Getting a Little Political

okay you know i don’t usually post anything “political” here but i felt that this piece was really well written, important, and relevant to the future my yet-to-be-born daughter has to look forward to.

http://minoritysurvival.com/2011/09/27/if-i-were-an-uncaring-bastard-of-an-entrepreneur-or-ceo/

After all, 85% of recent college graduates are returning to live with their parents anyway. Their parents can subsidize the cost of my free employees, with room and board, transportation, and health insurance (up to age 26 under the new health care law).

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i can’t wait to make this!! i was under the impression that i couldn’t eat soft cheese at all, being pregnant, unless they are pasteurized. but it makes sense that since this is do to the listeria that may be present, cooking it would kill that as it kills other bacteria! i’m going to run it by my ob nurse first but i’m sure she’ll say it’s all good in the hood! and i’m a mac ‘n’ cheese ADDICT so this really has me excited! if you try it first, let me know how it turns out!

The $35 a Week Project

I suppose I should preface this post by stating the obvious, given the meal: I’m pregnant. Four months pregnant, to be exact. (For those who’ve seen me in person and wondered how I managed to get quite a beer belly* from eating bread, fruit and mostly vegetarian meals, now you know.) Am I still making it on $35 a week? For the most part, yes. I’m still espousing the principles, baking all my own bread, growing my own food, and making all my own meals, I’m just eating a little more of them, and occasionally making things like this. It basically takes care of all the pregnancy cravings in one go: pie, macaroni and cheese, caramelized onions, and, to top it all off, goat cheese. (As anyone who’s been pregnant recently knows, listeria danger precludes you from having soft cheeses like goat, blue or brie unless they’re heated, leaving very…

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Vegetable Wellington (Easter Practice)

i’m a big fan of chef gordon ramsay and i watch every season of Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares.  there are two dishes that are part of the Hell’s Kitchen menu every season and almost every seating: risotto and beef wellington.   i’ve have several opportunities to try different risottos as it isn’t difficult to find vegetarian versions.  beef wellington i had not even heard of until i’d already gone vegetarian. juicy, soft, red meat melting in your mouth enveloped in a buttery, flakey, pastry crust.  *drool* hey i didn’t give up meat because i didn’t like the taste!  but anyways i always wanted to try a wellington but thought that would never be happening.  until my mom told me about a place that had a fantastic salmon wellington.  i will on very rare occassions eat tuna, tilapia, or salmon… very rare.  this was an occassion i was willing, except she couldn’t remember where the place was and so we never went.  but that opened up an awareness that it could be made with other stuffings.  i eventually started to see mushroom wellingtons pop up on catering menus when i was doing wedding vendor research.  ding ding ding!  i love mushrooms! i love portabellos! oh but those are so expensive!  so the search continued for a wellington that would satisfy my vegetarianism and wallet.  intro vegetable wellingtons.  most have extensive ingredient lists, which isn’t a bad thing, except being a newb at this i wanted to KISS (keep it simple, stupid).  Vegetarian Time’s came through for me!  today i bought the ingredients for and began making their Vegetable Wellington Redux.  my hope is that it will turn out fantastic enough that we’ll want it again for Easter dinner.

oh and on a side note, gordon ramsay hates vegetarians for some reason so i find it humorous that it was one of his shows that inspired me to seek out and try this dish.  take that gordon, ya donkey!

issues during making: i’ve learned that i am not good with puff pastry sheets.  it seemed as though i had too much stuffing and i couldn’t really fold the sheets over the filling.  also, i’m cheap and don’t like paying more than $2 for anything hehe so paying about $4 for frozen phyllo dough, over $6 for the goat cheese, and $3.50 for a jar of pesto was not my cup of tea but hopefully it’s all worth it!  my dough wrapping skills need some work, the side split though, on the plus side, that gave me a cool picture!  oh and you might want to use two sheets of wax paper… mine stuck to the wellington a bit and was difficult to take off especially since it got soft from soaking in yummy juices.  perhaps some Pam spray?  also the recipe calls for bell peppers, which i used, but i think next time i’ll use artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers because i’m really not a bell pepper fan.  for your cooking pleasure, i’ve provided the recipe i used and any changes i made in blue.

Vegetables Wellington Redux

Ingredient List
Serves 8

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 11/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips (i used 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (11/2 cups)
  • 1 5-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
  • 1 4-oz. jar prepared pesto sauce (smallest jar i found was 8 oz so i used half)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 17.3-oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 10-oz. log fresh goat cheese, softened (could only find 5oz logs, i bought 2 and choose the “herb flavored” ones for extra pop)
  • 1 16-oz. jar prepared tomato sauce, warmed (seems stores around here sell only 15oz cans/jars, not 16 so i was an oz short… oh well!)

Directions

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, bell peppers, and onion, and sauté 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add spinach, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until spinach wilts. Stir in pesto. Cool.

2. Whisk egg in bowl, and set aside. Cut 15- x 10-inch piece of parchment paper, and set on work surface. Place 1 sheet puff pastry on parchment paper. Lift parchment with puff pastry, and place parchment-side-down in 9-inch loaf pan. Press pastry into pan, being careful not to let folds get caught in parchment and allowing excess parchment and pastry to hang over sides. Cut squares from second puff pastry sheet, and press onto short sides of parchment-covered pan to make dough shell. Prick bottom of puff pastry all over with fork.

3. Spread goat cheese over bottom of puff pastry (when it says “softened” in the ingredient list, it means it!  work it a little before spreading it on to make sure it’ll spread well.  i didn’t and wish i had). Top with asparagus mixture. Fold excess puff pastry over vegetables, and brush edges with egg.

4. Cut 91/2- x 51/2-inch piece of puff pastry from remaining sheet. Set on top of asparagus mixture, pressing to seal edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes, along with unused pastry scraps and egg.

5. Preheat oven to 425°F, and place oven rack on second-lowest level. Brush top of Wellington with egg, and poke 2 or 3 holes in top. Cut decorative leaves and stems from remaining pastry, press onto top of Wellington, and brush with egg. Use tip of small knife to score leaves and top with decorative touches.  (i didn’t do the decorative florishes… that’s beyond my current level… for now!)

6. Bake Wellington 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350°F, and bake 45 minutes more. Cool 15 minutes.

7. Use parchment to lift Wellington from loaf pan. Remove parchment, and transfer Wellington to flat serving plate. Slice, and serve with tomato sauce.

Nutritional Information

Per serving (1 slice wellington and 1/4 cup sauce):
Calories: 405
Protein: 15g
Total fat: 29g
Saturated fat: 11g
Carbs: 25g
Cholesterol: 48m
Sodium: 657mg
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 6g