This post is in no way at all about healthy eating, in fact, it is entirely about the exact opposite. I spent all of yesterday cooking in my little NYC kitchen. In the morning, I prepared an Apple/Pear/Fresh Cranberry crisp with an oatmeal/walnut brown sugar crumble for the topping and my favorite holiday cocktail: Apple Cider Sangria. Sorry, I don’t have pictures of the Apple/Pear/Cran Crisp, but there is a photo of the sangria below.After prepping those two items for dinner with Bling and B, my friend, MacAttack arrived at my apartment for our Holiday Macaron Extravaganza Part I (Part II to occur next weekend.) We concocted some fabulous flavors and made about 60 macarons in total (which took us about five hours). The clear winner in terms of best flavor was our “Gingerbread” macaron. French macaron shells are typically flavorless, so all the flavor you get hit with when you bite into these crunchy chewy little delights is coming from the filling. With our “Gingerbread” macs, we added nutmeg and cinnamon to the shells and then created a butter cream filling out of fresh ginger, butter, eggs and sugar – the end result was holiday fireworks exploding in your mouth – they were absolutely amazing! The gingerbread macs can be seen in the pictures below – they are the beige colored cookies with the little lone gingerbread men in the middle We also made a peppermint buttercream filled macaron (can be seen below – green shells with little green Christmas trees) and a Bailey’s Irish Cream white chocolate ganache filled mac as well as Bailey’s Irish Butter Cream blended with a bit of mint – the Bailey’s macs are the red ones with the white snow flakes.
After finishing up our holiday macaron fiesta, I got started on the menu for dinner. I chopped up a ton of mushrooms using my Rosle Veggie Chopper – everyone should own one of these – it just makes things so much faster. After chopping up some baby bella mushrooms I sauteed them in butter with onions and garlic mixed up with grated pecorino romano cheese and a swig of rosemary for some added aroma. After making my mixture, I carefully stuffed mushroom caps with little mounds of mushroom hash and set them aside to stick them in the oven about 30 minutes prior to B and Bling’s arrival.
In addition to my stuffed mushroom cap apps, I prepared a fresh heirloom tomato salad tossed with a little mozzarella, basil topped off with an olive oil drizzle and a bit of sea salt.
Then I got to my roasted butternut squash and my pasta. I chopped up some butternut squash, tossed it in olive oil, sage, brown sugar and salt and roasted it in the oven for 45 minutes. Here is the real fatty part: my mushroom cream sauce fresh angel hair pasta tangled with maitake mushrooms (aka hen of the woods mushrooms) and Italian sausage. This is my husband’s favorite dish I make – it is probably 1000 calories for a mouthful, but that is what makes it oh so good. Pictures of both below.After preparing the pasta and the squash, I arranged my cheese plate for the appetizers, which consisted of an assortment of cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses from Vermont, Italy and Spain. Cheese plate pic below:
Once everyone arrived and began filling up on the Sangria, cheese and mushroom caps, TH and I began preparing the filet mignon. We used our Le Creuset skillet which was really awesome for making a great steak without a grille. We preheated the oven to 500 degrees and then stuck the skillet in there for about 5 minutes letting it really heat up. Then we pulled the skillet out and seared each side of the filet for about 1 minute and stuck the skillet full of petite filets back in our oven for about 7 minutes with a dollop of truffle butter and a rosemary sprig just for good measure. The steak was cooked perfectly and tasted amazing.
After getting everything over to the dining area in our apartment, we all sat down for a great holiday dinner full of calories, laughter and hearty conversion (not to mention amazing bread from a new local bakery in Chelsea – courtesy of B and Bling).
I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed eating what’s in them. Now it’s time to get back on track – yogurt, carrots, leafy greens, lots of sushi and gym time until Christmas!