Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beef Wellington and Hasselback Potatoes

I do the majority of the cooking in my house so on Valentine's Day my sweet husband brings out all of his kitchen magic to make me an amazing meal. This year he has out done himself by making one of the best meals this kitchen has seen! He used a Tyler Florence recipe for the Beef Wellington and a Food Network recipe for Bacon Hasselback Potatoes.

This was an all day event in our kitchen, but I promise you won't be disappointed with these recipes! All of the recipes and links from Food Network are listed below!

Beef Wellington - Copied from Food Network
* Our Modifications

For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms 
*(Mixture of shiitake and cremini mushrooms)
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
*(2 1/4lbs, making us dinner for 3 nights!)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
*(Champagne Mustard from Stonewall Kitchen)
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Minced chives, for garnish
*(Omit chives)
To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Warm Wilted Winter Greens.

Green Peppercorn Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 cup brandy
1 box beef stock
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained

Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

* To reduce cook time we boiled the potatoes for a few extra minutes and baked them at 400 degrees in the toaster oven. It was ready in about an hour.

4 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut crosswise into 9 pieces
Kosher salt
12 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 stick unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly. Pat the potatoes dry, then insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 5 tablespoons butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 2 hours, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

When the potatoes are almost done, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and mix with the scallions, parsley and garlic. Spoon over the potatoes and roast 5 more minutes. Transfer to a platter and season with salt and pepper.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

The first time I tried these bites was at a family Thanksgiving a few years ago and I absolutely loved the sweet and salty combination of flavors. A girlfriend recently made Serrano Ham Wrapped Dates at a Super Bowl party and it reminded me of how much I love these little gems. I made these last night as an appetizer to accompany the amazing Beef Wellington made by my husband! I'll post those links later this week.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese (14 pieces)
Time: 40mins

- 7 slices of bacon cut in half (You can use Serrano ham, it was great but not so easy to find)
- 14 pitted Medjool Dates
- 4oz Herbed Goat Cheese
- Honey or Balsamic Reduction (Optional)
- 14 Toothpicks (Soaked in water for about 10mins)

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stuff the pitted dates with goat cheese. If you can't find pitted dates, cut a slit into the dates to remove the seed and then stuff with goat cheese.
  3. Wrap half a slice of bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick. 
  4. Cook in oven for about 30mins or until the bacon becomes crispy.
  5. If desired drizzle honey or balsamic reduction over the bites and enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce with Fresh Pasta

Maybe I say "everything in moderation" because I know that there are a few things that I just can't live without. I made this fresh roasted tomato sauce with leftovers from my fridge the other day and it turned out wonderful. I just love these simple and fresh flavors! Making your own food can take a little extra time, but one of the best things about doing this is knowing what you're putting into your body. Play with the ingredients and make this sauce your own!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce (Serves 4-5)
Time: 1hr

- 1 lb Fresh Pasta (Buy at your local store or try this easy recipe by Mario Batali)
Add your own variety of spices and herbs to your dough
- 4 Chicken Sausages, Sliced
- 3-4 Large Tomatoes
- 1/2 Onion
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Bell Pepper
- Basil 1c Chopped
- 1 tbsp Oregano
- Salt and Pepper
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place an "X" on the bottom of your tomatoes and remove the green stems. Place them on a lined baking sheet with the chopped onion, peppers, and garlic cloves. Drizzle some oil and top with salt and pepper. Roast for 30mins.
  2. Let the tomatoes cool before handling them. An ice bath will work quickly as well! Once they're ready to handle, remove the peel and squeeze out the majority of the seeds.
  3. Place all vegetables and 1/2c of basil into a blender and mix.
  4. Add your cooked chicken sausage, oregano, and sauce into a pot and let it simmer on low to medium heat for about 30mins. Add any additional spices as necessary.
  5. Boil pasta and top it with fresh sauce, parmesan, and chopped basil! Fresh pasta will cook al dente in about 4-6mins!   
Hope you enjoy! Please share your variations or your favorite additions to homemade tomato sauces!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Braised Tofu (Dubu Jjorim)

After seeing a fellow blogger post a photo of braised tofu, I just had to make mom's dubu jjorim (the name of this side dish in Korean)! It's delicious, flavorful, and a great option for your next Meatless Monday meal!

Braised Tofu (Makes 8 Pieces)
Time: 30mins

- 1Pkg Firm Tofu
- 3-4 Stalks of Green Onion
- 2 Cloves of Minced Garlic or 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Roasted Sesame Seeds
- 1/4c Soy Sauce
- 1tsp Sesame Oil 
- 1/4c Water
- 1tsp Honey
- 1 tsp Chili Powder (Gochugaru  - Korean Chili Powder)
If you can't find the Korean Chili Powder, you can use your regular chili powder or omit altogether, the taste will vary slightly without it 
  1. Drain tofu, I only did this for about 30mins. Slice into 1/2inch thick pieces or enough to make about 8 slices.
  2. Mix together soy sauce, water, spices, and green onions. Set aside in a bowl for later.
  3. In a medium heated pan, add oil and lightly brown tofu on each side. Once tofu has browned, pour seasoning over the slices, reduce heat to medium low and close the lid. Turn every 5-7mins for about 15mins.
 Enjoy! Who said tofu had to be bland and boring?

Did you know you can regrow your green onions? Place the ends in water near some sun and you'll have full stalks in 7-10 days!