Beef + Caramelized Onion Mini Pies

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Hi Hi Hi! How are your eye balls? I hope you're not blind from staring too hard at the Sun during the Solar Eclipse. We had a few pairs of the NASA rated sunglass to share in the office, but I got a little impatient and sneaked in a peak through my fingers... which I probably should not have done. But I'm okay! I can still see! Good thing too, because my eye balls need to be ready to watch Game of Thrones this Sunday! Last Sunday's episode was incredibly stressful for me. I could hardly sleep after watching it. The poor dragon! I have so many questions...

Why didn't Daenerys just do a fly-over in the first place?

How far did they walk North of The Wall? It seemed like they were walking for days...

How did that guy run so fast in the cold to get back and send a raven?

Where's Bran? Why is he not helping?

Why is Littlefinger such a freaking sneak?

Why is Arya going crazy?

How far do you think Jon Snow and Daenerys are going to get before they realize they are Aunt and Nephew?

Where did the Whitewalkers get those chains?

Why didn't the fire dude make a fire for the group when they were literally chilling on the rock?

Is Jon going to ride a dragon?

This list makes me stressed. It just seems like everything is rushing and all happening at once. Probably because there are only 6 more episodes left until we have nothing to talk about anymore during Monday lunch breaks. I miss the painfully long storyline developments of Game of Thrones from years past. Did you see the preview for the next episode? It looks like it's going to be the WORST conference call/meeting in the history of meetings. 

If you're going to a watch party this weekend, I think you need to make these meat pies. They are super cute, quicker to bake than a whole meat pie, and everyone is going to thing you are sooooooo clever! Isn't that the goal of themed parties anyways?? The pies are #freyfree and full of salty meat and cheese. It essentially tastes like a cheeseburger pie, which gave me the idea to make cheeseburger potstickers! So stay tuned for those. I think everyone in Westeros needs one of these pies to stress eat, plus Winter is here for like 10 years or however it works over there. I have some in the freezer waiting for me to defrost and stress eat too on Sunday!


Beef + Caramelized Onion Mini Beef Pies

makes 12 mini pies

Pie Dough:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter (16 tbsp) - cubed

1/2 cup ice water

 

Meat Filling:

1 medium white or yellow onion

1/2 lb ground beef

2 mild Italian sausages - removed from casing

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated provolone

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Olive Oil

Salt + Pepper 

 

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 tbsp water

Steps:

1. Begin by caramelizing your onions because it's going to take awhile! Peel and chop your onion in 1/4" to 1/2" wedges. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once warm, add onions to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Let them cook low and slow, stirring every few minutes until they have a deep golden color, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

2. While your onions are cooking, start your pie dough. Keep an eye on your onions though! Start by whisking together flour and salt. Add butter cubes and toss in flour until evenly coated. With your hand or with a pastry cutter, break down the butter into the flour until they are the size of peas or slightly larger. You still want to be able to see the chunks of butter.

3. Make a well in the middle of your bowl. Add a few tablespoons of ice water at a time and mix just until the dough comes together. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30-45 minutes.

4. Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same skillet your onions were cooking in, over medium high heat. Add beef and italian sausage to the skillet. Use a spatula or the back of a wood spoon to help break the meat apart. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat for 4-5 minutes. The meat will continue cooking in the oven. Remove from skillet and add to a bowl to briefly cool.

5. Combine onions, meat, chopped parsley, and cheeses in a medium bowl. Set aside.

6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cupcake tin with nonstick spray and set aside. Take out one ball of dough. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is 1/8" thick. Use a 3" diameter  (or one large enough to fill your cupcake tin) cookie cutter to cut out 12 discs. You will need to re-knead your dough scrapes and roll it out again to get all 12 discs. Line the tins with the one disc each. Gently pinch and stretch the dough to fill the edges of the tin. Fill each pie with your meat filling, you can pack them in a little.

7. Roll out the second ball of dough until it is 1/8" thick and use a 2" to  2 1/2" diameter (or one large enough to cover the top of your mini pies) cookie cutter to cut out 12 discs. Top each pie with a disc of dough and pinch with edges closed with a fork. Poke a few holes in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Whisk together egg and water and brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash.

8. Bake the pies in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and then serve!

Vietnamese Style Pork Chops and Coconut Rice

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Hey! Happy hump day, guys! We are going to make it! 

Quick Unimportant Updates: Reuben and I watched Ratatouille over the weekend and it was wonderful! Next Food Network Star is back on and my desire to try out/practice has been reignited. I think Giada would be into me. Russell Sage tapped out on Naked and Afraid XL and the the women who watch this show (is it just me?) rejoiced! Ever since Reuben started @beermeatsbread, we've been collecting the beer cans in a nice clean bag and handing them over directly to the sweet old asian ladies/gentlemen that collect cans. You should do it too! It makes them so happy and their happiness will make you so happy!

My Love Hate Relationship with SF Update: Lately, I've been really overwhelmed/overstimulated by downtown San Francisco. My new work commute and new office location is a lot more "active" than it was before. The bus I take now is more cramped with a constant flow of people squeezing on and off. I walk right through the tourist center downtown to get from my bus stop to work and there are so many crazies! There is woman at my bus stop that hisses at everyone. And ugh. The smells. This past week alone (it's only Wednesday) I've see some nasty (I mean real nasty) things doing down on the block my new office is on. I'll spare you the details. I don't know if I'm just being a wimp or if anyone else who works downtown feels this way, but it's just a lot! I cry a little inside when I have to leave the safety of my Inner Richmond apartment... jk... but sort of.

I've talked about this before, but I'm an easily over stimulated person and I have to really work on including daily routines and rituals into my life that calm and center me. SF stresses me out. I juggle a lot of random passions and I don't want to give up any of them. I try to be a good friend/girlfriend/daughter/sister/niece/cousin. I hate disappointing or saying no to anyone. A lot of times, I feel like all these things pull me into every direction, but I just want to stay wrapped up in my blanket... alone. Sometimes, my emotions get the best of me, but I try my best to keep my mind balanced and in check. Although, this overwhelming feeling is the reason why I paint and cook. It's how I focus my thoughts and relax. Chopping vegetables and watching watercolors move on paper is so cathartic. Mental health and wellness is so so so so so important and I wish more people made maintaining their own mental health a priority!

If I told you mental health included making pork chops, would that make you take it seriously? 😜

Just a little perk! These pork chops are juicy and pack a flavor punch after some sweet caramelization in the pan. But, the unexpected star of this plate is the coconut rice. It is incredible! I want to take a nap on a bed of this coconut rice and never take the bus downtown again! For real though, this rice plate is I'mgoingtoinhalethis good. It's just like those giant meat and rice plates you get from your favorite Vietnamese place. I'm sure this will be on my dinner menu rotation if we move out of SF into the rural Ohio countryside. Aaaa the dream.

Make a pork chop, paint some flowers, dance your pants off, run 10 miles, watch Say Yes to the Dress, do what you got to do to keep your mind in tip top shape!


Vietnamese Style Pork Chop and Coconut Rice

serves 4

Step:

1. Start by making your coconut rice. Add rice to the bowl of your rice cooker or pot and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Add coconut milk, water, brown sugar and salt to the rice and mix to combine. If cooking in a rice cooker, cover with lid and simply press "cook" and wait until it pops to "warm". If cooking in a pot, bring the pot to a boil and then cover with lid and reduce to a simmer on low heat. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 mins. In both instances, once the rice is done cooking fluff with a fork of rice paddle and cover again to sit for another 20 minutes. The rice will still seem really wet, but after 20 minutes it will be light and fluffy.

2. While your rice is cooking, mix together shallots, garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, dark soy, rice vinegar, and black pepper.

3. Season your pork chops on both sides with salt and poke them with a fork to help the marinade soak in. Transfer pork chops to a gallon size ziplock bag and pour your marinade into the bag. Seal bag and allow the pork chops to marinade at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Heat up oil in your skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add your pork chops in to the pan. 2 can normally fit. Sear on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove pork chops from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Serve pork chops with coconut rice and some refreshing thinly sliced cucumbers!

Bonus step : sear some green onions in the skillet with the leftover oil and pork drippings and serve with the meal... so good!

For Pork Chops:

4 - 1/2" Pork Chops

1 finely chopped small shallot

3 finely chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cucumber thinly sliced 

green onions - optional

 

For Coconut Rice:

2 cups Jasmine Rice (my fav)

1 - 13.5 oz can coconut milk

3 cups water

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt