Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beef Wellington and Cheese Pastellitos

I'm on a roll! The success of Monday's cook-a-thon got me very excited for Tuesday night's attempts. Especially because I was flying solo on these: I had no real recipes. First up, Beef Wellington. I look at countless recipes, each one completely different than the other. so, I decided to just wing it. Traditionally, you use a fillet for these, but I didn't want to spend the money. So, I used really nice cuts of sirloin, and it turned out wonderful. I served them with sauteed spinach. Divine!

Recipes are below. I didn't get a pic of the pastellitos, because I gave them to my coworkers before I took the picture. I assure you, they were beautiful :)

Flaky goodness!


Beef Wellington

2 steaks (fillet or sirloin, up to your wallet), seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 package of puff pastry, thawed
carton of mushrooms, I used baby portabellas, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add oil and butter into a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and garlic. Allow to cook for a  few minutes then add mushrooms. Once veggies are tender, add salt, pepper, and wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then set aside.

In a preheated pan, cook steaks. Joe likes his medium, so those were cooked for a minute on each side. I like mine more well, so they got 3 minutes per side. Set the steaks aside to rest.

Roll out puff pastry and cut into 4 squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture in the middle of a square. Place steak on top of the mixture, then add an additional teaspoon of the mushrooms. Take a second square and place it on top. Seal edges with your fingers. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with second steak. Brush each parcel with the egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is brown and an internal thermometer registers to your desired doneness.

Sauteed Spinach
1 bag of baby spinach
1 large white onion chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp all spice
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion in the olive oil until they start to caramelize. Add spinach and spices. Cook until done, 15 minutes over medium heat. Easy!

Cheese Pastellitos

Again, this may be waaaay off base from any sort of authentic recipe. If so, my apologies. But I've eaten a ton of these over the years, and I think there were spot on.

2 packages of cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
3 tsp milk
1 tsp lemon juice
3 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water
simple syrup ( 1/2 c water and 1/2 c sugar boiled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. Add cheese, milk, and lemon juice to the bowl of your mixer and beat for 3 minutes. While the mixer is still on, slowly add the sugar.

Roll out dough on a floured surface. Cut the dough in the shape of a cross. Then cut each square in half to make triangles. Place a heaping tsp of the cheese onto a triangle. Take a second triangle and cover it, sealing the pastry with your hands. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of your dough is gone. Brush each parcel with the egg wash and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and starting to brown. Remove pastries from the oven and brush with simple syrup. Sprinkle on additional syrup if you'd like (I did). Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

30 by 30: the countdown continues

The last post about my failed quiche really motivated me to kick it into gear this week!

Last night (after work, no less) I decided to tackle three things on my list. I made Julia Child's classic Boeuf Bourguignon, German Pretzel Bread, and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. Being that I started pretty late after a run to the grocery store after work, I wasn't feeling overly confident that all components would work. But, for the sake of keeping my blog promise, I gave it my best...

Wow. It was just all so good. I don't even know what my favorite part was. The Boeuf Borguignon was so savory, and had layer upon layer of flavor. It was so worth the time. The pretzel bread had the most opportunities for disaster because I'm not very experienced with yeast breads. But, then again, that's why it was on my list. The bread was delicious. It had a salty, crunchy exterior, and the exterior was rich and doughy. A perfect compliment to the Boeuf, as it gave us something with which to sop up the extra sauce :)
Finally, the Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. I recently acquired an ice cream maker from a friend. And while it would have made the process easier, I would have had to freeze the barrel in advance. Since it was not fully frozen, the maker would not operate. Instead, I used the old fashioned meathod: Hand churning. This produced two outcomes: a light and irresistable ice cream, and a right arm so sore I could barely brush my teeth this morning. Oh well, all in the name of food!

Rather than typing out all three recipes here, I've included links below, followed by each recipes' picture. I'm very pleased with the first installment of this weeks' cook-a-thon. Stay tuned for tomorrow, I plan to try Beef Wellington and Cuban Pastellitos tonight!

Boeuf Borguignon 

Sorry no pic for this one!

Monday, July 18, 2011

30 by 30: 5 days left

30 by 30 Update:

Things are going...slowly with this project!
I don't even have a picture of this first thing I tried off of my list: Quiche. Two words to describe this experience:


I don't screw up in the kitchen all that often, so I was pretty peeved when my quiche didn't go as planned. Especially because I was to bring it to a tea party! A quick trip to Whole Foods fixed the problem, but their version was bland at best. Ugh. I will have to try this again! Why is it always the easy things that I can't seem to cook?!?

More experimentations to follow...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seafood with Asian Slaw

I haven't always really been into seafood. Slowly but surely, I've started to come around. This post has two seafood recipes I've made with Asian Slaw. The first is Roasted Shrimp with Asian Slaw. I love Asian Slaw. It's such an easy side dish on a weeknight. I use Broccoli Slaw, which comes prepacked in the produce section. The second is fish tacos. We are big fan of fish tacos, but I don't like that most places fry the fish. Not exactly a healthy option. I made mine with grilled fish, and it was very refreshing. I topped this
with the same Asian Slaw and they turned out very tasty! I would use flour tortillas next time, as we're not the biggest fan of the texture of corn tortillas. Both were very quick and easy to make on weeknights.

Roasted Shrimp with Asian Slaw
1 lb shrimp, deveined
1 bag of Broccoli Slaw
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/8 tsp. Basil
1/8 tsp. Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, mix shrimp with olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Arrange on baking sheet and roast until shrimp is pink. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and add broccoli slaw. Arrange into bowls and top with Roasted Shrimp.

Shrimp Tacos
First, I grilled two fish fillets (I used cod) and set them aside. Then I made the toppings. I made an avocado creme for myself (below), and a chipotle avocado creme for the hubby (above). To make the creme I added the following to my food processor: 2 avocados, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 clove of garlic, 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro. When the mixture was smooth, I added a touch of heavy creme. I used this avocado creme on my tacos, then added one full can of chipoltes in adobo sauce to the remaining creme in the food processor. This was the topping for Joe's tacos. I topped them with Asian Slaw. I served these tacos with roasted corn. Yummy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 by 30

A funny thing is happening in the food blog world.  It turns out that a whole bunch of us are relatively the same age.

We're all turning 30 this year.

Wait, what? 30??? crap.

Actually, unlike most of my friends, I'm not that all upset about turning 30. I embrace it. I lived my 20's. I fell in love, I got 2 college degrees, got married, added Oliver to our family, bought a house, and was blessed to have Abigail. I've added friends and family. I've lost a few very special people. I'm tired of my 20's. I'm ready for my 30's. I expect them to be a bit calmer, but not any less challenging. In fact, to transition from my 20's to my 30's I'd like to give myself a challenge...

A lot of my food blog buds have created a "30 before 30" list of foods they want to attempt before they turn 30. Most of them started this project when they turned 29. When I turned 29, I was 9 months pregnant and not at all concerned with cooking or blogging. Now that I'm back, I'm trying to create that list.  I turn 30 on July 23 of this year and this list is to be completed by then. That's not a lot of time. I need to make this list and start cooking, ASAP! I need your help: What would you like me to make? Here's the first half of my list. It looks like I need a few more...

1. Boeuf bourguignon (ala Julia Child, not by cheating with my crockpot)
2. Pretzel Bread Rolls
3. Kibbe (Lebanese dish)
4. Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
5. Cheese Pastelitos (Cuban pastries)
6. Bread Pudding
7. Beef Wellington
8. A Wedding-style cake (even a small one)
9. Beef Brisket
10. Duck a l'orange
11. Vegan cupcakes
12. Quiche
13. Croissants
14. Bagels
15. Gnocchi

Well, I need help! Please leave your suggestions in the comments below, or email them to me at Natyak1 (at) aol (dot) com. Thanks! And I look forward to seeing what you come up with! Time to get back into the kitchen....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lemon Chicken Orzo in Tzatziki

I love me some Greek food. I really do. And, I'm all about Tzatziki sauce! I'm not ashamed to admit that, upon occasion, I but it premade from Costco. I don't remember which brand they carry, but it is tasty! I impulse bought some Tzatziki recently on a Costco trip and wanted to do something different. So, I just combined a bunch of stuff and this is what I got. Pretty yummy if you ask me!

First, I marinated chicken in the Tzatziki for a few hours. To start, I cooked some orzo and steamed some broccoli. (Not a real recipe today, folks- just a play by play!) I heated 2 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. While that was heating, I cut the chicken into bite sized strips. Once the oil/butter was hot, I added 1 tsp of oregano and the chicken, turning the chicken every once in awhile to prevent them from burning. When the chicken was cooked, I deglazed the pan with 1/4 c of white wine and about 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice. I then added a few Tbsp more of Tzatziki (not the stuff from the marinade- fresh spoon fulls!) along with the orzo and broccoli. I mixed it and added salt and pepper to taste. Greek inspired dinner in 10 minutes flat= Happiness!