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Island Chipotle Kotopitas

Hello Entertaining Friends,

I had done my post yesterday about a couple simple appetizers that I made this weekend for an event. I actually made a third appetizer, which wasn’t so simple. I am calling them Island Chipotle Kotopitas. Just because I can. Plus the name of the ingredients is way longer than I want the blog entry name to be. So there!

phyllo wonton appetizer dark chocolate chipotle mango strawberry havarti chicken

Island Chipotle Kotopitas

So the event we were doing will be outlined in tomorrow’s post, but it was a Charlotte Beer Babes event at the World of Beer Southend where we did an IPA Beer Tasting. I had asked the WOB-Southend ‘teacher’ for suggestions of food pairings and he suggested bold and spicy foods. Doing the Citrus Habañero Asparagus and BBQ Rumaki covered the spicy and bold, respectively.

However I am a sweets girl (contain your shock please), and I wanted to do something that was a dessert in addition. So I thought “Dark Chocolate Chipotle Sauce” in my head, and over twitter, and it was approved by the powers that be so then I decided I needed to come up with a dish that would work with that sauce. Which, by the way, I totally made up from the top of my head.

While at the grocery store, I was thinking about what could possibly go with the sauce, and thought mangoes and strawberries. Then I thought, “what about doing that with chicken, and making it a true appetizer that isn’t a dessert, but just has a sweet aspect?!?”. So I then had to go gather the perfect cheese, with the help of the deli counter ladies: Havarti. I think brie (not baked), provolone, swiss or vermont sharp white cheddar would all have gone equally well. I intend to experiment in future to test that theory, haha!

So then my dilemma was how to package this. I must have been channeling my friends big-time as I decided to use phyllo dough and make little chicken phyllo pies…also known as kotopitas, in Greek (see how I did that naming thing?!?! Yeah, I’m good like that. HA!).

So I am not going to lie. The whole phyllo dough thing is incredibly time intensive, and can be frustrating if you’re not careful. So if you want to try this recipe and not deal with what could be ‘unnecessary stress’, I would suggest spending the extra money and buying the pre-made phyllo dough mini shells from the frozen food section. However if you want to do more wonton-looking appetizers, or bigger potpie-like entrées, then you will need to grin and bear it with the phyllo dough.

This recipe yields:
50 wonton appetizers OR
50 mini pre-made shells OR
3 potpie-sized entrées

Recipe Times:
Filling: 40 minutes
PLUS
Shells (pre-bought): 1 minute, plus thawing time
OR
Hand Wrapped: 90 minutes, plus thawing time

Utensils Needed:
2 Sharp knives, 1 paring knife & 1 steak knife
2 cutting boards, 1 for raw chicken, 1 for fruit & phyllo dough
1 5-quart saucepan
1 small spatula, 1 large spatula, 1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized mixing bowl
blender (I have my handy-dandy Magic Bullet Blender as always)
APPETIZERS: 2 11×7 pans in which to bake wonton/shells
ENTREES: 3 6″-diameter round aluminum pans (like this)

What Ingredients You Need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, raw and sliced into chunks
2 teaspoons each Garden Veggie Mix & Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
2 tablespoons Butter Olive Oil (for chicken)
1 package frozen phyllo dough (you’ll only use 1 of the 2 packages, and only half of that!)
1/4 cup Butter Olive Oil (for phyllo dough if making your own)
OR ~50 mini phyllo shells (frozen, pre-made)
1 quart strawberries, rinsed
1 medium-sized mango
3 tablespoons Smuckers Hot Fudge Sauce
2 teaspoons Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Blood Orange Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Ground Chipotle Chile Powder
4 pieces thin-deli-sliced Havarti Cheese

How To Make Everything:
1) Thaw your phyllo as instructed. Preheat oven to 350. Heat saucepan over medium heat.
2) Add the 2 tbspn butter olive oil, Garden Veggie and Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto mixes  to the saucepan, stirring until well-mixed. Add your sliced chicken (I did roughly 1″ pieces) and stir with a wooden spoon until fully cooked, about 12 minutes.

ground cooked chicken

Chicken after blender…

3) Remove from heat, drain and let cool. Once cool enough to touch, gradually add chicken to blender and process until almost a ground meat texture. Place in mixing bowl.

chopped mango

Chopped Mangoes…

4) Quarter mango around pit (be careful of slicing yourself here!), and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces without skin. It’s easier to quarter with skin on, then remove skin per section as you dice mango. Add to blender and pulse for 7 seconds, to make a thick purée. Add to mixing bowl using small spatula.

pureed mango chicken

Puréed Mangoes with Chicken…

5) Remove stems from strawberries and quarter. Add to blender for 3 seconds just on a bare pulse to make a little softer. Add to mixing bowl using small spatula.

strawberry mango chicken

Pulsed Strawberries with Mango and Chicken…

6) In a small bowl, heat hot fudge sauce until just fluid, about 40 seconds. Add Dark Chocolate BV, Blood Orange EVOO, chipotle powder and hot fudge sauce to blender and mix (full speed) for 30 seconds until fully blended. This will distribute the chipotle evenly, as you’d not want to bite into chocolate and get a mouthful of nothing but chipotle!

dark chocolate chipotle sauce

Mixed Dark Chipotle Chocolate Sauce…

7) Once sauce is fully blended, add to mixing bowl using small spatula and stir until everything is mixed together evenly. This may take about 3 minutes. This will also end up looking slightly mush-like, but trust me that it will taste amazing!

dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry

Island Chipotle Chicken Mixture…

8a) Shells: If using pre-made phyllo shells, once they are thawed according to instructions, continue to step 9a.
8b) Wontons: Once your phyllo dough is thawed, take 4 sheets of dough (these are super thin so this will not be very thick, just as a note) and place on your non-chicken cutting board. Using your 1/4 cup Butter EVOO (“butter” for this section), spread a very thin amount of “butter” over top layer of phyllo dough. Invert so that it’s facing the 2nd layer of phyllo. Flip the 4-pack over and repeat process for the opposite side. Cut into 6 squares. Repeat until have roughly 50 squares. Continue to step 9b.
8c) Potpie: Once your phyllo dough is thawed, take 6 sheets of dough, and place on your non-chicken cutting board. Using your 1/4 cup Butter EVOO (“butter” for this section), spread a very thin amount of “butter” over top layer of phyllo dough. Invert so that it’s facing the 2nd layer of phyllo. Flip the 6-pack over and repeat process for the opposite side. Repeat for other 2 ‘base shells’. Continue to step 9c.

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton kotopita

Building Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

9a) Shells: Place your shells in the pans and add 3/4 teaspoon chicken mixture for each shell. Top each shell with enough Havarti cheese to just cover the chicken mixture, about 1/4-inch square. Continue to step 11.
9b) Wontons: Place each square in pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon chicken mixture to center of wonton. Top each wonton with about 1/2-inch square of Havarti cheese to just cover the chicken mixture. Fold the phyllo together (brush with a little “butter” if needed to make it stay) until closed at top. Continue to step 11.
9c) Potpie: Place the phyllo dough in round pan so fits like a pie crust (doesn’t have to cover all sides though!). Add 1 1/2 cups chicken mixture to each ‘base shell’. Top each with enough Havarti cheese to cover the chicken mixture, about 1 1/3 slices.
10) Potpie: Take 4 sheets of dough, fold in half, then in half again. Place on top of potpie filling. Add a little “butter” to top and then fold the ‘base shell’ over so that it is closed fully and stays closed. Repeat for other 2 ‘top shells’.

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton kotopita

Buttered Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

11) Bake for 10 minutes for shells, 15 minutes for wontons, and 22 minutes for potpies.
12) Let cool, serve and enjoy! Best part, you can serve all of these in the very dishes that you’re baking them in, woohoo! Easy serve, easy clean-up!

phyllo dark chocolate chipotle sauce chicken mango strawberry wonton island chipotle kotopita

Buttered Island Chipotle Kotopitas (Wonton sized)…

Now, I know this all seems super complicated, however I will tell you that I made 22 of the wontons and 2 of the potpie-sized dishes in about 90 minutes, from start to finish.

I actually did the potpie idea because I was running out of time to get to the event on time, and figured that would serve as lunch and dinner for this week! Perfect and easy, just cover and put in the fridge, then reheat (microwave for 2 minutes, oven at 250 for 10 minutes) and enjoy!

So these really aren’t as complicated as they seem, I promise!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Quick, Simple, Fancy Appetizers

Hello Cooking Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I love quick and simple appetizers that everyone thinks took you forever to make, and are super complicated.

Baked Asparagus Citrus Habañero

Citrus Habañero Asparagus

I have two standbys that I used this weekend for a bring-appetizers-to-share event. I would like to share with you because I got so many “how did you make this?!?!” comments this weekend. I am going to share multiple variations for both just to be fair to all palates!

#1) ‘Fancy’ Asparagus

What you need: 1 bunch of asparagus, flavored olive oils, flavored balsamic vinegars, and various spices, as desired.

Preheat your oven to 350, and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray (I prefer aluminum ones to bake-and-take-and-toss when I’m going somewhere not at a house).

Keep the rubber bands on your asparagus and rinse the stems in cold water for a few seconds. Then, using a very sharp and long knife (i.e. not a paring knife), cut the bottom 1 inch off the asparagus stems. This is key to taste and keeping the rubber bands on is key to sanity. It also lets you cut your asparagus to mostly equal length quite simply!

So now we have our rinsed, prepped asparagus, remove the rubber bands and dump the stems into your pan (layers are perfectly fine). Over top of this you will drizzle and sprinkle your olive oils and spices. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until they’re to your desired tenderness (18) or crispness (12). I usually do about 15 minutes, to get it right in the middle!

A) Citrus-Habañero: pour about 3 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over your asparagus. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of Citrus Habañero Olive Oil evenly over top you asparagus. Bake.

B) Peppery Citrus: mix together 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Olive Oil, and pour over top the asparagus. Using a peppermill or grinder, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper over top the asparagus. Bake.

C) Garlicky Mushroom & Fig: mix together 2 teaspoons each Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dill weed, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Pour over asparagus evenly. Bake.

D) Butter & Bacon: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons worth of Bacon!Bacon! over top, evenly. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over asparagus & bacon. Bake.

E) Garden Veggie: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons each worth of Garden Veggie and Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto mixes evenly over asparagus. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil, OR pour 1 tablespoon melted butter plus 1 teaspoon Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, evenly over asparagus & spices. Bake.

**Note, 2 tablespoons butter olive oil is equivalent to just under 1/4 cup melted (unsalted) butter.

#2) Rumaki

BBQ Barbeque Rumaki Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

BBQ Rumaki

What you need: toothpicks, 1 package bacon, 2 cans diced & drained water chestnuts, sauce as desired.

Preheat oven to 350, and either line a cookie sheet with foil or use an 11×7 pan – spray either one with cooking spray.

The basics of what you will do: cut your bacon strips into thirds, and then wrap 1 of these strips around 1 diced water chestnut. Stick a toothpick through starting where the wrap ends, and going through the water chestnut to the other side. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bacon is to your taste (crisp or soft). This does 2 things for you: 1) this keeps the bacon from getting messy and going everywhere while baking, and 2) creates an instant ‘serving’ option for guests to enjoy these without getting more utensils dirty!

So here are some ways to flavor the rumaki!

A) BBQ Rumaki: Take a barbeque sauce of your choice, I used the Laurel Gray Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ Sauce, and pour about 1/4 cup into the bottom of your pan. Place your tooth-picked rumaki into the pan in rows, and then drizzle another 1/8 cup of the sauce over top of the rumaki. Bake.

B) Ginger-Soy Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Meanwhile, mix together 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Butter Olive Oil (or 2 tbspn melted butter), dash of cumin, and 2 teaspoons ground ginger. For the ginger, if you happen to have pickled ginger on hand, you could substitute either 1 teaspoon of the pickled liquid OR 2 teaspoons of blended pickled ginger (solids only) for the ground ginger. Mix this well. Pour over rumaki and bake.

C) Garden Veggie Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Sprinkle Garden Veggie and 2 tablespoons Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil over the asparagus, evenly. Bake.

So I sincerely hope that you enjoyed these, and if you try them, please let me know which version you tried (even if it’s your own) and how you liked them!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baked Lamb à la Beth

Hello Cooking Friends,

I was in the mood for lamb the other night, and happened to have 4 lamb shoulder chops in my freezer. So I thawed them out, then went hunting some recipe ideas. I looked around for some inspiration of lamb chops, and really just decided to wing it… According to my brother, that turned out to be a good call. Whew and Yay!

Baked Lamb à la Beth!

First take your raw lamb (defrosted if had been frozen), and place in a pan to bake. I ended up using two 8×8 cake pans, because I was planning on doing nut and nut-free versions. Once the meat is in the pan, do the following for EACH lamb chop, in this order: pour about 1 tablespoon of Garlic Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Sundried Tomato, Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, 3 shakes Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix, and 2 shakes Garden Veggie Dip Mix. I’m including the links for 2 reasons: a) you can go buy these exact items if you so chose, and b) so you know what they are & what’s in them so you can find an appropriate substitute! 

Back to cooking. Next, top your lamb-in-the-pan, evenly distributed across all chops, with 1/2 cup diced green pepper, 6 oz diced mushrooms, and 1/2 cup Walnut Chips (1 small package). If you’re only doing half of the lamb chops with nuts, like I did, then just use 1/4 cup Walnut Chips. 

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, and this will get you a medium-well lamb chop dish. Now, before we go on I need to explain something. I do NOT eat any meat raw-in-any-part except sushi. I get my fish well-done, my poultry extra-well done, my lamb and other red meats well done, hamburgers well-done, and so on. I saw the outside of this lamb (granted partly concealed by so much yummy vinegar-oil-veggie goodness), after 30 minutes, and thought it was well done. I sliced into it and it was still a little pink, but I tried it on a whim. It was delicious. My brother likes his meats medium-rare, but he really liked the way it came out as well. So I figured I’d let you all know in case you are in the WELL family like me! 

We had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and microwaving it for 90 seconds made the meat into well done state (but not dried out), which was still just as delicious since the juices of the oils-and-vinegars were still surrounding the meat and veggies.

Lamb with mushrooms, green peppers, oils & vinegars, oh my!

So that is how I made my lamb chops, and they turned out really well, so I recommend you try something along these lines if you like lamb (or steak or whatever other red meat you so chose), particularly with the Dark Chocolate Balsamic added – that just made it, for me. Not too sweet, but not too chocolatey either. Mmmm. 🙂 Let me know what you think! 

Craft You Later,
Beth

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