Beef Wellington


I don’t usually read cookbooks. But my daughter does, and she has picked up a lot of information along the way: how to massage kale, for example, or brine a chicken. I learn something new every day that I spend in her kitchen with her.

Kids these days have a whole new food vocabulary than when I was growing up. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers and asked for ketchup; she and Joachim are making frittatas and asking for the sriracha. What language is that, anyway?

I like the fact that they are always open to trying something new. For me, menus are daunting. Just order something for me, if you don’t mind. For them, it’s an exiting challenge, and they like to roll a new taste around on their tongues and talk about it. We ordered a rare Kenyan coffee brew yesterday at Peet’s, and they were exclaiming about it to each other. What did I think? I’m not sure. It was nice ~ yes, I guess it was better than Dunkin’ Donuts.

This past week we were watching a food channel on Reddit~ that was a first for me ~ and saw Gordon Ramsey’s Beef Wellington video. We all got excited. “Let’s make it!” “Why not?”

Gordon called it a Christmas dish, but we decided to celebrate Easter day with a bike ride to Wellesley, the Kenyan coffee, and our first beef wellington. These are the photos Joachim and I took, and they’ll give you a basic idea. There were a few additional steps that we forgot to capture ~ like the layer of mustard followed by the mushrooms and prosciutto, which we used to just call thin sliced ham.

It was great, and we’re definitely going to be making this again ūüôā

Sear the meat first.

Sear the meat first.

Finely chop the portobello mushrooms

Finely chop the portobello mushrooms

wrap meat with mushroom and prosciutto.

wrap meat with mushroom and prosciutto.

Roll the meat in a sheet of  puff pastry and brush with egg yolk.

Roll the meat in a sheet of puff pastry and brush with egg yolk.

Bake until golden brown.

Bake until golden brown.

Slice and serve!

Slice and serve!

If you decide that you want to try it too, you’ll be surprised how easy it is once you have all the ingredients gathered.

Happy Chefs

Happy Chefs

Bon Appetite!


More FOOD for Thought


Today’s FOOD for Thought: Baked Sweet Potato Slices

These little round treats virtually melt in your mouth. All you need is a flat baking pan, a little olive oil and your favorite seasoning, and a couple of sweet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, as you like)

=Preheat oven to 420 degrees
-Peel and slice the potatoes about a 1/4 of an inch thick, thinner if you like them crunchier. Leave the skins for a heartier taste, just make sure you scrub and dry them well first.
-Toss in a bowl with several Tbsp of olive oil, until well-covered.
-Arrange on a shallow baking pan (or a cookie sheet), and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.
-Cook for 10 minutes, and then turn the slices over and cook for another 10 minutes.
-Serve hot and enjoy!

White potatoes work well too.


FOOD for Thought

0310150717-01   I just want to say before starting this post that there are 3 things my food is all about:
1) healthy
2) tasty
3) beautiful

I always try to start with healthy ingredients. I am an avid label-reader! No additives like food coloring, preservatives, or chemical substitutes go in the basket, thanks. This means for the most part using unprocessed food, and making it myself. The good news is that it’s easier than it sounds.

The tasty part is secondary. I don’t use much in the way of seasonings, and I usually like what I make just fine. ¬†I learned years ago when I was doing the Pritikin diet that simple food tastes good all by itself. I don’t need lots of sauces or dressings to make it yummy. But if you do, just add it yourself afterwards!

The third part is beauty. If you use whole foods, you’ll end up with something beautiful to serve without too much effort. Arranging food on an elegant bowl or plate is an art-form in itself and fun! I have a thing for collecting all kinds of pretty dishes. They make dining just so much nicer. ¬†Take a picture, and preserve the memory before it’s gone.

Now, for the story:
I’ve been cooking in someone else’s kitchen or not cooking at all for eight months now. My body is 18 pounds heavier, and I’m really not feeling like myself. What have I done?

I was confused until I took a moment to reflect on what I’ve been eating all this time. A lot of it was stuff I normally don’t eat, or keep in my kitchen: ice-cream, ‘gourmet’ meals (lots of cheese, lots of cream, lots of meat, lots of bread), hamburgers, reuben sandwiches, shakes, cookies, cakes, grits, popcorn, chips, and lots and lots of nuts, which I normally ration carefully, but were always out on the table, and I’m a ‘see-food’ eater.

I prefer being in control of my diet, but that’s hard to do when you’re moving around like I have lately. Change is also stressful, no matter how exciting it is. I have a weakness for sweets, especially when in need of emotional comfort, so my policy is not to buy them. If I keep them out of the house they can’t get into my mouth.

Last week I arrived at the next place in my travels ~ Natick, MA, where Joachim and Emilie live~ and I’ve been shopping for the first time in months, stocking Emilie’s kitchen while she’s away with the food items I like and that I know like me.

0310150717-00¬†Everyday citrus. It tastes good, gives your system an alkaline boost, and satisfies the sweet tooth quite effectively. Plus it’s beautiful!

0310150730-00¬†Salad ~ I’ve been missing you!

My latest food creation is a Chinese cabbage and fresh kale salad~ It’s so good I can’t stop.

Here’s how to make it:

Chop off 4 or 5 ¬†1/4 inch slices of the cabbage, and some finely chopped kale leaves (not including the stems), and throw in a nice mixing bowl. ¬†Add a TBSP each of the blue cheese dressing and some mayo (or whatever else you may find in the fridge if you don’t have these), a few shakes of Balsamic vinegar for taste (be careful, it’s strong!), and a generous helping of olive oil. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds sprinkled liberally on top, and you have the makings of a very healthy and mouth watering side or main dish salad. The metal Korean chopsticks I found in my daughter’s kitchen made it perfect!


Next: The Soup

I love to make soups, and recently my two standbys are lentil and split pea. Here’s the recipe for a simple lentil soup that will make you feel warm and cozy on a winter’s day in Boston (or good anywhere you are, even in sunny Florida).

Pour half a package of dried lentils into a large cooking pot. Rinse with water, and then cover with 3 or 4 inches of water. Add 1 or two fresh chopped carrots and boil for 3 -5 minutes. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure the water doesn’t boil down below the beans. Add water if it does.

Add chopped onions and fresh garlic when carrots and lentils are soft, and simmer just a few minutes longer. For seasoning, I like to use a little salt, some cumin, paprika, and a liberal shake of curry powder. My new favorite taste enhancer is a tablespoon or so of barbeque sauce, any brand you happen to have on hand. It adds a meaty taste and so much flavor ~ Thanks to Laura for that idea.

0310150719-00For the version above, I added some chopped kale at the end, and served it in a bowl with cabbage salad on top. I want to share this with the world~ it’s really FANTASTIC!

I’d like to acknowledge my cell phone camera for doing such a good job replacing my little Aldi. Now I have one more reason to totally LOVE my phone.

90 DAYS OF HEALTHY EATING~ DAY 17: Clay cookers


It’s not just WHAT you cook~ What you cook IN matters too.
I know cooking in aluminum pans isn’t good because the aluminum leeches into the foods. And I store food in glass rather than plastic when I can.

But last week I made a discovery I NEVER heard about before, and I found it at the thrift store!

I saw it sitting amongst the clutter of kitchen items, and did a double take~ What’s that? Upon closer examination, I realized I was looking at exactly what I had said I wanted only the day before~ something to cook a chicken in, big enough to hold some potatoes and carrots and apples and onions, and that has a cover. I grabbed it, determined to search online when I got home about how to use it, and what it was actually made for. I knew that as it said made in Germany on the bottom, it must be GOOD¬†

I was right! The one I have is made by Romertopf, and will hold a 3-4 lb chicken with all the trimmings. The lady at the thrift store told me you have to soak it in water for 15 minutes before using, and the porous nature of the terra cotta clay makes the food so much more succulent. Reading up a bit, I also discovered that the clay is also alkaline, and that makes a difference in the taste of the food as well. I’m sold (and I haven’t even used it yet).

Today’s the day. We’ll be eating clay-baked chicken when Jean gets home from work today. (love being a stay-at-home Wife these day¬†¬†)