Finger Food

Recipes for four of our favorite handheld snacks.

Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Mushroom Tarts

14-ounce package refrigerated pie crusts   
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces of your favorite mushrooms, chopped
(oysters or shiitake work well)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¹⁄8-inch pieces (about 2 cups)   
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup ricotta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese   
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, thyme, sage)     

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pie crusts on floured surface; roll into about a 12-inch circle. Cut into 22 rounds, each 2 inches across, using a round cutter. Press rounds into bottoms of miniature scalloped-edge pie pans, removing excess dough from around the edges. Prick bottom and sides of crusts with fork or weigh with pie weights.

Bake crusts at 425 degrees for approximately 5 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large skillet set over medium-high heat, add butter, olive oil, mushrooms, squash and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until mixture is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool down and add to a mixing bowl. With a spatula, gently fold in ricotta and lemon zest. Check your seasoning again to make sure it is to your liking.

Using a small spoon, evenly divide the mixture between the tart shells. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Garnish with grated parmesan and herbs.

Makes 22 tartlets


Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps

1 pound ground pork
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly crushed
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 fresh red chili pepper, chopped fine
leaves from 4-6 endives
1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine

Fry the chopped garlic in oil until golden brown. Add the ground pork, peanuts, fish sauce, chopped chili peppers, ground black pepper, brown sugar, and cilantro leaves. Stir constantly until mixture begins to change color, and moisture evaporates.

After about 20 minutes, the mixture should be well cooked. Turn the heat off, stir in the diced bell peppers and leave to cool.

Separate the endive leaves in to individual pieces. Heap a spoonful of this mixture into an endive leaf. This should be done as close as possible to the time of serving so the leaf does not wilt.


Pulled Pork Sliders with Garlic Aioli

1 3-5 pound pork shoulder
salt
pepper
garlic powder
your choice of barbecue sauce
slider buns

For the aioli:
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Season pork shoulder with salt, pepper and garlic powder and rub with your favorite barbecue sauce. Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4-5 hours). Once cooked, remove pork shoulder and slightly shred, discarding any fatty parts. Add ½ – 1 cup of barbecue sauce and gently mix.

To make the aioli, add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix.

Toast buns at 375 degrees until crispy. Assemble sliders by adding the pork on the bun and topping with aioli.

Serves 12-14


Blueberry-Lemon Hand Pies

For the filling:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Combine blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and water, then add this slurry (cornstarch mixture) to the boiling blueberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened slightly, remove from heat and let cool completely.


For the tarts:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoon whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water 

Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter using your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together in a separate bowl and stir them into the dough, mixing until everything is just combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly, about 15 minutes. Place the dough on a generously floured work surface. Roll it into a disc about 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as possible. Excess dough can be combined and rerolled once to obtain a few more circles. Count the total sum of circles and separate into two, reserving half of the circles for the top of the hand pies.

Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush it over the entire surface of half of the dough circles. Place a heaping tablespoon of blueberry filling into the center of each round, keeping 1/2-inch bare around the edge. Place a second circle of dough on top of the first, using your fingertips to gently press edges together around the filling, sealing the dough well on all around. If desired, press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the circle. Repeat with remaining pies.

Gently place the pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pies with remaining egg wash. Prick the top of each pie multiple times with a fork, or alternatively cut small slits with a paring knife to release steam. Bake the hand pies until golden brown and juices are bubbling out, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

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