Mini Beef Wellingtons

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Hi everyone. Today I bring to you beef wellingtons, kind of. You see, the idea of a beef wellington (filet wrapped in pastry dough) is basically all kinds of amazing. I mean what’s not to like? Meat and pastries. So I have always thought about making beef wellingtons because they are so good, but the problem I always run into is that I don’t like mushrooms….like at all. They are some of my least favorite foods and are a key ingredient in this dish. Also, I didn’t want to make big ones as a main dish. Not sure why, but I was feeling the appetizer route. That led me to this recipe, which still included mushrooms, but I decided to change those out. I replaced the mushrooms with grilled onions and they turned out amazing. Obviously if you are a traditionalist, or a mushroom lover, go for the original, but the onions as a substitute worked just as well in my opinion.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (can use dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 16oz package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 lb trimmed beef tenderloin, cut into 24 cubes (about 3/4 inch each)
  • 1/3 cup Boursin cheese (I found a Boursin cheese with herbs at the market)

Directions

  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onions (or mushrooms) with rosemary, salt and pepper until cooked
  • Roll puff pastry out and cut into 3 in. squares (mine ended up being more triangles due to the way the dough was shaped)
  • Place one beef cube in the middle of the pastry square and add a pinch of salt
  • Top each cube with some cheese and some onions (or mushrooms)
  • Brush the edges of the square with egg wash and fold the dough over the cube to seal it
  • After you’ve completed this with all of the cubes, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash (I found it easier to just dunk and roll them in the egg wash)
  • Bake for ~9 minutes at 450 degrees, until the pastry is golden brown
  • Let sit for ~5 minutes and serve!

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Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes

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Fall is almost over, and we are headed into winter, but before we do, this is a really Fall dish I made.  It is really simple and doesn’t take that much time to be honest.  I think I have said this before, but I like chicken thighs because they are easy to bake and are more juicy and tender (not a breast fan). Also, I am kind of a sucker for the skin. I got the recipe just randomly browsing sites (not even really sure how I got there). In the end, I definitely enjoyed this one, but next time I probably won’t use as many cherry tomatoes, as it can get kind of pricey the more you use.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

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Instructions

  • Sprinkle both sides of the thighs with salt and place in baking pan with some space in-between each thigh, skin side up
  • Cut the tomatoes in half and mix in a bowl with garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
  • Pour the tomatoes over the chicken pieces and arrange them so they fill the gaps between the thighs
  • Lay sprigs of rosemary over the tomatoes
  • Bake at 350 degrees for ~45 minutes
  • Skim excess fat/oil and serve with whatever you feel like
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Chocolate Tart with Raspberries

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At work we had a going away party for one of my supervisors who is moving on to bigger and better things (sad day). She wanted the link to this blog, and I gave it to her, so maybe she will see this.  If so, HI! Now she is a big desserts person, so my colleagues and I decided to make a few desserts for her. Of course my colleagues are big chocolate people and so is my supervisor. Now you know that I am not the biggest chocolate fan, but I sucked it up and made this anyways. I found it scrolling through my food network app on the way to the market and was able to find everything I need. Turns out its not THAT complicated and it tasted pretty good too for a guy who isn’t big on chocolate. The recipe worked out well, but I also thought I would decorate it more with some vanilla buttercream frosting and topped it with raspberries to complete it.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp sugar, separated
  • 1/2 tsp salt, separated
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tbsp ice water, possibly more if necessary
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
  • 2 large eggs @ room temp

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Instructions

  • For the dough, combine flour, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt in a large mixing bowl
  • Add the butter cubes and mix (i used my hands) until you have course crumbs
  • Combine 1 egg yolk with 2 tbsp ice water and blend together
  • Make a well at the bottom of the pastry bowl and add yolk/water mix
  • Blend the yolk mix with the dough (make sure not too wet or crumbly. If it is too crumbly, add 1 tbsp ice water)
  • Form dough into disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 min
  • Roll out the dough and place in tart pan, pressing firmly into all the ridges
  • Let it relax in the refrigerator for 15 min
  • Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 min (recipe says to use foil and pie weights, but I didn’t and it turned out fine)
  • Take out the crust, use the egg whites to wash, and rebake for ~7-8 min (make sure it doesn’t burn)
  • While the crust cools, make the filling
  • Heat heavy cream and milk in a pot over med-low heat, until simmering
  • Remove from heat and slowly stir in the chocolate making sure that it melts evenly and smoothly
  • Evenly stir in the 2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt
  • Whisk the 2 room temp eggs and then incorporate them into the mix
  • Pour the chocolate into the cooled tart shell
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 min until the filling sets and the surface is glossy
  • Let the tart cool and set before cutting (I had to put mine in the fridge for ~15-20 min to help it set)
  • Decorate if you’d like, or just dive right in!

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

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So the other day I decided to try something that a year ago I would never have done – a stuffed bell pepper.  1) because I never stuffed anything before and 2) I never really ate whole bell peppers – just wasn’t my thing.  I can’t even tell you what got me thinking to do this, I just decided to I guess…weird.  It was a simple meal with limited ingredients and turned out decently.  It could also be an appetizer now that I think about it. Could have probably used more cheese and salt though.

Ingredients

  • Large bell peppers, halved
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown/white/your choice)
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (amount of choice too)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika

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Instructions

  • In a large sauté pan, add a little oil and cook the ground pork
  • Salt and pepper generously and continue to cook
  • Add the cooked rice into the pan and continue to mix and cook (you don’t have to add all the rice, your choice)
  • Add more salt and pepper as needed
  • Place the bell pepper halves on a large baking sheet
  • Fill the halves with the pork/rice mix to desired fill
  • Top with as much cheese as you want
  • Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes
  • Top with a dash of paprika, and then eat it, duh

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Scalloped Potatoes

I’m sure you have all been to the market and seen those bags of russet potatoes where its like $1.50/lb, or you can buy a 5lb bag for $4 or a 10lb bag for $5.  So obviously wanting the most bang for my buck, I always opt for the 10lbs, and to this day I don’t think I have ever finished all 10lbs before they went bad.  I’m Asian so most of my carbs come in the rice and noodle format, not so much the potato.  But since I bought a 10lb bag, what the heck, I’ll make some more potatoes.  This time I tried scalloped potatoes due to Jenn’s extreme, otherworldly, not quite sure how that happened love of cheese.  I followed this recipe and it turned out pretty well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (didn’t have any so I used chili flakes)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top
  • paprika

Directions (b/c even men need them sometimes)

  • Thinly slice your potatoes (mandolin might be handy here)
  • Melt butter in saucepan, mix in the flour, and let it sit for a minute
  • Whisk in the cold milk
  • Season with salt and cayenne pepper
  • Cook until smooth, whisking occasionally
  • Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese (I used way more than a cup)
  • Place half of the potatoes in a greased baking tray
  • Pour half the sauce over the potatoes
  • Add the 2nd half of the potatoes and cover again with the remaining cheese sauce
  • Add extra cheese on top because obviously you would
  • Sprinkle with paprika
  • Bake at 350 degrees for an hour

The scalloped potatoes were obviously (not so obviously) a side dish to a pan fried chicken I made.  I seasoned bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with a mix of seasoned salt, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder and onion powder.  It was a mix that I got as a gift for attending my cousin’s wedding since they also like to cook.  After seasoning them, I pan fried them in some butter.  I like the skin-on thighs because I like the crispyness of the skin when I fry them.  So those two and a side salad completed the meal.  It was definitely on the heavier side, but it was delicious.

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

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So this week I decided to bake some chicken thighs.  When I bake chicken, I like to use bone-in and with the skin still on for the added flavor.

Marinade (all measurements approximated because I guessed)

  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • dash of minced ginger

After mixing the marinade, add the chicken thighs and some green onions, making sure to coat the chicken.  Let the marinade and chicken rest for ~1 hour. After, place the chicken in a baking pan with the skin side up.  Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken and bake at 350 degrees for ~1 hour.  Serve with rice or whatever you want to do with it, but enjoy!