I’m headed to a dinner party this evening and I want to bring an appetizer. I am a little pressed for time, so I want it to be tasty but time efficient. I will go to my standard mixture and also channel a bit of my inner Sandra Lee to create these turnovers:
My “standard mixture” is a combination of ingredients that have always served me well when making appetizers and entrees in a pinch. I use mushroom duxelles (sometimes mixed with pitted kalamata olives), caramelized onions, and goat cheese. All these foods have strong flavors and slightly varied textures that are just different and pungent enough that they always seem to work together.
Mushroom duxelles is a mushroom paste-like mixture common in French cuisine, particularly in Beef Wellington. It is usually prepared with pureed mushrooms and shallots cooked down until most of the excess moisture has been removed. In the case of tonight, I did a similar mixture, but minus the shallots. I instead processed some pitted kalamata olives in for much needed saltiness.
Besides the mushrooms, I also caramelized a large Vidalia onion. When I caramelize onions, I keep browning and reducing them to release much of the natural sugars, but in the end, I finish them off with a bit of white sugar or brown sugar for added sweetness and caramel flavor.
When the mushrooms and onions are done, I combine the two items with goat cheese and some sort of pastry vessel and voila! I have an appetizer. I’ve made tarts, phyllo shells, calzones, pizzas, etc with the mixture. This evening, I experimented with a sheet of seamless Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations dough to make the turnovers.
The slideshow below shows the process: