Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cooking with Ben and Ellen

What do you do if have a Saturday night with no plans and you aren't in Paris?

You make Beef Wellington!

On the way home from a long and lazy Starbucks trip, Ben and I decided to go home, pick something fun out of a cookbook and spend the evening chopping and sauteeing and stuff. We ended up picking "Beef Wellington for Two" out of The New Basics Cookbook. We had never made it before. Ben loves steak. I love pastry crusts. Beef Wellington would be perfect!

First we had to make Potted Mushrooms. Hmm, okay. So Ben prepared for choppin'.

And went to work on the mushrooms.

Ben does most of the chopping work in our kitchen, because I do not play well with sharp objects. Note the band-aid on my finger.

That was from just taking the knife out of the drawer. Imagine what happens when I actually try slicing things.

I am fabulous at sautéeing though.

And in case you were wondering, Potted Mushrooms are made with finely chopped mushrooms, leeks, shallots, chives and about 12 pounds of butter.

And what on earth do you DO with Potted Mushrooms? You put them on your steak!

And then, it was time for the puff pastry. I love pastry of any sort. And wrapping a hunk of beef in a rich, buttery crust sounds so heart-attackingly delicious, I knew this would be the best part of the dish. Apparently Spud thought so too, because when our backs were turned his little nose made its way up to the counter where he managed to chew the corner of the sheet of pastry before we saw him and yelled.

He looks so innocent. But that little bottom lip that's sticking out so sadly is the same one that drips with drool at the thought of your Beef Wellington. Don't let the beagle fool you.

So we draped the pastry all around the meat, and the recipe said we could use any excess pastry to decorate the crust. Excellent idea! So after a few minutes of deliberation, we decided on a jungle theme!

You won't get elephants and rhinos in any fancy restaurant. Only Chez Morrison.

And then they go in the oven. And we wait, some more eagerly than others.

And finally...

Elephant and rhinoceros decorated Beef Wellington in a jungle of fresh greens! And a carrot, hand-carved into a flower by Ben. Amazing! I don't even want to think about how many band-aids I would need after I tried to do that.