Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Company Over? No problem!

Sometimes company comes by unexpected: "I'm in the area, mind if I drop by?" Sounds familiar? Instantly your heart and mind starts racing. And thoughts of "What am I possible gonna feed these people?" come to mind. It's true, you are not forced to cook a meal for them--you never expected company--but, as a gracious host it's always nice to have a little something to offer your guest. Thus, I always try to keep dough on hand. Whether it’s one that you can buy in those cylinder tins with the cute little dough boy or something you whipped up and kept in the freezer it’s a great thing to have on hand. For instance, palmiers both savory and or sweet are perfect for such occurrences or late night snacks! Moreover, crepes which you can instantly fill with nutella and bananas for dessert or with a white mushroom sauce for a quick dinner!

In my case my mother-in-law was dropping by and would be here shortly. Fortunately I had thawed a store bought puff pastry sheet earlier in the day. I honestly don't recall what I had originally had in mind for that dough, but on the flash I decided to caramelize some onions which is one ingredient I always have on hand. A little thyme, butter and a little love and 20 minutes later sweet caramelized perfection! I proceeded to taking my puff pastry, lightly rolled it out (don’t want to over work it or the buttery goodness will start to melt), cut the edges about 1/2 inch width to form borders which I glued onto the remaining puff pastry with a little egg wash. Next, I used a fork to poke some holes in the center to prevent it from rising and then added the caramelized onions and thyme. Hmmmm, delicious. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the dough is puffed and golden. Then slice into squares. By time your company arrives and begins to settle in, they would be welcomed with a great comforting dish that looks like it took a lot of effort to make, but only you know the truth of its simplicity!

FYI, this dish is nice warm, but can easily be served at room temp. You can easily make this a quick dinner by adding mesclun tossed with a simple vinaigrette on the side. Either way it's a great dish to have in your back pocket for those planned and unexpected visits!


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