Tag Archives: finger food

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas
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Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Jill bought me Ina Garten new cookbook “Make it Ahead”. I’m not a make it ahead kinda guy but I see the point when you are entertaining etc… She has a Ham & Leek Empanada recipe that looked good so I decided to give it a go. Wow they were amazing. Ina has always had great recipes but I think her last two books are her best. She is doing such a great job with simplicity but special recipes. Can’t wait to try some more.

People..these are for real! Pretty easy to make and the payoff is off the charts. I changed it a little bit but these babies are automatically on my “best of list”. After one try. You have a flaky delicate puff pastry filled with shaved ham and creamy Gruyere with the soft onion notes that leeks provide along with some spinach. I think the spinach was added to satisfy “healthy” guilt. She added basil that I excluded. I also doubled up on the mixture amount for each. Typical dude move.

I can see the ladies serving them at parties, showers, bible studies, book clubs, Downton Abbey watch parties, Easter etc.. Guys will like them too because they are really tasty. Gotta give em a try. Ina nailed this one.
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Ingredients:
Frozen Puff Pastry(I used 1 package, Ina used 2)
4 oz of deli shaved ham
4 oz of shredded Gruyere cheese (I used a Cheddar/Gruyere)
1 1/2 cups of Leeks (small diced the white and light green parts)
2 oz chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of creme fraiche
AP flour for dusting pastry to avoid sticking
1 egg beaten with 2 tbs of milk for egg wash
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Defrost your puff pastry

2. Thinly cut your leeks (in half and then diced into fingernail looking pieces). Wash them well and drain the water. In a medium heated pan, melt your butter and add your leeks. Stir until soft and then remove from the burner and add the creme fraiche and stir for a minute.

3. In a large bowl add your ham and Gruyere and top with the leek mixture. stir until combined and then add the spinach and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
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4. Dust a board or your counter with flour. Whisk your egg wash but adding an egg and milk and beat until well combined. Unroll your puff pastry sheet and cut into four squares. Roll each out. Add your filling. Apply egg wash to the outer edges. Given I used all the mixture and half the puff pastry as Ina, I packed mine pretty full. I balled up the mixture so it was tight and then lifted the pastry square in one hand and folded the edges and gave them a pinch. Once sealed, I put them back on the board and used a fork to seal the edges and make them look better.
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5. Place your empanadas on the parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd them or have them touch each other. Brush on the egg wash to the tops of each one and then lightly salt and pepper them.
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6. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let them rest for 5 minutes.
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Bacon Butter Cracker Caramel Bites

Bacon Butter Cracker Caramel Bites
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Over the holidays I made these little guys for a party I hosted and I am happy to say that not one was left on the plate. The recipe came from Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman show but I changed it up just a bit by not using an entire slice of bacon for each cracker but instead cut it to cover one side of the cracker.

I’ve covered the magic of roasting bacon and how the fat renders out beautifully leaving you with a perfect bite. The brown sugar and bacon fat creates a caramel type effect. It all absorbs into the cracker and leaves you with something between a sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy and spicy bite.

An easy and great appetizer for any party.

Ingredients:
Butter Crackers (I used Kebler’s Town House )
Good thick bacon
Brown Sugar
Sriracha or cayenne

Directions:
1. Cut your bacon to cover your cracker. There will be slight shrinkage. ( I was in the pool!!!) Top the bacon that is atop the cracker with a dusting of brown sugar and a little Sriracha or cayenne. Cayenne is powerful so be careful if you are not used to using it.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your crackers on a wire rack atop of baking sheet. This is necessary to prevent burning the bottom of the cracker. Cook for 40-55mins until bacon is crispy but not burned. Keep an eye these after 30mins. Every oven is different.

Jalapeno Popper (Goat Cheese, Cheddar, Salami)

Jalapeno Popper

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Jalapeno Popper
Jalapeno Popper

Jalapeno Popper stuffed with Goat cheese, Salami and sharp cheddar.

I had some extra jalapenos so while roasting my chicken, I decided to make a few poppers.
We had some Texas Goat Cheese and Salami from our pizza experiments so diced the salami up very finely and combined it with a tbs of goat cheese. I also cut a strip of Cheddar cheese the length of the pepper.

Directions:
Cut the top off the jalapeno and hollow out the insides (remove seed and membrane as they contain most of the heat).
Insert your stick of cheddar and then pack in the goat cheese mixture into the pepper.

Roast until done. As you can see I used the same 400 degree oven I had my chicken in.

Jalapeno Popper
Jalapeno Popper

up close jalapeno popper
up close jalapeno popper