Have you found yourself with some leftover puff pastry and asked yourself, “What am I to do with left over puff pastry?”  The answer is…make palmiers!  I love getting the huge ones at bakeries that I always knew as elephant ears.  My sister thinks they are a waste of calories, but my mom and I love them.  Crunchy, sweet, rich, and buttery.  Perfection.


I made a sweet and a savory palmier.  These are so easy.  Roll out your puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness.  Sprinkle your goodies on the dough and roll both ends evenly to marry in the middle.  Chill the rolled dough for 30 minutes.  Err on the side of longer chilling time to make the slicing easier.  After the dough is chilled, slice 1/4 inch pieces and place flat on a baking sheet covered in parchment or a silpat.  Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Cool for 5 minutes or so…then enjoy.

palmier1I think that maybe I didn’t use enough pastry, or maybe I did not roll it out thin enough.  I was hoping for more layers, and that just didn’t happen.  They still tasted divine, but not as filled with goodness as I was hoping.  I will definitely try them again, especially the savory ones.  I loved the flavor of the parmesan with the pastry and tomatoes.  They are such an impressive appetizer, and with store bought puff pastry, would be incredibly easy.  Check out this how-to if you need more detailed instructions.  I actually wish I’d watched this before I made mine!  It seems easier than rolling the dough and produces a nice crunchy cookie.  Mine were sweet and lovely, but more flaky than crunchy and caramelized like these.  Oh well.  There’s always next time!

Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato Palmiers

  • puff pastry
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained

Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers

  • puff pastry
  • cinnamon sugar

Follow the instructions above for forming and baking.

Daring Bakers: Puff Pastry

Once again I waited until the very last minute to complete this month’s challenge.  What kind of crazy person decides to attempt puff pastry from scratch for the first time with a time constraint?  This crazy person, that’s who.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.


I printed out the recipe and read through it and the instructions for the puff pastry vols-au-vent many times to mentally prepare myself for making this daunting pastry.  I watched the episode of Baking with Julia where Michel Richard demonstrates making the pastry.  Ben and I both watched in awe.  It’s as if he could produce a smooth and beautiful puff pastry dough with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back while balancing some spinning plates on his head.  Really, he makes it look that easy.


Thai Coconut Soup

My parents came up from Round Rock to visit for a day on their way to Oklahoma City.  They also came to drop off my amazing Swedish truck!  I am not quite sure where to put it yet.  It’s one of the biggest pieces in our house other than our bed and the couch which makes the options for placement a bit limited.


There is no rhyme or reason to our house.  I have some modern, some traditional, and some antique furniture and decor.  The problem is that I love certain things about all those styles.  While I dream of a house that would embarrass the homes in Dwell, I know that day will never come.  I am OK with that.  A lot of what we have has been given to me from my mom or Ben’s mom, and I can’t imagine replacing it with anything.  So, welcome to my hodge podge home.

While my mom was here we got pedicures and then went to the store to get ingredients for dinner.  One of the other things my mom brought to me was a wok that I’d bought for $7.99 at IKEA last weekend.  It’s not the best quality piece of cookware I own, but I still wanted to use it.  I decided to make a chicken stir fry and coconut soup.



Brown Butter and Chive Mashed Potatoes

I saw Julie and Julia a few weeks ago and thought it was great.  I loved the past and present switches and how their lives seemed to intertwine across decades.  Seeing this movie also increased my passion for cooking.  I love to cook.  I love to cook things I’ve never cooked before and I love to share food with people.  After Ben and I left the theater I was inspired and demanded that we go to the grocery store and get something to make for dinner.  There was just no way that a frozen pizza was going to do it for me that night.

Since it was after 6 when the movie got out, we decided to grill steaks and make some quick side dishes.  Thank God for the iPhone!  Without it I wouldn’t have been able to find this yummy mashed potato recipe on Epi.  Salad would have been another easy side, but I opted to make something a little more exciting; sautéed green beans with toasted walnuts.

potato6 (more…)

Wedding Weekend with the Sundbecks

My cousin Keelah got married this past Saturday in San Antonio.  Her husband is adorable, and they make a beautiful couple!  The wedding ceremony was lovely and the reception was relaxed and really fun.  My dad’s side of the family is huge, so it was fun to see so many of my relatives.


I also got to spend some time with my sister Lindsey, my brother-in-law Scott and my ridiculously adorable nephew Beckett.




Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The success of the peanut butter M&M cookie last week inspired me to try the cookie again, but this time with chocolate chips.  I changed the amount of sugars in this cookie.  I wish I could claim that I was being purposefully experimental and had some great reason for changing the ratio of white to brown sugar.  The truth is that I didn’t have enough brown sugar left.


So I used 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup white sugar.  All the rest of the ingredients remained the same.  I used 1 cup of milk chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped 60% cacao Callebaut from a block that I had left over from another recipe.

I think this cookie may be my new favorite.  I love the texture and flavor.  Even with the change in the sugar ratio they were delicious.  I did find them a bit less moist than the cookie with more brown sugar, but not enough to make them less tasty.


Dinner Rush: Steak & Provolone Panini

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t blogged about panini yet.  I make them almost once a week and it’s usually a way to use up leftover steak or chicken, so this is a quick and easy dinner.


Ben is becoming quite the master at marinating and grilling New York strip steaks.  It’s almost disappointing to eat steak at a restaurant now.  He usually buys 2 strips and I almost never finish my entire steak, so we’re left with half of a great cut of meat that just cannot be thrown away or given to Ginger.  As much as I love that dog, I don’t think feeding her a piece of meat worth $5 is justified.


Sweet Saturday: Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Crispy M&M’s are no longer being sold anywhere, and this is a bit heartbreaking for me.  I loved those little chocolaty, crispy bits.  My friend Kim and I used to share the big bags of them when we were roommates in college.  For a while after they stopped selling them at grocery stores I could find them at Target, but I haven’t seen them in over a year now.  My second favorite M&M is peanut butter.


I was at the store picking up some laundry soap and toothpaste when I saw a big bag of the Peanut Butter M&M’s on special, so I decided to buy one and make some cookies!  I thought about doing an oatmeal cookie as the base, or maybe a peanut butter dough, but after much deliberation I settled on a chocolate chip cookie dough.  I used Alton Brown’s recipe for The Chewy for a few reasons.


Monster Zucchini Part II: Zucchini Fritters

With the mound of shredded zucchini I could have made 3 batches (6 loaves) of zucchini bread.  I could have done this and frozen loves, or given them to friends.  But lets face it, I just don’t have that many friends and my freezer just couldn’t take the load!


If I would have been thinking more clearly I would have shredded half of the ginormous squash and then sliced the rest and grilled them or sauteed them to serve with the leftover mac and cheese.  We cannot change the past, so I decided to make zucchini fritters.  I looked at a few recipes.  All used shredded zucchini, at least one egg, flour, and salt and pepper.  From that base I found that the possibilities are endless.  Some recipes used Parmesan or other cheeses in the mix, some used panko or some type of bread crumbs, some used onions (scallions or red), and the seasonings that were used ranged from simple S&P to 6 different herbs in one recipe.  I mixed and matched based on what I had at home.


Monster Zucchini Part I: Zucchini Bread

Last week I was greeted at 8am with a bag of fresh vegetables from one of my co-workers.  There were beautiful red cherry tomatoes, a couple of bright green jalapeños and the biggest zucchini I had ever seen!  My first thought was zucchini bread.  I love how moist and wonderful zucchini bread is, and I like that it has vegetables in it…even if none of the original nutritional value remains after it’s been mixed with sugar, oil and eggs.


Back to the huge zucchini.  I really wish I’d weighed this monster before using it yesterday.  Just use this picture as proof…it was a big vegetable.