Brie en Croute De-LUX

I could have made the title of this: Dried cherries, pecan and rosemary brie en croute, but I felt like that was a little long and didn’t do this justice. This is by far the best Brie en Croute I have ever had. Three people finished off an entire wheel of brie as an appetizer to a dinner. It is also an incredibly easy and impressive appetizer to make.

Soften 1/3 cup of dried cherries. Simply soak them in hot water for a minute or two, then drain off the excess water.

Preheat oven to 400F. Thaw one puff pastry sheet. Lay puff pastry sheet out on a well-greased pan.

In a bowl, mix together the soften cherries, 1/4 cup toasted pecan, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves. I didn’t have fresh rosemary, so I used dried. Not as effective but worked in a pinch.

Spread this mixture on the center of the puff pastry.

Top the mixture with a wheel of brie.

Fold edges of pastry up around the brie to make an envelope, sealing the brie and cherry mixture inside. Tear or cut off any extra pastry.  The recipe said to brush the edges of the pastry with egg mixture to seal up the pastry, but I didn’t have an egg on hand and water worked fine. Turn brie over so that sealed edges are underneath. The recipe said to brush entire pastry with the egg mixture at this point. Again, no egg mixture, no brushing.

Put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it is deep golden brown. Then let it set for 45 minutes before serving. This may have been the most perfect part of the recipe. I had about 30 minutes to travel to the dinner party I was going to, so my appetizer finished itself on the way to dinner and I arrived with a warm appetizer. Perfect.

I sliced up some honeycrisp apples and used a package of entertaining crackers to dip in the molten cheese mixture.

I liked it on the apples best and made me feel a little less guilty about consuming large amounts of cheese. The cherries, pecans, honey and rosemary mixture was amazing. We couldn’t stop “ooooh-ing and ahhhh-ing” as we managed to devour the entire thing.

“Chorizo” scramble

With the cold temperatures lately I have been craving comfort foods and spicy foods. I can’t think of a better way than to start the day with a spicy breakfast to warm you up!

Today I created a “chorizo” scramble. I sautéed 1/2 small onion finely chopped with two cloves of finely chopped garlic in some olive oil until translucent.

I added in one chopped link of vegetarian chorizo sausage.

 

Then I poured in 1 1/2 cups egg beaters and scrambled until cooked. I added salt and pepper to season as well. I was wishing I had added in some jalapeno, but my brain doesn’t always work the best when I first wake up.

Pre-soak oatmeal

My mom informed me that the picture of my oatmeal from this morning looked like creamed corn with pieces of hot dog in it.

So, I took a picture of my oatmeal concoction pre-soak for you tonight.
-1/4 cup steel cut oats
-1 oz pomegranate flavored craisins
-1 small red delicious apple diced
-1 small banana cut in small chunks
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-sprinkle of flax seeds
-sprinkle of chia seeds
-7 or 8 cocoa roasted almonds

I know, there’s a lot going on in my bowl, but I just kept finding things that I wanted to add. I just bought the chia seeds and have never used them. I just hope they don’t sprout into a bowl of chia pet oatmeal overnight! I know I should have waited to add the almonds after I cooked it, but I would forget them in the morning.

I can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow.

A new combo

I tried a new combination in my oatmeal today. As usual, I soaked my steel cut oats over night(for faster cooking in the morning). I frequently add apple and banana to my oatmeal, which I also did. Today I added a healthy dose of cinnamon and cashews to it too. Tasty!
I’m not usually a huge fan of cinnamon but have come to like it more recently. I don’t mind the hearty dose of antioxidants that it has or the stablizing effect on blood sugar, either. A simple way to make my oatmeal healthier without adding calories.

XOCO revisited

In a far more pleasant food experience than today’s hot and sour soup was yesterday’s lunch date with Aaron and Brock at Xoco.

Lunch started off with a bowl of the soup of the day. I don’t remember the name but it had spinach, potatoes and poblanos. Devine.

Then we moved on to our tortas. Aaron ordered the Ahogada(pork carnitas), I ordered the Pepito(braised shortribs) and Brock got the special of the day Goat Barbacoa. All were amazing, but I think I liked the Ahogada the best. The great thing about going to lunch with close friends is that you can share your food… which we did.

The Ahogada:

Lunch with friends wouldn’t be complete without a plate of freshly made churros with house made chocolate dipping sauce.

Hot and sour soup

After having some amazing Tom Yum soup recently, I have been wanting to make a hot and sour soup. I found this simple recipe and have been wanting to make it for about two weeks. I finally got around to  making it this morning. It was awful. I took one spoonful and nearly spit it out. Brian was able to choke down a half of a bowl, but I wasn’t nearly as brave. I am going to go ahead and post the recipe even though we didn’t like it because it had a 4.5 star rating out of 5 by 30 reviewers. So, maybe you’ll like it.

Adapted from weightwatchers.com:

Start by soaking a 2oz package of dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove mushrooms from water, remove stems and thinly slice.

In a soup pot, combine:

  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp Asian hot sauce or chili paste
  • 1/3 cup bamboo shoots sliced
  • sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 9oz firm tofu diced

In a separate bowl, combine 1 T cornstarch with 2 T warm water. Stir until smooth.

Bring soup pot to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add in cornstarch mixture and cook for and additional 2 minutes.

Serve in bowls.

Multi-tasking at its finest

Today I made bread while I was at yoga. You might think that a hot, moist 105f bikram room is the perfect place to let your bread rise, and it might be. But, that isn’t where my bread rose.

I dumped all the ingredients into my bread machine BEFORE I went to bikram. When I came home, a hot, fresh loaf of bread was waiting for me. I’m secretly jealous(now publicly jealous) of people who make their own bread. I will make real bread one day, but for now, I just don’t have the time or patience. So, the bread machine is my speedy friend.

This is the second time that I have used this particular recipe. It’s simple, gluten-free and perfect for sandwiches. I got the recipe off the back of Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix from Whole Foods. I eat more than my fair share of gluten, but have been trying to bring a few more gluten-free items into the mix lately, which is what prompted me to make gluten-free bread.

This bread is moist, dense, chewy, slightly sweet, with a great crunch to the crust. The end pieces, also known as the “heels” or “butt”, are my favorite. Don’t be shy, make a loaf for yourself.

Spicy turkey chili

I had the privilege of eating my dad’s chili while I was home. My dad must have forgotten that his birthday is coming up, as he forgot to send chili back to Chicago with me. Since I didn’t have any of his to eat, I was forced to make my own.

When looking for recipes, I knew that I wanted it to be a little spicy and healthy. And in the words of my late uncle, “When you are eating chili, you shouldn’t be able to see the bottom of the bowl.” This is an easy slow cooker recipe I came up with based on a variety of different recipes I had seen online.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 15 oz can of chili beans(either medium or hot spiciness), undrained
  • 1 15oz can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 3 15oz cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7-8 jalapeno slices(optional)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 T ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • pinch black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Dice onion and mince garlic. Spray pan with non-stick spray and brown turkey, onion and garlic together. Drain grease off of meat.

In slow cooker, dump in all other ingredients and stir together to combine. Add in turkey cooked with onion and garlic. Stir together. Cook on low heat for 8-12 hours or high 4-6.

That’s a lot of beans!

It’s starting to get spicy, but I think we need to turn up the heat…

Some jalapenos should do the trick!

That is one very full slow cooker! Time to cook it, nice and slow…

Fully cooked 10 hours later!

The two pounds of turkey is A LOT of meat. Next time, I’ll be trimming it down to one pound. Definitely a very filling chili with a nice kick.

Greek yogurt fail

This is by far the worst Greek yogurt I’ve ever tasted. The texture is a cross between yogurt and jello…and for good reason. Yoplait added gelatin to thier Greek yogurt. Why? The taste is not to pleasant either. It’s a cross between cottage cheese and a dirty dish rag.

I don’t know what kind of consumer group they tested this yogurt on to decide that it was ready for the market, but those people must have been missing their taste buds.

Samoas getting a run for thier money

This new flavor of Fiber Plus bars are going to give the Girls Scouts a run for thier money this cookie selling season!

The carmel coconut fudge bars taste like a lighter version of Girl Scout’s Samoas cookies…or Carmel De-Lite, depending where you live. I ate one and could have easily eaten the whole box, but at 9g of fiber per bar, I wanted to be able to leave the house later. If you love Samoas, give these a try.

**On a side note, Samoas and Carmel De-lites are NOT the same. They are made by two different companies that the Girl Scouts contract with to make their cookies. Depended where you live determines which you will get. In college we lived near the dividing line for Samoas and De-lites and had a blind taste test among several of my co-workers. Samoas were the unanimous winner of the taste test.