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Super baked (goods)!

"A woman is as old as she looks before breakfast."
-E. W. Howe

It’s no secret we live in a small place. At 375 sq ft, it’s easy for Brofriend and I to often be in each other’s way ( and by often I mean all the time). So when one of us goes out of town, we relish the opportunity to spread out a bit, literally. 

Fortunately for me, Brofriend is spending the next few days inOregon visiting his buddies, lifting weights, playing video games and eating Taco Bell breakfast. Not to say I won’t miss him, but it’s these moments alone where I am able to do all the things I like to do, that may be harder with a Brofriend occupancy.

A few examples:
- Keep the house clean
- Cook fish
- Blare Broadway music
- Keep the house clean
- Watch terrible television 
- Keep the house clean
- Bake

Granted, I can also bake while he is home, but he huffs and puffs the whole time about his training and diet…so it’s quieter if I do it without him.

With a long weekend coming up, my mom staying with me for a few days and two set of family coming to visit, I wanted to make something that inspired thought of leisure and vacation, like a lazy breakfast. For me, that’s sconces with a pot of tea. 

I rarely turn my nose at any breakfast pastry, but I especially love scones. Not too sweet that you can almost pass it off as healthy…almost.

To create my scones I used two recipes, one for the pastry and one for the lemon glaze.

Grated 14oz of butter. So pretty.

Scone-rito

With the glaze!

Three Criss-misses (at Santa Cruz Harbor)

Three Criss-misses (at Santa Cruz Harbor)

I would like my beef well(ington), please

"I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit."
 - William Shakespeare

I have a great desire to travel, taking stock in all there is to explore about local cuisine. Unfortunately, the extent of my international travels is limited to the UK, Ireland and Mexico, having been to all those locations twice.

While Mexico is well known for its vibrant spices and fresh food scene, the UK and Ireland are not, but my culinary experience there were nothing less than extraordinary (as detailed in this post). My last trip to Ireland with my family is a memory I cherish. We were lucky to stay in several beautiful locations and be treated to exceptional meals, especially the last night. As courses of tasty plates rolled through during the birthday dinner of my uncle, one in particular stood out. The mini Beef Wellington. Two bites and it was gone. 

In hopes of recapturing that meal, I found this recipe for Master Chef Night

Beef Wellington Tarts


Adapted from Delish

    8 ounces beef tenderloin
    kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 T coconut oil
    1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry
    1 T unsalted butter
    8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (any variety)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    
Thirty minutes before you begin cooking, take beef out of fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut puff pastry into four squares. Using a paring knife, score a 1/2-inch border around each square. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or lightly spray your pan) and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Heat non-stick pan over high heat. Season both sides of beef with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 1 T oil; when it shimmers add beef ( I love the idea of oil shimmering) I also threw in a pad of my compound butter I had made from the week before. 

When both sides are seared well and have a nice brown crust, place the skillet into the preheated oven. Cook for approximately 8 minutes for med-rare; 10 minutes for medium. Remove from oven, then remove beef from skillet. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Put puff pastry squares in oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for 10 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Put the same skillet (be careful – it’s been in the oven and it’s still hot!) back on the stove on high heat. Add another T of oil and a T of (compound?)butter, and scrape up all the browned bits left from cooking the beef. Add mushrooms, and do the same thing here that you did with the beef: leave them alone and let them get nice and brown. Once the first sides are browned, stir them up and brown the rest of the way. Add the wine and let it cook off for one minute. Mix in garlic and thyme, then remove from heat and put mushrooms in a small bowl; cover to keep warm.

Using the back of a spoon, flatten inside portion of each pastry square. Thinly slice beef (against the grain) and arrange slices on top of pastry. Top with mushroom mixture, and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for foie gras mousse, being as A) I can’t easily use that in my everyday cooking B) Brofriend’s horrified face at the price and product deterred my indulgent tendency, I went without. Using a homemade mixture of my magic bacon spread and goat cheese instead.

Happy #nationaldogday to all beach dogs. #labrabull  (at Its Beach)

Happy #nationaldogday to all beach dogs. #labrabull (at Its Beach)

Dream team

Dream team

at Scott Creek Beach

at Scott Creek Beach

I’m stuffed (with butter)!

         “You are the butter to my bread,and the breath to my life” 

                                       - Julia Child

You may have noticed a theme in my recent recipes, being that they typically include chicken, eggs and bacon.

With Brofriend’s training, he typically eats the same thing over and over unless I cook for him, but even then it’s the same ingredients in different shapes.

Kind of like Taco Bell.

Yesterday I decided to run along the same vein of ingredients, but really give myself a push to make something I’ve thought about quite a bit. Something I’ve never had and always wanted to make.

Chicken Kiev.

The origin of this dish is said to be Ukraine, as it shares the same name as the country’s capital. However there is a strong certainty from many that the dishes roots are Russian.

I don’t know which is true nor do I care. All I know is I get to gleefully pound out a chicken breast and stuff it with garlic butter.

How could you go wrong?

Many of the recipes recommend cook this baby in oil, but seeing how I am currently without a proper thermometer I will be cooking it in the oven.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

1 stick of room temperature butter

2 teaspoons dried parsley/basil/tarragon etc (whatever you like)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves ( so 4 all together)

2 large whole eggs

2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko), plus 1/4 cup for filling


Directions

Combine butter, herbs, salt and pepper in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap into shape of log and place in the freezer.

Place chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Haul off and pound to no less than 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.

Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/4 of the compound butter and 1 tablespoon bread crumbs in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in ends of breast and roll breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with each breast. Place chicken in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight. (I only waited 30 min….too hungry)

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan and 2 cups bread crumbs in a different pie pan.

Dip each breast in the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs.

Place seam side down in an 8-in. square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 20-25 minutes

Compound butter - Garlic, Dill and spices

Not as brown as I would’ve like, but super moist!

You’ve stolen a pizza of my heart

A wise man once said, ‘Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.’  - Michelangelo, TMNT

A little over a month ago good friends of ours were married and the during the ceremony there was a clear theme, other than eternal love, commitment, partnership…blah blah blah, that being pizza.

They met at a pizza joint and it continues to be a prominent feature in their relationship, including make your pizza nights at home. They sicken me and I love them.
Regardless, they were the inspiration for tonight’s dinner….which also happens to be Brofriend’s favorite meal.
I prefer making my own pizza dough when I can and when you use a food processor it’s super easy. 
The dough.
Ingredients
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F.)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour, plus more if necessary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Directions
Add the yeast and water to a bowl. Allow the yeast to dissolve until it is incorporated into the water, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Add the ingredients in a food processor until the dough forms a ball. After a few seconds of mixing or processing, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour and process for another minute.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for 2 to 3 minutes, adding enough additional flour if necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3 quart bowl and turn to coat dough with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.
Divide dough into 2 portions (for 2 (12-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Transfer dough to a pizza peel and top with toppings of choice. Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings). Remove from the oven with a metal peel or spatula and serve immediately.
I roasted garlic, chopped veggies and did our favorite pesto/tomato 

I was out of strawberries

I was out of strawberries

A little mango juice, club soda and hot monkey is the perfect pairing for a clean house and afternoon with a good book.  (at Chez Shack)

A little mango juice, club soda and hot monkey is the perfect pairing for a clean house and afternoon with a good book. (at Chez Shack)