Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Putting myself out there and getting my... Phyll-o

This year is the year I am makin' it happen. I am on the prowl and holding no prisoners. This also means that I am pursuing things that might never have crossed my mind before. Not to say I am lowering my standards, more like seeing everything as an opportunity. Every event is a chance to network, meet new people, and try something different. Just this last Sunday, I modeled for free at a bridal expo. Yes, I volunteered to put on wedding dresses, walk down a runway, and sell 'getting married' as an unmarried 29 year old. I know pretty ironic. I told my mom to come and bring the camera because this may be the closest I get! There I was in a dressing room filled with wedding and prom dresses with girls ten years my junior.

Years before, my best friend (who I lovingly refer to as my wife) and I attended wedding expos where I would 'pretend' to be a bride. We would walk around and fill out free giveaways, eat cake, and hold flowers. My motto was, "Aren't we all 'bride's to be'?" I mean hey, if I wasn't married yet, but was planning on getting hitched some day, couldn't I consider myself a 'bride to be'? So what if I didn't have the man, date, or the lifelong commitment. I was still a bride to be wasn't I? I thought so. This year, I gave myself a promotion and instead of just pretending to be a bride, I decided to dress up like one in public and work the runway.

You would think that at 29, I would feel a little self concious about being ten years older than all the other models. Instead, I had lots of fun with it. The other girls were fantastic and at one point, the bridal dress shop owners announced that if we purchased our prom dresses with them we would be offered a 20% discount. I smiled, wearing my huge poofy wedding dress holding a bouquet of tulips and said aloud, "Do you think anyone will invite me to the prom this year?" We all errupted into laughter and I followed up with, "Probably not old enough to be considered a cougar yet, huh?"

I have bartended on an Indian reservation, am entering numerous writing contests and most recently, mom and I are entering recipes in a phyllo dough competition. Phyllo is the perfect ingredient because you can do ANYTHING with it! If you haven't used phyllo before, it really isn't that hard. Just keep it in the fridge until the last minute, work quickly, and have olive oil spray at the ready.

I have enjoyed all of the paths that I have danced along. I have met new friends and made amazing connections. This is only the begining. I encourage you all to not only pretend to be something, but go ahead and dress up like it too! You never know when make believe will become reality. Nothing is outside the relm of possibility. Stay tuned.... and get your phyll-o adventures too!

Get your Fill-o S'Mores

1 package phyllo dough
2 cup mini marshmallows
1 chocolate bar (43 g) chopped
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup pistachio nuts chopped
Olive Oil spray
Heat oven broiler to 500 degrees.

1. Place mini-marshmallows in a shallow baking dish on a single layer. Place marshmallows under broiler for 33 seconds. Remove from heat and prepare to assemble the s'mores. Reset the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

2. Place 2 sheets of phyllo on a flatwork surface and spray with olive oil. Place 1/4 cup of mini-marshmallows in upper left corner of phyllo dough. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, chopped chocolate, and pistachios. Fold phyllo dough up and over to cover leaving extra dough to the left. Spray the phyllo again with olive oil. Place another 1/4 cup of marshmellows creating a second layer and sprinkle with the chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and pistachios. Fold the phyllo dough over the marshmallow again covering the layers of the s'more. Spray with olive oil coating the dough completely. Sprinkle chocolate and pistachios on top.

3. Repeat this process to make more individual s'mores. This recipe will make 4. You can add more ingredients to make as many s'mores as you want!

4. Place the s'mores on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

5. Top with a sprinkling of cocoa powder and whipped cream for added goodness!
This is a delicious alternative to camp fire s'mores and is perfect for stir crazy kids in the winter! We guarantee you will want s'more of these!

Breakfast Baklava

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 red onion diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
8 slices Canadian bacon
1 package phyllo dough

1. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the milk and dried parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and continue to beat. Slice the Canadian bacon into small bite size pieces and dice the half red onion. Heat a skillet and add the red onion and Canadian bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the egg and cook until the egg is almost done, but slightly runny. Remove the eggs from the heat.

2. Spray a baking dish with olive oil and lay three sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of the baking dish and spray the phyllo with olive oil. Layer a thin layer of egg mixture and sprinkle with a portion of cheddar cheese. Layer another three sheets of phyllo dough and spray with olive oil and spread another thin layer of egg mixture and cheese. Repeat the layering of the phyllo dough, olive oil spray, egg, and cheese until all egg mixture is used up. Then place one last layer of phyllo dough on top, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining cheese and lightly sprinkle with sea salt.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Savory Steak and Gorgonzola Pastry

16 oz. sirloin steak
2 cups frozen spinach
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 small white onion diced
1 small jar pre-made pesto
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
phyllo dough
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat grill and place steak on hot grill cooking 3 minutes a side or until medium rare. Place steak on a plate to cool. After 10 minutes, slice the steak into long thin strips.

3. Meanwhile heat a saute pan and cook the onion, garlic, and spinach until heated through. Approx. 7 minutes using low heat.

4. In a small bowl, mix the pesto and the half and half until a thick paste forms.

5. To assemble, lay 4 sheets of phyllo on a clean work surface. Spray the phyllo with olive oil spray. Place 1/2 cup of sauteed spinach in the middle on the phyllo sheets. Top with 4 oz. of steak, then 2 tbsp. pesto cream sauce. Sprinkle with gorgonzola cheese. Then fold the edges of the phyllo wrapping all of the ingredients inside. Spray the phyllo 'package' with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and the remaining gorgonzola cheese. Place on a cookie sheet.

6. Repeat this process until all indgredients are used. This will make 4 good sized pastries.

7. Bake in the 300 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Applicious Phyllo Cheesecake

4 small apples
1 package cream cheese
1 egg
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
phyllo dough
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Wash apples thoroughly and thinly slice leaving the skins on.

3. Mix cream cheese, egg, cinnamon, honey, and brown sugar in a small bowl until smooth.

4. To assemble, lay 5 sheets of phyllo on an oiled baking sheet and spray phyllo with olive oil. Lay the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the phyllo sheets. Lay the thinly sliced apples over the cream cheese. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon. Place 1/4 cup butter on top of the apples and fold the phyllo dough up around the apple and cream cheese mixture. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar and more cinnamon if desired.

5. Cook in the 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Mental Health Tip: These recipes are simple, elegant, and deliciously impressive! On days that seem to be filled with endless chaos, treat yourself to one of these phyllo filled wonders. You deserve to relax and feel pampered. Why not give yourself a present wrapped up in phyllo.

Love from our kitchen to yours,

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your wife loves you! And just like someday you'll be a bride, since I was, I always will be. :) Perhaps one day we'll make it official and you can wear a pretty dress - just promise I'll get to too!
Love ya and miss you! - your wife!