Asparagus and Brie Tartlets

Asparagus & Brie TartletsThis is lovely as an hors d’oeuvre, or two per person as an appetizer. You can par-bake the wonton wrappers ahead of time, just make sure to weigh them down with something so that you retain the cup shape. I suggest dried beans or pie weights. This recipe will make 12 tartlets, but can easily be doubled. You can even make this into one large tart by layering the wrappers on the bottom of a tart pan, and then just topping with all of the filling and brie. I would suggest slightly cooking the tart first though, before adding the filling, so that it can crisp up a bit.

Ingredients:

24 wonton wrappers, thawed
2 ½ tablespoons butter, divided
24 asparagus spears, cut into 1” lengths (about 2 bunches)*
1 shallot, diced*
¼ cup white wine or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
4 oz. (120g) brie, sliced into 12 pieces/wedges
salt and pepper, to taste

* Click here to learn how to check these vegetables.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt about 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a microwave or small saucepan. Brush each wonton wrapper with the melted butter and press two wrappers into each mould of a muffin tin. When placing the wrappers I find it easier to align them first out of the tin, then press them in. You should have one wrapper square in front of you, with the flat edge facing you, and then another wrapper on top, but turned 90 degrees, so that the point is in front of you.

In a saucepan, melt remaining butter on medium heat and cook asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a fork or slotted spoon to keep the melted butter in the pan. In the same saucepan, cook the shallot for about 2 minutes. Add the white wine, and let it simmer until it has reduced by half. Add vinegar and reduce once again by half.

Pour the shallot/wine/vinegar mixture over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Divide asparagus and Brie among the muffin moulds lined with wonton wrappers. Bake on the bottom oven rack for 15 minutes or until wonton wrappers are golden brown. Serve warm.

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Shavuot – The End of the Counting… And the Beginning?

Shavout 1Those of you who are familiar with Jewish holidays, or read my blog regularly, know that since Passover we have been counting the days of the Omer. The Omer is the seven week (or 49 days for those of you who are counting, see… counting! it was in the title!) period between Passover and Shavout. At Passover we celebrated our Exodus from Egypt and the liberation and freedom that came with it. At Shavout, we celebrate and remember our time at Mt. Sinai, when G-d gave down his Ten Commandments, and the rest of his Torah (there are A LOT more than 10 rules people! See, counting again!).

This was obviously a great celebration for the Jewish people, who so recently had been slaves, were now being exalted as G-d’s chosen people, worthy to receive his Torah and practice Judaism. Many a Sage has compared Shavout, and our receiving of the Torah, to a wedding ceremony. Instead of Bride and Groom, you have G-d and His people, vowing to each other to keep and respect each other. We the Jewish people, swore on the lives of our children and future generations to uphold G-d’s laws and customs, and in return G-d bestowed upon us the majesty that is the Torah, and all that it encompasses.

Pretty heavy for newly freed slaves. In fact, if you’ve seen “The Ten Commandments”, you know the old standby with Charlton Heston, then you will know that we didn’t handle it so well when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to commune with G-d. That is why in fact, that this is special holiday to include children in. It is upon their merit that we received the Torah in the end, for the current generation was not ready.

So we know that it’s a special day, obviously, but what about the food? Well, on this holiday, the tradition is to eat dairy meals, not the meat meals that you normally expect for a big, important holiday. Why is this? (C’mon, you knew there would be a reason!). This is because before we were blessed with receiving the Torah, we did not have the complete rules of kosher. Once receiving the Torah, we now knew we could only have certain animals, slaughtered in a certain way, etc. All of our meat pots had to be made kosher! So to resolve this temporary food setback, we ate milk!

So in honour of this, one of the most special and holy occurrences in Judaism, I present to you a week of dairy dishes sure to hit the spot with your guests! Enjoy and Chag Samayach!