Giveaway and Gratitude

If you are still reading this blog of mine, I thank you. I realize I haven't been the blogger I wish I could be these past many months. I've got so many ideas and have been making so many yummy things that it pains me when I can't share them.

However, my grad class that has been taking over my life will be over in two short weeks. At that time, report cards and parent-teacher conferences will also be over. This means I will have, dare I say it? FREE TIME AGAIN!

My hope is to fill you in on many of my kitchen-related adventures in the not-too-distant future.

In other news, I learned of this giveaway from another blog I visit often. It's hosted by Girlymama and it involves le creuset cookware...which is awesome.

SO...if you're interested, head on over to Girlymama and check it out!

And you have my most sincere gratitude for stopping by...don't give up on me just yet, I'm hoping there's lots of good food that will make it on here soon :)


My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend that I keep in my freezer. When I have to come up with dessert in a snap, it's always there to lend a hand. When I want to create something impressive, it always comes through for me. It's name is Puff Pastry...and we are BFF.
You can find puff pastry in the freezer section with the dessert stuff. I use Pepperidge Farm. I buy the flat sheets (two sheets per package) instead of the shells, but I'm sure they are also great to have. Puff pastry is one of those things that appears to be a painstaking thing to make and people are typically impressed when it's put before them. It's flaky and buttery and the perfect base for all sorts of flavors, sweet or savory.

In my book, How to Cook Without a Book, Pam Anderson devoted her dessert chapter to puff pastry and the many last minute things you can make with it. I've been using puff pastry long before my love affair with How to Cook Without a Book began, but I liked her chocolate turnovers idea so much I thought I would share it with you through pictures.

First, you thaw one sheet of puff pastry and cut it into nine squares (approx. 3'' x 3''). I actually made six slightly bigger ones in the pictures below. You also get out some semi-sweet chocolate and break it into nine little pieces (about 1/4 oz. each).

If you want to make Jam turnovers, just get out your favorite flavor and substitute 1 tsp of jam for each 1/4 oz. piece of chocolate (I did both below). Place the jam or chocolate into the lower corner of each square.

Then you beat an egg into a little dish and brush the egg onto the edges of the each square.

Fold each square in half diagonally to form a little triangle turnover. Place each turnover onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the egg. I put little dollops of jam on the jam turnovers so that I could tell them apart once they were baked. You obviously don't have to do that.

Bake the turnovers in a 425 degree oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. If you are using both racks of the oven, switch the cookie sheets halfway through. If you are only using one cookie sheet, rotate it halfway through.

They come out looking delicious, but let them cool before burning your tongue so badly that you can't even taste them (obviously a lesson learned by personal experience). You can also sprinkle them with powdered sugar if you want...which I forgot to do.

If you have puff pastry, some chocolate in your cupboard or jam in your fridge, you've got a pretty impressive little dessert to serve last minute. I recently had a real BFF over for dinner (as opposed to my food-related BFFs) and she enjoyed them immensely. She also said, "Only you would have puff pastry all ready to go in your freezer". But puff pastry is not fancy-shmancy...it's literally idiot-proof and is the perfect thing to have on hand for no-fuss desserts or appetizers.

This is only 1 of the ten million things you can do with puff pastry...in fact, I used it to make something completely awesome that I'll share in a post soon.