Saturday, December 28, 2013

DIY: Burlap Rose Accessory

My sister-in-law Katie got Will and I the cutest burlap pin board and I wanted to add a little embellishment! I thought I had some store bought floral accessories, but I forgot I had used them on another project. Lo and behold -- I remembered a burlap rose tutorial I saw on Pinterest.

I followed the video and made about 6 flowers and chose the best 3 to embellish the board! I think it turned out great :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Potatoes au Gratin

For Christmas, we were invited to my brother and his wife's home and my sister-in-law asked me to bring a potato dish to pass -- no problem!

Instead of going the safe route with some mashed potatoes - I thought it would be a perfect time to try something new! (Looking back, 18 people would have been upset if it didn't go well, but thankfully it was delicious!)

To start, I scrubbed about 8 large potatoes worth of small, medium, and large potatoes. This will serve 16-18 people, so you can adjust the amount to how many mouths you're feeding.

I peeled the potatoes and diced them into 1/2 inch cubes. 
(Tip: My mother taught me to soak the potatoes in water while your peeling and cutting them all up to prevent them from turning brown/rust colored.)

In a large bowl, I added 3 cups of heavy whopping cream.

I then added 1 cup of whole milk.

I sprinkled in 1/4 cup of flour...

... 2 tsp salt...

... and a whole lotta pepper. My usual rule when it comes to pepper is to add 1/2 of the amount of salt (In this case, 1 tsp).

This is an optional ingredients, but I'm a fan of garlic, so I grabbed 2 cloves of elephant garlic.
We get out elephant garlic "imported" from Will's Papa in Alabama. It is much larger than the garlic people are used to using and it is much milder in flavor. You can pick it up a most grocery stores. 

If you would like to use regular garlic, go ahead and add 2-4 cloves.

I minced the garlic and threw it in the cream mix. I whisked the cream until most if the flour was incorporated.

I grabbed my largest casserole dish (a 9x13 should work just fine) and buttered the inside with 2 tbsp of butter.

I added the taters...

... And poured the cream right over it.

I covered the casserole dish with aluminum foil and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then I uncovered the potatoes and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes.

After transporting the potatoes to the party location, I added about 1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar. (I shredded it with my food processor at home. It's cheaper than buying it pre-shredded and I think it melts beautifully).

After 10 minutes in a warm oven, it came out perfect. I sprinkled some chopped green onions over the top before serving!

They were creamy and delicious! Definitely making them again :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Beef Wellington

For Christmas Eve, I wanted to be adventurous. So I picked one of the most renowned dishes to make. I promise you, Beef Wellington is not as intimidating as it sounds!

I started by gathering the ingredients for the Duxelles (the filling around the filet mignon):
  • 2 pints (~1 pound) of baby portobello mushrooms. You could also use white button mushrooms.
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 springs fresh thyme

All chopped up!

I put the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and leaves of the thyme in a food processor.

I had to scrape the sides a few times to get everything blended.

In a large non-stick skillet, I melted 2 tbsp of unsalted butter and added 2 tbsp of olive oil. I then added the mushroom mix. I cooked the mushrooms over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The goal here is to remove any moisture from the mushrooms so that your Duxelles isn't soggy.

After it was done, I put it in a bowl to cool down.


While it was cooling, I got started on the beef! You want to buy center cut filet mignon (pricey -- but worth it! This is the most tender cut of beef).

I got about 4 pounds of beef and cut it in half to make two Beef Wellingtons.

I then used kitchen twine to secure the parts of the meat that needed to be more cylindrical.

I sprinkled the cuts of beef with salt and pepper and seared the sides and ends in a hot skillet with olive oil.

After it was seared, Will brushed Dijon mustard on every side. Then, I set it aside to cool.

On plastic wrap, I shingled about 12 slices of prosciutto. I then grinded some pepper on the prosciutto but no salt because it is a salty lunchmeat.

I spread a thin layer of the cooled Duxelles, leaving about a 1 inch border.

I then added the beef.

I carefully wrapped the prosciutto around the beef and twisted the ends. Make sure you remove the twine if you used any!

Both done!

I placed the beef in the fridge for 30 minutes and the got the puff pastry ready.

I set out another layer of plastic wrap and sprinkled flour on it.

I then laid the puff pastry down and sprinkled more flour on top.

I rolled it out to about a 1/4 inch thickness, or to how large I needed it to encompass the meat.

I laid the meat upside down on the puff pastry...

... and then carefully rolled it around the meat.

I made sure it was tightly wrapped and then tightened the ends. I made these the day before serving so all I had to do was place them on a baking sheet, brush them with egg yolk, and sprinkle them with salt before throwing them in the oven.

After brushing them with egg yolk and sprinkling some salt, I gently scored the top with the back of my knife to create a beautiful pattern on top.

I baked them in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 125 degrees.

I let the meat reast for about 10 minuted before serving.


We had an amazing Christmas Eve dinner with homemade tortellini and pesto, brussel sprouts, risotto, and eggnog creme brulee (compliments of Chris Davis!).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Savory Parmesan-Garlic Monkey Bread

Will and I had a craving for monkey bread, but I wanted to swap the sugary sweetness for a garlicky goodness!

I started by adding 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese into a large zip-lock bag.

Then, I added about a 1/4 tsp of both salt and pepper.

I used 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits that were chillin' in the fridge.

I popped open the cans and cut the biscuits into four's.

I threw the biscuit pieces into the zip-lock bag and shook the bag like a maraca! 

All coated!

In a small saucepan, I melted 1/2 stick of butter and added in 1/2 tsp (or one medium clove) of garlic.

I whisked the garlic butter until the garlic was slightly cooked.

In a greased bundt pan (or loaf pan if that's what you have!) I added 1/2 of the biscuit pieces. I sprinkled Parmesan cheese over the biscuit pieces, but you could always use shredded mozzarella cheese.

I added the rest of the biscuits...

... and then poured the garlic butter over it.

At this point, you could always add more cheese (Parmesan or shredded mozzarella).

I threw it in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

It practically fell apart!!

We ate it with french onion soup -- it was delicious!