Saturday, April 11, 2009

Food, Shop, Food, and more Food

So I finally got out of bed and headed to the mall. I have five weddings this year and I wanted to buy a couple dresses but i couldn't find anything!! I did find some cute work dresses. After I left the mall, I headed to Stop and Shop to get the weeks groceries plus the ingredients for the two appetizers I am making for Easter tomorrow. I bought tons of fruits, veggies, cheeses and protein. I didn't even go to any of the isles, but I still spent over $100!!

When I got home, I immediately got dinner started. I seared the Pork Tenderloin and added a sauce of orange marmalade, maple syrap, a little honey and apple-cider vinegar. I then added the pan to the oven to finish cooking. I also microwaved some frozen corn to go along with the dish. Check it out:

After dinner, I started cooking for Easter right away.

My friend Gretchen gave me a copy of Bon Appetite and I found two appetizer recipes that I knew I wanted to make for Easter dinner. The first was an Asparagus and Mushroom Tart. Here's what you need:

  • 1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche*
  • 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (for garnish)
I used shiitakes and portabellas. I also used a mix of Parm and Mozzerela instead of Gruyere. Mainly because at the grocery store, I knew I already had Gruyere and didn't need to buy it. However when I got home, that cheese had gone bad. Oh well! Here's how you make it:

Roll out each pastry sheet on work surface to 10-inch square. Cut each into 4 squares. Using small knife, score 1/2-inch border (do not cut through pastry) around inside edges of each square. Arrange squares on 2 rimmed baking sheets. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to large bowl; cool 15 minutes. Add asparagus, chopped thyme, lemon peel, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mushrooms. Mix in crème fraîche and cheese. DO AHEAD: Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Mound filling atop pastry squares, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.
Bake tarts 12 minutes. Reverse sheets. Continue to bake tarts until crusts are puffed and golden and filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to plates; garnish with thyme sprigs.

The only problem was that I thought I had tons of puff pastry in the freezer. But I only had half a package plus tons of Phyllo dough. But I did end up having Phyllo dough cups so I put the filling in those and the puff pastry. I still had leftover filling so I used the rest for a calzone that I cooked while the oven was hot for later in the week. Here's how they turned out!
In the oven cooking...

Here they are in the phyllo cups.
My version vs. what it looks like in Bon Appetite.

I also made Crab Cakes in muffin pans. They were supposed to be mini-crab cakes, but I don't have a mini muffin are the ingredients you need and the recipe and what they are supposed to look like:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz fresh lump crabmeat, picked over, patted dry, coarsely shredded
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
  • Fresh chives, cut into pieces


  • Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus peels, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, coarse salt, and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. ( I MADE A MESS BEATING THIS!!!)

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 2 mini muffin pans. Toss panko, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons chopped chives in small bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over, tossing with fork until evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup, forming crust. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon crab mixture into each cup. Sprinkle rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over each (some may be left over).

  • Bake crab cakes until golden on top and set, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Run knife around each cake and gently lift out of pan. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Arrange on baking sheet; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 6 to 8 minutes.

  • Arrange crab cakes on serving platter; sprinkle with chives.
I added a couple splashes of Sirachi- hot Sauce and Dijon Mustard also. Here's how mine turned out in the pan. I will reheat them and make them pretty today.

I also had leftover of the crab mixture, so I made some crabcakes for later in the week.
After cooking for many hours, I made a HUGE mess of the kitchen. I swear I must be the messiest cook of all time. It looked like a bomb went off! After cleaning, it was finally time to relax with my hubby. We watched Chopped and then headed to bed! Now, I'm up and sore! I wanted to run this morning but not sure my body can handle it! I just made Dave and I Egg-White Omlettes with cream cheese (stole that idea from Gretchen), Crab cake chopped off (so random), onion and spinach with toast. Will show you the picture later! Okay off to get ready for Easter! Heading up to Saugus in a few hours!

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