From our family to your family, we wish all of you a very merry holiday time this month. We are spending a few weeks slowing down, reading, watching movies, and relaxing.
We have also been spending the past week hoping anxiously for a healthy outcome of our new little nephew, Luca.
Luca is our new little nephew. He was born December 14. He had a fair amount of trouble at birth and his heart stopped for a bit of time during delivery. He has been struggling to gain a strong foothold in this world.
My sister is a pillar of strength. Her sweet husband is a rock by her side. Their strength has been sorely tested this week as they await the outcome of little Luca's progress.
It is at times like this that we stop cold in our tracks. We throw irony against ceremony. This is a time of gaiety, indulgence, and celebrations. All the cinnamon rolls in the world are simply forgotten when a little life struggles to start the beginnings of childhood with his wonderful parents.
We had a Christmas holiday here at our house filled with love, relaxation, and contemplation. Contemplation for the wonderment of each little heartbeat that is so vital for the beginnings of all of our lives.
Luca is undoubtedly a little fighter. With a father who is an avid rock climber and a mother who performs as a dancer in 'aerial' ballets (aerial...mind you, as in she flies through the air suspended by wires!)
My sister, her husband, and many other family members are out in Oregon, at the hospital, holding him tight, rocking him comfortingly, whispering little lovies in his ear.
He has turned a corner recently. His eyes are opening. He is looking around. Signs that the wonder and incredulity of the physical body to heal itself are promising a hopeful future.
Whatever the future will hold for this little guy, he will be loved. You betcha, he will be loved. He had the great fortune to be born into the arms of capable and loving parents. They are both fighters and Luca will have nothing but support.
The gift that comes from trying to find the positive in the news that a little life is struggling mightily is a timely one. As a family with teens who squabble and bicker over life's unimportant details. As parents who lay down expectations and poke and prod their teens towards perceived success...
...little baby Luca has already touched the lives of everyone who cares for him. Squabbles are forgotten. Petty disagreements are cast aside. Nothing compares to the good fortune of health and happiness.
|The day's 'indulgences' require much napping|
We'll all continue celebrating the wonder of birth, and heartbeats, and healing, and life. Compassion meets celebration as good food, holiday gifts, and multitudes of indulgences easily slide into proper perspective.
Have a wonderful and relaxing break with your loved ones. Squeeze them tight, focus on the here and now, and let the future bring its challenges for all of us to work together to bear.
Beef Wellington and Sauteed Mushrooms wrapped in Pastry with Marsala Wine Sauce
3/4 pound mushrooms, quartered (I used button, shitake, and oyster)
Butter flavored cooking spray (or butter)
1/4 cup chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried whole marjoram
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can beef consommé, divided
2.5 pounds of beef tenderloin
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Position knife blade in food processor bowl, add mushroom, and process until finely chopped.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray (or olive oil); place over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms, shallot, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.
Stir in flour, marjoram, and pepper. Gradually add 1/4 cup (not the entire can!) consommé; stir well. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring constantly (Mixture will be thick). Remove from heat and set aside.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray (or olive oil), and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add sirloin and cook several minutes on all sides until the meat is browned and caramelized.
Place roast in oven at 400˚ for 20 minutes to cook more of the inside (check repeatedly with an instant read thermometer and remove meat at @100˚)
Place sirloin on a rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a broiler pan.
Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce over entire sirloin.
Unroll pastry sheets and lay out flat on a large surface. Spoon mushroom mixture all over the top layer of the stack of pastry sheets.
Take sirloin and lay it on top of the mushroom mixture. (Cut several strips off of the end of the pastry sheets and set aside to be used as garnish) Carefully begin wrapping the pastry sheets around the sirloin until you have formed a log. Spray cooking spray inbetween some of the layers of fillo dough. Flip the entire sirloin over so the seam is on the bottom. Tuck the ends of the pastry underneath the meat.
Crumple the portion of pastry sheet dough that you snipped off the sheets of filo. Lightly spray them with cooking spray. Crumple them onto the top of the meat for decoration. (Refer to photo)
Bake roast in oven at 425˚F for 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness (medium rare is @ 120˚). Remember to leave some time for the meat to cook more after you remove it from the oven.
Combine remaining consommé, wine, and cornstarch in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (do not stop stirring or it will be lumpy!). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with slices of Beef Wellington.
Sinful Cinnamon Rolls:
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in margarine; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, softened margarine.
Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine/sugar mixture.(Snippet's Note: Be sure that the butter isn't too soft. It will drizzle and ooze off of the dough.) Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in 12 lightly greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Remove from muffin cups to cool. Serve warm