Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This is how we roll...

Last weekend was the first of what I hope will be many Boston area PPK potlucks. Our theme ingredient was the incredible, edible avocado.

The ingredient provided a unique challenge for me because aside from guacamole and salad/chili/taco/sandwich toppings, I never really do anything with avocado. I absolutely love it. The texture, the buttery richness... It's quite possibly nature's perfect 'junk' food.

After much careful deliberation, I decided to make a variation on an old recipe my mother and other family members have made for years involving spinach, Crescent rolls, and some sort of cheese. There are a thousand ways to make these and they go over wonderfully at parties. And in case you were wondering, Crescent rolls (yes the Pillsbury ones) are accidentally vegan.

Spinach Avocado Parcels

(makes tons-but the recipe can easily be halved)

2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach (I find frozen works better than fresh, but you can certainly use fresh)
2 small Hass avocados
2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 container Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (Follow Your Heart Cheese would work well in this recipe too-I just couldn't get to WF to get a package)
1-2 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or use a chili or jalapeno pepper)
4 cans Crescent rolls (be careful with the 'store brands' as they tend to contain 'natural flavors')

Thaw spinach in microwave (or on counter) and squeeze out excess water. Heat large pan and saute garlic in oil, cooking spray or water (whatever you fancy-I usually use cooking spray and a little water) over medium to high heat. When the garlic starts to get a little color, add the spices and spinach and mix well. Lower heat to medium. You may have to add some water to the pan to keep things from sticking. Scoop out and chop avocado flesh into small pieces and add to spinach mix. Mix well. Add cream cheese in batches, mixing well after each addition. I know it seems like a lot to put in, but trust me, it's delicious. You might have to add a little bit of water to get everything (especially the cheese) to combine properly. The mixture will be a little watery. Cook over medium to medium high heat until mixture starts to thicken. It will sort of look like a spinachy dip. Cook until it is thickened up (you can pick it up with a spoon and it won't slide off) and then remove from heat.

Assembly

The only time consuming part of the process is the assembly.

Crescent rolls are an oddly shaped triangle, like so:



Now, I like to make bite sized little minis, but if you like you can make little personal pies, like pasties or hawt pockets and you would just use two full sized rolls. Just lay one down on your baking sheet, put some filling on (watch the narrow end) and put another roll on top and press the edges down to seal. Those are easy peasy.

The smaller version requires you to cut each crescent into two pieces. Two triangles to be specific. Since the shape is a little weird, try to cut them like this.



As you can see, you will end up with one beautiful triangle and one wonky long one. Remember, triangles deserve love too.

I drop a small bit of filling into the middle, about say a teaspoon (sometimes less). You have to be careful not to under or over fill. Then fold over your three points sort of like a little diaper. This process is much easier with the 'perfect' triangles than with the wonky ones. My advice to you is to pull up the short bottom point on a wonky before pulling over the long arms.




Bake at 350 until nice and golden. These reheat well and are always a crowd pleaser.

Here's what the finished product looks like:

Bite size



Pastie



Photos courtesy of Lolo who also hosted our event. It's always nice to see how pretty my food can look if a talented photographer takes a pic!

So after making an incredible amount of these little puppies you might be left with a lot of the filling left as I was. What's a resourceful person to do? Make a casserole of course!

This was beyond easy, and brought to you by our friends at Trader Joe's (I should get paid for these endorsements, shouldn't I?).

Layered Mexican Casserole (or dip)

1 16oz can refried beans (I used spicy pinto bean)
1 small (10-12oz) jar salsa (I used TJ's Chipotle Salsa)
1 bag frozen corn (I used TJ's Super Sweet Organic Corn-it's delicious)
leftover spinach avo filling (I had about half a pan left)

Grab pan of leftover filling, drop in the whole jar of salsa and mix until well combined. In 8x8 casserole dish (this meal is screaming for some pyrex!) smooth out the can of refrieds into a nice pretty layer. Open bag of corn and make a nice layer on top of the refrieds. Then smooth the spinach salsa mixture on top and smooth out to look as pretty as possible.

I threw it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes and reheated it at the party. It disappears quickly...

29 comments:

Linda said...

yum and wow. these look so delicious. thanks for the detailed instructions because I WILL be making these soon!

bazu said...

Oh yum! I can never get enough avocado- never never never. Your recipe looks magnificent, and your event sounds so fun. You'll have to fill us in on all the future events and ingredients too!

Emmy said...

Vegan potlucks....how fun!! The food looks great. Love how you used up the extra filling too. WTG :)

Ruthie said...

Beautiful pasties! :) And casserole!

Thank you so much for the comments on my blog. They meant a lot to me. I'm sure I will be needing an online support group if I really want to shed some pounds!

Anasazi beans tasted like pinto. Shrug. :)

Vivacious Vegan said...

I love avocados. So much so that I don't even want to do anything with them but eat them raw and whole all in one sitting. Yikes! Seriously though, these sound perfect and super simple. I love recipes like this. Can't wait to make them.

Midwest Vegan said...

I love avocado anything -- I'll definitely have to try your little rolls. They sound and look yummy.

Urban Vegan said...

Avocadoes are my favoritest thing in the world. Love your little drawings on how to assemble these yummy treats.

Melody said...

Everything looks delicious... the next time you have a Boston potluck, let me know, I am in Portsmouth, NH...

Your last post.. omg, your dog is adorable! I am a huge pit bull lover, but greyhounds are a close second... sooo adorable and such cozy creatures.. i love the way the snuggle up..

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

What a great guide! The photos from the potluck have blown me away.

theONLYtania said...

Haha, I love your illustrations. Those little spinach bites look delicious! "Wonky.." very cute haha.

Mikaela said...

he he :) i like your drawings!

Jody from VegChic said...

PPK in Boston. How are you guys planning that? On the PPK boards? I'd definitely like to get in on that.

The little spinach/avocado pies look and sounds so good. The lasagna is also a great idea.

About Maine... If you are in Portland, Little Lad's Bakery and Restaurant is on Congess St. The Whole Grocer on Marginal Way (soon to become Whole Foods) carries Little Lad's stuff as well. The NotCho Cheez is in the refrigerator case. If you are there, check the the chip aisle and grab some of Lad's popcorn. I dig SnackerJack (Crackerjack, but healthier) and Herbal BBQ. They also sell Lad's graham crackers and mud crackers (yum). By the cash register are Little Lad's vegan tarts. If you see a cherry tart---buy it, you won't be disappointed!

Theresa said...

Those sound really good, but how does avocado go when it's cooked?

wheresmymind said...

great pictures today!

Johanna3 said...

i absolutely love avocados, thanks ofr the recipes and thanks for the detailed instructions !

Kati said...

What a fun event! I'd love to go to a vegan potluck one of these days. And your rolls look fantastic! Who knew the pillsbury dough was vegan?

laura jesser said...

Wow, thanks for the diagrams. You really went above and beyond for us! :) That sounds nummy and I would love to try it. Avocados are the best.

Harmonia said...

Everything looks wonderful! Miss you and your visits! thanks for boppin by tonight. Hope all is well and your weekend is a good one!

HUGs

aTxVegn said...

Wow, Nikki, both of those avocado recipes look so great! I'll bet the Parcels were the hit of the potluck. What else was there? Is this going to be a monthly event?

Twisted Cinderella said...

those look wonderful. I am going to make the Layered Mexican Casserole for sure.

Fairly Odd Tofu Mom said...

Yum! Those little spinich bites look amazing...

Only thing I've ever done is wrap 'em around veggie sausage. How uncreative I am!

appifanie said...

crescents are vegan?? really?? hurray!!

bazu said...

Nikki, definitely let me know if you want restaurant suggestions for when you come to Syracuse! If you're here on a Sunday, maybe I can drag you to another one of those potlucks ;-)

Candi said...

YUM. I wish I could have gone! I love avocado too much!

Leebot said...

Oooohhh love your vegalicious recipes! I'm going vegan this week myself to see whether or not I end up going nuts (no pun intended!) Your recipes--especially the pasty--look fantastic!!

Eric said...

Hmmm.....I know the point of these was the avocado, but do you have any ideas what would things would make good replacements for the avocado, if one were to make it without them?

Nikk said...

You can absolutely ditch the avocado. You might need a little more cheese or use some broth to keep the consistency a little wet. Bean puree might work too.

Bethany said...

looks amazing. Another use for crescent rolls. and this looks like it's the best use!

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