Brie En Croute

By , December 7, 2013 13:02

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I went out on a date a while ago to this very trendy small plate restaurant. Although the date ended up yielding a friendship (which I’m ok with, too.  making friends is always good!), the food was unforgettable. This dish left me with a foodgasm that was hard to quell.  I NEEDED TO RECREATE THIS!! So I did! I made this for our Thanksgiving Eve get-together, and my brother-in-law (who is a very discerning food critic, to say the least!), LOVED it!! The kids even liked it, but that is definitely not saying much.  They’ll pretty much eat a warm truck tire if you put bacon, sugar, or chocolate on it 😉  This is a simple, yet delicious and easy way to woo your dinner and party guests away from those gross ass chips and dip!!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Frozen Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed
  • 1-7oz wheel of Brie
  • 1/4C bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/8C chopped pecans
  • 2-3Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 large grannysmith apples, cored, halved, and slivered (keep these in cold water with 2T of lemon juice until service)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375*

 

  • Unfold puff pastry sheet onto lightly floured surface.  Gently press bottom of brie container into pastry just enough to indent and mark where the brie will sit.  This will act as a guide to lay the rest of the ingredients down.

 

  • Spread the brown sugar evenly around the inside of the circle guide. Then add the nuts and bacon.  Lay the brie on top and gather the puff pastry up around the whole package.  Make sure each gap is pinched together to prevent oozing during the baking process.
  • Flip the brie over so that the folded part is on the bottom and brush the beaten eggwash over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown all over.  Drain apples, lay out on a dry paper towel to remove excess water and arrange in a circle around a medium serving platter.  Remove brie from oven, place in the center of apple slices and serve warm.

 

 

Homemade pasta dough

By , October 15, 2012 22:11

Who doesn’t love homemade pasta?! It’s yummy and cooks up much nicer than that store bought dried stuff. If you have the time and energy to completely trash your kitchen, I would definitely recommend making this. This is actually a larger batch than the original recipe, but hey-why make a little bit? You’re going to love it. I usually will make a large batch, roll it out, and cut a lot of ravioli rounds with a cookie cutter (I don’t dig the pre-cutting ravioli attachment and besides, I can make dinosaur ravioli if I damn well please!!) and freeze them for later use. It’s much easier that way, as I have learned. I’m still new to the art of pasta rolling, but I have found that it is quite therapeutic and rewarding when you make your own. There are two methods to making this. The Mound method, which is more traditional, and the mixer method, for us lazy girls ;). Here’s what you need:

  • 4 1/2 cups AP flour (I’ve also used this same recipe with wheat and it works out just as well) plus extra for dusting and rolling
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I’ve used sea and kosher. Both worked fine)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water

Traditional mound method:

  1. Make a mound of flour on wax paper. Make a well inside of the mound, just like you did when you were little and wanted your mashed potatoes to be a dam so your gravy didn’t spill out 😉
  2. Add the eggs, olive oil, salt, and water to the well and beat gently.
  3. Slowly incorporate the flour from the sides until you have a firm, but not sticky, dough. If its sticky, add a little flour at a time until it loses the tack.
  4. Let the dough rest for 30 mins before rolling.

Lazy girl mixer method:

  1. On low speed, beat eggs, water, oil, and salt
  2. Slowly add flour, a cup at a time until dough loses tack and is smooth. Let rest 30 mins before rolling

 

I have a pasta roller, but you can also hand roll this dough as well. You can go all out traditional style and do it like a real Italian housewife from Italy by using the mound method and hand rolling, but I need quickness in my life. I’m always thinking about the next thing while I’m on the first thing, so the mixer and roller work for me. Just make sure that if you’re making ravioli via the traditional rolling method, that the dough is very thin (about the thickness of a credit card) so that it cooks properly. Here are some of the fillings I have tried already, but get creative and try some seasonal veggies or different meats in them!!

 

Pumpkin Ravioli filling (I made these with the wheat pasta dough and used a ghee sauce and they were OUTSTANDING!!):

  • 2 cups roasted fresh, or canned pumpkin (if roasted fresh, try to use a sugar pumpkin.)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg

Grilled chicken and mozzarella:

  • 2 grilled chicken breasts, chopped finely, or pulsed in the food processor
  • 4 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella

Lobstah ravioli (I made an Old Bay Alfredo sauce with these…yummm)

  • 1 lb lobster meat (claws and tail) pulsed in the food processor
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon peel (dash if freshly grated)

Meatballs

By , October 15, 2012 21:24

I usually make these bad boys to go with some spaghetti or penne and my crockpot merlot marinara sauce(baked with whole milk mozzarella over the top), but they are really good to use as party appetizers as well! Quick and easy. Just how I like it. Well, for culinary adventures, that is 😉 This is what you’ll need:

•1lb ground meat (I usually use ground beef, but I have been known to use a mix of beef, veal, and pork, sometimes turkey, for the pseudo vegetarians)
•2 large eggs
•1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
•1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
•1tsp each of the following spices:
• Italian seasoning
• Onion Salt
•1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1. In a food processor, add breadcrumbs and seasonings and pulse a few times to combine (or you could just whisk them in a bowl together.)

2. In a large bowl, knead the ground meat (I go bare handed on this. It’s the only way to ensure that everything is incorporated nicely) with the eggs until well combined.

3. Add breadcrumb mixture and knead until evenly distributed throughout the meat.

4. Using an ice cream scoop (I use the #50 Crate and Barrel scoop), scoop a ball of mixture and hand roll into little balls and place on wax paper.

5. Sear those suckers all around in a pan on medium high heat!! The #50 scoop makes mini meatballs, so they will cook faster. If you want larger meatballs, I would sear them and then bake in a sauce (or use a crockpot) to ensure thorough cooking and thus, less possibility of contracting a food borne illness. I, however, like my meatballs medium, which probably goes against standard procedure, but hey!! I’m eating them!!

6. Eat those little meat nuggets like its your job!! Or you could freeze them for a later date, for a quick weeknight dinner.

Darlet’s Pumpkin Bread

By , September 24, 2012 21:03

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UPDATE: I have made this for the restaurant and I had the genius idea of tweaking the recipe.  Instead of the originally requested 2 tsp cinnamon and 1-1/2 tsp ground cloves, I replaced them with 3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice and 1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom. It came out AMAZING!!!

This recipe is very near and dear to my heart. My mother, Darlet, made THE BEST pumpkin and zucchini bread. In honor of her would-be 70th birthday, I would love to share with you one of her most loved recipes. She was never known as Mrs. M., but as Mom to everyone that came into the house. Even the boyfriends (which, now that I look back on that, I find it a little disturbing. But she WAS the most kickass mom EVER!!)

Although I’ve never tried to emulate it before, I did recently roast a whole pumpkin for homemade pumpkin ravioli (recipe will be posted later this week!! Promise!) and had a lot of leftovers that I froze, their fate to be determined at a later date. Now I know what I’ll be doing with them 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3C Shortening
  • 2-1/2C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1lb pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked and mashed/food processed)
  • 2/3C whole milk
  • 3-1/3C flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2/3C chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2/3C chopped raisins (I always hated them in this when I was younger, but I may try them out this time)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans.
  • Cream shortening and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time
  • Add pumpkin
  • Alternate milk and flour until well combined.
  • Add spices, nuts and raisins.
  • Pour into loaf pans and bake for 60-70 mins.

Thank you for everything, Mum. <3