Monday, June 21, 2010

Girls' Cooking Night: Beef Wellington, Rosemary Skewars, Watermelon Frescas, Cantaloupe Salad

We had a blast at our cooking night on Saturday! I met two new friends. Michelle, whose house the dinner was at, has two adorable children and a very sweet husband Paul. Karen and Megan are preggo so we made virgin drinks, they were still very yummy! Good food and good girl time, we plan to do it again! This is a long blog, but don't skip it or else you will miss out on some really good recipes.
Here was our menu:
Appetizers and Drinks:
Roasted garlic on crusty french bread toasts
Rosemary skewers pioneer woman
Watermelon Frescas
Beef Wellington
Roasted Garlic and Truffle Oil Mashed Potatoes
Cantaloupe Salad
Michelle made homemade Double Chocolate Mousse
I tried Beef Wellington once and it was amazing! Since this was my first time to make it, I decided to have a trial run before making it for cooking night, therefore I have pictures from both the trial and the actual night.
Beef Wellington
2 beef filet mignons
2 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper
1 Tb butter
1 egg
Mushroom Deluxes:
1/2 pound mushrooms
2 Tb butter
3 Tb chopped shallots
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup white wine

The recipe calls for cooking twine, but I didn't have any, so I used clean hair rubber bands. Put these around the filets in order to keep them in a round shape. Salt and pepper filets.
Melt 1 Tb of butter in a skillet.
Add filets and brown each side of the meat.
Remove meat from skillet. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins.
Make Mushroom Deluxes. Chop Shallots.
In a food processor, chop mushrooms fine.
Transfer onto a cheese cloth, or a strong paper towel.
Squeeze out all liquid. 
In skillet used to brown fillets, melt another Tb of butter.
Cook mushrooms, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper.
Once all the liquid has evaporated, add whine and remaining 1 Tb of butter. Cook until wine has evaporated then remove from heat.
Allow puff pastry to thaw for about 15 minutes on the counter top. When I made my trial wellington I decided that there was too much pastry, so the second time I rolled the pastry out so that it was thinner.
Me saying, "oh no, it tore!"  No worries, it went back together.
Don't forget to put the mushrooms in your pastry. I would forget, then I would have to take it apart. Put about 2 Tb in each.
Take the rubber bands off the filets, then put them on the mushrooms. Cut into a "Red Cross" like shape.
The top and bottom of the t should have slits on each side of the leg. Hopefully this picture helps, it is hard to explain.
Wrap the two sides up first.
Wrap the top and bottom over then tuck in the edges to cover any holes.
Make a pretty shape out of the extra pastry to put on top. Hearts are fun, also letters work well.
Whisk the egg, then brush the tops with the egg.
Cook on 400 for 30 minutes. I am so glad I did a trial run. The second time around was sooo amazing!

I saw these Rosemary Skewers on the Pioneer Woman website and though they sounded really good. They were a party pleaser! Next time you need an appetizer for a party, please make these!
Rosemary Skewers
Stalks of rosemary. I bought 2 boxes of rosemary and it made about 14 skewers. (some of the branches in the box were too short to use)
Fresh Mozzarella cut into 1 inch cubes
Marinated artichoke hearts (I used almost 2 small glass jars)
Black Olives: I don't like olives so I didn't use them
Bow Tie pasta: I added this, it was good
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tb balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Dried Thyme
Strip rosemary from stalks, leaving the tops.

Boil pasta until barely done, it will break easily if you cook it too long.
Drain Artichokes, cut mozzarella into cubes. Begin assembling the skewers by piercing alternating the mozzarella, pasta, artichoke, salami (folded into quarters).

Mix together the marinade.
Put skewers in a dish so that they lay flat. Pour marinade over skewers.

Let marinade a few hours before serving. Aren't they pretty! 

This is one of my favorite dishes to take to pot luck parties in the summer. It is easy and different. The flavors meld together so perfectly and the colors are very pretty.
Cantaloupe Salad
1 cantaloupe
1 bag of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of basil (about 10-15 leaves)
1 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
I didn't get step by step pictures of some of these recipes because everyone was assigned a different dish and we were all having fun so I forgot...
1. Slice cantaloupe in half. Discard seeds.
2. Use melon baller to scoop out all the “meat” making pretty balls as you go! Put balls in a mixing bowl. Meg was in charge of this salad and she was so distraught because I had brought the wrong melon baller and the balls were not pretty.
3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl.
4. Slice basil in thin strips and add to bowl with feta cheese.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Michelle was in charge of the Watermelon Frescas. I made this drink up, it was very tasty!
Watermelon Frescas
1 small seedless watermelon
1 liter of club soda
1/4 cup-1/2 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it
juice of 1 lime
Vodka if you want to add some fun!

Cut watermelon into chunks. Then blend in a blender.
Strain the watermelon in a mesh strainer.
Mix watermelon juice, sugar, and lime juice.
Add club soda a little at a time.
Stir and serve with a lime wedge.
Such a girlie drink!

We made the Roasted Garlic and Truffle Mashed Potatoes from a few posts ago, they were amazing. I made the roasted garlic before I came since it takes so long. I made extra so that we could eat it on bread for appetizers. This is Meg squeezing the garlic out of the paper skin. I wanted to mash it up to spread on the toasts, but it would mash because it chilled too long. I recommend mashing the garlic very soon after taking out of the oven.

Karen did a fantastic job with the potatoes.
Our table.
The fantastic dinner.

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