Monday, June 25, 2012

Phylo Dough Guava, Cherries & Queso Blanco

These past few weeks I had been on a rut, which is why not much had been posted on this blog. I had been noticing that every time I went to the grocery store I was buying exactly the same stuff week after week. Last week I finally decided that I would start looking out for ways in which I could break my habitual shopping. One of the purchases I made was phylo dough sheets, because I wanted to try my hand at making various types of pastries. I also got a block of guava paste and some queso blanco. Guava paste is something that I grew up with and love. When I was a little girl living in Colombia my mom used to put a small cube for snack time in my lunch box (mine was a Bee Gees tin one with matching thermos). Anyway, it was only later in life that I found out that guava is also a tremendously nutritious little fruit.

Alright, enough of my rambling. Here is what you will need to make these pastries. I made one cherry and one guava pastry:

3 TBSP Butter (Melted-You will use this to brush it on the phylo sheets)
4 Phylo Sheets
1 Cup fresh Cherries (Pitted and cut in half)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (Dark or Light, it is up to you and your preference)
2-4 oz Guava Paste Block (Cut into slices about 1/4" thick)
1 32oz block of Queso Blanco (Grated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cherry Pastry How To:

Take two of the phylo sheets for  this pastry.

Place the fist sheet on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and coat with melted butter using a pastry brush. Fold in half and coat the top with another bit more of the melted butter. Place the second sheet on top and repeat the butter coating process. Your pastry will now have four layers of phylo.

Place half of your cherries at the center making a thick stripe with them but allowing enough room on the pastry so that you can fold the pastry and cover the cherries on both sides and a little bit of room at the ends so that you can fold those over as well. (see pictures below). Drizzle the cherries with the brown sugar, and then add a layer of the queso blanco. Repeat these steps with the remaining half of the cherries.

Fold the short ends of the phylo dough in first and then proceed folding over the sides making sure that everything is tucked in well so that the pastry will stay together.

Place in the baking sheet in the oven and bake the pastry for  20-30 making sure to check it often to ensure that the phylo is not browning too quickly or burning. You will know it is ready when your phylo looks golden brown and the contents look like they are bubbling.

For the guava pastry you will follow the same steps as for the cherry pastry except this one will only get the guava paste slices and cheese without the brown sugar.

Let them cool slightly and serve either on their own or with some ice cream of your choice.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Baked Does it Again

I know there are a number of people out there who do not live anywhere near Brooklyn and that bastion of goodness, Baked. Rest at ease because the Baked boys have heard you loud and clear and have made some of their mixes available to the masses via Williams-Sonoma. Granted it is not a huge selection, but it should suffice until you can make your way to this mecca of delicious baked treats.

I on my part decided to buy their book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I am absolutely in love with their recipe for brownies. My husband and daughter do not mind at all if I make them a batch. This book is packed with great recipes of their most popular confections. I also gives the reader great ideas for home made gifts and how to decorate their confections. All in all a great buy and something that your family will be able to enjoy as much as you will enjoy making stuff for them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quick Leek, Shallot & Garlic Quiche

It is nearly summer here in the northern hemisphere and the temperatures have definitely been getting up there every now and again. We have enjoyed a few weekends of wonderful weather lately so everyone is in the mood for barbecues and getting together with friends and family. With that in mind I whipped up a quiche that is quick, tasty, somewhat vegetarian (it has eggs so it can't claim the full vegetarian title), that will make those events even more enjoyable.

Here is the recipe:

Quick Leek, Shallot & Garlic Quiche

1 Pre-made Pre-cooked Pie Shell
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 Leeks (sliced thin)
1 Shallot (Large if possible, sliced thin)
5 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tsp  Black Truffle Oil (optional)
3 Eggs
1 1/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Pound Gruyere Cheese (Grated - about 1 1/3 Cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Put the 2 TBSP of olive oil in a frying pan and heat at medium high heat. Add the leeks, shallots and garlic to the hot oil and saute until the leeks become soft. Add in the black truffle oil (optional, but it will give the quiche an enhanced flavor). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and allow this mixture to cool off.

In a bowl beat the eggs and add the milk in. Once well mixed add in the cheese and the cool leek mixture. Once all the ingredients are well incorporated pour the mixture into the pre made pie shell.

Place in the oven on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the custard puffs in the center.

Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tast Eatery - My Ultimate Burger

This post is long over due and I am greatly shamed for not having done so earlier. To explain my shame I have to boast a bit about my travels and experience with food and specifically burgers. Those of you who follow my other blog would know about the places I have been. With that you would also know that I am not usually one to claim I have eaten the world's greatest anything. I think this will be my first claim to that because quite sincerely I cannot find a better burger than the one made at Tast Eatery in Fort Lee NJ. I know this a big claim but trust me on this. The burger is made with organic beef from grass fed cattle that is raised humanely. It would not be on the menu if this was not the case because the owners of Tast are committed to only using products from farms that use responsible farming methods including the way cattle is raised.

My husband and I happened upon this place after we moved to Fort Lee in 2007. We noticed a nicely decorated storefront where some wonderful aromas wafted through the air any time anyone opened the door. The store was conveniently located across the street form a bus stop for the line my husband and I took into Manhattan for work.Yong (one of the partners) was absolutely obsessed with the perfect cup of coffee, so it was a match made in heaven when we met him and stepped through the door into Tast.

I have eaten burgers in some well established international restaurants and eateries in Dubai, London, Buenos Aires, Bogota and all over the US and I have never, ever, ever tasted a burger as wonderful as this one. That is my humble opinion, but if you would like to put me to the test you are more than welcome to take on my challenge and visit this place. If the burger does not get you hooked something else in their menu certainly will, and you can eat resting assured that if Yong allows the label "organic" onto anything on his menu it is most definitely what it claims to be. We have made pilgrimages to this eatery on the many occasions our travels brought us back home even if it was for a short time. I will keep on going back to Tast as long as I can get to it, no matter how far I am because it is just that great of a place and it is run by people who truly care about what they do.