Last Friday, my hula dance group had a Friday Hula "Social". We have these every so often and I try to get to them whenever I can. It's a fun informal get-together where we practice our dances that we've learned in workshops, eat lots of good food, and visit with our hula sistas, which is what we call each other. I don't know why I don't show you hula pictures more often, so I'm going to remedy that right now. :) Here's a picture of our halau (dance group/school) with our musicians right after a big performance we did last fall. There are some very important people in our group that are missing in this picture because they couldn't perform that day, but they're with us in spirit just the same:
|Hula Ohana O Ke'Alaileiha'aha'a (I'm in the back row next to John, tall musician extraordinaire)|
Here's another pic from that same performance. I'm the tall one in the back. Always the tall one in the back :)
|L to R: Marcie, me, Malia, and Kim performing E Ola Pono|
Now that you've seen my peeps that I talk about, let's move on to what I like to make for them. :) Whenever we have our get-togethers, I like to bring something I know my hula sistas will enjoy, like these crab puffs. They're really easy to make but they taste like a million bucks. The puff pastry is buttery and flaky and the crab filling is crabby, in a good way. Puff pastry can be found in most stores in the frozen section near the frozen breads or pies. They usually come two rolled-up sheets to a package and need to be thawed before use.
I use canned crab in this recipe. I've used more expensive fresh lump crabmeat before, and it's good, but when it's mixed into a filling like this, you really can't tell a big enough difference for the cost so I stick with the canned crabmeat. The crab filling is something loosely based off a bread dip fondue recipe I used to make all the time back in the 90s where you put a filling into a bread bowl and bake for an hour and a half. These days I'm looking for something a lot faster and more updated, so that's how these little puffs came to be. The recipe comes from one of those great little spiral-bound cookbooks that we've probably all purchased at one time or another for a fundraiser. My BBQ's, Picnics, & Parties cookbook is dated 1991 and I love looking at it because so many of the recipes are classic late 80s/90s dishes like the bread bowl dip recipe I was just talking about, strawberry banana jello salad (that's like 70s!), and mandarin orange poppy seed salad. Someone bring back the mandarin orange salad, I loved those!
I left our hula social with an empty plate and a full stomach. I come away from our get-togethers feeling so much joy and connection with some of the nicest and happiest people I know. So grateful to have hula dancing (and more fun excuses to cook!) in my life. Mahalo nui loa, hula sistas! Love you all.
Easy Crab Puffs
Makes 16-20 puffs
1 sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed (see package directions)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (1/2 of an 8 oz. block or 1/2 of an 8 oz. container)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 - 6 oz. cans of crabmeat, drained (pick through it for any shells)
2 green onions or scallions, chopped
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg for egg wash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut puff pastry into 16 squares. I use a pizza cutter, it's easy that way. Depending on brand of puff pastry you buy, you might have a rectangular sheet that you could get away with cutting 20 squares. You'll have enough filling for 20 if you can get 20 squares. I used the Trader Joe's brand which comes in a square so I get 16, like this:
Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Place a couple teaspoons of filling in the center of each puff pastry square and spread from one corner to the opposite corner diagonally. Keep the other two corners clear of filling. If you have leftover filling, you can go back and add a little more to each puff, or just use it as a dip with crackers for a little cook's treat.
Take one of the corners that doesn't have filling on it and fold it across the filling, then fold the other corner over that, tucking it tightly to the other side. As they bake, they'll spread apart more so make sure and press to seal, using a bit of water on your finger to help seal if needed. Sorry I don't have a picture of how I folded them, but you can probably see what I mean by looking at the pictures of the puffs.
Place puffs on a cookie sheet with a little space in between like you'd do with cookies. I use a silicone mat or parchment paper on the pan for easy removal and cleanup. In a small bowl, beat egg to use as an egg wash and brush egg wash over the tops of each puff.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops and bottoms of puffs are golden brown. Garnish with green onions if you'd like and serve.
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