Sun Dried Tomato Pastry Puffs

After running three miles, eating something this unhealthy is okay, right?  Right.  Next week marks my six-month anniversary of leaving California and moving to Washington.  I know — six months!  It feels like the time flew by, but at the same time, I remember that after living here for one month, I felt as if I had lived here my entire life.  Time traveling is a funny thing.
Anyway, in my six months as a district resident, I’ve learned a few things:
1.  There are no Philly cheese steak joints open in Georgetown after 3 AM.
2.  Telling a woman in the metro “Dayum, sweet thang, I’ma kidnap you” will not get you a date.
3.  DCist Real World summaries are on-point and much more entertaining than the actual show.
4.  Consult a map before embarking on a Rock Creek Park run.
5.  Never, ever, shop at Trader Joe’s on a Sunday.
DC residents, please take note of all of the above: I have witnessed and/or experienced situations leading to each rule.  The outcomes are never pretty.  The final rule, however, is the most vital to those of you who have issues of personal space, frustration, or passionate hatred for minute underground parking lots.  There is only one Trader Joe’s in Washington; why only one, is beyond my comprehension. Aside from the heinous check out line that wraps around the entire store on Sunday afternoon, the shelves are usually looted, and its normal Sunday crowd is so dense that my roommate generally knocks items and shelves onto the floor.  It’s not a pretty sight.  But it doesn’t stop anyone from going there.
So naturally, after a few Sundays of absolute hell, I learned to coerce Kristen into grocery shopping on a weekday night, close to the store’s closing time, while employees are restocking the shelves.  And, when it’s available (because it is usually wiped off the shelves) I grab 3 to 4 jars of sun-dried tomatoes.  Because you really can’t have enough SDTs in your cupboard.

Recipe derived from Dorie Greenspan
for the pastry:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup cottage cheese
1 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried basil
for the filling:
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, in olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (walnuts would work as well)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons basil and oregano
1/2  cup grated cheese of choice (I used a cheddar blend)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced (I didn’t have these, but they would be amazing with this recipe)
First, in a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, salt, cheeses, and sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer until completely creamy, then gradually add in the flour and basil flakes.  When the dough is evenly mixed, form into a ball, and chill in your refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Then, mince the garlic, and heat in a pan over medium heat with the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor, and add the pine nuts, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and basil.  Grind until mixed.  Add cream cheese, and fold the mixture.
When the dough is chilled, roll out on waxed paper, no thicker than 1/8 inch.  use a cookie cutter or paring knife to cut out square shapes of dough, in sizes of your choice.  If the dough feels too sticky, dust with flour and/or chill for a few more minutes.  Place the pastry filling off-center in each square, then fold over and press the edges with a fork to seal.  I used 3 to 4 inch squares, and about a teaspoon of filling for each.  Bake on parchment paper at 400 degrees for about 10 to 13 minutes each, until the surfaces are golden brown.