Yep, still winter here in Minneapolis. Although we don’t have much snow and our temperatures are well above zero (which is actually balmy for this time of year) it is definitely still winter. And this is the time of winter that I start going just a little crazy, dreaming about sunshine and warmer weather. I do have a vacation coming up pretty soon, but in the meantime I’m just going to have make do with this Chicken Tortilla Soup. Light yet packed with flavor, this soup will bring you just a little piece of summer….
So, I’ve been told that I can’t eat Edible Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough every day.
I know, right? Who are these haters? Now although I’m still not sure that is completely true, I will admit that sometimes a really good hearty dinner sounds good too (maybe followed by cookie dough?). And I guess if I’m going to be binging on cookie dough (and I am) then I better try to balance things with some vegetables. Enter Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Ragu. (And if you don’t have a slow cooker, don’t worry, I’ve got that covered too!)
As meals go, this one checks all of the boxes. Easy to make. Kid friendly. Hearty. Adaptable. And as the days and evenings get busier (anyone else feel like they are on a constant Merry-Go-Round?) this Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Ragu is a good one to come home to.
I have a confession to make. I have never tried Chipotle’s Beef Barbacoa. Oh sure, I’ve been to Chipotle a million times. But I’m a more of a carnitas kind of a girl. So my family all thought it was a little odd when I came home with a chuck roast and announced I was going to make Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa. Oh ye of little faith! All three of them actually got off of the couch to come and check it out as I pulled it out of the crock pot…the house smelled delicious!…
Happy one year Blogiversary to us! We’ve been officially bringing you delicious food for ONE FULL YEAR! And what a year it was! In fact I’m not sure any other year has ever gone so fast! Our little blog duo has officially seen a new baby born (congrats Holly), a preschooler whose world was rocked by a new baby sister, a child who started kindergarten, and a teenager who has hit her stride. Holly and I are both another year older and wiser in our full time careers and yes, we’re both still married (Holly 10 years and myself 18 years) despite crazy chaotic schedules and demands (yay, guys-thanks for hanging in there with us!). But even more exciting, we’re both still loving blogging and bringing you our favorite recipes! For me, this would include this Buffalo Bacon Macaroni and Cheese which is pure, unadulterated decadence! …
My teenage daughter recently said to me “Mom, you don’t need to put bacon in everything!” with the exasperated sigh that all teenagers use when dealing with their mothers. Hmmm…we may be speaking different languages, because I sure don’t understand this comment! (Don’t worry, I’ll be checking her room for drugs, right after I finish writing this, because really-who says this?) Bacon? Bacon belongs on everything. Bacon should be it’s own food group. Bacon is life. Like this Bourbon Bacon Meatloaf. If you agree with me, or know someone that agrees with me…keep reading……
I won’t lie, it’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been down and out sick and just getting out of bed in the morning has been a real challenge (and we’re talking getting out of bed to go lie on the couch). My poor husband has been keeping things rolling and picking up the slack with the kids and around the house. I haven’t been able to visit Holly and our newest addition to the With Two Spoons team (born October 6th!). I even spent Halloween holed up in bed while my dad handed out candy so my husband could take my little out. We’ve eaten pizza for 4 of the last 5 meals. But today, today I finally felt like maybe I could tackle dinner. And whenever you are struggling, go back to the beginning. Back to Balsamic Pork with Gnocchi….
I’ve been looking for this dish for a long time, and didn’t even know it. I’ve substituted many things, but this, this Mushroom Bourguignon is the real deal. So, just like so many awesome things in my life, this dish came in to my life by accident. Completely by accident. Well, really it was due to a minor mistake by my husband-but really, the best mistake possible. For real. …
I’ll admit it, I’m having a hard time reentering life after my fabulous trip to the Mediterranean. I’m back to work on a late evening shift (aka not enough sleep), I still have a million emails to catch up on, and to top it all off-I’m sick. I’m struggling to be good to myself, yet still give my kids and home the attention they need. As much as I would’ve loved to spend my waking hours this weekend in the kitchen, it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead I’m eating the Sopressata Sandwich….
Many years ago, I was overwhelmed with a stressful full time job, raising two kids and trying to appear that I had it all together (To be completely honest this may have not been so many years ago, or even so many months ago, in fact this may still describe my life today…but I digress). I was starting to find my way in the kitchen and was starting to read different food blogs. One in particular, Smitten Kitchen, spoke to me. I love Deb Perelman and her witty prose and her tiny kitchen in New York City. Her writing makes you feel like you are drinking coffee at her table while she is cooking for you. And at that time in my life, I was particularly in need of this. (Thanks Deb!)
So when a Facebook group I am a part of suggested we do a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Challenge, I was all in. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, correct? The challenge was designed to go chapter by chapter. One person (and sometimes more than one) would make a recipe and review it, and we would continue on until every recipe in the chapter was completed. This sounded right up my alley. Mushroom Tart? Game on.
Due to my vacation, I entered in round 3 (Sandwiches, tarts and pizza) with the Mushroom Tart. I chose this partially because I really love tarts, partially because I really love mushrooms, and mostly because I knew no one else in my mushroom adverse house would even try this-so I’d have it all to myself (yay! leftovers!). And what a great choice it was! Shallots and mushrooms combined with marscapone, fontina and parmesan to form a hearty filling. Cornmeal in the crust gives the crust dimension. I happen to love herbs, so I added rosemary, because I personally think everything should contain rosemary.
I served this Mushroom Tart with a simple arugula salad, lightly dressed with Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Reduction from Queen Creek Olive Mill (if you haven’t checked out this family owned olive farm in Arizona, you need to!). Not only was it a great dinner, it was a great lunch (for the WHOLE next week).
Don’t be put off by all of the steps, many can be done somewhat simultaneously. A few tips: slice the mushrooms small enough to be bite size, if you like herbs, feel free to use slightly more thyme AND rosemary, and if you haven’t checked out Smitten Kitchen-do so now!
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced + a smidge extra for greasing the foil
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ pound (225g) cremini mushrooms sliced into bite site pieces
- 1 pound (455g) assorted mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, chanterelle, more cremini) sliced into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated fontina cheese (Can substitute provolone)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- TO MAKE THE CRUST (TART SHELL):
- Place flour, cornmeal, and salt into the bowl of your food processor and then pulse to combine.
- Add the chilled butter and pulse until butter is in small bits.
- Add the egg and pulse until dough clumps.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter.
- Place dough on plastic wrap and cover with an additional piece of plastic wrap.
- Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and invert the crust over a 9-inch tart pan.
- Use your fingers to push the crust against the corners and sides of the pan.
- Put the tart pan on top of a baking sheet, and place the pan into the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Remove the tart shell from the freezer. (keep on the baking pan)
- Grease one side of a 12 inch piece of aluminum foil with butter.
- Press the foil, butter side down, against the crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove foil (carefully!) and bake for another 8-10 minutes until crust is golden.
- Remove tart shell from the oven to a cooling rack.
- Turn oven down to 350ºF.
- TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan.
- Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until soft, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the mushrooms, thyme and rosemary.
- Although it seems that all of these mushrooms won't fit, don't worry, if you keep stirring, the very large volume of mushrooms will be quickly reduced!
- Saute the mushrooms over high heat until tender and the released liquid has evaporated, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add the salt and pepper and stir.
- Allow mushrooms to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone and milk, whisking until smooth.
- Whisk in the eggs and then add the fontina and parmesan.
- Finally, add the mushrooms and stir to combine.
- TO MAKE THE TART:
- Place tart shell back onto baking pan.
- Add the filling to the tart shell.
- If you haven't already turned the oven down to 350ºF, do so now.
- Bake for 25-40 minutes until golden and the custard is set.
- Cool the tart on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
I still remember my first real dinner party. I mean, I had been out with friends a million times. We had ordered in pizzas, gotten take out Chinese, checked out all of the various sub places. But none of my friends were cooks. Although we frequently ate together (and were great at finding awesome restaurants), we didn’t cook for each other. Until I moved to Houston. I became good friends with one of my colleagues and his wife, Andria, and they invited my husband and myself over for dinner (how grown up! how nerve wracking! Turns out luckily we both knew how to behave…). And that is when I learned about One Pot Chicken Tarragon….