Goat Cheese-y Polenta with Sauteed Mushrooms and a Poached Egg

I am delighted to announce that this past week, I poached my very first egg!! I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have put off this particular task, for some reason, even the very thought of it struck fear in my heart. But this past week, I was home alone for several days and, without an audience, I poached not one, but TWO eggs. It’s important to note however that I did in fact ruin two other eggs before I made two suitable ones, but I feel as though that was bound to happen. I’m proud of myself because I pushed past my fear of not being good at a cooking-related task, because I am not perfect and sometimes I have to mess things up before I can get them right! And that’s okay!! Who knows if I’ll ever be able to recreate this, but if I can, Eggs Benedict for everyone!!!

Today was such a productive day if I do say so myself, aside from a quick downward spiral about what I want to do with my life, I went grocery shopping to prepare for the coming weeks recipe tests, made this ridiculously good dinner, and started a batch of overnight chocolate chip cookies that maaaaay or may not include brown butter (recipe coming soon). Nothing clears my head like coming home, turning on some music, and cooking for hours. That’s why sometimes, I fully appreciate a labor intensive recipe, or at least one with a few moving parts, because the process is so fun and relaxing, even if I am attempting a first poached egg. Give me a glass of wine and some Hozier and I am good to GO. This recipe is a combination of a few different steps, each pretty basic on their own, but when combined, make the most magical of dinners. A simple polenta upgraded with the salty tang of goat cheese swirled in, buttery sauteed mushrooms inspired by the foundation of this recipe from Bon Appetit, and then the egg which breaks open and spills its runny yolk all over everything and truly brings TEARS to my eyes.

Aside from all these happy things above, here are five MORE things to be happy about today:
ONE. Hearing the rain on the roof while you lie in bed at night.
TWO. Someone telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
THREE. Vanilla scented candles.
FOUR. Laptop stickers.
FIVE. Spring tulip arrangements.

SERVES: 2 to 3 dinner portions
PREP TIME: 30 minutes

GOAT CHEESE POLENTA INGREDIENTS

5 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp salted butter
4 Tbsp goat cheese

GOAT CHEESE POLENTA STEPS

ONE. In a medium saucepan, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly whisk the cornmeal into the water so that there’s no lumps. Continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture gets thickened slightly.

TWO. Turn the heat to low and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cornmeal has expanded and no longer tastes raw. If necessary, add up to ½ cup more water as needed, to keep the polenta at a stirring consistency.

THREE. Stir in the tablespoon of butter until incorporated, and then add the goat cheese, a tablespoon at at time, until the polenta is smooth and creamy.

 

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS INGREDIENTS

1 lb. mushrooms (cremini, button, etc.), cleaned and torn into pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS STEPS

ONE. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat until very hot, then add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the water cooks off the mushrooms in the first 10 minutes, and then the mushrooms begin to brown.

TWO. Once the mushrooms are browned, add the garlic and shallots and mix to combine, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes until the raw taste has cooked off the garlic. Chop the parsley and set aside for plating.

 

POACHED EGG INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs
Kosher salt and pepper

POACHED EGG STEPS

ONE. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer on medium heat. Crack the first egg into a shallow bowl. Gently create a whirlpool in the water using a slotted spoon, and add the egg into the center of the whirlpool, carefully stirring in order to encourage the whites of the egg to wrap around the yolk.

TWO. Cook the egg for about 2½ minutes, until the whites are opaque and set, but the yolk is still runny.

THREE. To serve, add a generous portion of polenta to a bowl or plate, top with a spoonful of mushrooms, then a poached egg. Sprinkle some chopped parsley or parmesan cheese on top and DIG IN!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxoD!

Milk and Cookie Pie

I’d like everyone to know that when I made this pie the other day, I had just returned home from the eye doctor, and my pupils were so dilated my eyes were practically all black, and any amount of light literally BURNED, I was like a damn vampire. However, I made the mistake of mentioning this pie, created by Erin McDowell and originally found here, to my siblings when I came across the recipe, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, as a result, I baked this pie in a kitchen as dark as I could make it, squinting the entire time. And STILL, it was fabulous, which is probably mostly a credit to Erin’s recipe, but also I LITERALLY blind-baked a pie so there’s that. Someone please tell me I’m funny…pls.

Anyway, this past Easter weekend was full of food and also rainy weather, which wasn’t so great for the spring-y holiday, but made it extra cozy for me while holed up cooking and baking for 16 people with my mom! In addition to the dinner classics like ham, scalloped potatoes, and such, I made 2 different spring desserts: a pavlova, like this one I wrote about last week, and also another almond cake, which I wrote about here! Both are good desserts to make the night before, since the pavlova can dry in the oven overnight, and the cake is covered in a glaze that keeps it moist. We all ate lots of food and Easter candy, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do, and now that the day is over, catch me scooping up all the discounted Peeps at CVS am I right?? But back to the present, let’s get baking, shall we?

Here are 5 things to be happy about at the beginning of this week!!
ONE. Appreciating the good fortune of loved ones.
TWO. Ghost stories and marshmallows by the fire.
THREE. Stained glass.
FOUR. Feeding your mind.
FIVE. Downspouts after a rain.

MAKES: 1 9 inch tart
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
BAKE TIME: 20-24 minutes
INACTIVE TIME: 1 to 2 hours or overnight

COOKIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 + 2/3 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup chocolate chips

COOKIE CRUST STEPS

ONE. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet, and make sure that you have enough room in both your freezer and fridge for later.

TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolk, then mix to combine.

THREE. Carefully add the flour and salt, then mix until incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly, but should stick together when squeezed. At this point, stir in the chocolate chips so that they’re uniform, then press the dough into the prepared pan, making sure it’s even on all sides.

FOUR. Place the tart shell in the freezer and let it chill while you preheat your oven to 350ºF.

FIVE. When it’s ready to bake, prick the bottom and sides of the dough with the tines of a fork, then bake until the crust is lightly golden brown, between 20 and 24 minutes. Set aside to cool completely while you make the filling.

 

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup cool water
1 Tbsp powdered gelatin
1¼ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean)

FILLING STEPS

ONE. Mix the cool water with the gelatin in a small bowl, and allow to bloom for at least 5 minutes.

TWO. In a small saucepan, heat together 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the bloomed gelatin and heat until that too dissolves, about another minutes.

THREE. Pour the heated cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup or bowl with a spout. Stir in the remaining heavy cream and milk. Carefully pour the cream mixture into the cooled crust, and transfer the whole pie to the fridge. Chill for at least 1 hour, up to overnight, until the panna cotta filling is completely set.

DECORATION INGREDIENTS

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate chips/ cookies for decorating

 

DECORATION STEPS

ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla together until medium soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.

TWO. Generously pile the whipped cream onto the center of the pie, and smooth out as desired. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, shavings, or mini cookies as desired.

YUM! XOXOXOXOXOXO

 

 

 

Mini Pavlovas

Spring is in the air bbs! And to me, a quintessential spring dessert is pavlova. Pavlovas are meringue nests, either in mini or large form, and are typically filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, lemon curd, or fresh fruit. It can be adjusted based on what is fresh and in season, so there are practically endless possibilities. I feel like that is a running theme of this blog, desserts that can be customized to your liking, and I’m not mad about it. I encourage everyone to play around with flavors and combinations and find what works best for you, the fun is in the process! For these pavlovas, I borrowed the basics from this recipe on ZoeBakes, doubled for more minis, and went from there!

I feel like I may be the only person on this earth not watching Game of Thrones right now (it’s Sunday night as I’m typing this), and I am instead choosing to watch the 2nd season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina AGAIN because that’s exactly how I roll. Something I should have done today is give my room a good spring cleaning, but what did I do instead? Take a nap, watch TV and make pavlovas. Good stuff good stuff, guess that spring cleaning will have to wait until next week!


Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about!!
ONE. 
Staying up to watch that extra episode because you know you can sleep late tomorrow.
TWO. Tent dresses.
THREEFern fossils.
FOUR. Fried chicken with hushpuppies.
FIVE. Cleaning out your wallet, makeup case, and purse.
Let’s get baking!!

MAKES: 12 mini pavlovas
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 2 hours

 

PAVLOVA INGREDIENTS

8 egg whites
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup cold water
2½ cups sugar
2 tsp vinegar (cider, white wine, or distilled)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch

PAVLOVA STEPS

ONE.  Preheat your oven to 300ºF. To prepare your baking sheets, trace 3″ circles about 2 inches apart from each other on the underside of a sheet of parchment paper cut to size. Flip the paper over so that the circles show through but no pencil marks will rub off on the meringues.

TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the salt until medium-stiff peaks form. At this point, drizzle in the water with the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, and once all is added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks. This means that if you remove the whisk attachment and hold it upright, the egg whites will stick straight up.

THREE. Add the vanilla and vinegar, and then sprinkle in the cornstarch. Fold the cornstarch into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, lightly shaking the spatula as you fold to eliminate any lumps.

FOUR. Scoop even amounts of meringue onto each traced circle. Using an offset spatula, start by smoothing around the sides, then create a dip in the center, which will prevent the top from cracking during baking. For a more polished look, smooth the sides of each meringue by holding the spatula horizontal and dragging from the bottom to the top in quick strokes all the way around.

FIVE. Bake the pavlovas at 300ºF for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, turn the oven down again to 250ºF and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. At this point, turn off the oven, turn the oven light on, but do NOT open the oven door. Allow the meringues to sit in the off oven for at least an hour, up to overnight to fully dry.


BLUEBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1 pint of blueberries
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Splash of amaretto liquor (optional)


BLUEBERRY SAUCE STEPS

ONE. Combine all the above ingredients in a saucepan and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the blueberries begin to break down and the alcohol cooks off. Allow to cool completely before serving.

WHIPPED CREAM INGREDIENTS

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


WHIPPED CREAM STEPS 

ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed. Add in the sugar and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved and the whipped cream is the desired consistency. For this, some stability is helpful since the blueberry sauce will go on top.

ASSEMBLY

ONE. To serve, carefully remove a meringue from the tray so as not to shatter the thin sides, top with a generous scoop of whipped cream, a pour of blueberry sauce, and some extra berries. Best eaten immediately, but if needed, unfilled meringue shells can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

XoxoxoxoxoD