holiday party time!

just had our annual tree-trimming party! i laid on a big spread:

that's not even all of it. there were latkes that disappeared in seconds. and cheese cookies. and shrimp puffs. which disappeared quickly, so i didn't get a shot of the finished item.

i started with a quarter-batch of home-made puff pastry, rolled out super thin:

i counted how many shrimp i had and measured the pastry to ensure i'd have just enough for all the shrimp. my pound of shrimp counted out to 34.

i even used a ruler! then i put a dab of home-made pepper jelly on the end of each strip, and started rolling.

the wrapped shrimp went in the oven for 20 minutes at 400f. definitely need to be baked on parchment - the jelly inevitably oozed out and made a bit of a mess!

another savory hit: the goat-cheese tarts with red onion relish:

am i the only one who hears the voices of paul hollywood and mary berry every time i bake pastry? no soggy bottoms!

goat cheese tarts with red onion relish

for the pastry:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup pastry flour
pinch salt
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
ice water

cut the butter and lard into small pieces and chill. combine the flour and salt. using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter and lard quickly into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. mixing with a fork, squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the mix and a spoon of ice water. gradually add just enough ice water to make the pastry hold together in a ball. chill.

for the filling:
1 package goat cheese (10 oz)
1/2 package cream cheese (4 oz)
2 eggs
salt & black pepper

blend the two cheeses with a wooden spoon. beat in the two eggs, and season with salt a grind or two of black pepper.

roll out the chilled pastry into a rectangle about 1/8". line 24 tart cases. spoon the cheese filling into the pastry and bake at 350f for 25 minutes, watching carefully.

for the red onion relish:
2 red onions
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

slice the onions as thinly as possible. combine with the sugar in a heavy bottomed pot, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes covered, then uncover and cook for 15 minutes more. stir in vinegar, and cook, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. allow to cool.

and because i didn't get any pics last time, the hamantaschen:

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