2.10.2020

Steak with Truffle Smashed Potatoes


Last month, Kevin and I went to a very elegant restaurant with my parents. We were served the most incredible truffle smashed potatoes. I had to go home and find a recipe that came close, and I did just that! I came across My Gourmet Connection and read through Lynne's potato recipe. It was so simple, that my hopes were not high. I followed the recipe exact, and served the potatoes with the rest of our meal. I topped with scallions because, you know, adding green to any dish makes it complete!


One bite... that is all it took. These truffle potatoes had me melting with happiness into my chair.  I was hooked... If they weren't as fattening as they are, I would truly want to make them everyday! I know in about 6-8 weeks I will be drooling for them again, and I plan to fulfill my craving! If you are a fan of truffle, please try them! Recipe here: https://www.mygourmetconnection.com/crispy-smashed-truffled-potatoes/

Ok, now that my dream potatoes are out of the way, let's talk steak. Kevin picked up a pound and a half of filet mignon, on sale at the local butcher. They were on the thicker side, so Kevin jaccard the steak with this tenderizer. It uses a lot of thin blades to tenderize the steak, and allows a marinade to soak in more quickly. Our seasoning preference for filet mignon, is salt, pepper and a bit of yoshida sauce (found at Costco or on amazon).


Kevin has really perfected his cooking technique for steak. It does help that we have an amazing weber grill, with a grate and a griddle. If you have a griddle also, here is what he does:
Heat grill on high - both the grate and griddle side.
Steaks placed on grate, high heat, and grilled for 4 minutes on the one side only. Lower heat to medium on grate side.
Flip steaks onto the griddle with butter, 2 minutes on each side (griddle only). This will lock in the juice and moisture.
Flip steaks (side down that hasn’t been on grate yet) back on to the grate, medium heat, for an additional 4 minutes.
This will give the beautiful medium rare as shown below for that size/thickness.
Is that perfection or what? Medium rare is where it is at!

On medium heat, I sauteed the asparagus in olive oil for about 6 minutes, tossing around halfway. Seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic herb powder.

Chili board

Have you ever wondered what the best way to serve chili is? No? Me either... until I saw the Reluctant Entertainer's epic chili board! This is a smaller board from Pier 1, the largest being 28.5"! The boards are great for serving families, or to groups of friends. It makes the experience unique and fun, and avoids people from having to reach over if served on top of a lazy susan!

My chili recipe is fast and gives texture by using carrots. You can find my recipe here.
On the board: Corn bread, sliced red onions, oven baked bacon, cheese, fritos, scallions, and sour cream. On the side is a pot of white rice to serve the chili over.








Here is another board that I tried from Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer:
Spicy beef tacos, bang bang shrimp with soft shells, Mexican corn with peppers, tostones, Kev's homemade guacamole, chips and all the toppings! On the side I served rice and beans.


Check out some other boards I have made on my previous posts:

Mimosa Board

Good morning, friends! How awesome is this mimosa board? When I saw the original idea, posted by The Baker Mama (book link posted below), I knew I had to eventually host a girls day and serve this to them. What better way to celebrate Galentine's Day, right? I had a few of my lifelong girlfriends over, and we all indulged with excitement!


The serving tray used was purchased at Home Goods and had a high edge, which helps keep the champagne bottles safe. I used a cheaper brand of champagne (Andres, around ~$7) to mix with orange juice, ruby red or cran-raspberry juice. Mini bagels were served on an onion ring holder (space saver), with butter and cream cheese on the side. A variety of fruit lay throughout the board, and I used cookie cutters to fill candy, and yogurt covered raisins.

It's important to cut some of the fruit up small enough to place into the champagne glasses, or use small drink skewers, as shown for the blueberries. A blood orange makes a gorgeous addition with it's vibrant color.


After devouring the mimosas and bagels, we all headed to a cupcake and sparkling wine tasting event at a local winery. Sparkling Pointe is one of my favorite wineries out on the north fork, and they often hold very cool events like this! As a member, I am able to get reservations quickly and discounted prices! We all split a case of their carnaval rose - it is the best!

A fun day for sure, and looking forward to serving this mimosa board again for the next brunch gathering we have! 



1.23.2020

Children vs Food - My personal experience and advice

The following information is my personal experience and advice, and not all may agree. And that is okay :)

Parents,

I receive comments about my children's eating daily (especially Kora). From family and friends, to followers from my food blog, I often hear, "how do you get [Kora] to be such a good eater?"

I found that this article shared a lot of good info and although I've never studied how to raise good eaters, I find myself doing a lot of advice shared here. I highlighted some of my favorite blubs below, but urge you to read the article in full.


It is often heard, "if you have a picky child, it's because you allow them to be picky." I do believe that, to a point. I also do not judge, and do understand that each child is different. The other day, Kora didn't want to try my quiche... it was filled with shallots, fresh spinach (green is evil in kids minds lol), and gruyere cheese. I knew she would like it, but it was so unfamiliar to her, as I just started making quiche recently. I offered her a "prize" if she tried *two* decent bites. Her mouth opened one second later, and then she requested more... Some may see this as bribery, but I see it as rewarding them for doing something good, rather than threatening for not doing what you requested.


The most important and treasured advice I have received: My uncle said to me, before I had kids, "at six months old, feed them everything and don't stop." My aunt said, "make them try food 3-5 times before they convince you they don't like it." I've lived by both of their advice and it's really made a huge difference in our lives regarding the food we give our kids. * It goes without saying to always be aware of food allergies and what food is ok and not ok to give at specific ages.


My husband, Kevin, and I hate tomatoes, yet we still buy them and present them to both kids, who by the way lvoe tomatoes. Kevin finds salmon revolting, but we still encourage both kids that salmon is "mmmm good." Doing your part in guiding your child's palate is a priceless gift for their future, and quite gfrankly will allow you to take your kids to any type of restaurant, and not just somewhere that serves chicken nuggets.


I am no expert, let me repeat that... I am no expert! Anyone that knows me, knows I was the absolute worst eater growing up. I was often "punished" if I didn't have my plate finished by the time the oven timer went off. It makes sense that the article states that kids will associate certain food with punishment or making parents upset. Try to avoid "forcing" it, and be more of a cheerleader for them.

I hope that some fellow parents and future parents find this information helpful. Happy eating!

Pics highlighted from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kids-picky-eaters_n_2339119

12.26.2019

Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas! This was our best year yet! With a 2 and 1 year old, it only continues to get more exciting each year. Little Kora finally understands the story of Santa, and woke up running down the hallway. We left cookies, milk and a carrot by the tree and, of course, saw that Santa took a big bite! She begged to leave Santa tacos, and we may just do that next year if Taco Bell is open on our way home LOL.



CHRISTMAS EVE BREAKFAST: we started with grinch pancakes. Kora loves "pan pans" and I wanted to make them a bit special. For the coloring, a drop of green food coloring, or pistachio mix will do. Bananas for the eyes, with chocolate chips for the evil smile and pupils. Raspberries and whipped cream to create a Santa hat. She thought eating the grinch was very fun!




CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER: 60-65 people gather at my grandmother's house. We all bring a staple dish, but this year I decided to change mine up a bit. Instead of this amazing sweet potato au gratin, I brought two of Sharon's pistachio cakes (one in the shape of santa), and a snowman appetizer board. I saw the snowman board in The Baker Mama's newest book, Beautiful Boards (highly recommend getting this if you like to make cheese and charcuterie boards)! It was a huge hit, with tons of happy comments at the party.
As for dinner, we had salad, eggplant rollitini, penne alla vodka, broccoli, beef meatballs & chicken meatballs, roasted potatoes, sausage and peppers, rice and beans, cauliflower au gratin, and chicken fantasy.



*Powdered sugar filled Santa's beard and hat, but I don't sprinkle that on until just before serving


CHRISTMAS DAY BREAKFAST: we usually head to my in-laws house. With our young kids being out so late the night before, I offered to host breakfast so we wouldn't be running around so early. It was nice to wake up, enjoy time with the babies, and then make an easy breakfast board for all to feast on. We had 14 people join us, and the board was a very convenient way to serve.
The Christmas morning breakfast board was originated by The Reluctant Entertainer


A large 28.5" diameter board is used (This one from Pier 1: Large round tray)

I served Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage links, two lbs of bacon, Pillsbury cinnamon buns with homemade cream cheese frosting, Christmas sprinkles, mini broccoli quiches,  more fresh berries, grapes, fresh rosemary to garnish, a bowl of candy and a reindeer prop.
We had an array of juices to choose from as well. It was fantastic and I look forward to making more boards!


Wishing all my Kiss My Apron readers a very happy holiday season, and wishing nothing but health and joy in the new 2020 year to come!


9.26.2019

Pasta-kini .. aka Zoodles!

My daughter, Kora, has shown so much interest in the kitchen! Nothing makes my heart happier. Not only does she eat like an adult (and as much as an adult), she really listens and learns when I explain what I am doing. Yesterday, I taught her all about zoodles. She calls them pasta-kini which I thought was so adorable!

After using my pampered chef spiralizer , we spread out the zucchini noodles on a dry paper towel. Taking another few dry paper towels, we patted down firmly on the zoodles. This will release and dry up a lot of the water the zucchini holds. Before sauteing them, you want to make sure they are really dry. The zucchini will release more water while cooking which helps steam them - very quickly! When sauteing, they really only need to be thrown in for 2 minutes before they become too soggy.

I took one shallot and gave it a small dice. Using a large pan on medium heat, I sauteed the shallots in 1/2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter. Adding oil with the butter will prevent the butter from burning. Once the shallots are tender, about 3-4 minutes, you can add in the zoodles, tossing them around. Salt, pepper and 1-2 tbs of parmesan cheese were added at this point. After 2 minutes, remove the zoodle mixture from the pan.

This zoodle recipe can be used as a great base to a lot of dishes. Pictured, the zoodles were topped with hoisin chicken and cashews that I fried up in a wok, then lastly garnished with sliced scallions. We all absolutely loved this meal, and Kora even asked for seconds!




9.23.2019

4th Annual Blind Wine Tasting 2019

Hi all! We had tons of questions and feedback after our latest blind wine tasting party! I am here to share all the details with you. This year we changed things up a bit... instead of my husband pouring each bottle into our guests glasses one at time, we purchased 24 flight boards. Each flight board allowed 4 tastings at a time, and our guests were able to drink at their own pace. A lot of guests enjoyed this more than the past years. We try to keep the parties between 16-22 guests... Once you have more than 8-10 bottles to taste, it becomes a little dragged out and people get a little loopy to still be rating! 8 bottles is really ideal (1 bottle per couple)!


Here is the schedule of the party in short:
1. Guests hide bottle in bags upon arrival (bag link below)
2. Introductions of people, and food.
3. Host pours glasses and guests fill their flight boards (flight board link below).
4. Each tasting is rated, and sheets collected by host once all bottles are tasted
5. Dinner served & open bar
6. Dessert

(1) To start, guests arrived at 6:30pm and placed their choice of wine into numbered bags I provided on the porch. We asked that white and rose wine are brought cold, and reds room temperature. When they walked into the house with their bag, no one was able to see which wine was brought. The bags were lined up in the kitchen near the area we were going to be pouring. My husband, Kevin, switched up the bags so that no one could rate their own wine high on purpose. This is important to us, since Kevin and I provide a $50-$70 gift basket to the winners of the highest rated wine and want it to be fair.

(2) My motivation to make an epic cheeseboard was in high gear! I studied pinterest, blogger posts, and even followed the cheeseboard hashtag on instagram. Between Costco, my local grocery store and my local specialty cheese shop, I was able to get all that I needed. I did an array of cheeses, trail mixes, nuts, toblerone chocolate bars, cucumbers, fruits, honey, olives, pickled veggies, and dried apricots. The colors (especially from the port wine cheese) add such beauty to a board, and making sure there are no empty spaces on the wooden board give it a beautiful dimension of fullness! It looked rich, and delicious, and was 90% wiped out by the end of the night! Some of the cheeses included creamy brie, bleu filled cheddar, spicy cheddar, pecorino tartufo (truffle), sundried tomato goat, port wine, bella merlot, rosey goat, manchego and more!


(3/4) After guests arrived and grazed a bit on the cheeseboard, we soon began out tastings. We lined up 18 cups and started pourings labeled wines #1-4. Using a rating sheet, guests wrote down which number wine they were tasting, descriptions, and a rating of 1 to 5 (5 being the best). After about 8-10 minutes, we began out second flight, and continued until each bottle was tasted (we had 10 bottles total).


(5) Once the tastings were over, penne alla vodka and chicken marsala were catered and served to our guests. We had an ice bin filled with white wine and sparkling wine, and a variety of red wine, vodka and mixers for everyone to enjoy. Thankfully with the nice weather, some of us got to hang on the outside deck under our string lights, checking out cheese related cookbooks I had on the table, as well as genuine conversation with new friends.

Winning couple Krystal & Adam

(6) After dinner we added up each tasting sheet and came up with the winning bottle, which accumulated 60 points total. The winner was Pindar's winter white, a very popular and tasty local wine from Long Island. A prize was given to the couple who brought the Pindar wine - it was a merlot candle, beautiful cheese platter, wine theme house decor, and olive oil & balsamic from the Crushed Olive. For dessert, we served a platter of the most creative and delicious cookies from LIV Creativity, a local baker to suffolk county. We had a cake and cupcakes, too.



At the end of the night I asked for a couple suggestions from our close friends who attended... we were given some good advice. Guests preferred mixing up the flights , some red/some white if applicable. Tasting four reds in a row tend to start tasting the same unless you provide a palate cleanser. We also will take the advice to make the cheeseboard table accessible from all sides..instead of having the table against a wall. It will allow more people to gather and taste the foods available.


Some of the wines brought for the tasting event.