• 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!

  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caper Brown Butter Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

    Hello! So as promised, I’ve returned with a recipe that’s NOT dessert.  This is one of those recipes that I tried on a whim a few years ago, and it worked out SO well that it keeps coming back. Believe it or not, it was inspired by a recipe from a cookbook we once bought in Disney World. The book is called Kitchen Magic With Mickey (hilarious, I know, but once you try this you’ll see they really weren’t lying!), and it features foods from the Disney locations. As a family in love with Disney World, buying this cookbook was a no-brainer, and it has paid off handsomely.

    This dish is a perfect combination of flavors- slightly sweet from the potatoes and honey, savory and rich from the brown butter, with just a touch of acidic kick from the capers. It’s a full meal in just one dish and when you make this for your friends or family, I am telling you they’ll be so impressed.

    This meal was much needed comfort food this weekend following the emotional hangover of seeing the love of my life (Harry Styles) in concert on Thursday night. For anyone who doesn’t know who that is, 10/10 would recommend looking him up. For those of you who do know who that is, you’ll understand why I needed to retreat into my pajamas and brown butter sauce to recover for two days straight after standing 20 feet from him!!!! But I digress, we’re here to talk about food and that’s what we shall do. Without further ado, let’s cook!!


    Serves: 
    8-10 people
    Prep Time: 45 minutes
    Inactive Time: 1 hour
    Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


    Ingredients

    4 sweet potatoes
    2 egg yolks
    4-6 cups all purpose flour
    1½ tsp kosher salt
    1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
    2 tbs honey
    4 tsp capers, drained
    1 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
    1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper, to taste


    Steps

    1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, and allow the potatoes to cool completely before removing the skins. *If you have a potato ricer, this step isn’t necessary, just peel and dice your potatoes, steam them until soft, then put through the ricer until smooth.

    2. For those not using a ricer (like me), pull the skins easily off the cooled potatoes and grate them using the smallest side on your cheese grater (I love this trick borrowed from Smitten Kitchen!!!) into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and add the egg yolks, the first 4 cups of flour, and salt.

    3. Starting with a spoon, mix the dough until it starts to combine and get sticky, then, switch to your hands and begin kneading the dough until completely incorporated, adding the remaining 2 cups of flour as necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

    4. Working in sections, cut off pieces of the dough and roll into long, thin ropes. Slice the ropes into 1 inch pieces and toss with flour to keep the pieces from sticking together. Spread the gnocchi on flour lined baking sheets and chill for at least 1 hour.

    5. While the gnocchi are chilling, preheat your oven to 425ºF. Spread the sliced brussels sprouts and mushrooms onto a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are roasted on the edges.

    6. To make the sauce, melt the 2 sticks of butter in a pan on medium high heat. Stir, cooking for 5-10 minutes until the butter is golden brown and smells rich and nutty. Add the honey and capers, and toss in the cooked vegetables, turning the heat down to low to keep everything warm while the gnocchi cooks.

    7. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches for 5-6 minutes, then add them directly to the sauce. The beautiful thing about boiling gnocchi is that they rise to the top of the water and remain there when they’re done cooking, so there’s no guess work!

    8. Once all the gnocchi are cooked and added to the sauce, toss everything together and serve immediately. Yum!!

    xoxoxoxoxD

  • Beef Bourguignon

    This past week, all but 1 of my siblings were home from college for break (we miss you Clare!), so what better way to welcome everyone home than with a pot of this cozy, warming, perfectly filling french stew? For so long I watched my mom make this stew for special occasions or snow days, and was always intimidated by it, until I realized that the work is very front heavy, and then, since it simmers for about 3 hours, you’re free to do other things. I myself am typing this as I watch it bubble happily on the stove with a glass of the leftover red wine- waste not!! It’s become one of my favorite decadent meals, with tender pieces of beef, buttery sautéed mushrooms, and and a heaping pile of egg noodles to carry it all. As a side note, don’t overlook the sprinkling of chopped parsley at the end, this stew has lots of (delicious) heaviness that really benefits from its bright and fresh flavor.

    Processed with VSCO with al6 preset

    We’ve had a lot of strange weather on the East Coast recently, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I get snow days from work just like at school. Apparently it’s still not even over, and I’m definitely not complaining if it gives me a snow day, I just hope there’s some of this stew still left for me to eat in my PJs all day.

    Processed with VSCO with al2 preset
    This is the last time I cook with this many cookbooks and notes!!

    This recipe comes from a combination of cookbooks, common sense, and wise words from my mom, that I finally wrote down in one place so that I wouldn’t have to keep checking between 2 cookbooks at all times, which gets risky because I am notoriously forgetful when reading recipes. The cookbooks used are Woman’s Day Famous French Cookery, and The New Basics Cookbook, both well loved books in my mom’s arsenal. They each make some excellent points, but I’ve taken the best parts (personal opinion only) of both and created this recipe that I will continue to make for years and years to come. Pro-tip: make this for future in-laws or important guests because it tastes and looks SO fancy, and they’ll think you were standing over the stove all day. Without further ado, go forth and get cooking!!

    Processed with VSCO with al6 preset

    Makes: 8-10 generous servings
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Inactive Time: ~3 hours
    Total Time: approximately 3½ to 4 hours

    Ingredients

    12 oz. (8 strips) thick cut bacon, diced
    5 lbs. beef chuck (also called stew beef), cubed
    1½ cups onion, diced
    1 tbs kosher salt
    ½ tsp black pepper
    3 cloves garlic, miced
    3 cups dry red wine (I used burgundy, I also know barely anything about wine so)
    2 cups beef stock
    2 bay leaves
    1 tsp thyme
    2 tbs tomato paste
    3 tbs salted butter
    1 lb. mushrooms, washed and sliced
    4 tbs all-purpose flour
    24 oz. (2 bags) egg noodles

    Steps

    1. Sauté the bacon on medium-high heat in a deep, heavy pot (this is the same pot you’ll be using to make the whole stew), until crisp. Remove from the pot and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the grease. At this point, dry your beef so that it gets a nice sear. Drain out all but 2 tbs of the bacon grease (but save it in a cup for later) and brown the beef in batches, searing on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side.

    2. Once the last of the meat is browned and removed, add 2-3 tbs more of the bacon grease and add the diced onion. Cook on medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

    3. Add the bacon and the beef back into the pot, along with salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, red wine, beef stock, thyme, and tomato paste. Cover and turn the heat down to low, simmering for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

    4. Towards the end of the stew simmering process, melt 3 tablespoons of salted butter in a skillet on medium heat, and sauté sliced mushrooms until golden and soft, around 10-15 minutes. Add to the stew and mix until evenly distributed.

    5. In a small bowl, mix together the flour with just enough water to form a thick paste, and stir this into the stew. Allow to cook for another 15 minutes or so until the stew has thickened. Make sure to remove the bay leaves now!!

    6. While the stew is in it’s last 15 minute stage, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and cook egg noodles according to package instructions.

    7. For each serving, start with a generous helping of egg noodles, ladle the stew on top, and finish with some of the parsley. Best enjoyed with bread and a glass of wine. YUM!

    xoxoxoxoD