Friday, July 3, 2009

The Cocktail Hour

Steff Green - "Dream Cocktail"There is one thing sacrosanct on Chebeague: the cocktail hour. Five o'clock sharp, hors d'oeuvres are absolute de rigueur. Women of a certain age will have gin or vodka, although Granny prefers bourbon. The men and older teenage boys throw back beers, and younger wives sip white wine. The only thing open to debate is how long an hour actually is, although I have never seen it confined to a mere 60 minutes.
Crudités with spinach dipBrie baked is crecsent roll dough
Chips & mango salsaBruschetta with brie cheese
The fanciest appetizers ever got in the old days was when Nabisco introduced the Triscuit® cracker back in 1903. Now things are all willy nilly with imported cheeses and ethnic salsas horning their way onto cocktail trays. Never one to pass up a chance to steal the spotlight, I whipped up a little creation that I'd been mulling over for a couple of summers, a stuffed puff pastry purse. Once they came out of the oven, they needed a name: Chebeague Satchels had a nice ring to it.
Chebeague Satchels - a recipe by Blog O. Food
  • 1½ lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 4 oz pine nuts
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 12 Tbsp (1½ stick) unsalted butter. melted
  • ¼ heavy cream
  • 1 package phyllo dough
Cooking Italian sweet sausageLeeks sweating in sauté panCompleted stuffing mixture
Remove sausage from its casings and crumble into a lightly oiled sauté pan. Cook just until the pink color disappears. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a small skillet, then remove from heat. Remove sausage to the bowl of a food processor,  and sweat leeks in pan drippings. Transfer cooked leeks to bowl with sausage. Add pine nuts and parsley and pulse food processor to break down nuts and meat. You want a slightly coarse mixture. Move to a large mixing bowl, add stuffing mix, 4 tablespoons of butter and the heavy cream, and stir to combine.
Stacking sheets of phyllo doughStuffing mounded in phyllo squaresCompleted stuffed purses
Brush one sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter and make stacks of three, buttering each sheet. With a pastry or pizza cutter, divide each stacked dough layer into six even squares and mound a tablespoon full of pork mixture into the center of each. Draw the corners of each square together and press, sealing to make a purse. Stack on a greased backing sheet. Bake satchels for 15-18 minutes in a 350° pre-heated oven. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Chebeague Satchels
Well, the purses were a hit on both the east and west sides of the island. They were herbally and crunchy and nutty and sweet. I probably could have doubled the recipe; they didn't last very long. With my enchilada casserole, it looks as if they'll be a part of our evolving island traditions.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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