Deconstructed Beef Wellington

We went and picked up our tree last night and it is definitely a big papa! It’s not so much tall as it is wide lol. You know that scene in Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase cuts the string on the Christmas tree and it goes bursting through the window?! And he says “little full, lot of sap”… that’s how I feel every year! I’ve got sticky sap all over my fingers but it smells so freaking amazing that I think I’ll just leave it :)

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I think I said that about Fall as well? No but Christmas is REALLY my favorite time of year. There’s something so cozy about turning on a classic Christmas movie, with only the lights from the Christmas tree streaming through, cozied up on the couch drinking something warm. I’m hoping we get a little snow in Portland to kick off the holiday season! As with all seasons, what I look forward to most is family and food! Heading home for the holidays, baking cookies, making peppermint hot chocolate (and boozy eggnog) and sharing beautiful festive meals are what it’s all about.

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I’ve been thinking of different dishes I want to make my family and friends over the next few weeks, and Beef Wellington always comes to mind because it’s fun & festive and such a great main dish for holiday parties. There’s nothing better than a melt in your mouth beef tenderloin smothered in a mushroom duxelle and wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Check out Gordon Ramsey’s - he’s the master of beef wellies. But I thought why not deconstruct it?! All the same great flavors with less fuss. And plus, more room for error when you’ve had one to many glasses of rosé in the kitchen and wrapping that puff pastry is looking prettyyy challenging :)

Thomas loves ribeyes so that’s what we tried for this recipe and It had such great flavor! I love beef tenderloin, but you can choose whatever cut of meat you fancy! Dig in, pour yourself a glass, and cheers to kicking off Christmas!

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Deconstructed Beef Wellington

Ingredients


- 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms, chopped as small as you can
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen aisle at the grocery store)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 2 pounds of your preferred cut of beef (filet is the most tender, ribeye has more flavor)

red wine sauce
- brown sugar (enough to cover a very thin at the bottom of the pot)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 shallot quartered
- 2 cups of red wine
- 2 cups of beef stock

what to do

  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each of your puff pastry sheets in half making 4 squares. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space your puff pastry squares evenly, whisk you 1 egg in a small dish, and brush the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are golden brown. Turn off the oven when done, but keep pastries in the oven to stay warm while everything finishes cooking.

  2. while your puff pastry is baking, start the red wine sauce. To make the sauce, put a sauce pan over medium heat and cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of brown sugar. Let the sugar melt until it start to look caramelized, careful not to let it burn. You can remove it on and off the heat to monitor it. Toss in your crushed garlic and quartered shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in your red wine. Let the wine reduce by half and then add in beef stock. Continue boiling until it’s reduced by half again. Taste to see if it needs any adjustments. You can always thicken the sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch blended in a 2 tablespoons of water before whisking it in the sauce and letting it boil out for another minute.

  3. While the sauce is reducing, make your mushroom duxelle. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme leaves, and mushrooms and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm while you sear your beef.

  4. For the beef, heat a skillet over medium-high. Add a little olive oil and sear steak on the first side. Flip over, add butter, crushed garlic and herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Let steak continue searing while you spoon over garlic butter until it’s golden brown and the steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 145. Move to a cutting board once it’s rested for a few minutes and slice.

  5. To serve, place a square of puff pastry and top with the mushroom duxelle, then place a few slices of beef and drizzle with red wine sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

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Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

At this point in our lives with our busy jobs, small apartment, and the amount that we travel we’re not at a place to get a dog. We watch instagram videos all the time of cute puppies playing and I will literally be on the verge of tears from all the cuteness, but still, we want to be settled and have a house before we have any sort of pet. That’s why this past weekend was THE BEST, because we got to dog/house sit for our two friends who are on their honeymoon! They have the cutest golden retriever, Cooper, who is the chillest pup of all time. I swear he sleeps 18 hours a day at least and loves to be cuddled non-stop. It’s been so nice to get a glimpse of dog life, as well as use a big kitchen for once! With the Fall weather already here, we spent the weekend making cozy dishes like my favorite lamb & butternut squash curry, apple pie, and this whole baked cauliflower with béchamel!

At first I was skeptical just eating cauliflower for dinner. Your girl here has an appetite and I wasn’t sure this would be satisfying. I was so wrong. This is seriously one of the best veggie dishes we’ve ever made. Super tender cauliflower covered in a garlicky cheesy béchamel sauce and topped with crispy prosciutto, pesto and roasted tomatoes. Such a cozy meal for Fall and Winter!

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Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

Ingredients

-1 head of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese for the cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for the béchamel
- cherry tomatoes for roasting
- basil pesto for topping
- prosciutto

what to do

  1. To make the cauliflower, use a paring knife to cut the core out of the cauliflower: Flip the cauliflower over so the stalk is facing up. Insert the paring knife about 2 inches into the cauliflower, as close to the stalk as possible, and cut around the stalk. The goal is to leave the cauliflower intact while removing the stalk and creating a small hole where it once was.

  2. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, and boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes or so until it’s starting to get tender.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the cauliflower in a large oven-proof skillet and drizzle all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for a remaining 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown and a knife can easily slice into the cauliflower flesh. About halfway, sprinkle the cauliflower with grated parmesan and let it get golden brown.

  4. Halve the cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven with the cauliflower.

  5. While the cauliflower and tomatoes are roasting, make the béchamel sauce. Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. Turn the heat down and keep warm over very low heat.

  6. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over low heat. When it's bubbling, add the flour and whisk until it forms a golden paste, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the hot milk in a steady stream. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg and the cheese.

  7. Fry the prosciutto slices in a skillet, transfer to a paper towel to dry, and chop into bite size pieces.

  8. Top cauliflower with pesto, roasted tomatoes, béchamel, and prosciutto! Enjoy!

Coconut Curry Shakshuka

Happy Monday!! I hope everyone is having a great October so far! Sorry I've been a little absent the last week or so - I feel like it's been so go-go-go lately. Two weekends ago we went to Black Butte, which is about 3 hours outside of Portland, and had the best couple of days with friends. We stayed in the cutest cabin, went on a snowy hike, and simply had the best little getaway getting to disconnect for a bit. This past weekend was spent wedding planning and researching our honeymoon in Bali! Please share if you guys have any suggestions on things to do/general travel tips in Bali. We are thinking of staying 1 week in an Airbnb and then splurging our final week in a pool villa at a resort!

On Sunday, I also had the pleasure of meeting a group of Portland bloggers and we all brunched at Tusk together. It was so great and if you haven't been to Tusk you have to get your booty there! The pistachio gooey butter cake is pure heaven and I could literally swim in the hummus if that was possible. 

Miraculously it's Monday again... I know right? Such a pity the weekend has to end - but I'm powering through my Monday with this Coconut Curry Shakshuka. I know I've told you this before, but Thomas and I make our normal shakshuka almost weekly. It's such an easy, comforting, healthy meal to make any-time of the week. For this recipe I spice it up with curry powder, bell pepper and a little jalapeño to give it a kick! If you don't like it as spicy, take out the jalapeño, but it definitely becomes milder after is simmers for a bit. Get yourself some naan, pita, crusty bread, or any type of carbalicious vehicle to sop up all of that spicy, coconut-y, tomato-y scrumptiousness. 

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Coconut Curry Shakshuka 


Ingredients
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded, and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste ( I love the squeeze tube from Trader Joe's)
- 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1can full-fat coconut milk
- 6 eggs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro or parsley for topping

What to do

  1. In a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell pepper,  onion, and jalapeño, and a pinch of salt and saute until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, paprika, and ginger, another pinch of salt, a few turns of black pepper, and saute for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the sugar/honey, tomato paste, tomatoes, and coconut milk; stir to combine; and simmer until the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Crack the eggs and slide them into the sauce, distributing them around the pan. Gently spoon some of the tomato sauce over some of the egg whites to keep them from drying out. Cover and cook until the eggs are completely set, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Season with a last sprinkle of salt and pepper and top with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve with naan, pita, or crusty bread. 

Enjoy!

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Roasted Poblanos with Chicken + Mexican Corn Salad

A whole week where we can guiltlessly eat tacos, enchiladas, bowls of guac AND drink as much tequila and cerveza as we want?! Pinch me because I must be in a dream! That's right friends...it's Cinco de Mayo week. Growing up in a primarily Mexican community, I grew up trying so many different traditional dishes (Tongue tacos anyone?) I would probably eat anything as long as it comes on a warm homemade corn tortilla! Here is a cool article on 7 wonderfully weird tacos from Mexico that you've never heard of! So fun. I would love to travel to Mexico someday and try the real deal. Has anyone ever been to Bacalar or Oaxaca? They look beautiful and much less touristy than Cabo or Cancun.

While I do love a good fat & cheesy burrito on occasion, Thomas and I usually opt for something lighter if we're craving Mexican food on a weeknight. These roasted poblanos with chicken from Skinnytaste makes an appearance at least once a month in our house. Everything is so fresh and we usually don't even add cheese, but since it's Cinco de Mayo week why the heck not?! And let me tell you about this Mexican corn salad...it's too good for words honestly. I can't wait to get out the grill this summer and make corn on the cob just to put it in this salad. It's creamy, crunchy, cilantro-y, and the perfect addition to any dish you're whipping up this week. 


Roasted Poblanos with Chicken + Mexican Corn Salad 

poblano recipe adapted by Gina Homolka at SkinnyTaste 

Ingredients
Roasted Poblanos with Chicken
- 4 poblano peppers (2 per person)
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper

Sauce
- 4 medium vine tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (we always add a little more)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt to taste

Filling
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2-3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 1 cup (237 ml) called white beans, drained and lightly mashed
- 3/4 cup (177 ml) chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 cup (295 ml) shredded cheese (pepper jack or Colby jack work best) 
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
 

What to do
1) Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise along one side of each poblano pepper, then make a small crosswise slit along the top to create a T-shape, being careful not to cut off the stem. Carefully cut out and remove the core and scoop out the seeds. On a baking sheet, roast the poblanos and jalapeños under the broiler in the oven turning often until the skin is completely blistered. Transfer to a paper bag (or place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap) and let steam for 10 to 15 minutes. 
2) To make the sauce: In a blender, combine the stemmed, roasted jalapeño pepper including the seeds, the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water.  Blend until smooth. 
3) In a large deep nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pureed mixture, cumin, and salt. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until thickened and the color turns deep red, 20 to 25 minutes. 
4) While the sauce is cooking, boil your chicken breasts in chicken stock until fully cooked and tender, about 15 minutes. Place on a plate to cool and then shred the meat. 
5) For the filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cilantro. Cook, stirring until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, beans, broth, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to taste, and cook until the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes. 
6) While the filling is cooking, preheat the over to 350 degrees
7) Pour a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Carefully stuff filling into each poblano pepper. Place the peppers down in the baking dish and top with a generous sprinkle of cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, 20-25 minutes and then put under the broiler at the end if you want the cheese nice and crispy. 

While the poblanos are baking in the oven, make the corn salad!

Mexican Corn Salad

Ingredients
- 1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn (Grilled corn on the cob would be even better!)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3-4 oz Cotija cheese, crumbled (you can use feta if you can't find it!)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (use less if you don't like as much heat!)
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste

What to do
1) Heat a little oil over medium heat. Add frozen corn and let cook until corn starts to char, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes
2) While the corn is cooking, mix together mayonnaise, cheese, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, garlic, chili powder, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. When corn is done, gently fold it in with other ingredients. 
 

Happy Fiesta!

Kjøttboller // Norway and Meatballs

Okay, enough is enough, Winter!

I am normally all about cozying up in the dark and stormy weather, but it's carried on far too long this year in the PNW. I'm impatiently waiting for picnics in the park, blooming flowers, bustling streets of people who are ecstatic that the sun is shining, and laying out in my bathing suit (or shorts I should say since my legs are translucent from living in Oregon). Someone who is also more than ready for sunshine is Thomas. Since he can't fly in bad weather, he's had to spend a lot of days at home. Normally I am the one that takes pictures of anything we make, but I told him when he's home on a day that I am working he should make something Norwegian to feature on the blog. 

I thought this post would be fitting since we are starting to plan our big family trip to Norway in July! Which is another big reason why I am aching for it to be summer. My entire family will be heading to Oslo at the end of July and I CANNOT WAIT. Thomas and I will be meeting them there since we're coming from Portland (we have an 18 hour layover beforehand in Reykjavik Iceland and you have no idea how excited I am to float in the blue lagoons!)  

Being on vacation, having long summer days and the midnight sun, spending time on the lake at Thomas's family cabin, all while having my whole family there will be absolutely perfect. As always, I'm most excited for sitting around talking, eating good food and having libations with the people I love the most. I'm sure we'll be BBQing every night, having obligatory ventepølse and lots of akevitt to accompany our meals  :) 

Even though I'm dreaming of all the seafood, grilled meat, and akevitt that we'll be consuming in July, it's only March and we're still stuck in the Arctic in Portland (people who are actually dealing with snow around the world, think I'm the biggest baby for saying that!) 
The cold and rainy weather always makes me crave something hearty that sticks to my ribs!  I came home from work the other day and Thomas had made kjøttboller (meatballs) and had taken pictures for the blog :) so cute. From my understanding, these are a little more Swedish since they're meatballs. In Norway it's typical to make kjøttkaker which is meat cakes, or what my family likes to call shit cakes lol. They're always served with boiled potatoes with melted butter and a little parsley on top! A healthy helping of meatball gravy on top of the potatoes makes you do a little food dance from happiness. Do you ever do that in your kitchen? Do a little dance because you're so excited to eat something? Whether I'm a weirdo or not, go put your dancin' shoes on and make these meatballs because you're in for a treat!


Kjøttboller

Ingredients
Meatballs
2 lbs (900 g) minced beef 80/20 (80% lean and 20% fat)
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg (Buy whole nutmeg and zest. Much better flavor when you use whole! If not pre-ground nutmeg will do)

Brown Sauce
-1/2 cup (113 g) butter
-1 cup (128 g) flour
-8 cups (2 l) beef stock
-1/2 cup (113 g) sour creme
-Salt and pepper

Potatoes
-1-2 potatoes per person
-2 tablespoons of melted butter
-Chopped parsley

Carrots
2 carrots per. person
1 tsp honey

How to do it like a Norwegian 

  1. For the meatballs: In a large bowl, whisk in the eggs and spices (salt, pepper, nutmeg). Mix until incorporated. Then add the ground meat and mix all together with your hands.
  2. Form the meat into 2-oz (60 g) balls (about the size of golf balls). Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt half the butter (1-2 tbsp) and lightly brown the meatballs, turning until they are browned on all sides, but not cooked through. You may need to work in two batches. Once all the meatballs have been browned remove them from pan and set aside while you prepare the gravy.
  3. In the same skillet or Dutch oven you cooked the meatballs in, add 1/2 cup (113 g) butter over medium-low heat. When melted but now browned, stir in the flour to make a roux and allow to cook for a minute - the roux will still be blonde in color. Then slowly whisk the broth into the roux. Make sure you whisk out any lumps before continue to adding the broth. Once the roux is incorporated into the broth, turn the heat up to a boil to get out the flavor of the flour. If the gravy is too thick, add a little more broth (or water) to thin it to your desired consistency. If the gravy is too thin you can cook a little longer allowing the sauce to reduce to your desired consistency. Add the meatballs back into the pan and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until the meatballs are cooked through. 
  4. When the meatballs are done, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sour cream. if you add the sour creme when the sauce is too hot it will curdle! Taste the sauce and adjust your seasonings to your desired tastes.
  5. While the meatballs are simmering, boil the potatoes and sauté the carrots. When the potatoes are done drizzle 1-2 tbsp of melted butter over them and sprinkle with parsley. When sautéing the carrots you want to keep the crunch in them so be careful. Add the honey and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with Lingonberry jam (found in your local IKEA if not in your local grocery store). You can also use cranberry jam if you are unable to find lingonberry jam.

Written by Thomas :)