I think there’s a strong likelihood I have the name wrong for these yummy little appetizers. Chef Ina Garten calls them palmiers, but that feels just a touch too fancy and not quite the “rustic” feel I’m going for. Insider tip: Rustic often means, “These didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped but still taste really good, so let’s go with it.”
My mother-in-law makes a warm appetizer, usually around the holidays, that her kids simply refer to as “pesto dip.” It’s a layered dip with cream cheese, pesto, Parmesan cheese and tomato paste baked in the oven until bubbly and a little crispy on the edges. It’s served with a thinly sliced baguette or, if we’re feeling fancy, sometimes the bread is buttered and toasted in the oven first. Regardless, it just serves as the vehicle for the dip and it’s not uncommon to go through a couple of loaves of bread until every last morsel is scooped up.
Typically on Christmas Eve we graze on snacks and charcuterie, saving our big meal for Christmas Day. Our plan is pretty simple this year. Skiing at White Pass in the morning (I really love living an hour away from a ski resort). Home in time to put out a big spread and light a fire in the fireplace. We’ll have Height’s Church Christmas Eve service streaming on the TV as we cozy up by the fire. We even bought little candles to light along with the rest of the church when we sing “Silent Night.” From there it’s time for Christmas movies, cookies for Santa, and maybe a late drive to see the Christmas lights one more time before tucking into bed and letting Santa work his magic. There’s an 8-year-old at my house with a whole lot of questions and I’m hoping we can keep the magic alive just a little longer.
Borrowing the same flavors from the pesto dip, I made these pinwheels with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. The hardest part of the whole thing is being patient enough for the frozen puff pastry to defrost and soften enough to work with. The kids loved helping make these little treats and everyone swarmed the tray before they even cooled all the way down. These are sure to be included in our New Year’s Eve snack spread as well.
My most sincere and heartfelt Merry Christmas to you. What a year, huh? I wish you health, happiness and hope as we finish out this year.
• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. She also writes this weekly column for SCENE. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.
Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Pinwheels
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup pesto
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped and drained sun-dried tomatoes
Sprinkle of kosher salt
Lightly flour a hard surface (counter or cutting board) and unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry out lightly with a floured rolling pin until the sheet is roughly 9x11 inches.
Spread the puff pastry with pesto, then layer the sun-dried tomatoes and shredded cheeses. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Repeat from the beginning with the second sheet of puff pastry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the prepared rolls in 1/4-inch thick slices and place them on the baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow the pinwheels to cool slightly before serving warm.