Archive for November, 2010

Here is a quick and easy appetizer just in time for the holidays! This is an elegant twist on the standard cheese and cracker fare usually found on coffee tables this time of year. With just a few ingredients you can easily make this upgrade.  All you need are onions, brie, puff pastry, butter and an egg. Let’s start with the onions….
Here is what you’ll need to succeed:

Yes, those are my swim goggles. I highly recommend wearing a pair while attempting to thinly slice four large onions…

I didn’t shed a single tear! 

Next, add all of those onions to a pan and start to caramelize. Caramelized onions are amazing on anything really, including leftover turkey sandwiches,  so while you’re going to the trouble, I recommend making some extra!

While working on the onions, take the puff pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter. Also, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Next, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and roll out one sheet of puff pastry. Place three big scoops of onions in the middle. Place the wheel of brie on top of the onions (leave the rind on- I promise you won’t taste it). Quickly whisk an egg in a small bowl and then lightly brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash.

Next, start folding the pastry up over the cheese, pressing the seams together to seal. Then flip the pastry round, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Yum!

Here is the complete recipe for two baked brie puffs:

Baked Brie and Onion Puff

adapted from The Food Network


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large Vidalia or Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 (5-inch) rounds brie cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until just brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook stirring often, until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Roll each sheet of pastry to a 12-inch square on a marble surface or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Divide the caramelized onions in the center of each pastry. Put a brie round on top of the onions and brush edges of both pastry squares with beaten egg. Fold pastry up and over cheese to completely enclose the cheese in the pastry. Press the seams together to completely seal. Arrange each pastry round, seam side down, on a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each pastry round with beaten egg. Bake until golden brown. 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before indulging. Enjoy!


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Mixed Mushroom Soup

Trick or Treat! 

To kick off the start of Fall (a.k.a. soup season!) I made this amazing and hearty mushroom soup this past Halloween weekend.  I will treat you to the recipe at the end. But first, in the spirit of Halloween, a few tricks and treats from this past weekend: 

Friday night we went to an event at the National Zoo.

…where we enjoyed treats provided by Magic Hat Brewing Co.


… and Tony tried to trick some of the residents of the gorilla house.


On Saturday, I was reminded what a treat it is to live in D.C. where the National Mall is only a short metro, cab, bus, car ride away. Apparently everyone in D.C. had the same idea, so after considerable effort getting there, we reached the Mall to attend this:  

The Mall was packed with people dressed up in costumes and carrying all types of signs. 

It was so crowded, we couldn’t see or hear anything. The trick was to remember to record the event before we left the house and then watch it later from the warm comfort of our couch! 

Sunday was Halloween and while some of us wanted to go out and get some treats with the other kids….    

We told him he wasn’t going to trick anyone with that tail sticking out!

So we stayed in and enjoyed this delicious treat instead:  

Mixed Mushroom Soup

adapted from Whole Living

Serves 4 (about 7 cups)


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (white button, cremini, oyster, and shiitake), rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (we didn’t have any, so I omitted)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained (I used two cans)
  • 1/2 cup marsala wine (optional) (I omitted)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth


Soak porcini in 1 cup warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Lift porcini from liquid and coarsely chop; strain liquid through a colander or cheesecloth-lined sieve and reserve.

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add leeks; season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, porcini, and chopped mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 7 minutes or until mushrooms just begin to brown. Add fennel seeds, bay leaves, tomato paste, and tomatoes, and cook for 3 minutes. Add marsala (if using), porcini liquid, and broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Discard bay leaves before serving. Serve with a grating of pecorino or parmesan cheese.  We had this with grilled swiss cheese sandwiches on rye bread. Perfect combo!

Taking a picture of a steaming bowl of soup is quite tricky!

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