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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Panko Parmesan Crusted Halibut

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So Jenn was over one weekend and I decided to cook for her (as is kind of the point of this blog). She obviously gets the better end of this deal now that I think about it. She is always wanting to eat healthier and encouraging me to do the same. I oblige as much as I can, but c’mon, you can’t not eat ribs, burgers, fries, steak, pizza, dessert, etc if they’re in front of you. And let’s be honest, I make it a point to put them in front of me. So, I had a few vegetables in my fridge and in order to be healthy, I decided to make fish. But me being me and wanting to make it nice and do this “chivalrous” thing for the gf, I went out and got halibut (Costco really does have good deals). I basically had everything else in my pantry, so it worked out great. I loosely followed a recipe by For the Love of Cooking. All in all, it turned out pretty dang good, crispy and flaky, the way it was supposed to be. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Ingredients:

  • halibut filets, no skin
  • 1/2-3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (or dried I suppose)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice (maybe 1/2 a medium lemon)
  • olive oil
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, wash and pat dry the halibut
  • On a plate, combine the panko, parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder
  • Brush both sides of the halibut with olive oil, and squeeze some lemon juice on them
  • Season the halibut with salt and pepper
  • Dip and coat the halibut with the panko mixture
  • Place the halibut on a cooking/baking rack and spray with cooking oil
  • Bake for ~15 minutes
  • Let sit for ~1-2 minutes, garnish with some chopped parsley and enjoy!

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

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So I was at the local supermarket just browsing the produce section (that just sounds weird typing that) when I came upon a sale for brussel sprouts. This was not the first time I have seen such a sale, but this was the first time that I stopped at one. Trying to be healthier and more culinary adventurous, I decided to try my hand at them since it couldn’t be that hard right? But I knew that in order for them to be really good, I would have to combine it with bacon (obviously) so then I went to the meats section.  For my first time making these, it turned out pretty good. Definitely more enjoyable than I thought since Asian people don’t generally eat brussel sprouts I feel like.

Ingredients

  • 12-16 brussel sprouts
  • EVOO
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Few slices of bacon (who am I to judge how many you use?)
  • Shaved parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

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Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut brussel sprouts length wise and rinse
  • In a large bowl mix the EVOO, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic
  • Once the sprouts are dry, toss them with the EVOO and spices to evenly coat
  • Place them in the oven until tender (~20 minutes)
  • Meanwhile, fry the strips of bacon
  • After they cool, chop the bacon and toss with roasted brussel sprouts
  • Shave a few slices of Parmesan on top and enjoy!

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Caprese Salad

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Congratulations Jenn for getting into MBA school. As a celebration, I told her I would cook her something, and lo and behold she requested a salad…boring right? Well she also requested to have mozzarella cheese incorporated some how, so I immediately thought of a caprese salad. Now I have never made a caprese salad before, but was shocked how simple it really is. It’s not exactly my fave salad though, so maybe thats why. But interestingly enough, I told my sister what I was doing and she said she LOVED caprese salad…who knew? Definitely not me lol.  Anyways here it is!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes on a vine, sliced
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • EVOO

Directions

  • Layer the slices of cheese and tomatoes with a basil leaf in between
  • Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Drizzle EVOO over
  • You can also add balsamic vinegar or a reduction to the dish but I chose not to
  • Eat this super refreshing salad

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Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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So I decided to try a Meatless Monday thing and made a classic grilled cheese sandwich, that I paired with a tomato bisque soup and basic salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich?  There is just something nostalgic and comforting about it.  But in the past and growing up, I always made it with slices of American cheese. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually love American cheese and think its delicious, although others might feel that it’s too processed, which I can understand.  This time, I tried to be slightly more sophisticated and used parmesan and mild cheddar cheese.  I read somewhere that it is better to use 2 different types, with one being saltier (parmesan). So I kinda went with it, and actually it turned out pretty good. Although, I don’t think you can eff up a grilled cheese unless you burn it super bad, but even then, there’s a market for that.

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Ingredients:

  • Bread (whatever kind, I just used regular good old fashioned white bread)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • In a small mixing bowl, toss the 2 types of cheeses together and blend them together
  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/4 tbsp of butter and add the slices of bread
  • When slightly toasted, flip the bread and add the cheese blend to both slices
  • When the cheese begins to melt, flip one slice on top of the other
  • After a few minutes, flip the sandwich to finish melting the cheese and toasting the other slice of bread
  • Cut and enjoy like your inner kid wants to

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Crab Cups

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I know that I said that I would get back to doing this now that my life has settled down again, but for some reason, I just haven’t. Well, I am going to say it again and hope it sticks this time.  I recently made a crab appetizer that I have done a few times now with the help of Jenn.  It was really her idea about a year ago to make these for a dinner party, but we ate them without taking pictures, so there’s no record of that.  Coincidentally, I also made them for a dinner party this go around and took pics for good measure.  Now, they aren’t the greatest pictures (and there is no plating) as I was running late to the party (fashionably late of course). We originally got the recipe from here.  And each time, I tweaked it a little to fit my needs better.  They are definitely easy to make and so far, both dinner parties enjoyed them a lot.  My colleague actually just asked me for the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of flour tortillas, cut into drinking glass rim-sized circles
  • 1 8oz pkg soft cream cheese
  • 2 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained (original recipe calls for 1, but c’mon…)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch paprika

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Directions:

  • *this is where I made some tweaks* The original recipe called for biscuit dough, which I have tried and it just turned out too doughy and took away from the whole dish.  This time I tried little circles of flour tortillas, which turned out to be a lot better
  • Brush the tortilla circles with a little bit of melter butter or olive oil and press into a muffin/cupcake pan
  • Bake the tortillas at 375 degrees for ~10 min or until golden brown and crispy
  • At the same time, mix the cream cheese, crab meat, mayo, parmesan, cheddar cheese, green onion, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing bowl
  • Place a spoonful of the mixture into each tortilla bowl (still in the muffin pan) and garnish with a dash of paprika
  • Bake at 375 degrees for ~15-18 minutes
  • Take them out and enjoy with some friends/impress some coworkers

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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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