I think there are two types of people in the world: those who want to live in New York City and those who don't. You can probably guess which group I'm in. I am happiest when I'm in a city, and New York is of course the city of cities. Growing up I was sure I'd be a Manhattan attorney and wear flattering suits to work on the Subway. I'd swipe my card, strut onto the subway, and read the Wall Street journal, too absorbed in mergers and stock prices to notice the attractive investment banker trying to catch my eye. Sometimes a bagel was part of the fantasy, sometimes not.
I did go there in real life, too, and my suspicions were confirmed with every trip: this was the city for me. But my plans were seriously derailed when I got married to a man who was (and is) perfect in every way - except for the fact that living in Manhattan is his worst nightmare. You win some, you lose some. Seriously, he's way better than that imaginary investment banker.
So I will never live there. And that is okay. There are lots of other great places to live. For instance, I love Utah - the mountains, the Mormons, the fry sauce, the deliciously unique concept of scones, et cetera. But it would be a dream to get out for a bit and head to the city that never sleeps.
So - prepare yourself for ridiculousness here - I saw a contest. And the main prize was a trip to Manhattan! To hang out with cool people! I couldn't not enter. It didn't matter that the deadline was in less than 24 hours. It didn't matter that it was a recipe competition and I have never in my life created an actual-honest-to-goodness-real recipe. It was New York City and that was the end of the matter.
Plus it was an excuse to hang out in the kitchen all day. It would be fun! My kids could help or hang out in with me! I would just throw some stuff together and make something so delicious the people at Serious Eats would display it prominently on their front page! Forever!
Suffice it to say I did not know what I was getting into.
Yeah that's embarrassing.
So the deal is that Pepperidge Farm and one of my favorite food blogs, Serious Eats, are trying to get people to buy more puff pastry. I love puff pastry, so, done. The guidelines are just puff pastry and fall. And lucky me, yesterday I threw the kids in the car and grabbed some seasonal produce from a stand on the side of the road, so we were in luck.
I learned a lot. First, making up a recipe is hard. Like, really hard. My admiration for chefs has gone waaaaaay up. Second, I am capable of baking while two people scream at me for my attention. Who knew? Also, I really do enjoy experimenting. I should do it more often.
The results of my kitchen extravaganza were inspired by Dorrie Greenspan and her recipe for "Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good." The "everything good" part entails chunks of bread, cream, cheese, green onions, and whatever else strikes your fancy. I had bought all the stuff for it but never got around to making it. (Please tell me you do that too.) (But it's probably for the best because the pie pumpkins I bought for it tasted like air. And not in a good way.) The puff pastry gave me the "bread," so I put the pumpkin - or in this case, local acorn squash - on the inside, along with things that remind me of fall.
And you guys, it's really good! I made a really good recipe! It tastes warm from the cinnamon and it's dotted with billowy cream cheese and filled with bits of things that are best this time of year like apples and onions and cherries. Whether it's sweet or savory probably depends on the last thing you ate. And then there's, you know, puff pastry. Yum.
Sadly, I ran out of daylight and these are the best pictures I got. Will I win with pictures like these? Not likely. But dang it, it's a chance to get out of Utah and I'm taking it.
Oh, and you should make it. It's really good.
Everything Autumn Turnovers (aka Get Me The Heck Out of Utah)
2 Sheets frozen puff pastry
Half an acorn squash, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 small Golden Delicious apple
¼ large onion
1 Tablespoon of salted butter
½ cooked quinoa
¼ cup chopped dried cherries or chopped dried cranberries
1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus extra for brushing on the squash
1.5 oz cream cheese, chilled
Flour for dusting
1 Teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove pastry from its packaging and allow to defrost.
Place strips of squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, rub to cover all the squash. Put a little maple syrup in a container and brush the squash with it. Reserve extra. Bake the squash for 45 minutes or until opaque with some brown spots.
Meanwhile, peel, seed, and chop the onion in small pieces. Slice the onion into strips. Melt half the butter in a pan over medium low heat and sauté the onions until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add onions and remaining butter. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
When the squash is done and has cooked a bit, remove the skins and slice the strips into rough cubes. Combine all ingredients except pastry and cream cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. You should, you know, like how it tastes. Cut cream cheese into small cubes (about 24) and add to the quinoa mixture. Combine gently so you have little pockets of cream cheese all over.
Gently smooth out puff pastry sheets with a rolling pin, using extra flour if required. Cut each sheet into four squares. Prick sheets all over with a fork. Place 2 level tablespoons of filling in a corner each square, leaving a ½ inch edge. Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash. Fold the sheets over to make a triangle. Seal edges with a fork. Make one or two slits in each turnover and brush with egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.