Recipes from two guys who have always loved cooking.
We were blessed with two things this last weekend: excellent weather and birthdays! It was Sam’s birthday and being a resident of San Francisco, he wanted to take advantage of the amazing Dolores Park, which happens to be less than a 10 minute walk from his place. And I love making food for a party.
Well, most parties. Made some chicken skewers for my mate Robin months ago for this BBQ party; those were awesome. But I had a hard time deciding what to make (as is often the case) for Sam’s birthday; I was seriously considering recreating the Epic Meal Time Sushi editions, because everyone would get a kick out of that. But somehow I didn’t think I would be drunk or hungry enough for that. But I couldn’t make anything seriously filling because there were loose plans to go out to eat.Bottom line, good company, good food/drinks, good times
I decided on phyllo sausage rolls, inspired by meat rolls I had in Australia years ago. Who doesn’t like finger food at a picnic? Here’s how I made them:
1 package of phyllo dough (about 24 sheets), thawed
1 package of brick cream cheese (the whole box)
Half a jar of any Bruschetta Spread , Tomato preferably
1 package of any sausage, I used Linguica, chopped
Half Medium Onion, finely chopped
About 3 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped.
About 1 cup of day old rice, any rice*
Salt and Pepper to season
½ cup of melted butter, have some more just in case
1 Beaten egg
*In my head I wanted to thin out how much sausage needed to be use, hence the rice. But this can be omitted.
Heat a pan to medium high, and once heated, throw in the Linguica, without oil. It has enough fat that it won’t stick. If you use another sausage, use additional olive oil to keep the sausage from sticking as needed. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until you see browning occurring. Then throw in your onions and spinach and season to taste. Cook this until the onions are soft, and add in the day old rice if you decide to use it. When adding in day old rice, you really have to get in there with a wooden spoon and break it up to evenly distribute it. Give it some muscle. Once everything is evenly incorporated, remove from heat and add the Bruschetta Spread. Stir evenly.
Let this mixture cool for about 20 minutes, just as long as you can handle it with your hands. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, add the whole package of cream cheese, and the mixture. Check the seasoning. Using your CLEAN hands, work the cream cheese into the sausage mixture. The warmth of your hands make it easier, but it’s going to get messy!
Once the filling is ready, it’s time to prep the phyllo. Open the package of phyllo and roll it out onto a work surface. Use damp paper towels to over the pile of phyllo dough when you aren’t using them. Then on another surface, like a large cutting board, 2 sheets at a time together, and brush butter starting from the sides working inward. (I didn’t want use 1 sheet and butter it and then place another because I think it would be too much butter. ) Repeat this again, totaling 4 sheets used. Then take a very sharp knife, and cut triangles, drawing zigzag lines from the base to the top. You should get about 4 or 5 tall triangles with a wide base. This dough was really buttery so be careful and handle it with care or else it’s going to rip! Spoon in about 2 table spoons of the mixture at the base of the triangles, leaving 2 cm from the base. Grab the two points of the triangle that form the base, fold them in, and roll the entire thing towards the tip. Make sure it’s nice and tight. Also be the judge if there’s too much mixture. You don’t want the mixture to escape (some of mine were over filled, but there were still good to eat!). Place finished rolls on a baking sheet, either grease or lined with foil.
Repeat this until you run out of filling or dough. I had about 25 made. Then beat 1 egg and brush thinly all over the rolls. Put them into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes for me. Once they are done, remove and let cool. It’s important to let them cool so you can handle them, and they can firm up a bit so that can be removed with ease.
I have to say, appetizers are definitely labor intensive, but so fun to eat. As long as you prep everything it’s going to be an enjoyable time. Go out there and make each other food. Everyone’s hungry, especially me.
Just for kicks: