Blog-iversary 2

IMG_5681Today is my blog’s anniversary! This second year has flown by.  In this past year I have gained an additional 77 followers and 357 Facebook friends.

I am still going strong with Secret Recipe Club and #BundtBakers (having missed only one month in each so far) and I continue to participate in Foodie Extravaganza and The Crazy Ingredient Challenge when my allergy restrictions allow it.

As if I didn’t have enough commitment on my plate I have added Blogger CLUE Society and The Sunday Supper Movement to my blogging community adventures. The latter has been a huge boost to not only my site’s traffic but also my social media accounts. If you’re a blogger looking for ways to venture out, I encourage you to join a group like these – the camaraderie you’ll find is more reward than you could imagine.

I feel like my blogging has grown over the past two years and my food photography has improved considerably (staying home with my son has definitely contributed to that as I now have natural light!), my photography editing skills have become second nature, and I think my story telling ability is on the rise. My efforts have even been rewarded when I was nominated for the Liebster Award!

For my blog-iversary I decided to try something that’s been on my culinary bucket list. Making marshmallow. I saw these adorable mini s’mores cheesecakes and knew that’s what I’d do to celebrate another blogging milestone. Unfortunately I don’t have a mini cheesecake pan – but how awesome is that?! – and didn’t think using cupcake liners would create the same impressive dessert. I decided to make a full size cheesecake. I increased the crust amount but didn’t think about the actual cheesecake, as a result my cake is very thin. However, the silky richness of the chocolate cheesecake doesn’t leave you feeling cheated. (If you want a thicker cake I’d suggest adding another 1/2 recipe to the filling.) To top this decadent cheesecake, homemade marshmallow frosting. If you have a blow torch I highly encourage you to take the s’mores factor to the next level. I simply garnished mine with extra graham cracker crumbs.

This cheesecake is sexy. Now there’s a word I’ve never used for food before! But seriously. Next time you want to impress your date make this cheesecake. It’s smooth, it’s rich, and it melts in your mouth.

S’mores Cheesecake

Ingredients for crust:

  • 9 full sheets graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Ingredients for cheesecake:

  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (I used Nielsen-Massey)

Ingredients for topping:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9″ springform pan.
  2. Place graham cracker sheets, butter, and sugar in a food process. Pulse until the mixture looks and feels like wet sand. Press into the pan evenly. Bake 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder and salt until combined. Add the egg and vanilla paste, mixing until incorporated. The mixture will look like chocolate pudding. Spread cheesecake filling on the crust.
  5. Bake 25-27 minutes, or until set. Turn off the oven and crack the door. Allow cheesecake to cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator.
  6. Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar over a double boiler until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm. Remove from heat. Beat using a hand mixer, starting on low and increasing speed to high, until mixture becomes white, thick, and sticky. Add the vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently spread over the chilled cheesecake.

*This recipe is adapted from Rachel at http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/mini-toasted-smore-cheesecakes/*

S'mores Cheesecake | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak filled with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Basil

That’s quite the fancy recipe title, isn’t it?! There aren’t very many fancy recipes on Sew You Think You Can Cook because we’re just not that fancy of people. And fancy usually takes way more time and effort than I have patience for.

So why am I sharing such a fancy dish with you today?

Because today is the 5th anniversary of my marriage to a man who makes me laugh (don’t tell him I said that), makes me smile, and makes my dreams come true. photography by Cher Hanna

Photography by Cher Hanna

A little over 5 years ago we thought that today we’d be laying in a hot tub looking at the mountains and ocean in St. Lucia. It’s amazing how much happens in 5 short years! Instead of taking that anniversary trip we are expecting our second child and at a point in my husband’s career where taking a long vacation just isn’t possible. So get ready St. Lucia, we’re coming for you in 5 years! (Grandparents, clear your calendars.)

We aren’t doing anything tonight either. Similarly to last year, Stuart signed up for a race this weekend. Although this one is only 12ish miles and not 30 hours in the woods. Also – family is coming into town to attend our son’s baptism on Sunday (finally!).

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak
filled with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 3/4 C Cabernet red wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak, butterflied
  • 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 4 oz thinly sliced fontina cheese
  • approximately 14 fresh basil leaves

Steps:

  1. Whisk together shallots, wine, and olive oil. Place in a large casserole dish (or a resealable plastic bag). Add the steak and marinate in the fridge a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Remove steak from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Lay cut side up and season with S+P. Cover with prosciutto, fontina, and basil leaves. Roll the steak around the filling on the long side. Tie with kitchen string in 4-5 places.
  3. Brush the outside of the roulade with a little bit of olive oil and season with S+P.
  4. Grill the steak over medium-high heat on all sides for a total of 10 minutes. Move the steak away from direct heat and cook another 20 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 125 (or greater) is reached depending on your preference.
  5. Cover the roulade with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with Cabernet-Shallot Reduction (recipe below).

Cabernet-Shallot Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 shallots, diced
  • 1 2/3 C Cabernet red wine
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp honey

Steps:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat saute the shallots in olive oil until tender. Add the wine and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to 1/2 C. Strain. Stir in the honey and season to taste with salt.

*These recipes are adapted from Bobby Flay’s Grill It!*

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak filled with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Basil | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Spanish Steaks and Cheesy Potatoes

Before I get to today’s amazing recipes I’m taking a trip down memory lane. A “Flashback Friday” if you will.

Six years ago to the day I was asked a very important question by a very important person.

2275_634287830011_5861_n

February 6, 2009 was just a normal Friday. Stuart and I both had a break between classes that lined up perfectly for us to grab lunch together. My brother had a break at the same time and Stuart told me that he was going to be joining us. I got out of class a little early and headed down to the concourse to wait for them. That morning Stuart had asked me to bring my camera to campus because he needed a photo for ROTC. We handed the camera to my brother and he caught the proposal on video! They’d obviously coordinated this ahead of time.

2275_634287859951_9621_nI’d be lying if I said I didn’t know this was coming. The 7th was our two year anniversary and there’d been comments and hints that we’d be getting engaged then. I have to give a big shout out to my best friend for telling Stuart I was on to him. It’s because of him that I experienced a surprise proposal better than I could have imagined. (Although it would have been nice to have showered, put make-up on, and brushed my hair!) It meant a lot to me to have my brother there – catching it on video was just a bonus. We even got a loud “War Eagle!” from a campus tour that was walking by.

Today’s recipes, which come from the January/February 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine, make a perfect meal to celebrate a special occasion – a birthday, anniversary, or even Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed this meal for Stuart’s birthday this year. It was the first time I’d had rib-eye steak and I loved it! Cooking in the cast iron skilet also provided a perfect sear for this melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat. We enjoyed these steaks alongside the cheesy mashed potatoes suggested in the article and some roasted carrots.

IMG_1907The carrots were Wesley’s first food! He surprised me with how well he took to trying them. He even managed to swallow a little bit. However he hasn’t touched carrots since! He likes yellow bell peppers, flank steak, and apples – at least for now.

These steaks feed 2-4 people, let’s be honest though, they’ll only feed two because you won’t want to share. I doubled the potato recipe and it will serve 4. (I wanted the leftovers.)

Pan-Seared Spanish Steaks

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in rib-eye steaks (3/4 lb each)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Steps:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  2. Pat steaks dry, lightly rub with a little canola oil, and season with S+P.
  3. Put 1-2 tbsp canola oil in the skillet. Add the steaks. (I had to do one steak at a time.) Sear on one side for 3 three minutes. Flip and cook 1-4 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. Remove steaks and set aside, covered with foil.
  4. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional 60 seconds. Whisk in the beef broth, Worcestershire, and vinegar. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
  5. Serve sauce overtop the steaks. Garnish with chives.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb gold potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Steps

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water, season generously with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the cream until just warmed through.
  3. Add the cream and cream cheese to the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency. Season to taste with S+P.

Spanish Steak and Cheesy Potatoes | Sew You Think You Can Cook

UPDATE May 2017: (written March 2018) I honestly can’t remember why I remade these steaks – I mean, other than the fact that they’re DELICOUS! I’m guessing I’d made them for our 7th wedding anniversary last May? Regardless, you really don’t need a fancy excuse to make such delicious steak. The above picture isn’t horrendous, but that giant bone-in steak was tricky to photograph, especially under tricky Ohio winter lighting. For round two, I decided to slice the steak to get the visual of the beautiful pink center and golden crust. Unfortunately, the juices still ran, no matter how long I let it rest. But hey, dragging those cheesy potatoes through the steak juices makes for a perfect last bite.

Spanish Steaks with Cheesy Potatoes | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Our Anniversary Souffle Date

Today is our 4th anniversary!

We didn’t have any big plans for this year – Stuart is going off on a 30 hour adventure race tomorrow and a trip anywhere was going to be out of the question anyway being one month from my due date. We thought about taking the day off from work and going to the beach, but that idea became vetoed when I was placed on bed rest a month ago. (Turns out today’s weather forecast would’ve kept us inside regardless!) And I’m not making anything fancy from the couch.

So for this honorary blog post, I’m going to share with you a kitchen adventure we took for our 2nd anniversary. Making souffles!

DSCN2969

I picked out a savory side dish to go with our salmon and he picked out dessert. And funnily enough, we ended up making each others dish. We didn’t plan it that way, but that’s just how the kitchen tango worked itself out.

My potato souffles were made in ramekins instead of the potato skins. If I remember correctly we struggled at removing the potato from the skin.

Potato SoufflesDSCN3012

For dessert Stuart picked Orange Souffles that were made in the orange rinds! We didn’t puncture the rind on this recipe, and even had extra filling to do two ramekins in addition to the 6 oranges. We had a couple of blow outs but managed to save 3 beautifully souffleed desserts.

Orange SoufflesOrange Souffles