Spanish Tapas- Pulpo a la Gallega (Poached Octopus with Potatoes)

Happy New Years Eve! As I reflect back on 2019, I am honestly grateful for everything I was blessed to give, have, and experience in all aspects of my life. I am growing more confident as an educator, I am finding balance between work and home life, and life is allowing me to pursue my passions beyond teaching. Overall, 2019 rocked!

This New Years Eve Troy and I will be celebrating from the comfort of our sofa in our jammies. Troy is not much of a champagne man, so red wine will be our toast of choice. I can not wait to ring in the new year with the love of my life, our fur babies, and these Spanish Tapas! The ball drop is going to be happening with a delicious assortment of appetizers!

Tonight we will be enjoying Pulpo a la Gallega, Potatoes Bravas, and Cherry Pepper Rellenos alongside a bottle of Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet-Syrah.

Pulpo a la Gallega (Poached Octopus with Potatoes)


2 cups thawed frozen octopus (found precooked in frozen section of seafood department)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tbs smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbs chopped parsley +more to garnish


In a heavy bottom saucepan, add the avocado oil, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in octopus and lemon juice and saute until warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste. To finish, toss with reserved lemon zest and parsley.

Serve on a bed of Paprika Dusted Potatoes and lemon-garlic aioli:


1 cup mayo- I use Primal Kitchen Mayo

1 lemon, zested and 1 tbs juice reserved

1 garlic clove, grated

salt and pepper

1 russet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tbs ghee

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste


Make the garlic aioli: Mix together the mayo, 1 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil- water should taste salty like the ocean. Add potatoes and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain and return back to pot. Add ghee, paprika, and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Place potatoes in a tapas bowl (or any small plate), top with lemon-garlic aioli and then spoon the octopus on top. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges on the side.

Beef Wellington with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Beef Wellington with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. Maybe it is the nostalgia of it, but I am the happiest around this time. I love spending time with my family, cooking for them, and hanging around the dining room table playing games. Cocktails are poured, plates are filled, and laughs are plenty during this time.

My husband requested beef wellington as one of our date night meals this holiday season. This man knows the way to my heart! Super tender beef tenderloin, crunchy puff pastry, and a glass of red wine and you will have a date night for the books!


For the Duxelles

3 pints white button mushrooms

2 shallots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 sprigs thyme, leaves only

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper

For the Beef

3 lb center cut beef tenderloin

Kosher salt and pepper

Avocado oil

12 slices of prosciutto

Dijon mustard

Flour, for rolling out puff pastry

1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

For the Horseradish Sauce

1 tbs prepared horseradish, more to taste if you like a kick

1 cup sour cream

1 tbs Nutpods creamer, original (or regular milk)

salt and pepper to taste

chives to garnish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add mixture to a dry pan over medium heat. Add the dry sherry, salt, and pepper and saute for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside and allow to cool.

For the Beef: Pat the tenderloin with a paper towel to dry. Liberally season the tenderloin with salt and pepper and sear all over, including both ends, in a hot pan with avocado oil. Take out of pan and brush on dijon mustard all over. Let rest.

Roll out plastic wrap that is the length of your cutting board (do not cut). Lay the prosciutto in a shingle fashion so it forms a large rectangle that is big enough to wrap around the tenderloin. Add the duxelles on top of the prosciutto and spread into an even layer-covering the prosciutto. Place rested tenderloin towards the bottom of the prosciutto/duxelles and using the plastic wrap, roll to completely cover the beef. Roll it tightly in the plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or overnight if making ahead of time).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to about 1/4 inch thickness. Remove beef from plastic wrap and set towards bottom of pastry and roll until the edge meets the pastry. Brush the end with egg wash to help seal and trim the excess pastry. Pinch the sides to enclose the beef. Roll tightly in plastic wrap again to hold desired shape and place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Egg wash the top and sides of the pastry and top with kosher salt.

Place beef with the seam side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temp is 125 degrees. Once temperature has been reached, take out and rest for 10 minutes-this will allow time for the beef to finish cooking until 130 degrees. This will give you a medium rare beef tenderloin.

Combine horseradish sauce ingredients together, taste, and adjust seasoning. Garnish with chives. Serve alongside beef wellington.

Roasted Lemon and Garlic Chicken

Roasted Lemon and Garlic Chicken

There is nothing more comforting that I can think of than a whole roasted chicken. This recipe comes from one of mine and my husbands favorite flavor combinations-lemon and garlic. The use of fresh herbs sends the flavor over the top!

From our kitchen to yours, enjoy!


1 4-5lb whole chicken

1/2 onion, quartered

1/2 cup chicken stock, low sodium

3 tbs ghee, or softened butter

1 tbs Bragg Sprinkle 24 herb seasoning

1 lemon, zested and halved

1 garlic clove, micro-planed

3 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole

10 sprigs of thyme

4 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the quartered onion and chicken stock in a cast iron skillet. This is what the chicken will rest on while it cooks. It will help ensure even cooking around the chicken.

After removing the giblets and neck**, rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Remove any remaining pin feathers. Place on top of the quartered onion in the cast iron skillet. Liberally salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.

Stir together the ghee, garlic and herb seasoning, lemon zest, micro-planed garlic, salt and pepper.

Gently run your fingers between the skin and the breast meat of the chicken. After the pockets are made, rub 1/2 of the ghee mixture under the skin.

Message the remaining ghee mixture over the top of the bird.

Squeeze half of the lemon over the bird and then place the halved lemon, whole garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, and parsley into the cavity of the chicken.

Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until your instant read thermometer reaches 165 degrees (or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh).

Once the chicken has come to temp, remove from oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Slice chicken onto a platter or serve right from the cast iron.

***If wanting to make your own chicken stock, save the giblets and neck bones in a gallon sized zip top bag. Keep the zip top bag in your freezer and add to it whenever you please.

Brisket Ragu with Creamy Cauliflower Mash

I have had some big things happening in life recently! Working with my Firsties has been going great, my friendships are amazing, and my family life has been fun as always. Then all of a sudden, BAM! I start feeling sick and I have been laying in bed the past couple of days….ugh.

Fortunately, I have an amazing hubby who takes great care of me when I’m not feeling my best. To repay him, I whipped up this comforting meal-no better way to say, “thanks honey!”

This dish was made with a side of Ratatouille, which can be found here .

Choose your favorite Cabernet to drink because tonight you will be cooking with it as well! Have fun and drink a glass for me!

We paired this with 19 Crimes Cabernet.

Brisket Ragu with Creamy Cauliflower Mash


For the Brisket:

1 1/2 lbs of brisket

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 carrot, quartered

1 stalk of celery, halved

1/2 sweet onion, halved

3 garlic cloves, smashed

3 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 cup beef broth

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

For the Ragu:

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 cup of red wine: I used 19 Crimes Cabernet

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup of sauce from brisket

For the Creamy Cauliflower Mash:

1 head of cauliflower, florets broken apart

1 tablespoon garlic ghee (or butter)

1/4 cup of coconut milk

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste


Using an Instant Pot, set it to saute. While it heats up, salt and pepper both sides of the brisket.

Once hot, add the avocado oil. Place brisket in and let it brown for 4 minutes. Flip, and brown for another 4 minutes.

Remove from pot and set aside. Add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Saute until soft, but not brown.

Add brisket back to the pot and pour in beef broth.

Close lid and set the manual button to 60 mins. Set it and forget it….for now 🙂

While the brisket is cooking, start your ragu.

On medium heat, pour avocado oil in a heavy bottom pot. Saute carrots, celery, onions, and garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomato paste and saute for a few minutes more, mixing thoroughly.

Add in wine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add crushed tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer until brisket is cooked.

When the brisket has finished cooking, remove brisket, shred, and add to the ragu. Take out woody herbs (rosemary, thyme, and bayleaf). With an immersion blender, blend the liquid to form a sauce.

Place 1 cup of the sauce from the brisket into the ragu and stir to combine.

Creamy Cauliflower Mash:

Steam one head of broken down cauliflower.

When tender, add in ghee and coconut milk. Using immersion blender, blend to a silky consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.


Yesterday I spent a good part of the day in bed. I haven’t been feeling my best, and today I finally felt back to normal.

To repay my husband for all the help while I rested, I made Ratatouille! It’s a nice, easy side that goes well with beef, chicken, or fish. I made mine with a brisket ragu over creamy cauliflower mash (recipe coming soon). In the meantime, your favorite marinara works just fine.

We paired this with a nice 19 Crimes Cabernet- Yum!



1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

1 Japanese eggplant (or 1 small purple eggplant), sliced into 1/2 inch rounds**

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cups of Brisket Ragu (recipe coming soon)

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Parsley, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 375.

Cover the bottom of a medium, oven safe pan (I like to use my cast iron for this) with 1 cup of the brisket ragu.

Arrange the sliced vegetables in alternating patterns ( zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant) on top of the sauce in a circular pattern starting from the outer edge to the middle of the pan.

Place a slice of garlic between the sliced vegetables.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon 1/2 cup of brisket ragu over the vegetables.

Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

**If using a purple eggplant: For larger rounds- cut in half to create half moons