So, what does it take to be a Cajun/Creole New Orleans recipe? Is it ingredients (this recipe had ingredients commonly used in Cajun/Creole New Orleans cooking)?
Is it location (This recipe was "created" in a Kansas kitchen, so it has never seen the kitchens of residents of the Big Easy)?
Is it spirit (Any old cheerleaders out there... "We've got spirit, yes we do... We've got spirit, how bout you")?
So, by the power vested in me by the International Internet police, by a 2/3rds majority of positively answered questions (almost enough to get a national health care bill passed... but I digress...) I am going to declare this original Kansas recipe as officially un-officially a Nouveau Cajun/Creole New Orleans recipe (sorry purists).
The Genesis for this recipe comes from researching a recipe for Spinach Madeleine (a TRUE Cajun dish), and a mistake on my part. Spinach Madeline is a traditional southern dish, first presented in a Junior League of Baton Rouge cookbook. It calls for cooked spinach (one of my favorite things and Velveeta cheese (one of my least favorite things). But, the idea stuck in my head, and I pondered what I could do to make it something I would like, and make good party food (these eventually appeared on my FOODBUZZ 24,24,24 party as appetizers).
The other inspiration came from a failed attempt to make puff pastry. You have heard me brag a couple of times about making my own Puff Pastry. It is easy and not nearly as hands on time consuming as you might think. But, in prepping for the party, I wanted to make some. I am not sure what happened, but it just did not come out as good as it should have. the butter was mixing in with the dough, creating VERY buttery dough, instead of layers. So I started over and made a fresh batch that came out right.
But I didn't want to waste it. I decided to use the dough to make a pinwheel appetizer. If you like this recipe and decide to try it, use a pizza dough rolled out very thin. Actually, next time I have some crescent rolls, i think the stuffing in my pinwheels would work GREAT in crescent rolls... But I am digressing, back to what I did...
Mise en Place...
2 TBS Olive Oil
8 ounces fresh Spinach (I always remove the stems)
1/2 cup crushed Pecans
1/2 cup Mushrooms diced fine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 sheet Puffed Pastry (try these with crescent rolls and let me know what happens).
Saute the spinach in the oil with the mushrooms and pecans. As the spinach cooks, it wilts up and you will get equal parts cooked spinach, pecans and mushroom mix.
Allow the mixture to cool. DO NOT put hot stuff on puffed pastry.
OH MY GOD, here comes another digression...
As I am typing this up, TVLAND is rerunning Saturday Night Fever.I am having flashbacks to the 70's. In my day, I could do about 3/5ths of these moves well (and 1/5th of them VERY badly). Not bad for Peoria, Illinois discos. AND, I did all this in 4 inch gray patten leather platform shoes. Let no one tell you kids different, the 70's were hip and happening in a far out way... Let's all take a break and do the hustle...
Phew, those were the days my friends indeed. I don't hustle much anymore, but I can still do a mean Lindy hop. But I digress...
OK, back to the recipe...
Lay out your Pastry sheet, and add the mixture.
Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the mixture and roll up in a tube to get that pinwheel look when you slice into this.
BUT FIRST, before you slice, put the tube in the fridge for an hour. The cold dough will slice much easier.
Slice into 1/2 inch circles.
Lay out the slices on parchment paper
Bake at 400 degree pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, until they start to brown.
And there you have it. I got about 12 beautiful ones, and the two end pieces that I taste tested before serving to my friends. These are REALLY, REALLY good... Cajuns should be proud to call these their own.