Monday, December 31, 2018

Beef Wellington

Happy New Year!

I can scratch another meal off of my bucket list. Beef Wellington. Or as I am now referring to it - what we are having for dinner next Christmas Day. The recipe can be found on the Delish site. Click here for the recipe and video.

Was it a difficult recipe? No. Was it labor intensive? A little but nothing over the top.
I have watched enough episodes of Hell's Kitchen to know what mistakes could be made.

I prepped by watching videos and reading different recipes. I found the recipe I was comfortable with, made some adjustments and went with it. The results were an amazing dinner. Meat you could cut with a fork. And it looked picture perfect.

Beef Wellington, My Way

1.5 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for greasing
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
shallot, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
thin slices prosciutto
Flour, for dusting
14 oz. frozen puff pastry, thawed
large egg, beaten
Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Method -
Using kitchen twine, tie tenderloin in 4 places. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Over high heat, coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Once the pan is nearly smoking, sear the
tenderloin until well-browned on all sides, including the ends, about 2 minutes per side (12 minutes
total). Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, snip off twine and coat all sides with mustard.
Let cool in the fridge.

To skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add red onion, white onion, and shallots cook until
Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping so that it’s twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on the plastic wrap into a rectangle that’s big enough to cover the
whole tenderloin. Spread the sauteed onions evenly and thinly over the prosciutto.

Season tenderloin, then place it at the bottom of the prosciutto. Roll meat into prosciutto-onion
mixture, using plastic wrap to roll tightly. Tuck ends of prosciutto as you roll, then twist ends of plasticwrap tightly into a log and transfer to the fridge to chill (this helps it maintain its shape).

Heat oven to 425°. Lightly flour your work surface, then spread out puff pastry and roll it into a
rectangle that will cover the tenderloin (just a little bigger than the prosciutto rectangle you just
made!). Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and place on bottom of puff pastry. Brush the other
three edges of the pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll beef into pastry.

Once the log is fully covered in puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp edges with a fork to seal
well. Wrap roll in plastic wrap to get a really tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap, then transfer roll to a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle
with flaky salt.

Bake until pastry is golden and the center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.

I sit here tonight having one more glass of wine and eating what I swear will be the last Christmas cookie of 2018. 2018 has been an amazing year. I found a new job working for a really amazingly nice guy. Both Chris and I are in good health. The cats are as good as cats can be. Bring on 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Night Before Christmas

This is my favorite meal fo the year!!
Photos only. Each dish was amazing. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Steak Pizzaiola

Yes, I think I have a food blog! Where the hell have I been?  Lots going on and unfortunately, this blog has not been a priority.

Anyway, tonight I picked up a Steak from Ferraro's. The butcher said it would be perfect for Steak Pizzaiola. He was right!

I sauteed onions in olive oil. Then I added the steak and seared it on both sides. Next, I added the tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes. Seasoned the pan with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and added a splash of red wine. I covered the pan and simmered the sauce for about 10 minutes. The meat was cooked perfectly and the sauce was amazing! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Roasted Sausage, Potato, Shallots and Bread

Today was not Black Friday at our house. It was Flour and Sugar Friday. I mixed and froze cookie dough for 6 cookies. There are 2 more that need to be made. I will bake the cookies probably the weekend of the 15th. Needless to say I needed a hands free dinner for tonight. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. And there were no leftovers so I guess it was a hit! This was a twist on a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I think Chris was glad I did not add the Arugula!

I cut potatoes and shallots. I put them on a baking sheet and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I roasted them at 425˚ for 10 minutes. Then I added sausage links, brushed with olive oil, and some cubed ciabiatta bread. The pan went back into the oven for 25 minutes. I adjusted the salt and pepper and it went directly on the table where it quickly disappeared!!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Fresh Market Chicken Pot Pie

This was the best Chicken Pot Pie I have had in a long time. It has been a while since I have made one of my own but damn this was so good! It may have been that it had the top and bottom crust that gave it the over the top taste. Next time I will try it on my recipe. This was not bad at all for a store made meal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mom's Baked Macaroni

The best. Just the best Baked Macaroni recipe ever!

The recipe -
Boil 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease Pyrex loaf pan.
Alternate layers of macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
Break 3 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Honestly that is the way the recipe was given to me.
It is pretty forgiving. Just boil macaroni and add cheese. I have used what ever cheese I have in the house. Mom used American. It is a good basic recipe you can build to fit your taste.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Steak Marinara

On a Tuesday night!! Yes! This is an under 30-minute meal. Delicious! I found the recipe on the All Recipes site. Rave reviews from the chorus. And easy as pie.

Your cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steaks. Serve with noodles and a nice bottle of red wine.

Steak Marinara

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 top sirloin steaks, not too thick
1 1/2 cup chunky pasta sauce
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the steak, turning so that all sides get browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, red wine. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes, or until the steak is cooked through.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Classic Osso Buco

Yesterday I was out shopping with my sister and on the way home, we stopped at Ferrarro's Meat Market. I was hoping to pick up sandwich steaks for tonight's dinner. What I got instead was Osso Buco. Wow! What a fantastic dinner! I found an easy recipe on the Cooking with Nonna site. So good!

Classic Osso Buco from Rossella’s Cooking with Nonna.

4 veal shank steaks approx 1 inch thick
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
3 carrots diced
2 potatoes diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion diced
3 bay leaves
all-purpose flour for dredging meat
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F
Dredge shanks lightly with flour and fry in olive oil until browned on both sides, place in a roasting pan.
Saute all veggies in the same pan until slightly soft approx 8 minutes.
Add sauce and wine and cook an additional 5 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour veggies over veal shanks in roasting pan and add the bay leaves.
Cover and place in oven for approx. 1 hour.
Remove cover and roast for 25 minutes.
The osso buco should be fork tender with a thick sauce and tender veggies.

I made Roasted Brussel Spouts and Aborio Rice as sides. Perfect dinner!

For breakfast, I made Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones. Loved these!! I have been looking for Cinnamon Chips at every local store I go into. I can never find them. Until I checked Amazon. Yup. Found them!

I was going to make just Cinnamon Chip Scones but then I noticed the apples on the counter. What happened next resulted in the best scones I have ever made.

Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda, sieved
0.5 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 c diced apple
1c cinnamon chips (see note)
1 egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c buttermilk
raw sugar for dusting

Combine the flour, baking powder, and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Stir in diced apple. Combine the egg yolk, the vanilla, and the buttermilk; stir this into the dry ingredients until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flowered surface and knead for 6-10 turns. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a 6-7 inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Brush each circle with lightly beaten egg white, dust it with sugar and transfer the wedges to an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack; after 5 minutes, cover loosely with a dish towel until completely cool.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

My Favorite Saturday Night Dinner

I love breaded Pork Chops. First into egg wash then coat with a mixture of plain breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, sage, and parley. I brown them up in a saute pan and finish cooking them in the oven. The breading is crisp and the meat is moist. Bone-in is the way to go. All you need is applesauce. Next time I will try to make some homemade applesauce.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Scallops with Fettuccine

Happy Anniversary! 27 years. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers at work and chocolate covered strawberries. Oh My!!! Shari's Berries are the bomb!

Back to dinner. Chris has a friend who got us some freshly caught scallops from Stonington, CT, right off the boat. I found a recipe for Pan Seared Scallops. Chris said he would like them with homemade pasta. Yes, I have homemade pasta in the freezer. 

I followed the recipe for Pan Seared Scallops closely. Scallops are a high anxiety dish. I sauteed the scallops 2 minutes per side and put them on a plate covered with foil while I made the sauce. I added a little more butter and wine and some pasta water to the saute pan than the recipe called for.

I can not tell you how really good this was. The scallops were cooked perfectly and combining them with the sauce and the pasta was sublime. The flavors melded together perfectly.

This could become an anniversary tradition. We enjoyed dinner with a lovely bottle of wine from the owner of the company where I work. Delicious!!!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Zucchini, Onion, and Red Pepper Tart

I love tarts, quiche, pot pie. Just anything that has a crust and I am in love. This recipe was inspired by the post for Sweet Pepper, Zucchini and Onion Tart. My version is not gluten-free. The crust is the usual Pate Brisse. For cheeses, I used feta instead of thchèvre. Close enough. 

Here is the recipe for constructing the tart with my changes -
I made the crust and blind baked it.
Cut the peppers lengthwise. Carve out and discard the stem portion and the seeds and ribbing inside. Cut each half in half crosswise and finally slice each piece into short ribbons no wider than 1/4 inch.
Trim zucchini top and bottom, quarter lengthwise, then cut into 1/8 inch.
Warm up the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion to the skillet, stir to coat and let cook on medium-low heat for a couple of minutes.
Five minutes after you started cooking the onion, add the peppers, stir and continue cooking, stirring every now and then.
Five minutes later, add the zucchini, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Cover and cook on gentle heat until the peppers are of the desired tenderness (20-25 minutes). Every few minutes uncover and stir.
When the peppers are ready, sprinkle the salt, adjusting the amount to your taste and stir, then remove the pan from the heat. Let cool, then add the goat and stir well to distribute it evenly.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Transfer the filling on the prepared crust and distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Bake for 30-32 minutes. Take out of the oven, slice and serve right away.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Frittata Night

We have not had a frittata in a while.  I use to make the frittata on the weekend and serve it later in the week for dinner. Now with the job closer to home, I can cook one up fresh for dinner. It does taste better. Tonight we kept it simple. Zucchini, onion and red pepper. Oh yes, there was also the prosciutto.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This was a delicious dinner. I love the slow cooker. We had a lot of activity going on at home today. The slow cooker enabled us to have a fantastic meal with little work. I found the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore on

I used all chicken breasts for the recipe.

Of course, there was a lull in activity so I took advantage of the time and made some homemade pasta. The recipe I always use for pasta is from Tide and Thyme.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients -
3 lbs chicken breast or thighs
1 onion, sliced
15 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
15 ounces tomato sauce
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
Stir to mix well.
Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

General Tso's Chicken

30 Minute Meal! This recipe is from EatingWell. I, of course, made an adjustment or two. We love this recipe. The Green Beans are from my sister and her husband's garden.

General Tso's Chicken

5 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, divided
1 large egg white
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups Green Beans

Method -
Combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry) and egg white in a bowl.
Add chicken and stir to coat.
Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry), water, hoisin and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken; cook without turning, breaking up stuck-together pieces, until golden on the bottom, 2 minutes. Stir; continue cooking until golden on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Green Beans; cook, stirring often, until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan; cook, stirring

until heated through, about 1 minute more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania

The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle continues tonight. Besides the eggplant for the pizza, I also ended up with 2 dishes of Eggplant Parmigiana. Tonight we had Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania. I was lucky to have a Focaccia bread in the freezer.

The Eggplant Parmigiana was delicious. I do believe frying the eggplant makes a huge difference. I usually bake Eggplant Parmigiana. I try to make the healthy choices but this was a delicious choice.

Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania

2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ham, Tomato and Onion Quiche

I am looking forward to Fall. It will be here on Saturday but I pulled out the leaf cookie cutters today.
The crust is my usual Pate Brisee. The filling was sauteed onions, diced ham, and sliced tomato from the last of the tomatoes from Lenore and Ralph's garden.

I usually use the quiche filling recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. This is the basic filling recipe-
Beat 3 eggs and mix with 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, (I use low-fat milk) Season with salt, nutmeg, and fresh ground pepper. Pour filling into crust. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until filling is set. Depending on the size of the pie dish I am using I may reduce the # of eggs and milk. 
A good hint is to put your other fillings in the crust and pull out the oven rack and place the pie dish on the rack and then pour in the egg and milk mixture into the crust. Less chance for spillage.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle: Campania vs Puglia

Thank you, Lenore, for dropping off these beautiful eggplants. I opened La Cucina The Regional Cooking of Italy to find an authentic Eggplant Parmigiana recipe. I found 2 recipes. One from the Campania and another from Puglia. The difference in the two is the Campania recipe does not coat the sliced eggplant in flour and egg. I decided to try both so we could decide which we liked better.

I put both on our pizza tonight. Along with the usual sauce, homemade Marinara, Mozzarella, Parmesan and a little Ricotta Cheese.

Which side did we prefer? 
We devoured both sides.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania

2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Puglia

1 lb eggplant (about 2medium)
olive oil
flour for dredging
2 eggs, beaten
1.2 cups tomato puree (I used Marinara Sauce)
3/4 cup mozzarella
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Peel the eggplants, cut them lengthwise in thin slices, then salt and drain for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a high-sided pan.
Dip the eggplant slices in flour and egg and fry until golden on both sides.
Cover bottom of an ovenproof pan with tomato puree and cover this with a layer of fried eggplant.
add mozzarella, more sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, then make another layer of eggplant. Continue the layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of tomato puree and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the top is golden brown about 20 minutes.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Gnocchi with Eggplant Balls and Vodka Sauce

I was so happy when I opened the freezer and found a container of Vodka Sauce and a container of Eggplant Meatballs. As much as I love 3 day weekends, the 4 day work week is a challenge.

The Vodka Sauce was made without cream. Not because I don't like the cream but I did not have any in the fridge when I made this.

28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
6oz vodka
1 c milk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
up to 1/2 c parmesan cheese (freshly grated, optional)

Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and cook to translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and stir into onions until softened a bit. Add can of crushed tomatoes and stir into onion-paste well. Stir in vodka and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes so alcohol can cook down. Stir in up to 1 cup of milk until thinned and light enough to your preference. Add freshly grated parmesan for a little extra kick.

The Eggplant Balls recipe is from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook. I think the next time I make these I may fry them. These got surprisingly good reviews from Chris. (Eggplant is not one of his favorites!)

Ingredients -
1/4 cup olive
2 large eggplants, peeled and diced
2 tbsp water
2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 eggs, lightly beaten, I would start with 3 eggs and then add the 4th if mixture seems dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour for rolling the eggplant balls

Method - 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced eggplant and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the heat and turn into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, basil, mozzarella, eggs (see note above about number of eggs to use), Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Form the mixture into meatball size balls. Gently roll each ball in the flour to coat evenly.
Bake in a preheated 350-degrees oven about 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.