It was one of those weeks where I found myself with no idea's for this weeks Friday Night. I thought I will see what looks good at the store, then I would plan the menu. I was at work and had a thought... I would go to Trader Joe's in Framingham, it's out of the way but I need new ingredients to work with. I had only been there a couple times and I love it, especial the prices compared to Whole Foods. The problem with Trader Joe's; even more out of the way and there is no meat counter, just pre packaged meats. I grabbed some pork tenderloin, ground beef and cute little hamburger buns, cheese and chutney, bread, garlic and herb pizza dough and prosciutto, fresh blueberries along with a few other things. So here are the "Friday Night Bites" I came up with.
Fried Dough Triangles
I saw this kind of thing on Molto Mario. I missed exactly what he did and I really wasn't paying attention, but he made a dough ( I think it was just flour, water, salt and maybe olive oil. No yeast like you find in pizza dough). I thought "well let's do this idea but with pizza dough. He rolled out the dough pretty thin and cut it like a pizza then took the pieces of dough and fried them in olive oil. He spread a very soft cheese on them and topped them with prosciutto. So I did the same thing but with canola oil for frying (which takes about 2 minutes on each side). He said you could substitute the cheese he was using, because it's hard to get in the US, with a brie or Telleggio. I found this cheese a Trader Joe's, soft like a brie and come to find out acted like butter but had the taste of a very mild blue cheese, it was imported from France and it was a triple cream.. dolche.. somethingorother... So good. So to assemble I spread some of that buttery cheese on the dough triangles and topped them with prosciutto, it was delicious!!
Beef Slider's with Ginger-Mango Chutney and Goat Cheese with Plantain Fries
When we went to Naples Florida a few weeks back, we had slider's two different times and they were both very good. It made us both say..."we should make slider's again"... While I walked though Trader Joe's I came across these great looking mini burger buns and so I had this idea right away. I came across the chutney's and something told me to get this ginger mango chutney and that could go on the slider..."I have goat cheese at home that will be good too..." I simply formed the mini burger's with 85% cold ground beef, without mashing it all too much and chilled until ready to cook. I heated my cast iron skillet and seasoned the beef patties with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. I drizzled olive oil on then and seared on each side for two minutes then into a hot oven for 5 minutes and they were perfectly medium. I toasted the mini buns in a pan with butter then assembled them using the chutney and goat cheese. It brought us right back to Naples!! I had an idea to make plantain fries but Trader Joe's didn't have any plantains. I happened to go into an Indian market and saw some but they were very unripe. I wanted the yellow and black ones (those are ripe and much sweeter and a little softer) and all they had were very green ones (which are more dry and not sweet at all). I peeled them and slow roasted them to soften them and just before this course I deep fried them. They were just OK.
"Filet" of Pork Tenderloin and Apple-Cranberry Sauce over Sweet Potato Puree
I just cut the pork tenderloin like they do beef tenderloin, in order to get a filet mignon. You cut about a two inch section and put it down on the flat side and press down slightly to about a 1 and a half inch thickness. I just seared it in my cast iron pan and put it in the oven to finish cooking. For the apple-cranberry sauce I followed this recipe that looked good. For the sweet potato I peeled, cut into about 1 inch dice and boiled until tender. Drain and mashed in some butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper and sparkling apple cider. I really mashed and whipped it with the masher to get it creamy and smooth (without getting out the blender or processor).
Blueberry Pie A`la Mode
I did have an idea that I would make a blueberry pie, after just seeing Laura Calder do one on the cooking channel so I got 4-6 oz packages. I had planned to do the one I saw her make but the weather changed today and it's starting to feel like fall. The one Laura made was a pre baked pie crust with a lightened cream cheese base and uncooked macerated blueberries on top and it's done. I felt like that was too summer-ey, I needed something more fall-ey. I don't think I ever made a blueberry pie before (if you can believe that), so I looked it up and there was one that had 721 reviews. It was a total of 4.5 stars out of 5 which is good, but more importantly 721 is my lucky number. I immediately checked out this recipe and proceeded with it. I made my own pastry dough which I have in my head already and don't need a recipe for.
Dice 14 Tbsp of unsalted butter into 1/2 inch dice
1 Tablespoon of shortening
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup ice water
Put the butter and shortening on a small dish and put it in the freezer. Put the water in a glass measure cup and put in freezer. Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with the sharp blade attachment, or combine these ingredients in a bowl and do it by hand. After the butter has had a good 5-10 minutes in the freezer add it to the bowl of the food processor and pulse about 12-14 times until you get course pea sized crumbs, or do this with a hand held pastry blender. Slowly drizzle and pulse the water into the flour mixture just enough, so when you squeeze the mixture in your hand it clumps together. If you are doing it by hand use a fork to evenly incorporate the water. Bring it together and wrap it in plastic wrap, forming into a disk. You want the dough to still be cold, don't over work the dough or you won't get a flaky crust. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.
I decorated the top crust by cutting small circles out to mimic a bunch of blueberries on a stem. I bushed the top with heavy cream and sprinkled with turbinado sugar.
I served the pie with some vanilla ice cream that I had in the freezer and it was goooood!