Over the summer I had the pleasure of meeting with (and eating with) an amazing personal chef and caterer at a retreat in Upstate New York. Shelly Witchley is owner of CHIVE, and just like her name, her amazing Kitchen Witch energy is incredible!
We had an open kitchen format, so everyone could witness all the culinary magic happening in real time. The first thing that stood out to me was the continuously good vibes. The meal prep was surrounded by music, dancing, and non-stop merriment. There was so much love poured into every appetizer, entree, and snack all weekend long.
I asked Shelly if she would share one of her recipes with our dear readers. I thought December would be a perfect time, as that is when so many of us participate in larger than usual
gatherings. She happily obliged, and provided me with one of her own custom culinary creations.
Monmouth County Organic Co-op's shipment will always include at least one dark leafy green. Although Shelly's recipe calls for fresh spinach, she assured me we can sub in any of the dark leafy greens that come our way. You may just have to cook a little longer.
Cook greens of choice until wilted (spinach is super quick!)
SPINACH, FETA AND PINE NUT PUFF PASTRY APPETIZERS
by Chef Shelly Witchley/ChiveChef.com
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
You will need:
two parchment lined sheet pans/baking sheets
one large saute pan
small pastry brush
5 large handfuls of fresh spinach (or other dark leafy green)
1 large shallot thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of crumbled feta
1/4 cup pine nuts (pre-toasted)
Zest of 2 medium lemon
Salt and pepper
1 large egg whisked with a tablespoon of water
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry that have been thawed but still very cold
Heat saute pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook shallots and garlic for 2 minutes.
Put all of the spinach in the pan with a tablespoon of water to wilt.
When spinach is completely wilted, remove from the pan to cool
When spinach is fairly cool, add feta, lemon zest and pine nuts.
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Whisk egg and water and reserve in a small bowl.
As spinach is cooling, roll out, with rolling pin, 2 puff pastry sheets with a bit of flour to avoid sticking. Roll out into a rectangle (it should come that way)
Cut the pastry with a paring knife into 12 - 3”x3” squares.
With a small pastry brush, dab into egg wash and outline each squares’ parameter, careful not to put down too much egg wash.
Place a tablespoon of spinach mixture in the center of each square.
Fold the squares over so that the egg wash sticks nicely to form a triangle, making sure that it is completely sealed, and place them on the sheet pans.
Lightly egg wash the triangles so that there is no dry dough.
Put lined sheet pan in the refrigerator so that the triangles are very cold before putting them in the hot oven. This will ensure a nice puff.
Place sheet pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, for the initial puff, before turning the oven down to 375 to finish baking the pastry.
Bake until golden brown another 8-10 minutes
Check oven often.
Do not over bake
Bring these with you to be the hit of the party. Bon appetit!