Cheese and Pomegranate Stuffed Figs

 

Robiola-Stuffed Figs with Pomegranate
Photo Credit: Maxime Iattoni, 2011

Simple, sweet, and totally indulgent, these figs will be the talk of your party… even though they will be the easiest appetizer to make! Pungent robiola cheese can be substituted with brie, ricotta, or any other soft cheese in this simple no-cook appetizer.

Makes 15 Individual Figs
Ingredients:
1 pint fresh figs (about 15 figs), stemmed
8 ounces of soft cheese, like robiola cheese, rind removed, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh  pomegranate seeds
Dill sprigs, for garnish

 

Directions:
Working from the stem end of each fig and using a paring knife, cut an “x”, about halfway toward the base; set aside. Mix robiola, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Spoon filling into a piping bag with a plain 1⁄2″ tip; pipe about 1 teaspoon into each fig. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and dill sprigs and serve.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Advertisements

Golden Curry Puffs

Adapted from Christina Arokiasamy
The Spice Merchant’s Daughter, 2015

The Spice Merchant's Daughter - Christina Arokiasamy's photo.

Curry puffs are very popular tea time snacks in Malaysia. Prepared like Indian samosas, golden curry puffs are lightly spiced, drawing flavors from sweet potato, potato and chicken. For this recipe, Chef Arokiasamy has chosen to use frozen puff pastry for convenience—it is available at most supermarkets or you can wrap the filling in our Malaysian Raya Brand or Kawan Brand Paratha.

 

Makes About 2 Dozen Pastries

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 pound frozen puff pastry
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato,peeled and diced
1 small  Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 springs curry leaves finely chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 Tablespoons Madras curry powder
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

Directions:
Thaw the peas in a medium bowl filled with warm water for 10 minutes. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and set aside to thaw. Preheat the oven to 400°F .

Meanwhile, set up a steamer by bringing a couple of inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place carrots, sweet potato, potato and peas in the steamer insert and set the insert over the boiling water. Cover and steam for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaf, ginger and garlic and fry until the garlic is golden and the spices release a fragrant scent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and curry powder and cook, stirring as needed until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

Add the steamed vegetables, season with the sugar and salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

When you are ready to make the curry puffs, lay one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to increase by about 1 inch all around and thin it slightly. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 3-inch discs circles. Repeat with the remaining pastry. You will need about 22 circles.

Lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place 1 tablespoon of the cooled filling in the center of each circle and then fold over the dough to form a semicircle. Gently seal the edges with a fork and place the curry puffs on a baking sheet. Brush each pastry with egg and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


A Hogmanay Celebration

There is nothing like exploring a country through it’s food, culture and traditions.

Last year, I ventured into Italy with  dishes to celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes with family and friends. This year, given my obsession with the Starz Television Series, “Outlander” inspired by the novels written by Diana  Gabaldon, I decided to take a tour of  Scottish foods that celebrate Hogmanay.

So, I know you are asking, “What is Hogmanay?”……..

cD1kY2I2YTU2NjU3MGQ4OTdjMGQ2ODgyMWUyMjY3ZjAzMCZnPWUyM2QxMjAwZjY2MWQwZWM0NTk2NzBhNDk1NGI1ZDdi (1).jpg

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations begin with a massive torchlight parade.  Photo Credit: Jeff Mitchell/ Getty Images

 

Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration of New Years Eve and can last for days. And no one celebrates the eve quite like the Scots. The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but it is believed that the Scots inherited the tradition from Norse and Gaelic observances and celebration of the shortest day of the year. However, many believe that as Christmas was virtually banned by the Protestant Reformation in Scotland at the end of the 17th century and not celebrated  until 400 years later in 1958, New Years Eve was a good excuse for some revelry and the excuse to drink whisky and eat good food. And what is a party without a great Scotch Whisky…..

Hogmanay food includes all the traditional foods of Scotland, so expect to find warm hearty dishes as befits this time of year. There are many  customs and traditions surrounding the evening which include  gift giving and the centuries-old custom of First Footing, the greeting of first guest of the New Year into one’s home.

 

Cocktails

It has to be Whisky in Scotland. Scotch Whisky is world renowned and what better time to drink it than Hogmanay. Nobody knows exactly when the art of distilling was first practiced in Scotland but it is believed it was the Ancient Celts who first practiced the art. Uisge Beatha – the water of life – as the Celts call it evolved into Scotch, a drink made only in Scotland, but enjoyed around the world.

Check out About’s Guide to Cocktails Colleen Graham has great info on Whisky and if you don’t like it neat, some great Whisky Recipes.

You can also find an interesting array of festive beverages at Outlander Kitchen, where Highland Coffee made with whisky and Cherry Bounce can add a spark of mirth to your cups.

Slàinte mhath!

 

 

Appetizers/Starters

Keeping the dishes light and simple, a green salad, brie and red onion tartlets and a rich leek soup with bacon croutons are served.

 

 

 

Main Dishes

Savory classics such as a hearty, substantial fare like Venison Pie with a side dish of either Rumbledethumps or delicious classic Tatties and Neeps. Salmon coulibiac also makes a decadent showpiece dish for your guest to enjoy.  Braised beef cheek with roast Orkney fillet, champ mash, carrots and a wild mushroom sauce is also an excellent choice for a main course.

Sides

Roasted artichokes and broccoli can be a gluten-free option that goes well with beef. Although green beans and pickled baby bell peppers are not a traditional Scottish dish, it offers a nice counterbalance to the proteins being served.

Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage and onion. Similar to Irish colcannon, it is either served as an accompaniment to a main dish or as a main dish itself.Cooked leftovers from a roast meal can be used. However, to make fresh rumbledethumps one needs to lightly sauté the shredded onion and cabbage in butter until the onion is translucent and the cabbage wilted, then add some potatoes mashed with butter, salt and pepper; after thoroughly mixing the ingredients, they are placed into an oven proof dish, and cheddar  cheese placed on top, if desired. This is then baked until golden brown on top.

 

 

 

Desserts

For the sweet-toothed Shortbread is always eaten at  Hogmanay and sometimes served with cheese and there will most certainly be Scottish Cranachan – toasted  oatmeal, Scottish raspberries whipped cream and a touch of whisky.

 

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor