Pear and Gorgonzola Bites

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Earlier this summer I attended a wedding and, true to form, the first thing I did after the ceremony was find the door that the servers were walking out of so that I could nab food in as efficient and yummy a way a possible. My favorite bite of the night was puff pastry with pear, gorgonzola cheese, and caramelized onions. I was determined to figure out how to make it and decided to test it out at a gathering for Nick Troiano at my apartment. I’m proud to say that they came out wonderfully and were super simple to make. Definitely found my new go-to party bite!

Pear and Gorgonzola Bites (20-25) 

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (I suggest Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • 2 pears
  1. Slice onions 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick. Caramelize in a medium skillet over low heat with a little olive oil, stirring occasionally. The key here is to give the onions lots of time and not to rush, ideally cook for 1-2 hours.
  2. Remove puff pastry from freezer. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Cut pears into a small dice.
  4. Slice puff pastry (not frozen, but still as cold as possible) into medium-sized rectangles, approx. 3.5″ x 1.5″.
  5. Transfer puff pastry rectangles to 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  6. Place a small dollop of caramelized onions in the center of each rectangle. Top with about 1/2 tsp of pear and 1/2 tsp crumbled gorgonzola.
  7. Place baking sheets in freezer for 15 minutes. This is important because for the puff pastry to puff (which is sort of the point) it needs to go into the oven cold.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

 

Need other party nibbles? Check out these recipes!

Chilled Shrimp Salsa

Polenta Triangles with Honeyed Goat Cheese 

4 Easy Party Bites 

Fresh and Light Marinated Mushroom Pasta

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With the cold weather dragging on and on I’ve burnt out on heavy winter food. This mushroom dish, inspired by one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes, is the perfect quick fix. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish but light enough, with a strong lemon finish, to remind you that warm weather is on the way!

Marinated Mushroom Pasta (Serves 5)

1 package Linguine
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
10-12oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced very thinly

1. Toss all ingredients except linguine in a large bowl. Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook pasta till al dente. Drain loosely, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
3. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to the bowl of mushrooms.
4. Toss and serve immediately. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and parsley if desired.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted butternut squash with pumpkin seeds is a side for roast chicken (https://pippacooks.com/2013/10/11/spatchcock-roast-chicken/)

Roasted butternut squash with pumpkin seeds is a side for roast chicken (https://pippacooks.com/2013/10/11/spatchcock-roast-chicken/)

It finally feels like fall! Fall means fall food which is just about the most homey and comforting food there is. I turn to butternut squash, homemade pasta, hearty sauces, and bolder cuts of meat. Roasting butternut squash releases it’s natural sugar. It balance this out, it is important to layer on other flavors. In this recipe I used rosemary, thyme, and pumpkin seeds. I also recommend cayenne pepper.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seeds (serves 2-3)

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash or 2 packages of pre-peeled butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel and cube squash.
  3. Toss with pumpkin seeds, thyme, olive oil, and salt to taste.
  4. Spread on lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes (turning with a wooden spoon after 10 minutes) or until soft.

Summer Corn Salad

SummerCornSalad

Summer brings a lot of amazing things – sun, longer days, vacation, and an excuse to drink rose like water. Summer’s bounty food wise is a marvel. Starting right about now and continuing until early-september farmer’s markets are overflowing with sweet corn, tomatoes, berries, and so much more. I don’t like to pick favorites with food but I have to say, I wait all year to eat just-picked sweet corn and sun-ripened tomatoes.

This salad is a flavorful, light, and healthy, recipe that makes use of those two amazing summer ingredients. Serve it alongside anything fresh off the grill. This past weekend in Sag Harbor we paired it with grilled whole lobster basted with an herb garlic butter.

Summer Corn Salad (Serves 6-8) 

  • 4 cups of cooked corn, cooked in the husk on the grill or steamed and cut off the cob.
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded (cut into thin strips)
  • 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite vinagrette
  • salt
  • pepper

Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl and serve!

Pommes Dauphinoise

Pomme Dauphinoise, Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle

Pomme Dauphinoise, Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle

Potatoes cooked in cream, garlic and rosemary. Really, what objections could you have? For the best results make sure that the potatoes are equal in thickness so that they cook at the same rate. Serve with roast chicken or a good steak and lots of veggies. I most recently made this at a friends house for a dinner party but it is a great dish to throw together whenever you need to feed a crowd and want something fancy looking but quick. Want to get really crazy? Make individual mini-gratin’s in a muffin tin. Layer potato slices and gruyere before pouring the milk mixture over top.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup gruyere, grated
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel potatoes (if desired) and slice 1/4″ thick. Use a mandolin if possible to ensure that slices are equal in thickness.
  3. Bring milk, cream, 3 cloves of garlic, and rosemary  to a simmer. Remove from heat and let steep.
  4. Rub baking dish with remaining clove of garlic and butter. Arrange potato slices in dish in an overlapping pattern. All slices should fit in 1 equal layer.
  5. Pour warm milk mixture over potatoes.
  6. Top with grated gruyere and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until browned and potatoes are soft but not falling apart.