Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart

This might be my best invention yet.  It is reminiscent of something you might get in a French cafe, and it’s incredibly simple to make.  I imagine you would look like quite the host if you whipped this up for a lunch with friends.  Served with a side of mixed greens, it looks like something you might pay a pretty penny for in a trendy restaurant.

I had originally planned to make this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen.  But, in true home-cook fashion, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, including the bacon I had cooked and my husband ATE when he wasn’t supposed to.  *ahem*  So I had to improvise, and the end product had little to no resemblance to Kays’ recipe.  But it DID turn out amazing!

I still totally love her blog, and HIGHLY reccommend you check it out.

Chicken and Leek Puff Pastry Tart, inspired by Kayotic Kitchen

2 chicken breasts – approximately 3/4 lbs

1 package of puff pastry – two

sheets, defrosted

1 egg

1 large leek

1 Tbl vegetable oil

2 Tbl butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2 Tbl dry, white wine

1 1/2 Tbl stone ground mustard

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.  Clean and chop the leek into fine pieces.   Heat the oil on medium-low heat.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken in oil until nearly done.  Then, add butter until melted.  Add garlic and parsley and toss. Add leeks to chicken mixture.  Cook for a few minutes until bright green.  Add wine and deglaze pan.  Let the wine cook off a bit, approximately 7 minutes.  To finish, add mustard and mix well.  Take pan off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, add cream cheese and chicken mixture from pan.  Mix well.  Place chicken and cream cheese mixture in the middle of defrosted pastry.  Pinch edges well and brush the pastry with whisked egg.  Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pastry.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and flaky.  Cut into 1-2 inch pieces and serve warm.

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The return and French words

As many of you know, I have been MIA from blogging for a little over a month for lots of exciting reasons.  First, we moved.  The boyfriend and I had been living on the edge of the city in a quaint little suburb.  While this was a lovely area, new jobs and no more classes (hooray!) persuaded us to move into the city.  This way, we are both closer to work and friends.  We now have a nice little apartment in the city with a view worth a million bucks.  Here’s the proof.

You will notice the train tracks in front.  Yes, we live next to the train.  Luckily, it is a suburban commuter train so it provides more of a soft rustle than a loud, disturbing noise.  My favorite part about the new apartment is my huge kitchen.  It’s lovely, with lots of counter space and tons of cupboards.  I can’t wait to start filling them up!

Second, (as I alluded to above) I am officially and finally done with school forever!  Well, classes that is. When you are a professional, the work is never done, so I do not have my degree yet.  I now have the daunting task of finishing my dissertation and internship before they hand me my diploma.  I foresee lots of late night cooking to keep myself sane over the next year.

Lastly, the boyfriend has now become the fiance!

I love the ring and he proposed in a very sweet and personal way.  We are very excited.  However, the thought of planning a wedding in the next year while finishing my dissertation and internship makes me want to hyperventilate, so the actual event will be more than a year away.  In the mean time, the fiance (that word is still strange to me) and I are just enjoying ourselves in our new apartment.

In honor of strange, French words like fiance, I decided to post a French dessert called clafoutis.  Don’t let the French intimidate you; this is a very simple recipe.  I have made it a few times and it almost always turns out great.

Essentially, clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-TEE) is a cross between a pancake and a custard.  Its light, slightly sweet, and should have the consistency of flan.  Clafoutis is one of those strange concotions that is difficult to explain, but has a strange familiarity when eaten.  It is often baked in a pie pan and has fresh fruit in it.  It is much easier to just show you what it looks like.

I used nectarines for this clafoutis.  Traditionally, the dessert has cherries or blackberries, but almost any ripe fruit works well.  The edges of this clafoutis really puffed up, a bit like a Dutch Baby.  This often happens with clafoutis because of the amount of egg in it.  I think it has a classy, rustic look.  It is a very simple dessert that you can make quickly for unexpected company with some basic ingredients you have around the kitchen.  In fact, I made this clafoutis for some friends of ours who happened to be in town and were stopping by after dinner.   It only takes about 30 minutes to prep and make, and is usually a crowd pleaser.

Clafoutis (adapted from Playing House)

1 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups milk (this works best with whole milk, or cream)

1 dash of salt

1 Tbs pure vanilla extract

1 large nectarine, sliced 1cm thick

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a pie pan liberally.  If you like, sprinkle one Tablespoon of white sugar in the pan for a nice crust.

Beat eggs and sugar together in a large bowl.  Beat together well.  It is helpful to do this with a blender or stand mixer.  Slowly add in flour, milk, salt and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.

Place netarine in the bottom of the greased pie pan.  Pour mixture over the fruit.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve warm.  If you like, sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice cream.