Feastin’

You know you’re getting old when you have less urges to go out and party the night away.  My friends and I have decided that we’re getting old.  In the past year, we’ve been having a lot of cooking nights instead of going out for drinks and waking up thinking, “what happened last night??”  Partying and drinking at clubs and lounges is fun, but something about staying in and getting everyone involved then sitting down together makes it much more fulfilling.  Sometimes, even the guys help out!

Throughout my first year in college, my friend Wyatt and I would cook something and trade with each other every weekend.  This saved us from having to eat our own food every day of the week.  It’s always nice to eat someone else’s cooking once in a while.  Since I was so busy with school, I’d usually try to make something really quick for myself.  Having food in the refrigerator from Wyatt was always a life saver for those nights when I REALLY didn’t feel like cooking.  It also gave us the opportunity to challenge ourselves in making something new. 

This past week, we decided to prepare a meal together for a few of our closest friends.  On the menu that night was spinach salad with parmesan croutons and avocado, curry pumpkin soup (in a previous post), mashed potatoes with chives, and beef wellington.  For dessert, we had chewy pecan praline chocolate bars (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos.  I couldn’t get any good lighting).

Spinach Salad:

(all ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s)

1 lb baby spinach
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
6 sticks of parmesan cheese crackers
1 ripe avocado
a few slices of prosciutto
champagne vineagrette

Slice prosciutto into tiny pieces and throw into a hot pan with a teaspoon of oil.  When it’s brown and crispy, take the prosciutto out and drain on a paper towel. 

In the mean time, grate the cheese and crack the crackers into bite size pieces.  Cut avocado in half, remove the pit, then slice the avocado into thin slices.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach and dressing.  Put as much dressing as you’d like.  Throw in the crackers, cheese, avocado, and prosciutto.  Toss lightly

Mashed Potatoes:

4 starchy potatoes (do not use waxy potatoes)
3/4 C. sour cream
4 Tbsp. butter
salt
1 bunch of chives (cut into very small pieces)
5 slices of prosciutto

Prepare a large pot of water for boiling.  Remove skins from potatoes and cut them into 2″ cubes.  When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and boil until they slide off of a fork when a fork is stabbed into them.

While the potatoes are boiling, cut the prosciutto and pan fry them until crisp.

Drain the potatoes and bring the pot of potatoes back onto the stove.  Add a pinch of salt, butter,and sourcream and start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher until the desired consistency.  Add the chives and prosciutto and mix or you can top each serving with a sprinkle of chives and the prosciutto

Beef Wellington

2 lb. piece of filet mignon
about 2lbs of button mushrooms
1 shallot
pinch of thyme
sea salt
pepper
mustard
proscuitto
1 sheet of puff pastry

Prepare a large skillet with a drizzle of oil.  Sprinkle filet mignon with salt and pepper and place on the hot skillet.  Sear all sides of the meat.  When all of the sides are browned, place the meat on a plate and set aside.

Preheat oven for 450 degrees F.

Place shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until the mushrooms pieces are extremely small.  Cook the mushroom mixture in a pan until almost all of the moisture is gone.  n the meantime, smear the meat with a thin layer of mustard.

Layer prosciutto into a large thin sheet, large enough to wrap around the filet mignon.  Smear the mushroom mixture onto the prosciutto then place the filet mignon on one side of the prosciutto and wrap it tightly.  Seal this with seran wrap and set aside.

Take the sheet of puff pastry and roll out slightly.  Take the serap wrap off of the meat and place the meat onto one side of the puff pastry.  Wrap the puff pastry around the meat and place onto a pan with a small rack and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Let Mr. Wellington rest for a bit before cutting so the juices can settle otherwise he may fall apart and the meat will become dry.  Isn’t he beautifuullll……?

Look at the juicyness!

Now time for the sweets!

Sit around the table with a nice glass of red wine and enjoy the company from your loved ones. I must admit, we did a good job.. it was deeeelish!

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