Ok. Gonna go back to talking about food now. Remember how I started this blog because I used to have one where I talked about myself and my day and my thoughts, and after 9 years it was tired and people were yelling at me about my life? And I promised not to do that anymore and just write about food so people could only yell at me about matters of the palate? I haven’t been all that good at sticking to that dictum and keeping my non-food life out of it except where strictly necessary, but I’m going to close that door firmly on this particular occasion because otherwise I’ll seriously never get back on topic.
These little nuggets actually wound up being my dinner the other day; the band was coming over to hang out and have a few drinks, so I thought I’d throw down something snacky and they’d wind up getting pizza or something for their actual dinner and I could perhaps have a slice. I didn’t know they had already stopped for some food right by the practice space, so no further food was forthcoming except what I prepared myself. Ergo, pinwheels for dinner.
The recipe comes from Tales of an Overtime Cook, and while I remained true to the spirit of the recipe – it’s still mashed potatoes with pesto (just pause and think about that for a second) rolled up in puff pastry and baked. But I made pesto rather than using what she refers to as an “imitation pesto” – meaning frozen chopped basil that she then mixed with other pesto ingredients. I did my usual “a handful of this, a handful of that” method with the food processor and gave it a few good whizzes until everything was, well, as close to a paste as I could make it. Also , I followed the recipe correctly, but I don’t think you should, necessarily, at least with regard to the potatoes. I have a tupperware full of pesto mashed potatoes in my fridge. Not that this is the worst thing in the world, but save yourself some money and buy one less potato. That is how I will write the recipe, rather than the way I actually made it. I was thinking about the texture of the mashed potatoes, as well – the recipe doesn’t call for milk to make them more creamy, which I’m on the fence about. We aren’t, after all, making regular mashed potatoes here, to be eaten just on their own. It’s a filling for something that will be baked. So maybe it doesn’t need to be as creamy as something you’d spoon onto your plate and eat alongside your dinner. But it might help with the spreadability, and it would definitely help with the leftovers. So I’ll leave that to your discretion.
Pesto Potato Pinwheels
2 russet potatoes, cut up
3 tbsp to 1/4 cup pesto – I’m not really sure how much I had, but it was somewhere around there
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Cook the potatoes until tender.
While that’s happening, make your pesto. Or open the jar, I guess – either way takes about the same amount of time.
When the potatoes are ready, drain them and mash them with the pesto, adding olive oil as needed for consistency.
Cut your puff pastry sheets into 3 strips each (they usually come letter-folded, so your 3 strips are nicely delineated for you and possibly already starting to come apart at the folds).
Preheat oven to 350.
Spread the mashed potato on each strip, leaving a thin border so it doesn’t all squeeze out.
Roll up the strip from the long side. This is going to get messy, but rolling from the short side, while easier, gives you a much bigger pinwheel, and fewer of them.
Take your long rolled-up tube and cut it into inch-wide (or smaller) pieces, using a serrated knife and quick strokes so you don’t smush the rolls.
Arrange the rolls lying on their sides (so, potato-side-up) on a lined baking sheet. They puff up a bit but not too much, so don’t worry about spacing them out too much.
Bake for 35 minutes or until just starting to go golden.
These are crispy, flaky, and smooth, with the pesto keeping it from being all beige (both in flavour and in colour). But right now all I can think about is how it stings to type this; I just tried to give blood today, and they test your blood first to make sure you’re not too anemic – both so that you don’t give out loser blood and so that you don’t faint afterwards. If you’re not familiar, they do that by pricking your fingertips. Of course they went after my index and middle fingers, which not only are used in typing, but also in all the scrolly sweepy pokey things one does these days on touch-screen devices and laptop touchpads. I took my bandaids off to wash dishes, and now I just feel like I should put bandaids back on just for the padding.
And guess what? Too anemic to give blood, after all! Like, just a bit. Not enough to be a danger to myself, but enough that they don’t want to chance me hitting the deck after they take my blood out. I was set to give platelets, since they had a long wait for whole blood (the First Lady had visited earlier in the day and that, combined with security, threw the schedule into an uproar) and I’m not fussy, they can have whatever they need of me – but even with platelets, where they don’t take as much of your blood out, so the risk of fainting isn’t as high, but I still didn’t make the cutoff. So basically my fingers hurt for nothing, and I haven’t been any help to anybody.