Monday, September 21, 2009

Turnover the Season

Dear Mouse,

Happy Fall!!!

This was quite the feasting weekend. Friday and Saturday I went to TWO separate Rosh Hashanah dinners at two very food-savvy homes (my friend EKT, who did a Persian-themed menu, and our family's.) Now, while I did eat like a Queen, I feel we have already rhapsodized at length in this blog about our family's seasonal showstoppers. It's beyond the reach of my pen to describe them further. So, I will just say this: leftover cold beef brisket on a toasted English muffin spread with Nervous Nellie's tomato chutney. You're welcome.

For this post, I will instead turn to the other holiday meal that rounded out a weekend of seasonal reflection and munching: the Fall Equinox dinner that I always host at my place. It usually involves a roast chicken and something with apples. I based the dinner on that idea and on what was at the local Sunnyside Farmer's Market*.

from left: kale w/chopped bacon* & red wine vinegar, chicken baked in a bag w/mushrooms & thyme, roasted new potatoes w/pesto*, cheddar & apple* turnovers w/walnuts & dried cranberries.

Let's just revisit that last one.
from the exciting, apple-centric Fall issue of Bon Appetit
(Thanks for the subscription, Mouse!)

I am not exaggerating when I say I HAD to make them, because I read the recipe and couldn't stop thinking about them for a week. Sharp cheddar and golden delicious apples? With dried cranberries & walnuts, encased in flaky puff pastry? Also, it started a lively FaceBook debate, a first:

The Boo, via iPhone:
Is phyllo the same as puff pastry?

#1: yes :-)
#2: Yep. Just a fancy schmancy way of saying it! :)
#3: It's the Greek version.
#4:you can get some handmade premade phyllo in the freezer section of the greek bakery on 9th and 45th
#5: Actually, unfortunately that's not true. They are different recipes and different handling procedures. Puff pastry is infinitely easier and less temperamental. Phyllo dough is a nightmare to work with. But yes, you can get frozen versions of both at the supermarket.
Yeah, they're actually not the same thing at all. You can sometimes substitute one for the other, but not automatically.Both are basically ways of producing multiple layers of dough with butter in between, but that effect is achieved differently. Phyllo comes in individual paper-thin sheets, and you assemble multiple layers of it, brushing each sheet with melted butter and stacking them. Puff pastry starts as a relatively thick layer of dough topped with a layer of softened butter. These are folded (usually in threes) and then rolled out; the process is repeated and you eventually end up with multiple layers of dough and softened butter. When you buy puff pastry at the store, it is thus essentially "pre-assembled," whereas with phyllo you generally must do the layering yourself.
#5 again:
Yes, and also, Phyllo doesn't "puff", hence the naming distinction.

Thanks guys! I think we all learned something here. In the end, I spent like $11 on a fancy kind of PP at Whole Foods when I KNOW (because Ina Garten told me) that Pepperidge Farm makes it for like half that. But I had a turnover schedule to keep. It was golden delicious all right -- puffy, flaky, very, very rich. A Fall Equinox croissant in savory clothing. I'd like to try a phyllo version next and see how that goes. They are very easy and good. I will say that I like more filling than the recipe yields. It's supposedly enough for 8 turnovers, and I made four with almost all the filling. But to each his own.

The Fall Equinox is a harvest festival, known in some traditions as Second Harvest (first being Aug 1), also known as the Wine Harvest. After the 'grain harvest' of August (which is all about home-baked bread), the focus turns to the last of the fruit crops before the, apple mania. We had some great dinner conversation about this, the idea of the Harvest in our lives. Looking back over the year, what did we gather, both good and bad? Can we be thankful for both, and use both? As a wise woman once put it, "Poo is also Fertilizer". Oh, right, that was you. :-)

I like to think we can take our, ahem, 'fertilizer' (our mistakes, our misfortunes) and from them draw richness of experience and new beginnings. Take, for example, the truly terrible quinoa salad I made last week. I didn't let it cool before mixing the black beans, corn, and lime juice dressing into it, and it was a soggy, bewildering mess. BUT it made great burrito filling!! One package of tortillas later, I had a week's lunch in my freezer.

Happy composting,

The Boo


Anonymous said...

my mouth is watering just reading these ingredients and you have inspired both cravings and action to appease! and, your festival sounds so warm and caring, inviting - taking care of friendships in this way sounds very this blog, btw...

Brian said...

Was at the supermarket today and thought of this blogpost. Bought all the ingredients my dag self.

The Boo said...

Whoo hoo! Write us and let us know how it is!