Oven Roasted Leeks with Herbs de Provence

Oven Roasted Leeks With Herbs de Provence

6 medium leeks, cleaned and cut lengthwise into quarters
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup of vegetable stock

You will need a baking sheet covered in parchment.

Pre-heat oven 400°F.

To Clean Leeks
Remove the coarse outer leaves. Trim each leek like you would a scallion- chopping off the root end, and then taking off the darkest portion of the leaves down to the light green; leaving about 2 inches of green. Slice the leeks down the center, rinse under cold water to remove all bits of dirt/sand, slightly bending the leeks around to remove the debris. Drain on paper towels and proceed with recipe.

Take the clean leeks, in a bowl, and toss with the oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Then add to baking sheet.

Roast the leeks until they are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Around the 20 minute mark add in a few splashes of the stock, and then repeat at the next interval of 20 minutes. Once they are tender and have caramelized marks they are cooked.

Finished Side Dish!  Oven Roasted Leeks with herbs de Provence.
Finished Side Dish! Oven Roasted Leeks with herbs de Provence.
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (featured covered in Cocunut flakes)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp milk

In mixing bowl, add powdered sugar and butter, mix on low speed. Mix in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

Powdered sugar
Powdered sugar

Gradually add in the remaining milk, the frosting should appear more smooth.

Add in the butter and milk
Add in the butter and milk
Mix on low until creamy, if needed cause of thickness add in a tsp of milk more
Mix on low until creamy, if needed cause of thickness add in a few drops of milk at a time more

If the frosting is too thick, add in more milk a few drops at a time.

If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

This makes enough to frosts a 13×9-inch cake or a 9-inch two-layer cake.

This cake was made for Christmas Day covered in coconut flakes;  for Christmas Eve we replaced the vanilla in this recipe with peppermint extract for a minty frosting.

Frosted cake covered in Coconut Flakes!
Finished Cake!  Frosted cake covered in Coconut Flakes!

Potato Galette

Potato Galette

2.5lbs (5-6 large) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin, then rinsed in cool water to remove excess starch
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of each salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp of each dried rosemary and thyme

You will need a baking sheet covered with parchment.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Take slices of potatoes and coat with all the ingredients.  Then shake to remove excess before putting on the pan for cooking.

Thinly sliced potatoes dressed in olive oil and herbs

Thinly sliced potatoes dressed in olive oil and herbs

Place a slice in center of pan then overlap slices in circle around center slice, forming a flower pattern.  Continue overlapping around so they are even in thickness to the top.  Sprinkle a touch more of salt and pepper.  Place a piece of parchment on top and weigh it down with a pan.

Let cook for 45 minutes, then remove the pan and parchment, and let cook 15 minutes more till browned and all potatoes are tender.

To serve cut into wedges.

place the potato slices around and atop one another in a flower pattern
place the potato slices around and atop one another in a flower pattern

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom and Shallot Gravy

Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom and Shallot Gravy

  • One (3 pound) beef tenderloin roast, preferably trimmed and tied
  • 1 tsp of each salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp of butter cubed
  • 3-4 sprigs or 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • 3-4 sprigs or 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil

For the Gravy

  • 15 white mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and cut into slices
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tspn of each S&P

You will need a large baking pan (no parchment).

Preheat oven 375F

Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.  Once an hour has passed, rinse with cool water and pat dry thoroughly.  Then massage the beef with the s&p.

Rinse the roast with cool water, and dry thoroughly.
Rinse the roast with cool water, and dry thoroughly.

Then take a skillet, on medium-high heat, and add 1 tbsp of the oil.  Sear the roast on all sides, let rest 5 minutes.

In a skillet, sear the roast (before placing in the oven)
In a skillet, sear the roast (before placing in the oven)

In the baking pan, add the mushrooms, shallots, herbs, garlic and the s&p.  Rest the roast on top.  Add the cubes of butter on top of the roast and all around the mushrooms.

Place the roast on top of the mushrooms, shallots, herbs and garlic.  Then add three tablespoons of butter cubed all around the roast and the veggies below.
Place the roast on top of the mushrooms, shallots, herbs and garlic. Then add three tablespoons of butter cubed all around the roast and the veggies below.

Roast until the internal temperature reaches 130F. This can take anywhere between 45-50 minutes.

Once temp is reached, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes either on a plate or cutting board loosely covered in foil.

In a small sauce pan/skillet, on medium-high heat, take all the cooked mushrooms, shallots, herbs and juices from the roast and bring to a slight simmer.  Add in 3 tbsp of water and the flour and stir until the color turns brownish grey and the sauce thickens.

 

Voila!  The finished dish!  Beef Tenderloin with mushroom/shallot gravy.
Voila! The finished dish! Beef Tenderloin with mushroom/shallot gravy.

Easy Roasted Potatoes

Oven Roasted Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large red bliss potatoes scrubbed clean and then cubed
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp of each S&P

You will need a baking pan covered in parchment.

Preheat oven 375F

In a bowl add all the ingredients and toss until the potatoes are covered.

Before roasting; add in oil, s&p, oregano and rosemary.
Before roasting; add in oil, s&p, oregano and rosemary.

Place in baking pan, and set on top rack of oven. Let roast for 35 minutes, then take out of the oven and switch to LOW broil and then place back in and let broil for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown. You will want a little crispness to them.

Finished Side Dish!  Easy Roasted Potatoes
Finished Side Dish! Easy Roasted Potatoes

Pork Loin Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Pork Loin Roast with Mushroom Gravy

1 lb pork roast

For the marinade:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oi
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped roughly for flavor
  • 1 tsp of each S&P

For Gravy:

  • 15 baby bella mushrooms, washed and cut in thirds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven 375F.

You will need a baking pan covered in parchment.

Most of the time for marinades I like to take large zip-loc bags, add the ingredients with the meat and let sit in the fridge for an hour. But yesterday, I ran out of bags :, and used a bowl.

In a bowl add the ingredients for the marinade. Take the roast and place in the bowl.  Massage the marinade into the pork until it’s covered. I like to take a paring knife and pierce small slices into the pork so I get a few pieces of the garlic into the flesh.  Let sit in marinade for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Marinating
Marinating

Spread the mushrooms and onions evenly on the bottom of the baking pan.  Then rest the marinated roast on top of it all.

Lay the roast on top of the mushrooms and onions
Lay the roast on top of the mushrooms and onions

Place in top rack of oven for 35 minutes. Check temperature, with a meat thermometer, making sure it reaches anywhere between 153-160 in the thickest part. Once it’s reached temp, remove pork from pan and let rest on cutting board or plate while you make the gravy.

Getting the pork up to temp is key
Getting the pork up to temp is key

Take the mushrooms, onions and drippings and pour into a small pan (I used a small frying pan). Let heat up over medium heat, add in the flour and stir until the juices turn slightly brownish grey and it thickens. You can add additional s&p if needed.

Mushroom Gravy
Mushroom Gravy
Pork roast over mushroom gravy
Finished Dish! Pork roast over mushroom gravy

Tomorrow’s post will be the real easy side of roasted potatoes that went with this.

Caramelized Onion and Sausage Appetizer

Created this appetizer over the weekend. Hope you enjoy it!

My Mom makes this Sicilian bread, very regional to where she grew up, with sausage, onions, and cheese. SO DELICIOUS.  This bread is a real treat for me; has everything I love in food. It’s savory.  Slightly sweet.  It has a crunchy crust and cheese. There’s sausage. And sometimes a surprise black olive!  Which if you are Sicilian is a must in your diet. heh.  It’s everything delicious.

I have made this bread a few times for my family and for a get together here and there.  The original version is the size of a small coconut basically. Which can be too big, even cut into pieces for parties. So.  I’d make them in batches of bite sized portions- they were mini versions, yummy, and would disappear in minutes.

As I was trying to figure out bite sized dishes that were easy, crunchy, sweet and savory for this past Sunday, the idea of the bread came to mind.  I love the taste of the components together, but figured to get the crunch in a different way and wanted to use phyllo rather than bread/pizza dough.  Minus the black olive and adding in sweet onions.

It was a hit! Super easy and everyone enjoyed them.

——

Caramelized Onion with Sausage Appetizer

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced  (I used mayan sweet onions)
  • 1/4 tspn salt and 1/4 tspn black pepper
  • 1 pound pork sausage, casings removed, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

For the shell:

  • 24  pieces of  2″ x 2” squares of triple layers of phyllo (which is about 6 sheets of phyllo in total)  See package for usage instructions.

You will need a mini cupcake pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (olive oil or canola oil prefered).  If you use this recipe for larger cupcakes, you will need another ply of phyllo for each cup.  Also this appetizer can be made vegetarian just by eliminating the sausage and adding in more cheese and placing a black kalamata pitted olive on top.

the thinly sliced onion before.
the thinly sliced onion before.

In a large pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized; about 20-25 minutes.

then after, caramelized onion
then after, caramelized onion

Remove onions from skillet and place aside.

In the same pan, do not clean it from the caramelizing.  Turn heat down to medium-low.  Add in sausage.  While it is cooking take your wooden spoon or spatula and break down the sausage to smaller pieces.  Once cooked through, about 10 minutes, drain fat, if any.  Leave in pan and add back the onions and let cook together for 5 minutes on low heat.

Breaking down the sausage while cooking.
Breaking down the sausage while cooking.

Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375F.

In your cupcake tin sprayed with oil, gently place the squares of phyllo into the pan by pushing them into each spot with your finger tips until they adhere with the shape, without tearing.  If you cause a tear grab extra piece of phyllo and cover the hole.

Once the phyllo is in place take the filling and fill it with 1 tbsp and then cover it with a sprinkle of the cheese.

Before baked.
Before baked.

Pop into the oven for 20 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Voila!  The finished appetizer- Caramelized onion with sausage
Voila! The finished appetizer – Caramelized onion with sausage

ENJOY!

The apps Sunday
The two apps featured in my blog on Sunday- Polenta with mushrooms and the caramelized onion with sausage.

Delicious Appetizer: Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms *and a bonus salad dressing!

This party girl had a real wonderful weekend. Not only celebrating my birthday, but having friends over for the holidays today; most of this I will post about tomorrow. For now I got to get myself a drink and ready to watch Dexter!  Missed it last week and want to catch up before tonight’s episode!!

Made a couple of app dishes today. I will post one now and the other this week. I love making this appetizer.  It’s so quick, easy and delicious.

Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms

  • 1 roll of prepackaged polenta cut into half circles, or 9 ounces of homemade formed into a roll then cooled and sliced (Trader Joe’s has a great organic version that I like a lot and used here)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 heaping tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella (cut into cubes)
  • 2.5 ounces of washed baby bella mushroom (baby portobello mushrooms) -stems removed and sliced (In the photos you will see that I cooked all 8 ounces/1 package for an addition to the salad and then for dinner tomorrow.)
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced (if cooking all the  8 ounces then 2 cloves)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (about 1/4 tspn of each)

You will need a baking sheet covered in parchment.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet heated on medium heat, sauté the garlic until translucent with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Add in the mushrooms and sauté until tender; the color has changed to a darker brownish grey.  Do not drain liquid, as it is used in a salad dressing I will share below.

Take the polenta and remove it from package, then slice into half slices.  Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil on covered baking sheet and place polenta pieces on top.  Salt and pepper the polenta.

Take one slice of cooked mushroom and top each slice of polenta.  Then atop the mushroom add two pieces of the mozzarella, then sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Minced Garlic with Olive Oil
Minced Garlic with Olive Oil
The Baby Bella Mushrooms in the pan
The Baby Bella Mushrooms in the pan
On baking sheet: Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms and the fresh mozzarella on top
On baking sheet: Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms and the fresh mozzarella on top. Sprinkled with pecorino.
DONE!  Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms
DONE! Polenta with Baby Bella Mushrooms

*BONUS: Portobello Mushroom Salad Dressing-  

  • 1/4 cup mushroom stock (recipe above-has garlic and s&p)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tspn oregano

Take the mushroom stock you made from this dish and place in bowl to let cool.

Once cooled add oregano, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Whisk.

DONE.

I use the left over mushrooms from above in a salad of mixed greens, but also in other meals during the week like rice dishes.

Enjoy!

Appetizers Sunday Afternoon
The Polenta Appetizers on the left front, at My Holiday Get Together Sunday Afternoon!

Baked Sweet Potato Slices

Forgot to share this. I mentioned a recipe for baked sweet potatoes a few posts back.  So here it is!

My biggest food weakness is potatoes.  As a small girl my family gave me a nickname that is silly; it’s Italian, and basically it means I am consumed with all things potato: PATATARA.   WHICH IS TRUE!  I could eat potatoes every single day, a few times a day, and I’d still want more.  Cook them and just hand them over people!

Baked Sweet Potato Slices

  • 2 lbs washed and scrubbed sweet potatoes- cut into rounds (see photo)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • ¼  tspn thyme
  • ¼ tspn rosemary
  • ¼ dried lavender (if you have it, if not you can omit)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

You’ll need a flat baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Using the paper will guarantee they won’t stick.

Cut the ends of the potato and slice thin.
Cut the ends of the potato and slice thin.  I rarely peel my potatoes, unless they are green, because I love the rustic look of it cooked.  But this is totally a personal choice.  If you keep the peel on SCRUB THEM!

Preheat oven to 375° F

Lightly drizzle 1 tbsp of the oil on the bottom of the pan.  Arrange potatoes on top.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes.

Voila!  Baked Sweet Potatoes!
Voila! Baked Sweet Potatoes!

Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni

Another quick pasta dish!  Caramelizing the zucchini gives it a richer, sweeter flavor.

Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni

  • 2 large zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • S&P for taste
  • 3 tbsp Pecorino Cheese
  • 1 lb Rigatoni pasta cooked al dente (I prefer De Cecco pasta, but any short pasta shape and brand is ok)

In a skillet on medium heat, heat up the oil.  Add in the garlic and then the onion; cook until translucent.

Add in the zucchini, stir and cook through until tender, about 10 minutes. Then let stand to brown by stirring less and less. DO NOT BURN.

Caramelized Zucchini
Caramelized Zucchini

Once browned to desired color add 1/2 the zucchini to the cooked/strained pasta and mix in the cheese.

Serve topped with a little more zucchini on top of pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

ENJOY!

Finished dish! Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni
Finished dish! Caramelized Zucchini with Rigatoni