Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Symon Sundays: Take Three - My Take!

For this installment of Symon Sunday we cooked Veal Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad and Soft Polenta with Mascarpone. The most exciting part about this one is that it is the meal that I picked! When first looking through the cookbook I bookmarked all the dishes that sounded inciting. The Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese and Rosemary was a super high contender but then I decided to go with the dish(es) that we very close to one of my most favorite Texas meals: Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes.

I started off the way I have started off with all the other recipes: reading over the ingredients to see if I would run into any problems. Woohoo! Everything looked good, all stuff I was pretty sure I had run across at my small grocery store. Going to be the best shopping trip ever, right? Yeah, not so much. No polenta to be found, not even that weird kind that looks like summer sausage, you know what I am talking about! After asking an employee and getting "polawah?" I pulled out my handy-dandy iPhone and googled "polenta substitution". Cornmeal is the answer I get, cornmeal is what I buy. See:

About the only problem I had with the cornmeal is that it seemed like I did not need the same amount of cornmeal as polenta. The cornmeal came together into a thick goopy mess after about a cup and a half of cornmeal. I ended up adding a lot more chicken broth and milk to thin it out. In the end the dish tasted pretty good. I would 100% love to try this again, when I can make a trip to the big city to get some real polenta, or order some from the source Symon recommends!

Soft Polenta with Mascarpone
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small yellow onion, miched (1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups polenta
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup grated parmeasan cheese
kosher salt

In a sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat them for 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Slowly add the polenta while wasking and reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 hours stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in the mascarpone, parmesan and remaining butter. Season with salt.

On to the veal chops. Mmmh, I love veal. I know this could be a controversial statement for some and I tend to keep my thoughts about it to myself when it comes up in conversation, but this is my blog so I am going to proclaim my love for veal, yum. Side-note: I had to get veal scallopini, the butcher did not have any chops, but it worked out good, no pounding! Panko breadcrumbs are my new best-friend, they crisp up so nice. I almost baked the chops for a healthier option but there is something so delish about pan frying in butter and oil. The chops were amazing. The whole time I was eating them I kept wanting to squeeze some lemon over them, I think I might cook some pasta and do a light lemon and olive oil sauce to eat with the leftovers. I also made a quick gravy with the pan dripping, it really helped with the goopy "polenta" and who doesn't love gravy?

With the gravy

Without the gravy

Veal Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad
4 bone in veal chops, 12oz each
2 cups flour
4 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
12 fresh basil leaves

Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Pound the veal chops to 1/4 inch thickness (or buy veal scallopini!). Season with salt and pepper, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip them in the egg and then in the breadcrumb cheese mixture. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Once hot ad the chops and cook until golden brown, about 4 – 6 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

(This next part is for the salad, which I did not make.)
In a large mixing bowl combine the garlic, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the onion, toss to coat evenly and let marinate for 10 minutes. Add the argula, tomatoes and basil and gently toss.

All in all I was super pleased by this meal. Be sure to check out Ashlee's A Year in the Kitchen for the other recaps!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Texas Wedding: Girls Get Ready pt II

While I was getting ready, what were all the other girls doing?

Melanie was drawing out the menu chalkboard.

There was lots of hair spray going around.

Melanie helped out on more make up.

Haha, poor Shannon had to iron on the floor!

Rebecca got my mom, who is an amazing bow tier, to tie her sash into a bow.

My flowergirl showed up and I gave her her bag of goodies!

Her momma got her shoes on her.

About the flowergirl dress...
I had a lot of debate with my self over the flowergirl dress and what I wanted, you can ready about it here. I didn't go with any of the dresses I linked to but I did get one from the Briar Patch, which I linked to. I loved her dress. I am 100% happy with the way it matched my dress in color but matched my maids with the sash and the brown.

Up next, Robert and I exchange gifts!

This Texas Wedding: Girls Get Ready pt I

Once we got done at the nail salon we headed out to the house to start getting ready. I would say it was around 1 by this time, so that gave us about 4 hours to get ready. Plenty of time! When we got to the house I notice that my Aunt Anita was already there. I thought this was a little weird because she was supposed to be at the hotel while my flowergirl, her daughter, was taking a nap. After the boys all got ran off so we could get in the house my aunt pulled me aside and said something along the lines of "ok, I don't want you to freak out but Joni isn't here yet and she's not going to make it until the wedding starts." Joni, is my other aunt who was going to be doing my hair. I had even gone up to Arlington a few months before the wedding to do a trial run and everything. Joni suffers from horrible, horrible migraines. Apparently the morning of the wedding she woke up with one and instead of her and her family leaving to drive down here she had to go back to bed and sleep until like noon before they could leave. She called Anita crying because she felt so bad and didn't want to leave me in a lurch with no one to do my hair. I was not worried at all, I had a room full of girls who would not let me go walking down the aisle with bad hair. I was more worried that Joni wouldn't make it to the wedding at all! (Thankfully she did make it.) Anita was around when I went up to Arlington for the trial run, we had notes and photos, so we were good to go!

Funny side note about this story, since Anita was already here when Joni called her Anita did not have the curling iron or styling products that Joni was going to bring with her. So while Anita and Susannah were getting their nails done, Anita's husband was sent with a list of stuff to buy at Target! That's love.

Really, I don't know what is wrong with me.

I make the goofiest faces in photos.

It's redonk.

Anita started working on my hair. At this point we were waiting on my other aunt, Allison, to show up. Allison used to work in a hair salon and always has very well coiffed hair. I felt realy bad about all this. Allison and her family lives in Virgina and flew into Dallas the day before the wedding and then borrowed her sisters car to drive down here on Saturday. When Paul, my uncle, called Anita and told her their were on their way he asked if she needed anything and she said, "Allison, I need Allison, just Allison" and told them what all happened with Joni. My Uncle dropped my Aunt off at our house before they went to the hotel room and everything! She completely got ready at our house. Now, I think my hair would of ended up fine with just my maids and I working on it, but with Allison there, it turned out amazing!

This is one of the few good pictures of have of my hair without the veil.
I'm in the middle with my back to the camera.

At this point I started on my makeup.

Then Melanie came in to finish up the eyes and blush.

Now it's time for the veil!
I love this picture, I love how both my aunt Allison and I are laughing.

Looots of hairspray!

Gotta make sure it looks right!

I originally bought a birdcage veil with the idea of wearing it stuck in the bun but coming up over the top of my head. As soon as Allison saw it she said "you could wear it like a snood." Huh? Snood? Bless you? Once she showed me and everyone else in the room what she was talking about we all agreed that was a great idea! And it would help my hair flower stand out more!

Veil is from the Esty shop of AnnMarieBridal.
Hair flower is from the Etsy shop of allorahandmade. (She custom made it for me!)

Up next all the other ladies get ready!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Symon Sundays: Take Two

For the second installment of Symon Sundays we had to cook Braised Endive with Citrus and Salmon Poached in Court Bouillon. When I first saw this menu I got a little worried. See, I never eat seafood, anything that comes from a body of water does not go in my mouth. I have just never enjoyed fish or shellfish or anything. But, I know Robert looooves salmon, so I figured I would give it a whirl and even if I hated it at least someone would eat it.

After reading all the ingredients for both the salmon and the endive, I felt pretty comfortable that my local HEB would have everything I needed. Woohoo, no crazy substitutions! Sadly, once I got there and started shopping, endive was no where to be found, nor could I find radicchio, which I read was a close endive substitution. So, I decided to use some romain lettuce leaves. The dish turned out pretty good, the citrus sauce was AMAZING. It was sweet and tangy and delish. The romain was a little mushy, so I would love to try this again with endive. Hopefully it would have a little more crunch.

Now, on to the dredded salmon dish. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The court bouillion had a great lemony flavor that added a lot of depth to the salmon and made it quite palatable. Even to me! Robert loved the salmon. The only problem I had with this dish is that I don't have a thermometer, so I had a difficult time figuring out how long and how high to poach the fish. But I only had to check it and toss it back in once before it was ready.

See! I ate some of the salmon, and was surprised that it was actually good!

All in all I think these two dishes turned out pretty good. It might of even convinced me to consider trying seafood more often!

Head over to Eats Well With Others for the recipe and Joanne's take on the recipes.

Stay tuned for the next installment of SS! I get to cook my dish choices!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Belated Honeymoon

We did not take a honeymoon after our wedding. We simply did not have the funds and Robert did not have the vacation days available. I still took a week off work after the wedding, which was great, but I was going a bit crazy by the end of that week! Well today, thanks to all of the monetary gifts from our wedding, I booked our honeymoon! We are going on a 7 night cruise!!

Our ship is the Carnival Conquest.

Our first stop is Montego Bay, Jamaica:

Then Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands:

Finally we will stop at Cozumel, Mexico:

Sigh, don't all those beaches look lovely? I am SO EXCITED. It also looks like there is a TON to do on the boat.

The Seaside Theatre, a 12 FOOT x 22 FOOT movie screen!

Twister Waterslide, I love me some water-slides!

City Sports Park with 9-hole mini-golf course.

Spa Carnival, couples massage? Yes, please!

Of course, I can not forget the part that Robert is the most excited about, the casino!!

Plus there is all the food, I've heard cruise food can be pretty good! And then just lounging around the pool, ahhh. I am so dang excited about this! We'll be cruising in 57 days!

(all pictures are from carnival.com)

Friday, February 5, 2010

This Texas Wedding: Night Before & Morning Of

When I left off we were wrapping up dinner. Myself and my bridesmaids were staying the night at an Inn in town, so we headed over there.

Now, until about two weeks before the wedding I was dead set that I would be staying out at the house the night before the wedding. A lot of this was because I really felt like I needed to be there to set things up. I figured Robert and the boys would go to some bar and watch the football game and once they headed back to the house I would quit setting up and go get ready. I have control issues. The whole time Robert kept telling me no, no, no you need to go stay somewhere you don't need to come out here until it's time to walk down the aisle. I am not really sure when or why I gave in. Maybe it was after hearing from lots of other people that I needed that morning to just relax (Relax! Were they crazy?! I wouldn't know what was going on! Who would take care of everything!!), maybe it was once I really decided to trust Darcy and let her do her job, maybe it was once I realized Robert wasn't going to give in. I don't know, all I know was that I found myself making a reservation at the Prince Solms Inn.

We stayed in the Jack Coffee Hays Room. There was one queen bed and a loft with two full size beds. I decided I would rather sleep in the loft in a bed by myself than have to share a bed. Even though I felt like the ceiling was going to crush me! Look at how short it was:

Did I mention the Inn has a piano bar under it? Just right across the courtyard from our room? No? See:

So after sitting around chatting for a little bit (and Shannon falling asleep!) Melanie, Rebecca and I decided to go over and check it out.

Being pregnant is veeerrrrry tiring! (Or so I'm told.)

Hanging out at the piano bar. It was neat, but smokey and had lost of pictures of neekid ladies on the walls.

I have heard and read about so many brides not being able to sleep the night before the wedding but I am happy to say I did not have that problem! I would say we got back to the hotel room around midnight and probably stayed up talking in the dark until about 1 or so. The next time I opened my eyes it was 8:45am. I was the only one awake so I go up and went and took a nice relaxing bath. I was happy I didn't need to wash my hair (day old hair holds a style better!). After everyone got up we headed over and got breakfast that the Inn provided. It was delish. Then we headed over to the nail salon!

Getting ready to leave!

Since I had been banished from the house until around 2 I knew we were going to need something to do to keep us busy. What better way than to go get pedicures! Pretty much all the ladies involved in the wedding or on my side or Robert's side went. I think there were about 10 of us! It was a lot of fun to sit and talk to all the ladies on Robert's side of the family. Mostly it was a lot of fun to just sit and relax.

See? Relaxing with the hot towel around my neck. That's Roberts sister next to me.

My maids (minus Rebecca, who is taking the picture) and I getting beautiful toes.

The best part about the place we went was that they had mini-pedicure chairs that looked like bears for little girls. They were perfect for my cousin/flowergirl and Robert's niece.

What were the boys doing during all of this? Well, I don't have any pictures of it, but from what I heard Darcy had them working their butts off! Later I heard she had them setting up chairs, folding napkins, staking signs and setting up the sound system. Everything but watching that oh so important football game! My aunt told me that when she went over there Robert was standing in the front yard looking holding a beer and looking lost. She asked him why he wasn't in the house watching the football game and he said "I can't, they kicked me out. It's my wedding day and I can't even watch my Sooners." or something along those lines. I about died laughing. If only he had let me stay at the house he would of been able to watch his football game!

Looking back I am so glad Robert kicked me out of the house, I think I would of been a frazzled mess had I been there all morning! Plus I got to get some kicking nail polish, which you'll see later on.

Next: Getting ready!