Little, romantic, delicious Individual Beef Wellingtons with asparagus. YUM.
Last night, between sips of wine, my Asphalt Green BPC students pulled together a wonderful compilation of Chateaubriand/Duxelle/Mousse and Pastry better known as Wellington. Here are our results and below is our working recipe. Please know that the directions are geared for people with basic cooking skills – if you want a more detailed instruction list, please comment below and I’ll send you the deets!
Tasting the Wellingtons of their labor!
Inside our Wellies….oh, PERFECT – SNAP!
INDIVIDUAL BEEF WELLINGTONS
Recipe Yield: 4 servings
4 2” thick steaks
Kosher or sea salt
Mushrooms (crimini or button)
15 small-medium, minced
3 tablespoons per person
1 medium or 2 small, minced
All purpose flour
Fois Gras (or Duck liver Mousse)
French Spicy Mustard
Sherry or Tawny Port
2 tablespoons per person
2 sheets per person
2 eggs beaten with water
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR RECIPE:
Small cookie cutters (optional)
Preheat Oven to 400 F
Prepare Filet and divide into portions – Dry off and set aside to come to room temp.
Make the mushroom duxelle (chop shallots, garlic and mushrooms) then sauté in a pan until mushrooms are soft and dry) – deglaze with sherry or port…reduce again until mushrooms are soft and “dry”.
Season – and sear beef in sauté pan.
Roll out pastry dough – moving as fast as possible – shape into a circle and cut off corners of circle (save scraps) to shape the pastry into a thick cross shaped piece.
Assemble Wellingtons: Quickly dry off beef with a paper towel and place in middle of pastry cross. Brush with mustard, then layer on fois gras, then a tablespoon of duxelle. Brush ends of pastry with egg wash, then wrap the beef with the pastry, pressing the seams together. Glaze top with egg wash, decorate with leftover pastry dough if you like.
Place in Freezer for 15 minutes to re-set pastry dough
Bake in 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until puff pastry has risen and is golden brown. Check temp of beef – should be around 125 for rare.
I’ve notice many designers for Spring 2014 lifting a hem line that I’m not completely comfortable with – the midriff. Maybe I’m a little afraid of my post-baby tummy, maybe I’m not comfortable looking at belly buttons that aren’t on the beach, maybe I’m scared that too many muffin tops will be allowed to meander on our city streets, or perhaps I’m just getting old, but I’m not crazy about this trend.
Done with taste, this look can be cute, but I find it breaks up the line too much – not to mention adds a dash of trash to normally elegant and cute looks.
Not many women can pull this off. Let’s face it, if it looks “eh” on a 5’10” gorgeous runway model, it probably won’t look tres belle on us mere mortals.
Are these duds that you would don? Do you have any pictures of regular women wearing this trend successfully?
Night 2 of Culinary Boot Camp at Asphalt Green in Battery Park City. We’ll be using our knife and roasting skills from last week and adding some new techniques: making sauce, sectioning a chicken, making stock, blanching veggies and drinking wine (oh, wait, we have that skill perfected already). Tonight’s class we’ll be making Chicken Pot Pies from scratch, or as my son call is Chicken Pot Nummie. Kids love it, adults love it, cats love it – what can I say, it’s the perfect dish.
This is the recipe from which we’ll be working. Any questions, please ask! I’ll be adding our class pictures to this post tomorrow.
Recipe Yield: 4 servings
Kosher or sea salt
Homemade Chicken Stock
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks)
Yellow Onions, chopped
All purpose flour
Fresh or Frozen Peas
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR RECIPE:
4 aluminum containers per person (small/round)
Large boiling pot
Roasting pan or baking sheet
Saucepan x 2
Break down chicken (set legs aside for frying/left over carcass should be used for stock). Drizzle olive oil and season chicken breasts and roast with skin and bone in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
Heat up chicken stock in a saucepan.
While chicken is cooking, prep vegetables. Dice carrots, dice onions. Blanche carrots, set aside.
When chicken breast is finished, remove skin and bone; dice
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter and sweat the onions. Add the flour and make a roux. Slowly add chicken stock, mixing until thickened. Season and add cream. Add chicken cubes, vegetables and herbs. Mix well.
Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
Divide the filling into 4 oven proof containers. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each into an 8 inch circle. Mix egg with a little water and put egg wash on outsides of each circle. Place the dough over the filling/containers, pressing the egg side down onto the outside of the containers. Brush dough with egg wash, sprinkle with s/p and make 3 slits in top of each. Place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling hot.
Note: You can make your own pastry dough, or purchase one from the store. If you like a fluffier crust, purchase puff pastry dough instead. You will still use the egg wash to stick the dough to the top of the ramekins.
My Culinary Boot Camp students rock. We came, we chopped, we kicked butt – last night’s focus was knife skills, so the menu included Maple Roasted Root Vegetables, Red Snapper in Papillote, and a super simple Salmon Poached in the fume from the snapper. Oh, yes, and wine. Delicious wine (yes, we waited until AFTER they were done yielding their Wusthof’s).
Next week, we’re taking our chopping skills to the next level for a delicious Chicken and Veggie Pot Pie from scratch. My challenge is to find a fabulous apron and clogs to don while we choppy chicken…any suggestions?
Backpacks are trending hard this fall. My daughter is starting preschool Monday, so I’m investing in a super cute new back pack for her, as well as for my son, who’s entering the 2nd grade. I thought I may pick up one for myself while I’m at it. I totally forgot how comfortable it can be to schlep my goods on my back. Carrying everything in my super-huge mom bag on my left shoulder has left me somewhat lopsided. Check out the cute back-bags below – most of which can be carried by modern mommies and fashionable teens.
Lazy Oaf Batman – $85
Burberry Check School Backpack – $175
Herschel Supply Company Heritage Plus Backpack
Lazy Oaf Black Bear Necessities – $70
Green Herschel Supply Coreg Survey Backpack – $55
Marc by Marc Jacobs Preppy Nylon Backpack – $248
Pierre Hardy Gold Suede Backpack – $1775
Better hurry – I’m ordering that elephant backpack asap!
Fall this year is filled with red. I’m really feeling this trend because just about everyone looks amazing draped in this color. Valentino, Dior, Nina Ricci and Dolce and Gabbana all have fabulous frocks in crimson this fall, but who can afford such glamor? Not I, so I’ve been searching for items that are more affordable or perhaps just one featured red statement piece to carry me through the season. One beautiful red piece worn correctly will turn heads.
Dolce and Gabbana Fall 2013 Runway
Christian Dior Fall 2013
Antonio Marras Red Wine Riding Hat – $160
Banana Republic Graphic Stone Necklace – $79
Gap Cinnabar Red Leather Bag – $98
Hunter Red Bradwell Rubber Short Boots – $115
JCrew Cabernet Minni Pant – $118
Michael by Michael Kors Red Cowl Neck Dress
Red Ray Ban Aviators – $160
RGB Nail Polish in Classic Red – $18
Toms Pink Seasonal Slip Ons – $63
Uniqlo Natural Cella Birtwell T-Long Sleeve – $19
I still prefer mixing red with grey and camel colors, not necessarily black. You have to be quite careful mixing those two bold colors, done the wrong way, it’s just plain cheesy.
Also, pay attention to the undertones of the red you choose – some have more blue and some have more orange. Choose the wrong red undertones and you may wind up clashing with your skin tones. This is especially true for lipstick. For example, when I pick a more orangy-red, my teeth wind up looking more yellow. Ick.
At this past week’s Hampton Classic, I stumbled upon a wonderful designer sportswear line by the charismatic and gorgeous Kate and Shawn Boyer: Anatomie. I was pulled in by the delicious Italian and French fabrics and sleek lines. Kate and Shawn successfully married high-performance workout wear with modern designer clothing for a fashionable, functional and fun look.
This is exactly what many of the competitive riders must have thought, as their beautifully crafted items were selling like hot-cakes. The equestrian-set favored the City Slick Long Jacket (also comes shorter for ease in the saddle), and the iPod athletic shirt (sorry, I’m waiting for a pic of this – trust me, it’s perfect for riding – bikes or horses). Most of their clothes include silky soft stretch panels that breathe and move with your body, perfect for anyone on the move (yes, you too busy mommies).
The best is all these garments are created to travel well. In fact, Anatomie offers a travel packing guide on their web site as well as a packing service with everyone’s favorite, NetJets airline. All savvy society types need to do is consult with Anatomie before their trip, and all the styling and packing is done for them. Travelers just arrive at their NetJet and travel in fashionable comfort (pretty cool, no?).
For myself, a mere mortal, I’ll settle with wearing the comfy and modern Shelly Long Sweater in my coach seats, sticky with spilled juice boxes on long flights to Grandma’s.
It was an amazing day at the Hamptons Classic yesterday. It was a little crazy to go as a show virgin on Grand Prix day, but it was so worth it. The weather held out and last year’s winner, Kent Farrington, won again. This time, his mount was Zafira. It was so amazing to see such steeds soar. I was happy just getting over a low jump last week; it surely was inspirational.
I have so many pictures and stories I’m weeding through, but I thought I would get some of the more fun pictures up for everyone to see. Please forgive my celebrity pictures – I’m not exactly paparazzi, being on the shy side, so I just took silly pictures from behind the pros. I was more interested in what people were wearing and what they were eating and the HORSES, of course!
My attempt at shooting the fashionable and famous:
Les Enfants: the Fashionable Small-Set at the show:
Oh, and thank you guys for voting on what I should wear! I have to give props to Haute Hippie for sending me my size in the Paprika Onesie in time for the classic. It was perfect: comfortable, chic and got noticed. They rock!!
Okay, I just couldn’t help myself. CIFF Kids creates the most amazing children’s clothes and the boys are just as fashionable as the girls. CIFF Kids is the children’s division of the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair. I can’t get enough of these Danes. Even their kid’s clothes have a street chic, high quality and limitless cool. Also, it’s nice to see kid’s clothes appropriate for children. I’m so tired of seeing muffin tops, bellies and bra straps. I can totally imagine these duds on Suri or Viv. Now to find them in the US; I cannot afford tickets to Copenhagen right now.
If you have 10 minutes, take look at their fashion show F/W 2013 below. It’s killer adorable.
I would never be able to show at a place like the Hampton Classic or the the American Gold Cup; hacking around the lesson ring is just fine for me. I’m a late-to-the–game horse rider, who started only 1 1/2 years ago. I have to say, taking up a sport after kids was the best thing I ever did (well, okay, besides my children).
Today, I jumped my amazing palomino lesson horse, Sonny, over my first jump. I didn’t win a ribbon, but I sure felt like it. I can’t imagine how amazing competitors in any show, let alone a Grand Prix, must feel after completing a clean run. I need to thank and give full credit to my amazing instructor, Hannie at Greenlawn Equestrian Center. I learned more in 2 months from her than I did the entire year at my old barn. I don’t have any pictures or video of my ride (my jumping was so sloppy, I wouldn’t want anyone to see), but I am attaching some shots of Hannie riding a course set up by her 12 year old campers.
Have any of you started something later in life and lived to tell the story? If so, I would love to hear. I also want to give my friends hope that life doesn’t end after 30. Now more than ever, I’m excited to cover the Classic this Sunday. I’m going to be so torn about what to cover first: the horses and competitors in the ring, what people are wearing or what they are eating!!
I guess today is dedicated to the Danes. I love Danish fashion designers, the majority of which showed at Copenhagen Fashion Week this August. Some of the highlights from AW14 (autumn/winter 2014 – which showed early last spring) include black and white, slouchy pants with over-sized blouses sweaters and dresses. Edgy meets wearable luxury in Copenhagen.
One of my favorite designers is By Malene Birger. Her AW14 line reminds of a street-influenced American chic. Wearable and flattering, feminine yet not too formal, her designs make me want to slip on her sweaters, shirts and slacks and relax by a roaring fire. She utilizes the black and white theme with a pop of metallic shine and color.
Here are some of my favorite fall looks:
Here are some individual items (and others that I love) from the looks above:
I’m an American mutt: on my mother’s side, I’m Italian, and on my father’s side I’m Danish. Years ago, Sundays with Grandma and Grandpa would begin with about 3 hours of Lutheran church (I was jealous of my Catholic friends who got to go home after a 1/2 hour mass). Upon our return, we would all assist in assembling an immense table-full of the week’s leftovers, all rearranged and presented to perfection on thin-sliced heavy pumpernickel bread. In Denmark, this is known as Smørrebrød, meaning “buttered bread”. The bread is traditionally smeared with super thick delicious butter (think Lurpak) before toppings are added (the butter keeps the bread from getting soggy), and eaten with a knife and fork.
These little open-faced sandwiches can get very fancy. Indeed, there are restaurants all over Copenhagen (and a couple here in NYC – my next trip will be to Aamans Copenhagen in Tribeca) that specialize in these tasty morsels. In my family, we concentrated on every bite having a perfect blend of bread, dressing and topping. We didn’t worry too much about garnishing, as we were too busy stuffing our mouths. The adults (in my family, age 16) chased the food down with a Tuborg beer (no all but impossible to find) and a shot of Aquavit: Scandinavia’s potent “water of life” made with caraway.
As a fun idea, you should try throwing a Danish Smorrebrod party. Slice and lay out thin slices of heavy pumpernickel, wheat and baguette bread. Place assorted toppings on small plates or on one large platter in the middle of the table, and let your guests make their own sandwiches. Have plenty of Carlsberg and Aquavit on hand to wash down the morsels.
Check out DanishSandwich.com it’s a wealth of information and tons of traditional recipes for sandwiches, homemade pickled herring, cucumber salad and other must-haves. They are one of my favorite blogs.
MOMMY NOTE: If you have young children, the smoked herring may be too much to ask their little taste buds to gobble – stick with the roast beef and pork options!
In a world of Vikings and Wolfs, I think it’s time to bring in a more gentle species with a feminine flair. Enter Big Chill. I have always loved the hominess of 50’s-era kitchens and retro design of older appliances, but using one today would probably bring a private chef to tears. Big Chill has taken the modern commercial grade quality of Viking and merged it with the design aesthetic of Donna Reed – FABULOUS.
Big Chill Pink Fridge – Ice Maker is on the inside!
Big Chill in Action
Big Chill Beach Blue Range
Big Chill Yellow Dishwasher
Big Chill has a number of appliances to choose from – refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and toaster ovens in any color of the rainbow. I prefer the pastel, ice cream flavor colors. Big Chill also offers different sizes: large appliances for the dream kitchen in the ‘burbs and smaller sets for the cutest of studio apartments. With refrigerators starting at $2995 and ranges starting at $4295, these are definitely not your grandmother’s appliances, but trust me, her bundt cake will turn out even better when baked in a baby blue oven!