Apple, Gruyere & Caramelized Onion Tarts

Loyal fans, (hi, Mom) how I’ve missed you! Spring has sprung and while everyone is loading up their shopping carts with Matzah and macaroons (no, not the chic ones), I’m busy whipping up little party snacks for the heck of it. These. Will. Blow. Your. Mind.  I can’t even write my usual sharp little intro, these are just too delicious to not swoon over immediately. The combination of tart apple, caramelized onion,  savory mushroom and that sharp gruyere cheese will take your tastebuds to a whole new planet.  These little delights are really out of this world. Plus, the petite size allows you to eat at least five before feeling any sort of food remorse.

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Don’t judge me by my brand name spatula…



photo 4photo 5photo 5Apple, Gruyere, Caramelized Onion Tarts

Source: Williams-Sonoma 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

4 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp butter

1 granny smith apple, peeled and cubed

1 tsp sugar

1½ oz. shredded gruyere cheese

½ tsp dried thyme

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and throw in sliced onions. Saute for about 20 minutes with a pinch of salt until the onions are nicely brown and caramelized. Set aside in a bowl. Cook mushrooms in the same pan for about 5 minutes and put them in the bowl with the onions. In the same pan, melt butter and sauté apples with the the sugar for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the onion and mushroom mixture. Add the cheese and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Using a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2 inch rectangles and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the puff pastry with egg and put a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each rectangle. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Lock yourself in a room with them. Enjoy with good friends.


Comfort Pot Pie

Sunday night is downright depressing.  With Monday looming over your head like a dark cloud, it’s important to treat yo’ self, especially in these cold winter months.  Mac and cheese, homemade pizza, a nice hearty soup or chili are all good options. But if you’re feeling fancy and all-American, which is pretty much how I feel all the time, chicken pot pie is the way to go for a cozy Sunday night supper. There’s something so incredible about that herbaceous, brothy gravy, crisp veggies and tender chunks of chicken all under a golden puff pastry roof. Now, that’s a house I would like to live in. All year round. Utensil advice: use a spoon for this. It’s that good.

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Chicken Pot Pie 

Based on Mark Bittman’s Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler recipe 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, washed well and choppedpicstitch (42)

2 carrots chopped

2 cups quartered button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced

salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas (or any mixed veggies you like)

4 sprigs of thyme

2 tsp corn starch

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add chopped leek. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme leaves, carrots and chicken. Cook until chicken and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook for another minute or so. Whisk the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the broth together and add the mixture back into the pan. Stir until the liquid thickens a bit. Pour into a baking dish, top with one sheet of puff pastry. Make sure there are no holes as the liquid will seep out and prevent the crust from cooking. Brush with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown just cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Notes: The first time I made this, I put slits in the crust which resulted in lots of liquid seeping out and pooling on top of the crust. Bad news. Don’t make clever slits like I did. Also, I’ve used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, and it’s just ok.  I found the thighs to be infinitely better. They stay super tender and moist.

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Chicken Marsala

Cancel those Olive Garden reservations right now: it’s about to get Italian up in here.  Chicken cutlets, mushrooms and Marsala wine join forces in this elegant dish, which was a Friday night staple at my house growing up. Chicken Marsala was one of my dad’s favorite Shabbat dinners to cook. His other gourmet go-to’s included sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breasts, hamburger soup, lemon chicken, BBQ chicken, and Mexican flank steak (to name just a few).  Most dads don’t step foot in the kitchen— let alone pound out chicken breasts, delicately pan fry them to perfection and finish them with a mushroom wine reduction sauce. This dish is a labor of love, something that became clear to me only when I whipped it up myself. But I would expect no less from my dad, whose tremendous love for his family shined through in his cooking. This chicken marsala is rich, delicious and tastes straight up restaurant quality. Pairs well with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, lemon-garlic green beans or a nice green salad—  make sure to cook this for someone you love.

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Chicken Marsala 

This recipe is based off of the Veal Scallopine Alla Marsala recipe from The New York Times Cookbook.

4 chicken breasts, pounded thinphoto 2

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

10 oz mushrooms sliced

1 cup Marsala wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp margarine

Pound chicken breasts until about 1/4 inch thick. Season flour liberally with salt and pepper and mix with a fork. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Shake the excess flour off the chicken, place in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden. Remove to a plate. Lower the heat and add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes or so until nicely browned. Pour in the Marsala wine and let cook for a few seconds and then add the chicken stock and margarine. Let the sauce reduce for a few minutes. Place the chicken back in the pan and let everything mingle for a few minutes while the chicken heats through with the sauce.

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