Before I Completely Forget About 2011…

SO, just like most people I know, I am determined to start the new year off with newly revised commitments to myself, grand plans to eat healthier, and ideas of exercising and getting physically fit. I just brought home all these amazing fruits & veggies…

… and cooked a colorful meal filled with powerful antioxidants and Omega-3s!

But before I completely forget about all that delicious food I consumed in 2011, I wanted to post the last (naughty) recipes of the year!

So every Christmas morning at my Mom’s house, we have homemade cinnamon rolls. My Mom can make an amazing cinnamon roll. She usually makes about a dozen pans and shares them with everyone and has a pan or two for us to take home with us. It is a lot of work and she only does it once a year which makes it a cherished treat. When she married my step father, he came with his own set of family traditions. His family always enjoyed sausage pinwheels on Christmas morning. So, for the past twenty-some years, we have indulged every Christmas morning on homemade cinnamon rolls and sausage pinwheels. Those sausage pinwheels are especially enjoyable with some spicy honey mustard.

These aren’t some old family recipe but rather, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls laid out with Jimmy Dean spread thinly on top and then rolled up and sliced to form pinwheels. The last couple years, I always leave Christmas wanting to come up with a homemade version of these delicious but naughty little morning treats. An invitation for a New Year’s Eve gathering and a few days to consider what to make to take with us had me mulling this savory pinwheel idea over in my head. As with any good idea, it has been done many times before. I searched the internet for as many different recipes as I could find. I knew there had to be a homemade substitution for canned crescent rolls. I found lots of Rugelach recipes and decided to adapt a sweet cinnamon recipe into a savory treat. Here is what I came up with…

Mushroom Onion Pinwheels
8 oz cream cheese (I like to use Nancy’s organic version. Unlike most commercial cream cheeses, this one is not bleached.)
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
big handful of fresh spinach, chopped
fresh herbs (I used thyme, parsley, rosemary)
cave-aged Gruyere, grated (maybe a cup)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten and whisked up with 1 Tbsp milk
Parmesan Reggiano, finely grated

Mix the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light. Add the salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Saute the onion. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until done. Remove from heat and mix with chopped spinach, fresh herbs, grated Gruyere, and salt & pepper. Cool completely.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with a thin layer of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. (I didn’t quite make enough for all of my dough balls so for the last one, I mixed in some chopped pecans, sharp cheddar cheese and a little more olive oil. It made for quite a decadent little pinwheel but it was simply delicious! This makes me want to come up with millions different mixtures! So many options here…) Roll the dough up and in parchment paper. Place roll in the freezer for about 10 minutes.Remove from the freezer and slice into thin pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush each pinwheel with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and more fresh herbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Since the holidays were a little nutty and we spent a few days right at Christmas visiting family in South Carolina, Grant and I decided to have our own little celebration New Year’s Day. So we exchanged stocking gifties and made a fantastic dinner, had a delicious dessert, and watched a movie. No recipes here as Grant did most of the cooking, I just helped out. But, I didn’t want this meal to go undocumented. It was delicious. (Don’t worry, we got some black-eyed peas in earlier in the day- Thanks Rebekah & Harry!)

Sea scallops and a ruby red grapefruit.

Totally decadent mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, Cowboy bacon, and grated aged Gouda!

Seared Sea Scallops with Browned Butter and Grapefruit Sauce topped with fresh Thyme, Sauteed Spinach in Olive Oil and Garlic, & Fancy Mashed Potatoes.

Yummiest Toasted Almond Ice Cream (Thanks Turnip Truck!) with the most delicious little candy bar cookies (Thanks again Rebekah!).

Happy 2012- Wishing everyone good Health, Happiness, and Hope for the coming year!

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