Tuesday, May 20, 2014

E's Changing World

Time is flying by and, thankfully, that involves the start of warm weather and green grass!  E is learning at warp speed.  Today, she sang the alphabet in its entirety for the first time.  Well...to be clear, she sings it the way I might sing a song in a foreign language (making the sounds I hear, rather than the correct sounds/words).  But, it's close!  

Despite my efforts to avoid the whole princess culture that is marketed to little girls, E is into princesses.  She has two tutus (one pictured, below) that she loves wearing.  I'll admit, I may have enticed her to get dressed once or twice by asking if she wanted to wear her tutu (works every time).  Anyone wearing a dress is considered a princess.  She is also very interested in necklaces.  Not for the baby fascination of something to chew on; it's to look like a princess.

Yesterday, I saw her play hide and seek for the first time.  She must have learned this at daycare.  She counts to 10 (her version of counting to ten is: one, two, three, six, nine, twelve, fourteen) and then she looks around in random places (the door frame, in the bathroom, the tv) to seek.  Giz, who is currently visiting, managed to go unnoticed by standing in the corner with an apron in front of her face.  E's hiding spot is the corner cupboard (every time) and if you are nearby, she'll yell, "I'm in here!"  So, still working on the whole concept.  But, really cute and exciting to see the beginnings of organized play.

Giz asked me the other day if I was writing all of these details down.  I haven't been; hence, this blog post.

Despite all of the current changes for E, the biggest one is yet to come.  Come early fall, she is going to a big sister!  So far, she knows that the baby is in Mama's tummy (though I usually have to ask her several times "where is the baby?" for her to point to my stomach).  Aside from that, the whole pregnancy thing has little meaning for her.  Hopefully, the interest she is currently showing in babies lasts for a while. StumbleUpon

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Portobello Mushroom Wellingtons

I know it's hard to believe but I've really reached my limited with two subjects.  The first is the ongoing debate around the longest winter in history and the second...well ... you know I live in Toronto, right?  What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Toronto?  Ya, ya, I know, we have the most colourful mayor internationally.  Even crossing the border into the U.S., the border patrol asked where I was from and when I told him Toronto he said ... "An how's Rob Ford?".  Ugh.  Today's news said Mayor Ford took a break from rehab to call his constituents.  Seriously?  And we're supposed to believe that?  Who gets a break from rehab to make phone calls?

In spite of it all, I felt like having a mini celebration and make something I've never done before.  I found these Portobello Mushroom Wellingtons.  I changed up some of the ingredients (ie mozarella for gruyere and didn't use the crushed red pepper) and the result was very special.  Would serve this for company anytime.

4 medium-sized portobello mushrooms, washed and gills scraped out
4 cups crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 large cups tender baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced and divided
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere Cheese
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry dough (or two, depending on how big your portobello mushrooms are)egg wash: 

1 egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees f.
Lightly brush the portobello mushrooms with olive oil and dust lightly with kosher salt.  Bake the portobello mushrooms for 15 minutes cap side up and 10 minutes cap side down.

Once done baking place mushrooms on a paper towel so all the extra moisture will be absorbed.  Set aside.
In a large skillet, saute 1 shallot and 2  minced cloves of garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add the baby spinach leaves.  Stir to coat the spinach and lightly salt and pepper to taste, once the spinach looks like it is wilting, add the balsamic vinegar.  Once the leaves are wilted, remove from skillet and place contents into a bowl and set aside.  In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute 2 minced shallots and 2 minced garlic cloves.  After about 1 minute, add in the chopped mushrooms and lightly season with salt and pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Continue to saute the mushrooms on medium heat until all of the moisture is cooked out and the mushrooms are soft.  Remove from heat, add the mushrooms to the spinach mixture.  Mix together and let cool.

Once mixture is cooled toss in the bread crumbs, toasted pine nuts and Gruyere cheese.  Mix well.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry.

I found a new variety of puff pastry that comes in one continuous roll and has twice the amount of pastry as you find in boxed packages.  The price comparison is interesting too - half the amount of pastry for $3.99 and this roll for $5.99.  The quality is very good and I would definitely use it again.  It's made in Montreal.

Cut into 4 equal pieces (if you have really large portobello mushrooms then you might need to use the extra sheet of puff pastry).  Equally fill each portobello mushroom cap with the spinach and mushroom mixture.  Place one piece of puff pastry over a filled portobello mushroom.  Gently turn the mushroom over so the puff pastry is now on your working surface and the mushroom is upside down.   Lightly brush the egg wash around the outer edges of the puff pastry.  Place the opposite corners of the puff pastry to wrap around the portobello and then bring the other two corners up.  Gently bring the sides up to completely cover the mushroom.

Once all is secure, place the seamed side down onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Lightly brush the top of the wellington with a little bit of egg wash, lightly score the top and dust a little bit of salt and pepper on top. 
Bake the wellingtons for about 25-30 minutes or until the puff pastry is nice and golden brown.  Serve immediately.


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