Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dulce De Leche

I shared this recipe on the Cooking From My Heart(h) Facebook page the other day, and thought it would be good to get it up on the ole blog. We made dulce de leche every Christmas at my house. Spread it on toast, use it as an ice cream topping, eat it straight off the spoon... it tastes like caramel. Endless possibilities await! Without further adieu, I give you dulce de leche in six easy steps:

How To Make It
1) Buy as many cans of sweetened condensed milk as you want.
2) Peel the labels off the cans, but leave them sealed.
3) Put sealed cans in a large pot and fill with water.
4) Bring water to a boil and "cook" cans for 2.5-3 hours. Keep the cans covered with ample water or they will EXPLODE.
5) When time is up, put cans in cold water by pouring or using tongs. When cool, put the cans in your 'fridge overnight.6) Open cans, and enjoy freshly made dulce de leche!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vegetable Wellington

This one is all thanks to the folks over at the Vegetarian Times. Who says that vegetarians can't enjoy a good Wellington every now and then?

1 TBSP olive oil
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 5 ounce. package baby spinach leaves
1 10 ounce log goat cheese (I successfully -and deliciously- used ricotta instead)
1 4 ounce jar prepared pesto sauce
1 large egg
1 17.3 ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 16 ounce jar prepared tomato sauce

How To Cook It
1) Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, bell peppers, and onion, and sauté 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Add spinach, remove from heat, and stir until spinach wilts. Stir in pesto. Cool.
2) Whisk egg in bowl, and set aside. Cut 15 x 10 inch piece of parchment paper, and set on work surface. Place 1 sheet puff pastry on parchment paper. Lift parchment with puff pastry, and place parchment side down in 9-inch loaf pan. Press pastry into pan, being careful not to let folds get caught in parchment and allowing excess parchment and pastry to hang over sides. Cut squares from second puff pastry sheet, and press onto short sides of parchment-covered pan to make dough shell. Prick bottom of puff pastry all over with fork.
3) Spread cheese over bottom of puff pastry. Top with asparagus mixture. Fold excess puff pastry over vegetables, and brush edges with egg.
4) Cut 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch piece of puff pastry from remaining sheet. Set on top of asparagus mixture, pressing to seal edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes, along with unused pastry scraps and egg.
5) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and place oven rack on second lowest level. Brush top of Wellington with egg, and poke 2 or 3 holes in top. Cut decorative pieces (leaves and stems, etc.) from remaining pastry, press onto top of Wellington, and brush with egg. Use tip of small knife to score top and decorations with additional touches.
6) Bake Wellington 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake 45 minutes more. Cool 15 minutes.
7) Use parchment to lift Wellington from loaf pan. Remove parchment, and transfer Wellington to flat serving plate. Slice, and serve with tomato sauce.

Note: I didn't have parchment paper on hand, so I used foil instead without any issues.