Curry Beef Turnovers

My life is forever changed–and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing. Because when you’re as big a fan of pastries as I am, there’s nothing more dangerous (for your heart/belly/thighs) than knowing a great (read: easy) recipe for something fantastically delicious. And now that I know this recipe for rough puff pastry, I am slightly fearful for the health of myself and my family. 

I remember reading that post on Chocolate and Zucchini at the beginning of this year and thinking, “Cool, but it still looks too hard.” Despite the lovely Clotilde’s super-clear instructions, I still wasn’t convinced I could do it. So cut to a few weeks ago when I was feeling slightly adventurous and looking for something new to make, and I opened up my bookmarks folder to find that recipe sitting on top. I gave it a shot… and I’m still pretty stunned by how easy it is to make.

Puff pastry. In my kitchen. In something like 20 minutes or less. Do you see why I’m a little scared here?

I was actually surprised at how easy it was to make the pastry. I’m no puff pastry expert, but I think the key to getting distinct layers is making sure the dough stays cold enough while you’re rolling out so that the butter doesn’t get too soft, and instead gets pressed into a thin layer that then gets folded up and pressed thinner and thinner–that’s what makes all those beautiful layers in your dough. I expected the dough to be tough to roll out, but it was actually quite tender even when cold. 

These curry beef turnovers are just one example of the many treacherously delicious things that I intend to do with this recipe. On a cold day, there’s almost nothing better than biting into one of these things and feeling your teeth break through layer up on layer of pastry and into a warm filling of beef, potatoes, and peas. And as it happens, those flaky, tender layers of pastry are the perfect complement to the savory curry filling. 

Be afraid. Be very afraid. 

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Parmesan Blue Cheese Rolls

Mmmmm, cheese.

I’m not sure I ever met a cheese I didn’t like. Especially when that cheese is sharp, salty, and even a little stinky. So it’s no wonder that blue cheese is one of my favorites. In my humble opinion, the only thing that could be better is more cheese, and a little bread, because cheese + bread is a downright dangerous combination.

Dangerous for my tastebuds, that is.

And also my waistline, but let’s not dwell on the bad, shall we? Because if we have bread and cheese, how can we be anything but happy, thankful, and optimistic? …Yeah, I have to say I’m having trouble seeing the downside to these cheese rolls. 

Let me break these down for you: soft bread rolled with blue cheese, freshly grated parmesan, herbs, and a little black pepper. Sprinkled with more parmesan. Baked until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Are you drooling yet? I have to admit, these parmesan blue cheese rolls are a little self-indulgent. But that never stopped me from making something before. 

These are best when they’re served straight out of the oven, so they’re still warm on the inside. If you manage to have any leftovers, toast them up for a few minutes before serving them to resurrect that warm, freshly-baked taste. And above all else: Enjoy.

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Miso-Glazed Salmon

Today’s recipe came to me through my grandmother. Or at least I think it did. All I know is that the first time I heard the words miso and salmon together in a sentence, it was when I was visiting Taiwan and sitting down to dinner at my grandma’s table. Or maybe it was when she was visiting us and whipped up one of her trademark simple, delicious dinners. Either way, I know that my first experience with a miso-baked fish was the result of my grandma’s cooking.

Of course, my first attempt to replicate her cooking resulted in disaster. Because, it turns out, all I heard my grandma say was “miso” and “salmon”, so imagine my surprise when I caked a salmon fillet in miso paste, baked it, and discovered that it was inedibly salty instead of the moist, flavorful fish that my grandma made. I was still in high school, so I guess I should give myself a break. But then again, maybe I should just have asked my grandma for her exact recipe. When in doubt, just ask Grandma.

Thankfully, I know a bit more about cooking now, so you don’t need to worry about this fish being too salty. In fact, this miso-glazed salmon is a perfect dinner for any night. It only takes a little more than half an hour from prep to table, and it’s a great way to get a healthy serving of fish into your family’s bellies. The miso glaze is light, adding just a little bit of savory, Asian-inspired flavor to the fish, which is baked and then broiled with an extra coating of the glaze. The pinch of sugar in the sauce helps it to caramelize just a little bit under the broiler for a slightly sweet, slightly sticky finish that goes so well with the salmon. 

Serve this with a few wedges of lemon on the side for those of us who appreciate the extra acid. While the fish is baking, use the time to prep some veggies or a side dish, and voilà, you’ve got dinner. 

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Roasted Banana Meringue Pie

In terms of foodie adventurousness, I have to say that I wouldn’t rank all that highly. I’m the kind of girl who goes to the same restaurants and orders the same things because they’re so darn delicious. In my cooking, my favorite flavors come back again and again–coconut, green onions, and chives, to name a few–not that I’ve gotten any complaints from my taste testers. In fact, if anything does challenge me to try new things, it’s my responsibility to this blog. So I guess I have this URL to thank for introducing me and my family to new things (and, I’m sure, extra inches on our waistlines…yeesh).

As I write this post, I realize that the combination of bananas and some sort of vanilla pudding have made a relatively high number of appearances on this blog. With banana pudding to banana cream pie (and even this vegan version), you’d think I’d be tired of bananas and cream by now.

Not so! And I hope you aren’t either, because: Roasted. Banana. Meringue. Pie. 

This roasted banana meringue pie is a twist on my usual banana cream pie. A light, fluffy meringue makes for a perfect complement to the richness of the custard. But the genius part of this pie is that the meringue is made out of the same number of egg whites as there are yolks in the pudding. You know what that means–no scrambling to figure out what to do with those leftover egg whites.

Convenience! It’s the stuff of great cooking. (Or at least it is in my kitchen.)

Roasting the bananas brings a deliciously deep banana flavor to the custard. Use bananas that are just ripe, but not overly so, or the roasting will give the bananas a tough texture, instead of the silky, creamy texture that this pie calls for. Be sure to drain the bananas of excess juice before folding them into the custard, or you’ll end up with a filling that’s a little bit on the watery side. 

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DIY Baby Carrier Teething Pads

When it comes to crafting, there’s always the question of whether a project will be time well-spent.

Case in point: a few months ago, I bought a few yards of minky fabric for a sleep sack I was planning to make. It seemed pretty worth it to me to spend a few hours making something that would save me a good $20 or $30. But just a few days later while I was out shopping, I found a bunch of adorable sleep sacks on sale for less than $6 each.

Those hours I was planning to spend sewing? Suddenly not so worth it. 

I’m still deciding what to do with that minky fabric, but if I have any scraps leftover from whatever I do, I think I’ll be turning them into these easy DIY baby carrier teething pads. This sewing project takes just 10 minutes–and that’s even for those of us with limited sewing skills (like me!). That’s a time commitment I’m willing to take on regardless of how much money I end up saving. 

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