still a little crunchy (the onion can be thoroughly cooked.)  Keep the vegetables separate from one another to make dividing up easier.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 15x10-inch rectangle.  Cut in half lengthwise.  Place the pastry onto baking sheets.  Prick the pastry thoroughly with a fork.  Repeat with second sheet. (I forgot the part about pricking them and they swelled up like pillows. As soon as they were done, I gently pressed them flat with my hand. Worked fine.)


Bake for 10 minutes or until the pastries are golden. Divide the roasted vegetables and rosemary among the pastries. Top with the cheeses.


Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Cut each pastry into 16 squares.


   There are so many ways to vary this recipe -- I'm thinking of kalamata olives and a little tomato pesto. . . or prosciutto, figs and goat cheese . . . or roasted cherry tomatoes and green onions . . . or . . .


20 comments:

evalinn said...

Yummie!

Pat in east TN said...

That 'secret weapon' sounds absolutely amazing, so it's a 'must have' on my next grocery outing! I like your recipe vs theirs. Thanks for sharing!

Chhaya said...

i dun think i can find those here in india, but nice reading the details :)

it looked yummie!

Brian Miller said...

mmm...making me hungry....yeah i think you could play with that quite a bit to varyign tastes....great snaps...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Vicki, these are gorgeous. I'm going to give your recipe a try. The results are impressive. I had to laugh about your eating the one that didn't fit on the tray for supper later. How many times have we all done something like that?

Do you remember Nathalie Dupree on Atlanta PBS years ago. She had a cooking show and also a great sense of humor. She would have called that one that didn't fit the "cook's treat." We use her phrase at our house a lot.
Sam

June said...

I always have the stuff in the freezer, and rarely use it. Why is that?
I might get a little creative with supper tonight, thanks to you.
Puff pastry covered with tree bark would still be delicious!

Merisi said...

Such scrumptious fare!
I am grateful that I just had lunch, otherwise I'd desperately scratch the monitor in hope of stealing a bit. ;-)

I feel as happy as happy as a clam at high water today: No papers due for three whole weeks (last Thursday's due date for the previous assignments had been hanging like Damocles' sword over my head far too long) and I dedicated today to catch up with filing and such)! ;-)

Your pictures are gorgeous!
Are you still using the lens you bought with the camera body? I am so longing for a D90, alas, the Gods won't indulge me. ;-)

Paul C said...

This looks incredible. We have a bakery that offers appetizers similar to this, incorporating olive oil and other Mediterranean ingredients and spices.

Kaye Barley said...

omg yum. Thanks, Vicki!!

jennyfreckles said...

Tee hee - I like that little 'alas' slipped in between the 'didn't fit on the tray' and 'so I ate it'... I'll bet you were really sorry it didn't fit.

joanny said...

Love your photos and now I am hungry -- is that a Road Island Red I wonder? - Will try that recipe thanks for that yummy tip easy baking is what I do best. Love the Irises and love that beautiful clematis too.

Happy belated Mothers Day was gone all day -- did not have to cook.
On my site two of my pics did not show but fixed the problem was in a hurry for Moms day.

I am anxiously awaiting your new book --you are so close to finishing it.
Joanny

gayle said...

That is a great idea! I will get some the next time I go grocery shopping!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great recipe. I hadn't looked on their Web site, but they have lots of interesting things to try. I also love this secret weapon. So versatile and always a success.

Victoria said...

It's 4:50 p.m. here in California and now, thanks to you Vicki, I know what I'm making for dinner tonight!

And the photos are beautiful, as always.

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks to all for the nice comments!

The cook's treat is a good tradition, Sam!

June -Love the puff pastry/tree bark comment!

Same lens, Merisi! I know you're enjoying the respite!

Alas, jennyfreckles, I cannot tell a lie -- I was glad that fourth one wouldn't fit.

Joanny -- That is our Buff Orpington rooster -- Reginald Dukakis. And re book I'm finishing up -- it won't be out till 2011. But I have a new one coming out in September of this year -- THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS.

Those of you who try this recipe or a variation thereof -- let me know what you put on your puff pastry pizza!

joanny said...

Thanks Vicki

That small prize of a rooster has much prettier feathers and crown- I like this variety more and more the Buff Orpington rooster -that is!

Just a thought for you to mull around -- when the book comes out -- will you have available signed autographed copies upon request I wonder, just musing.

Joanny

Vicki Lane said...

Joanny -- I could probably arrange that. What I generally do is purchase them from a local indie bookstore, sign and personalize and send them to you for the cost of the book plus postage. I myself am not set up to sell books directly -- the tax thing is the reason, plus I prefer not to compete with bookstores who, god help them, already have way too much of it.

willow said...

Oh, yum. I'm getting some for my freezer this week! (bet it won't stay there long)

Jingle said...

http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/05/jingles-may-follower-award-week-2.html

Happy Wednesday!

Tipper said...

I love using puff pastry too!