Beef Wellington

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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 🙂

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

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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.

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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 start with healthy ingredients. No additives like food coloring, preservatives, or chemical substitutes. This means for the most part using unprocessed food, and making it yourself. The good news is that it’s easier than it sounds.
The tasty part is secondary, because I actually don’t use much in the way of seasonings. I learned a long time ago 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 the beauty part. If you use whole foods, you’ll end up with something beautiful to serve, and arranging things to look elegant in a bowl or on a plate is an art-form in itself, and fun! 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.

I prefer being in control of my diet, but that’s hard to do when you’re moving around like I have been doing 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 I try to keep them out of the house so 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 things that I know I like and that like me.

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

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

My latest food creation is a Chinese cabbage and fresh kale salad. I can’t get enough of it ~ it’s like I’m inhaling it.

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!

0310150716-00 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!

Postscript:
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.