Welcome to Happy Spring and Easter Dishes
This post isn’t about creating big menu’s for spring and Easter dining, we already have other posts for that, but it is about making something very nice, seasonal, and special. Something you could make to take to a gathering or a pot luck dinner, or to give as a gift for a neighbor that doesn’t get out much, or just something to make at home for your own family.
We are a family that treats ourselves special and we will go all out just for ourselves. This first dinner is something that we would make just for us on a Sunday night.
The first recipe is our A Tisket, A Tasket, Dinner’s in a Basket. Hope you will enjoy.
Oh, and tune back periodically as we hope to add more to this post as life goes on.
Happy Spring, and Happy Easter,
Julie and Gordon
I just wanted to feature my little antique cast iron skillet, made in Rome, Ga., where I was born, that once belonged to my grandmother. It’s stamped on the bottom. So happy to have it. That little cast iron skillet represents lots of delicious cooking in traditional cast iron passed down from my great-grandmother to me. I will always miss those women.
A Tisket, A Tasket, Dinner’s in a Basket
This was so beautiful, festive, and delicious.
I cannot even begin to describe to you just how flakey this pastry is, and how savory and comforting this tastes.
Also, Our Pasta/Veggie Stuffed Cabbage
Featured on this Post
Our Ingredients for this Sumptuous Dinner
(This recipe made TWO baskets)
- 1 Pound Puff Pastry, Thawed
- 15 – 20 Brussel Sprouts
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 2, 8 ounce bags of Tortellini Pasta (or thereabouts), Cooked and Drained.
- 3 T. Butter or Margarine
- 1/2 Cup Sauteed Onions
- Package of Button Mushrooms
- 2 – 3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- 3 T. All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk
- 1 Cup Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
- 1, 8 ounce Can Baby Corn
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste
- 1/ 4 t. White Ground Pepper
You first want to wash the Brussel spouts, then slice them in half, and place them into a large baggie.
You need to add about 1/4 cup of olive oil, then seal the bag up to make sure all the Brussel sprouts are coated.
When all the Brussel sprouts are coated with the olive oil, spill out onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
You can add some freshly ground black pepper, then place into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes. You just want to roast the Brussel sprouts to a nice golden brown.
Set aside to cool.
The Puff Pastry
You want to add some all purpose flour to either the counter or a cookie sheet surface. Then place your thawed puff pastry onto it. Roll out all four sheets with a rolling pin until flat and smooth. One sheet will be the bottom of which you will build up the sides upon it. The other sheets will be used as the sides keeping one inner sheet as the top or lid.
When you have the pastry rolled out you want to use a fork and poke holes into the pastry inner section on two of the sheets. This will ensure the pastry doesn’t rise much. Then use a sharp knife to cut out a square in the middle of the pastry, along one inch of the edge. Do this on three sheets.
We only used one sheet for the edge so the basket wouldn’t be that tall.
Cutting out the middle of the pastry.
You can see the square cut out in the middle of the pastry.
You want to place some milk into a small bowl to use as glue.
Brush the pastry with the milk to glue the sides of the basket together.
Carefully place the pastry along the sides on the top and the bottom of the basket so as not to stretch them.
You can see Gordon building up the sides of the basket.
Place the pastry into the refrigerator to keep it cool. The pastry needs to stay cool as when heated the butter’s steam will produce the lift/rise in the pastry making it light and airy.
Refrigerating the pastry in our crowded refrigerator.
Use your knife blade to make decorative cuts into the pastry top.
Do NOT slice all the way through.
Place the pastry into a 400’F oven until golden brown.
When the pastry has got to the color you want, turn the oven to 250’F to finish the cooking process of the pastry. This will dry out the pastry and keep the pastry from collapsing.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Watch the pastry so that it becomes the color that you want.
Push down the middle part of the bottom pastry with a fork, which has risen.
Here are the two bottoms of the baskets.
Here are the two tops of the baskets.
Here you can see the top and the bottom of the basket, of which you can add most anything you want to.
We Used Two Different 4-Cheese Tortellini Here
Place into a Pot of Boiling Water Until Al-Dente, then Drain.
Set Pasta Aside
Slice the cleaned mushrooms thinly.
Melt your butter into a large saute pan then place in the sliced mushrooms.
Add a little salt and pepper to taste then slice your garlic.
NOT PICTURED: I, Julie, must have missed a step in the cooking process by not photographing the sauteeing of the onions and garlic. You can see in the photo above the green pot with the butter/margarine in it. When the butter was melted, Gordon sauteed the onions for a minute or two on a medium heat, then added the chopped garlic and cooked both until softened.
Using a wet knife will ensure the garlic doesn’t stick to the knife.
Slice your garlic cloves into thin slices
You can see the onions and garlic here in the pot.
Saute your mushrooms until slightly browned and tender.
In your onion and garlic pot, add the butter and flour to create a roux.
When just cooked to get rid of the flour taste, add your milk stirring well and the flour will then soak up the liquid and become thick.
You have now made a Bechamel sauce.
Add your cheese and use a whisk to smooth out the sauce and now you have made a Mornay sauce.
Adding the Salt
Add the mushrooms and baby corn to the sauce
Then You Add Your Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Next Add Your 4-Cheese Tortellini Pasta
Look How Beautiful!
Lastly, Add Your White Pepper
Gordon Doing His Taste Testing
Now Fill Your Puff Pastry Baskets With The Filling
Our Cabbage Stuffed Veggie/Pasta
6 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic – minced
3 Carrots – peeled and grated
3 Zucchini – grated
5 Tomatoes – skinned, deseeded, and chopped
1 Cup Walnuts – chopped
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pam Cooking Spray
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
For the Sauce:
14 oz. Can of Chopped Tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Red Wine
1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1 Onion – finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp. Turmeric
1 small can Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Start a large pot of water boiling then add the pasta. Cook the pasta as per directions or until al-dente. The pasta should be tender when done, then drain the pasta and set aside.
Start another pot of boiling water and blanch the cabbage leaves.
Carefully peel off the leaves of the cabbage.
Use tongs to remove the leaves from the boiling water after 10 to 15 sec. Then immerse the leaves in cool water.
The Pasta Boiling
Here I am blanching the leaves as I am boiling the pasta. On the right I am draining the pasta in a colander.
Slice the tomatoes making an X as shown below.
Using the pot of water you blanched the cabbage in, blanch the tomatoes in for around the same time.
Doing this makes it easy to peel off the skins of the tomatoes.
Again, use tongs to remove the tomatoes from the boiling water.
The skins should look like the ones below.
If they don’t remove easily, place them in the water for another 10 sec. or so.
Slice the tomatoes into quarters and use your fingers to remove the seeds.
Slice the tomatoes into small diced pieces.
Wash and peel the carrots.
Use a grater to grate the carrots.
Then wash the zucchini and grate them the same way.
Here, I placed them into bowls until ready to use.
Chop and mince the garlic.
In a large pan or Wok, pour in your olive oil. I used two oils, because I ran out of the first one.
Heat the pan and oil to med. heat and add the garlic.
Add some pepper to taste and stir for about 1 min.
Add your carrots and zucchini.
Stir the ingredients together and cook for about 4 min.
Add your chopped seeded tomatoes and chopped walnuts and mix well.
Add your cooked pasta to the mixture and toss well. Use a flipping motion so as not to break the pasta strands.
Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
Add your hot pepper flakes…
and garlic salt and Lawry’s seasoning.
Now for the SAUCE!
Measure out your broth and chop your onions.
Add your vegetable broth to a large pot and heat to med. high heat.
Measure out your wine.
Be sure to use a wine you like to drink.
Add your wine, canned tomatoes, and dried oregano to the pot.
Now, add your chopped onions to the pot.
Salt and pepper the sauce to taste and mix well.
Add your Turmeric and stir.
The Turmeric gives the sauce great color and adds to the depth of flavor.
Turmeric is also known to help fight against cancer.
Heat the sauce to reduce it by 1/4 of the way. Stir the sauce frequently.
Add your tomato paste to the sauce and stir.
Here, I added a touch more broth and wine to enrich the condensed sauce.
The Sauce is Ready, The Mixture is Ready
Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Fill one of your cabbage leaves with your filling to about 1/2 full.
Fold over the leaf, and bring up the sides.
Bring up the front of the cabbage leaf to make a package.
Skewer the package with a long 5″ skewer.
Use a weaving motion going in and out of the cabbage leaf.
Place the stuffed cabbage skewer side down on the cooking sheet.
Add some of your reduced sauce to the top of the cabbage.
Blend the rest of your sauce until smooth.
Cover your stuffed cabbage with parchment paper then aluminum foil.
Bake the stuffed cabbage in a 350’F oven for ~20 min.
Place the stuffed cabbage on a shallow dish and top with more sauce.
You could also place your sauce down first, then lay your stuffed cabbage on top of the sauce.
Top the stuffed cabbage with grated Parmesan cheese.
Happy Spring and Easter Dishes,
Julie and Gordon