Beef w/Porcini Risotto en Croute

Italy, often regarded as the home country of pasta, still has a deep love for another popular dish called risotto. Risotto like pasta can be dressed with an endless variety of ingredients.

Mushroom risotto is a delicious variation on this classic dish. The beauty of mushroom risotto is in its earthiness of the mushrooms you choose. Italians make mushroom risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms when they are in season in spring and fall. If you are unable to find some at an Italian store, dried porcini mushrooms make an excellent substitute in this recipe.

The key to preparing items en croute is that however long it takes to cook the pastry until its golden brown, is how long the item will spend in the oven.

Normally, Beef En Croute can be an expensive proposition. By using a well seasoned ground beef instead of ‘Beef Tenderloin‘, it can be transformed into a more economical meal but still have a degree of richness & elegance to it.

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Beef w/ Porcini Risotto en Croute
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Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Risotto
Porcini Mushrooms
Pastry
Servings
Ingredients
Risotto
Porcini Mushrooms
Pastry
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. Dice onion & garlic finely. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan & cook until tender soft. Add risotto mix along with hot chicken broth. The rice should be soft cooked in about 20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan & 1 1/2 tsp butter. Your mixture should not be loose or dry. Set aside to cool.
Beef
  1. In a saucepan, saute ground beef along with diced onions, garlic & spices. Cook ONLY until beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Mushrooms
  1. Brush mushrooms with a clean damp cloth & slice. Heat oil in saucepan & saute mushrooms with thyme to release some of their moisture. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Brush one of the puff pastry sheets with egg white. Down the center of the pastry sheet, spread the risotto & top with half of the mushrooms. Next, top with the spiced beef & remaining mushrooms.
  3. Lay the second sheet of pastry on top & either braid the edges or press pastry together with a fork. Beat together egg yolk & remaining white plus a bit of water. Brush pastry evenly with beaten egg. Bake until golden about 20 - 25 minutes.
Recipe Notes
  • When using dried mushrooms for this or any dish, soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes, strain the liquid, & add it to your dish or save for another day. In this preparation, add it to the broth.

Thumbprint Cookies

THUMBPRINT or THIMBLE COOKIES – are such a great little cookie with so many variations that they remain among the holiday favorites. Of course it’s not hard to figure out the meaning behind their name. Similar to filled cookies, you can either fill the divot you make in them either before or after you bake them.

Here is a good example of the phrase ‘the same only different’. Four varieties of thumbprint cookies you might want to add to your office cookie exchange list, if they are not already on it.

                                       SPICED PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE * LEMON BLUEBERRY

                                                             RASPBERRY ANISE * FIG & FLAX


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Thumbprint Cookies

By Christmas cookie standards -- they are pretty healthy, right!

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Cuisine American

Servings
(each recipe)


Ingredients
Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Cream Cheese Filling

Lemon/Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies OR (Raspberry/Anise)

Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies

Course dessert
Cuisine American

Servings
(each recipe)


Ingredients
Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Cream Cheese Filling

Lemon/Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies OR (Raspberry/Anise)

Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese
  1. In a medium bowl, combine butter with brown & white sugar. Add egg, pumpkin, flour, spices & salt; mixing until a thick dough forms. Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop balls (about 2 tsp size), 1-inch apart from each other. Using your thumb or a sewing thimble, make a divot in the center of each ball. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove cookies from oven; while hot, deepen any of the divots if needed. Place on cooling rack.

  2. In a small bow, combine cream cheese filling ingredients, mixing well. When cookies are completely cool, spoon a small amount of filling into each of the divots. Top each with a bit of crystallized ginger.

Lemon Blueberry or Raspberry Anise Thumbprint Cookies
  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter & sugar well. Beat in egg yolks & extract. Stir in lemon zest, then fold in flour & salt until fully incorporated & a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into 1-inch balls; roll in hazelnuts & place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb or a sewing thimble, make a divot in the center of each ball. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove cookies from oven; while hot, deepen any divots if needed. Place on cooling rack & cool completely before filling centers with preserves.

Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies
  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter & 1/4 cup brown sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg yolk & vanilla; beat until combined. In another bowl, whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, cream of tartar, spices & salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the batter & beat on low until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, place the egg white. In a small dish, combine 1/4 remaining brown sugar with 1/4 ground flax seeds. Roll slightly rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Dip one ball at a time into the egg white & then roll in the sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet; press divots in each ball. Bake about 15-17 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven; check if divots need to be deepened. Place on cooling rack & cool completely.


Recipe Notes
  • With the Blueberry, Raspberry & Fig recipes, you can bake the cookies for about 15 minutes then add the preserves & bake another 3-4 minutes. I find it easier to store or freeze the cookies if I put the preserve in at serving time -- personal preference only.
  • I rolled my spiced pumpkin cookies in gingersnap crumbs just for a little added flavor.
  • Apricot preserves are another good choice for the flax thumbprints and probably easier to find depending where you live.

Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria

 

This week we celebrate my husband Brion’s birthday, so it seems fitting to feature a             STRAWBERRY-LEMON POPPY SEED  ‘birthday cake’ with WHITE WINE SANGRIA.

BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR YOU BRION!

With your love and strong support many of my endeavors have become reality which may not have otherwise. You’re the best!

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Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria
A tender bundt cake with a nice lemony filling tucked inside.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Servings
Course dessert
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray & flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat margarine & sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest; mix well. Separate 1 egg, using the white in cake batter & yolk in lemon filling. Add the 2 whole eggs & 1 egg white to first mixture; beat well.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt & allspice. Gradually add to the margarine mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Transfer to Bundt pan & bake 30-35 minutes or until tests done. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes. Invert on cooling rack & let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining remaining egg yolk with 1/4 cup cold water. Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of hot water. Cook until clear (do not add any butter). Chill with waxed paper touching top.
  5. Prepare dessert topping according to pkg directions. Place cake on serving plate. Cut 1/2-inch slice from top of cake. Set aside. Hollow out, making a tunnel with 3/4-inch sides & bottom. Fold whipped topping into lemon filling. Divide in HALF. Fold fruit into 1/2 of the filling. Spoon into tunnel. Place top slice back on cake. 'Ice' cake with the rest of the filling. Chill.
Sangria
  1. Combine sugar, lemonade, lime and orange juice. Stir well until sugar dissolves. Add white wine. Chill. Just before serving, add club soda & fresh fruit. YIELD: 7 LITERS or 30 CUPS