Friday, December 18, 2009

Foodie Friday - Puff Pastry Pork Chops

I'm very excited to say that this is another one of my original creations!! I was very nervous about this as I couldn't find any recipe even remotely similar to what I envisioned for this, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. And it turned out juicy, full of flavor, and delicious! My only complaint was that the sauce was a bit salty hence the "low sodium" soy sauce suggestion below.

Natty's Puff Pastry Pork Chops
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 C red wine
  • 3 pork chops (you can adjust this for more, but you may need more puff pastry)
  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • goat cheese (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in large, shallow pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. 
  3. Add soy sauce and red wine.
  4. Place pork chops in pan and cover.
  5. Saute for 5 minutes, flip and saute for 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove pork chops from pan and let cool.
  7. Roll out puff pastry to thin it out a little.
  8. Cut into three even sections.
  9. Place pork chops in the middle of each section* and wrap, pinching the edges together to seal.
  10. Place pork chops seam side down on greased baking sheet.
  11. Whisk egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of each puff pastry wrapped pork chop.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  13. While that is baking, turn the heat back on. In a separate small container mix cornstarch into about 1/4 C water.
  14. Pour into sauce pan.
  15. Stir to thicken. You can eyeball this, if it starts to get too thick, add more red wine.
  16. Pour a small amount of sauce over puff pastry and serve!
*At this step, I put a little goat cheese in the center of the puff pastry and then placed the pork chop on top. It was really, really good, but I understand that not all people love goat cheese as much as I do.

Also, feel free to marinade the pork chop in soy sauce, red wine, store bought marinade, etc. beforehand if you want- it will only add to the flavor!

As always with the recipes I create (all two times!), there's a certain amount of eyeballing it required. This is written as I remember it... and when I cook, I typically don't measure anything... so if something doesn't look right, you may need to edit the recipe as you go. I may go back and cook this again following this recipe exactly and edit it as needed.

*Edited to add... I just realized that when I wrote this I forgot about the mushrooms. It has been awhile since I first made this, so I'm pretty sure I added about 3/4 C of sliced mushrooms after step 2 when I made this for the Masterchef audition. But it would definitely be tasty without them as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grandfatherly Love

I would like to openly admit here on moose and lulu that I have an old man crush. I would venture to say that most women have old men crushes whether they choose to admit it or not. I actually have two. Well, I probably have more than two if you count George Clooney, but let's face it- everyone has a crush on George Clooney. I know guys that have crushes on George Clooney, so that kind of voids his old man crush status. (Harrison Ford and the late JFK also fall into this category in case you were wondering). Oddly enough, both of my crushes fall under the "news" anchor category. I put that in quotes, because I'm not sure the first really qualifies as a bonafide news anchor.

And to be sensitive to those out there that are of a certain age, to me, an old man crush = a man who is of an age in which you would not consider it appropriate dating. For me, that's anyone who could be my father. So 45+ would be considered an old man crush for someone of my age... yes, even despite the fact that 45 is the new 25.

Numero Uno:
Matt Lauer. This morning he was interviewing that poor little grandmother that got kidnapped and beat up a few months ago and he was so sweet with her. I would venture to say that he was almost flirting with her. Which I'm sure just made her year. I don't know what it is about him, he's just sexy for an old man. And I realize he's not that old, but he's definitely of the age that he could be my father, so that qualifies him.

Numero Dos:
Charles Gibson. Ha! This is probably the more surprising out of the two. Maybe it's because he's been delivering the news in one capacity or another to our house for as long as I can remember, but I just love this guy. He puts off such a calming but informative front and more importantly, just seems to have a really kind soul.

I almost got the chance to meet him a few months ago. Some of our clients occasionally do a show called "Good Morning Texas" and when they do, I have to go down to the WFAA studio to make sure everything goes smoothly. Some days it's pretty boring, others you'll walk in and there will be huge stars, big time chefs, or even random exotic animals.

So I walked in- and he was in the studio. I'm not usually shy, but for some reason I couldn't make myself go up and say hi. So I just gawked at him from the greenroom for awhile. Which is sad, because I am sure he is just as kind in person as he is on the news. I know, I know... I'm such a dork.

However, I can definitely defend myself with these two, since my friend Julie's old man crush is none other than.....
Regis Philbin

I mean, REALLY jules?!

Anyone have a more embarrassing old man crush than hers or mine?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hello lover...

I adore discovering new products at the grocery store. You would expect things like computers, cellphones, and other techie things to get more advanced with time, but food? Food just seems like it would be one of those things that "it is what it is". But if you think about the availability and selection of products in our grocery stores now compared to our grandparent's generation- that is definitely not the case.

I mean, really, who would have thought that you would one day be able to buy ready-to-go cheesecake filling in a tub at the grocery store? Which, I'm sorry, but that whole thing just seems kind of gross to me. And you KNOW there are people out there that buy that sh*t and just eat it out of the tub. I suppose I shouldn't be talking since I will slather nutella on ANYTHING, but I digress....

Anyways, lookie what I found on my most recent trip to the grocery store:
Why didn't they think of this sooner?!

I'm so excited. I haven't tried it yet, but will be sure to report back when I do. I'm a huge chocolate mousse fan, which is probably genetic since my mom spent an entire day in the 80's filling every empty container in the kitchen with chocolate mousse when she was attempting to replicate her favorite version of the dessert from a restaurant called Andrew's (which sadly isn't around anymore, but for you Dallasites, it used to be where the Breadwinners on McKinney now sits). I mean, she made batches and batches of this stuff trying to get it to come out just like Andrews'. She filled bowls, tupperware containers, cups, probably even our dog's food bowl.

I have actually never made the real stuff, because I found a "cheater" version from Nigella Lawson that is so good that I've never really felt the need to delve further into exploring the recipes that require you to temper and whip eggs. (Nigella's version = no tempering of any kind) My girlfriends get very excited when I bust this one out after cooking dinner for them. My favorite way to serve it is in a martini glass with white chocolate shaved on top because I'm sassy like that.

Enjoy!

Nigella Lawson's Instant Chocolate Mousse
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 9 ounces best quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup hot water from a recently boiled kettle
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan on the stove, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile whip the cream with the vanilla until thick and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.
  4. Pour or scrape into 4 or 6 glasses or small dishes and chill until you want to eat. The sooner the better!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Moose Monday

This is officially moose's new favorite spot to hang. I don't know if he likes the lights, or the soft treeskirt, or just the fact that it's something new in his little wiener dog world, but he just loves to sit under the tree, duck his little head, and look at us. It's cute, but I must admit that with his opposition to spending quality time outdoors now that it's cold + a new tree in the house, I have been watching him very closely. If he decides to pee on my beloved west elm tree skirt, we are going to have words.

You hear that moose? Words.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

November in Pictures

I was apparently very iphone happy in November because when I just plugged it in to sync, I noticed I took a lot of pictures. So I decided I would share some of my favorites from the month!
The pups cuddled in at my parent's house on a cold night.
One of my favorite things about being a single girl... being able to have wine, cheese, and carbs for dinner and not having to justify it to anyone!
My fat puppy dog helping me organize some work files.
Kate and I sipping on champagne at the Neiman's girls night out event. Champagne + hors d'oeurves + $50 giftcard = two happy girls. We had a blast even if we both forgot that Neiman's doesn't take Visa and ended up having to figure out something to buy for EXACTLY $50.00. I'm sure they hated us!
Apparently I was very excited that North Park had put up their Christmas decorations!
Um, yeah.... until it resulted in this. Not all that smart looking back.
The pre-Twilight madness on opening night.
Before the movie, sporting my new favorite fall accessory- my fabulous "vintage" brown boots that were procured from the top of The Dot's closet. They're about 20 years old... love it!
Julie's kit kat birthday cake!
Julie's boyfriend, Brent, and I after the Tech vs. OU game. Guess what team Brent was rooting for?? Sorry Sooners!
We had a little family night out when my brother was here and went to Top Golf. Yes, I beat both my brother and my dad......... until they got the hang of it on the next game. Let's just say my winning streak didn't last long.
Bax cleaning up the dishes post-Thanksgiving.
Clint and The Dot hanging out in the new wine room at my parent's house during Thanksgiving. We definitely put a dent in their stock!
We capped the month off with a "W" over Baylor with the season closer taking place at the new Texas Stadium in Arlington. The tailgating was so much fun!

What a great month. Looking forward to an even better December!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Foodie Friday: Thanksgiving Edition

As promised, here are the two recipes that you need to save now in preparation for next year's Turkey Day. ESPECIALLY the dressing. I know a lot of people call it stuffing, but apparently when your family is from Mississippi it is most certainly not called stuffing. This is pretty much written in the Bible from my understanding.

This recipe is amazing. It's my "stuck on a desert island with one food", food. My "last meal if I'm ever on death row", food. And my roommate's "I thought I hated stuffing, but now after having this I realize I just hate my mom's stuffing", food. It's that good.

Without further adieu...

The "W" Family Thanksgiving Dressing

Ingredients:

Chicken Stock
* 4 lb. chicken
* 6 celery stalks, cut in thirds
* onion, quartered
* 4 garlic cloves, smashed
* 1-2 bay leaves
* water to cover the top of the chicken

Cornbread
* 1 C flour
* 1 C cornmeal
* 1 C milk
* 1 egg
* 4 t baking powder
* 1/2 t salt
* 1/4 C vegetable oil

Dressing
* 3 bunches of scallions, chopped
* 1 bunch of celery, chopped
* 2 onions, chopped
* 4 eggs, boiled and chopped
* 1 stick butter
* 1 pkg Pepperidge Farm herb seasoning stuffing
* 1 batch of cornbread (above)
* Chicken from stock
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* 1 can cream of celery soup
* 1 t poultry seasoning
* 1 t garlic salt
* 1/2 t sage
* chicken stock (above)

Instructions:

Chicken Stock
1. Wash chicken inside and out.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Stuff with some of the celery and onion.
4. Put all ingredients in an 8 quart pot, fill with water until chicken is submerged.
5. Boil on medium, covered, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160° (about an hour).
6. Remove chicken to cool, strain vegetables out of broth.


Cornbread
1. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together.
2. Mix milk, egg, and oil and add to dry mixture.
3. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.


Dressing
1. Chop onions, scallions and celery. Sauté in stick of butter.
2. Crumble cornbread in giant bowl add 8 oz. of stuffing mix.
3. Add sautéed veggies, cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup and mix.
4. Add chopped up chicken.
5. Add chicken broth until mixture is soupy.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Add sage, garlic salt, and poultry seasoning.
8. Pour into greased baking dishes.
9. Can freeze at this point. When ready to cook mix in 1 beaten egg for small pan, 2 for medium, or 4 for large.
10. Bake at 325° until knife comes out clean.

*I'm having trouble finding the exact Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe that we used. I would post a similar one, but it was just so rich and delicious and I don't want to substitute a lesser recipe. Let me consult with my sous chef from that day (aka Clint) and see if I can locate it. Until then, I will tide you over with a pretty picture of it.