An assistant manager in accounting at McVeigh Associates, she lives in Amityville with her husband, Dave.
What inspired you to start a food blog? We like to go out to eat. Friends and family are always asking me for restaurant recommendations. So in August, I started to put my recommendations online. And then I started to put up my own recipes. I make and write about all kinds of food. I'm big on fish. I make a lot of my own tomato sauce. I plan on posting some of the recipes that I grew up with, like my grandmother's pierogis. You can find me at wannabe-foodie.blogspot.com.
Why do you love appetizers? An appetizer party is my favorite way to entertain. It lets me try out new recipes, experiment with old standbys. I make pigs in a blanket, but with pretzel dough. There's a crab dip that I like, but I put it in a puff pastry dough for individual tartlets. I'll make Baby Wellingtons for a party or an ordinary work night.
Any tips on working with frozen puff pastry? Make sure it's thawed but not too warm, or it will get sticky and difficult to work with. I keep it in the refrigerator until about 5 minutes before I roll it out. Also, use just a little flour on your work surface.
Any particular brand you like?I prefer Dufour because it's all-butter and tastes great.
2 pounds beef tenderloin or boneless rib eye, trimmed, cut into 24 one-inch cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms, minced
1 teaspoon each finely chopped fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Freeze beef for 20 minutes. Pat dry, season with salt and pepper and coat lightly with flour.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sear beef on top and bottom until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
3. In same pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add shallot and cook until softened, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste and cook on medium for 6 minutes. Add wine and cook until mixture is moist but most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, let cool.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil.
5. On a lightly floured countertop, roll out a puff pastry sheet so it measures 10-by-14 inches. Place teaspoonfuls of mushroom mixture on one sheet of pastry, evenly spacing them in 3 rows of 4.
6. Place 1 piece beef on top of each portion of mushrooms. Use a sharp paring knife to cut pastry into even squares around meat and mushrooms. Pull sides of each pastry square together and pinch to seal. Repeat with remaining puff pastry, mushrooms and meat.
7. Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet, brush with egg and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve warm with horseradish sauce (made of 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish) on the side. Makes 24 pieces.