Monday, July 2nd, 2012

What I Did this Spring

Sometime back in February, I fell off the blogging grid. Where was I? What was I doing? Well, here’s a recap (with lots of photos):

I threw an epic Momofuku Dinner party with Bo Ssam, Sous Vide Hangar Steak Ssam, home-made Kimchi, Rice, Roasted Cauliflower and a whole mess of sauces. All from the Momofuku Cookbook by David Chang. Wow! Oh, and I created some specialty cocktails too, the Cucumber Bliss (cucumber infused vodka, ginger liqueur, lychee juice and meyer lemon bitters) and the Ginger Collins (ginger vodka, lime juice, orange bitters and club soda).

Since it just happened to be one of my good friend’s birthdays, I topped dinner off with the Apple Pie Layer Cake from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tossi. One of my guests declared it the best cake he had ever eaten. I’m not sure he was wrong.

Just a couple of weeks later I upheld my tradition of cooking dinner as my gift for another set of my friend’s birthdays (they’re a couple and their birthdays are on two consecutive days). I made giant ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and an egg yolk, plain cheese ravioli for the kid’s, Caesar salad (my friend loves my version) and home-made foccacia bread.

I finished that dinner off with another cake from Milk, the Confetti Cake. Not quite as good as the Apple Pie Layer Cake, but still tasty (and fun, especially for their kids).

Next up in my trio of birthdays was my own. I wasn’t planning a celebration this year but my husband insisted. We hosted a small group of friends for a crab boil, Dungeness Crab, Spot Prawns, Mussels, corn, potatoes and some Andouille Sausage that I made, stuffed and smoked myself. I also made all the crab dipping sauces found in Becky Selengut’s cookbook Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast. While the avocado herb sauce and lemon panko sauces were both good, the soy caramel made me want to pick up the bowl and lick it out when the meal was done. I’m not even joking a little here. And of course there were custom drinks including the Arecibo Sidecar with pear-infused brandy, triple sec, home-made limon-limettachello and meyer lemon bitters in a sugar-rimmed martini glass (and in case you’re wondering, Arecibo is the name of our house).

One more birthday, one more excuse to cook from Milk. For my own birthday I decided to make the carrot layer cake. I really wanted to make the pistachio layer cake (because I love, LOVE pistachios) but just a couple of the ingredients totaled $80 and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that. Happily, the carrot cake was really good (even though it didn’t set up very well because I undercooked the liquid cheesecake). Moist and not overly sweet.

Once we finished dessert I found out why my husband was so insistent that we have a party. He had been working for weeks (maybe months) on an edition of Trivial Pursuit personalized just for me (as in, all of the questions pertained to trivia about me). One of the sweetest things he’s ever done.

He also bought me a PlayStation with lots of video games. I lost a lot of March to Skyrim. Some people say video games are a waste of time but as my husband is fond of quoting “Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted” -John Lennon

I managed to pull myself away from video games long enough to cater a couple of big parties.

We dog sat (that’s our dog Rupert on the left and the one we were dog-sitting, Penny, on the right).

I made some slap-yo-mama good Balsamic-Mint-Strawberry Jam

Somewhere around here I started feeling under the weather. Which for me means one thing, my (not so) secret shame, cup noodles. Something about them is magical when I don’t feel good.

While still not feeling 100% I co-hosted a baby shower. Since I was sick I had a lot of time on my hands to make some custom decorations. As for the food, we made pesto chicken salad, Mediterranean tuna salad, pasta salad with preserved zucchini and tomato confit, greens topped with strawberries, goat cheese and pecans, roasted asparagus with aioli and pinot noir syrup, confetti cookies (again from Milk) and cake balls and pops. I spent a lot of the party having coughing fits (and drinking shots of vodka to try to calm them, wheeee).

And since time marches on whether you feel good or not, we had this delivered, 27 cubic yards of dirt (for reference, there is a 16′ x 20′ tarp under there).

We dog sat again.

After three weeks I finally gave up and went to the doctor…

…twice. Thank the maker for modern medicine. Curse you asthma-riddled lungs.

Meanwhile my husband (and some friends and hired guns) were moving all of that dirt. I helped some by pulling weeds. A lot of weeds, actually. And I did some planting in the one area that now had all the dirt it needed.

Finally through the miracle of antibiotics (and the best cough syrup I’ve ever had) I started feeling better. We celebrated with a day away from the garden.

And some plant shopping.

Eventually, we got to the fun part of the gardening project, the planting. Made slightly less fun because it had to be done in the rain, but we’re troopers. And, lets face it, there are times in Seattle where if you wait for it to stop raining, you are never going to go outside.

We spent the night at a friend’s house and she made us Dutch Baby Pancake for breakfast.

We went to a BBQ where we ate brisket and drank bourbon.

We piled the dog into the car and drove to Boise to visit my mom and mom-in-law.

We spent the day at my mom’s cabin. What a view.

Back in Boise we ate some pretty great Basque food at Epi’s. Chorizo with pimentos, ham croquetas, Txerri Txuletax Pipperrakin (pork chops with pimentos) and gateau Basque for dessert.

We celebrated Rupert’s 6th Birthday with a ride back to Seattle.

I went to the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle (meh), made some fun new friends and ate this (they called it potato salad). How about we all agree to stop “deconstructing” food, hmmm?

We went to a Dodgers vs. Mariners game and had a beer (or two) in memory of my Dad (the Dodger’s were his favorite). I’m pretty sure the grand slam hit by the Dodgers was just for him.

We dog sat. Again.

We finished the last of the gardening (except for the never-ending weeding) by planting a few vegetables in my new raised beds.

And last weekend, since we were rained out from camping, we took a drive to Mt. Vernon to retrieve our newest backyard decoration from our friends at Bistro San Martin who had wrangled him for us. We call him Chicken Boo (you’ll get the name if you ever watched the Animaniacs). I love him. Our dog is scared of him.

In between all this craziness, I still managed to work, teach classes, swim and even, occasionally, do house work.

I can’t wait to see what summer will bring…

xxx

 

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling

Yes, I know, things have been a little quiet around here. I hope to get back to it soon. In the mean time, check out the guest blog I wrote for Full Circle Farm: Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling

x

 

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Zucchinana Bread

What do you do if you don’t have enough zucchini for zucchini bread and you don’t have enough bananas for banana bread? You create a completely new bread that contains both, zucchinana bread.

I started with the basic quick bread recipe found in Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio and adapted from there. The result is a moist, yummy bread that is wonderful slathered with butter, or even better, peanut butter. Here’s the ingredients.

 

In one bowl mash the banana. I think the easiest way to do this is just to use your fingers (put a glove on first if you don’t like messy hands).

 

Then add the rest of the wet ingredients. In a second bowl combine all of the dry ingredients.

 

Stir each of the bowls contents well.

 

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Then stir in the toasted nuts. Divide the batter between two loaf pans, a muffin pan, or a combination of the two.

 

Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the bread (or muffin) comes out clean. This will take about 40 minutes for muffins and 50 minutes for a loaf.

 

Let cool before slicing. Enjoy plain or topped with butter. Or, be like Elvis and combine the flavors of banana and peanut butter for a delicious breakfast treat.

 

Zucchinana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Cut down on dishes by using a scale. Simply add an ingredient to the bowl then zero out the scale before adding the next one.
Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 small ripe bananas (about one cup)
  • 2 small zucchini, grated (about one cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounce milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces (one stick) butter, melted and browned (browning butter is optional)
Dry Ingredients
  • 12 ounce flour
  • 4 ounce sugar
  • 2 ounce brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Optional Ingredients
  • 4 ounces chopped nuts, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mash the bananas using your fingers or a fork. Add eggs and beat lightly. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the nuts is using and stir until the mixture is well combined.
  5. Divide the batter between two loaf pans, muffin tins or a combination of the two.
  6. Bake muffins for 40 minutes and loaves for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before slicing.

 

 

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Super Sunday Snacks

 

I don’t watch a lot of football, baseball is really more my game of choice. However, I do make an exception for the Super Bowl.

Of course the Super Bowl is just barely about football. It’s about the ads, and the halftime show, and, of course, the food. I’ve got a few suggestions for what to serve at your party.

 

If you’re looking for a Super Bowl snack that is a little more upscale, try my take on classic Buffalo Wings with this Buffalo Wing Rillettes. It taste great and can be prepared in advance (in fact it will taste even better if it sits for a couple of days) freeing you up for more game-watching enjoyment.

 

 

I like to put several bowls of snack mix all around the party room so that tasty treats are never too far away. If you fill them up with my Sriacha Soy Chex Mix plan to refill bowls a couple of times because from my experience, this gets gobbled up pretty quickly.

 

 

Lastly, I’ve never been to a Super Bowl party where a cheese ball wasn’t welcomed and devoured. This one features sharp cheddar cheese, pancetta, smoked paprika and pumpkin seeds. Here’s the ingredients.

To start, saute the pancetta until it is good and crispy.

 

Remove the pancetta from the pan, leaving behind the rendered fat, and add the pumpkin seeds. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the are toasty brown and start to pop.

 

Remove them from the pan and sprinkle them with a little salt, then set them aside for the time being.

Next, in a medium-size bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, crispy pancetta and green onions.

 

Stir it well to combine.

 

Then turn it out onto a piece of plastic wrap.

 

Gather the edges of the wrap to force the cheese mixture into a ball. Put the ball into the fridge for at least one hour.

 

When you are ready to serve, chop up the pumpkin seeds then combine them with the remaining smoked paprika.

 

Remove the plastic from the cheese ball and roll the ball in the pumpkin seed/paprika mixture.

Arrange the finished cheese ball on a plate with some crackers and enjoy.

 

Smoky Cheddar Cheese Ball
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
If you don't have pancetta feel free to substitute bacon. Or, leave it out entirely for a vegetarian option.
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped small
  • 4 ounces pumpkin seeds
  • 6 ounces whipped cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3-4 green onions. chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika, divided use
Instructions
  1. In a saute pan, cook the pancetta until it is crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan, leaving behind the rendered fat, and add the pumpkin seeds. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they are toasty brown and starting to pop. Remove them from the pan and sprinkle them with a little salt, then set them aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, crispy pancetta, green onions and two teaspoons of the smoked paprika. Stir well to combine, then turn the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Gather the edges of the wrap to force the cheese mixture into a ball. Put the ball into the fridge for at least one hour.
  3. When ready to serve, chop up the pumpkin seeds then combine them with the remaining smoked paprika.
  4. Remove the plastic from the cheese ball and roll the ball in the pumpkin seed/paprika mixture.
  5. Arrange the finished cheese ball on a plate with crackers and enjoy.

 

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes

 

We’ve had snow here in Seattle. Some areas have been harder hit than our house, but in the Seattle area even a couple of inches of snow is enough to bring the city to a standstill.

Luckily, before the snow hit, I fortified our home with supplies to get us through the storm (though we are running tragically low on Rum) including plenty of options for soup. To me, nothing tastes better on a cold, snowy night than a steaming hot bowl of soup.

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about this particular soup, but after I posted the photo above a friend asked for the recipe. Since it had turned out so tasty I thought why not share it. However, since I hadn’t planned a post, the iPhone photo above is the only photo I have, no process photos. The steps are fairly straightforward though.

I served the soup with foccacia bread that I had dotted with kalamata olives. The salty tang was nice with the soup but any bread will do in a snow storm.

Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
If you are not a fan of tomatoes, feel free to leave them out. Same goes for the red pepper flakes, add a little or as much heat as your mouth can stand.
Ingredients
Soup
  • 1 butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning mix
  • 1-2 teaspoons (or more) red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Roasted Vegetables
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • ½ onion
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. While the oven preheats, peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with the olive oil, herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and brown around the edges.
  3. While the squash cooks, cut the cauliflower into small florets. Toss them, along with the tomatoes, with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  4. Once the squash is done cooking remove it from the oven and place the pan with the cauliflower into the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once during the cooking.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot, combine the cooked squash with the chicken broth and bring just to a boil. Using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a regular blender) puree the soup. Stir in the vinegar and check for seasoning adding salt and pepper as desired.
  6. To serve, divide the cauliflower and tomato mixture between the bowls. Ladle the butternut squash soup around the cauliflower. Enjoy.

 

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Tuna Puttanesca

Last week I was able to take part in Slow Food Seattle’s Tuna Canning Workshop. I had so wanted to go to the first one last year (especially after hearing all the raves about the tuna) but work got in the way. Pacific Northwest Tuna is exquisite (I especially love it raw) and I certainly love being able to support a local fisherman so I bought my ticket and reserved my flat of tuna as soon as it was possible.

We spent the day cutting and trimming the tuna, then stuffing it into jars. Each jar then gets a little salt, a little olive oil and a piece of carrot (Jeremy the fisherman’s secret ingredient). Finally the jars are sealed and then placed in a pressure canner for 90 minutes. The tuna comes out bubbling and hot so it has to cool for a few minutes before it get packed up to take home.

I wanted to cook something delicious with my first jar of tuna, but I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately so a trip to the store just didn’t sound like much fun. I decided to turn to a classic Italian dish, Pasta Puttanesca which requires no fresh ingredients.

Puttanesca has a bit of a tawdry history as it is said that it was invented by prostitutes. Some say that it’s aroma was used to lure new patrons while others say that they made it because it was quick and could be cooked entirely from the pantry (since many of them had no refrigeration available). Of course there are others that say it was simply invented by busy Italian women who wanted something quick to serve their family. Whichever version of history you believe, know that this is one of the most delicious pasta dishes around.

You might be tempted to leave the anchovy paste out of this dish but trust me, don’t. It adds a certain salty “what is that” flavor that is essential. I served mine over fresh pasta (just because I’ve been practicing my fresh pasta technique) but dry fettuccine or spaghetti will be just as delicious. Here’s the ingredients.

Start by covering the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Once it’s warm add the garlic and anchovy and let it fry for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes, black olives, capers and red pepper flakes and let it simmer while the pasta cooks.

When the pasta is almost done, add the tuna to the pan just to warm through.

Finally, drain the pasta then add it to the sauce. Let it cook for another 30 seconds or so then serve.

We had a friend over to enjoy this dinner with us. She took one bite and her eyes got big. “Yum” was all she could say. Salty, spicy and tangy this is the perfect pasta for a cold winter’s night.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna Puttanesca
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
This sauce takes as long to prepare as it does to cook the pasta. Start the sauce while you are waiting for the pasta water to boil. Finish it as the pasta cooks.
Ingredients
  • 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 3 Tablespoon capers
  • 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can good quality oil-packed tuna
Instructions
  1. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. When it is warm, add the garlic and anchovy and let it fry for about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, black olives, capers and red pepper flakes and let it simmer.
  3. When the pasta is almost done, add the tuna to the sauce just to warm through.
  4. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it then add it to the sauce. Let it cook for another 30 seconds or so then serve.

 

 

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Where Did My Mojo Go?

I seem to have lost my mojo. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had way more fails than successes in the kitchen. A lot more.

I don’t know what’s going on. Usually I walk in to the kitchen, sometimes without even an inkling of what I’m going to make, and it just happens. Something tasty just comes out. But it’s just not happening.

I made a potato gratin. It turned out as potato soup.

I made fudge for friends. It turned out grainy.

I made fudge again. The chocolate didn’t melt completely and it was lumpy (I quickly added some nuts which made it at least passable) .

I made bean soup. Then burned it.

The only real bright spot has been some marshmallows that I made using a recipe from my friend Nazila. She told me they were fool proof and luckily she was right. I made the vanilla version and then dipped some in chocolate and some of those in some crushed candy canes.

I’m going to give it another go today. I’m planning to make a lasagna to have on hand in the freezer. And then I’m going to make Asado de Bodas from a recipe found in Saveur for dinner tonight. I’m crossing my fingers that some of my marshmallow mojo rubs off.

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Things Change

Sixty-three hours ago I started some beautiful short ribs cooking sous vide. I thought a little Saturday night fancy food would be great. Now, with nine hours of cooking left, all I want is comfort food. Fried chicken and macaroni and cheese to be exact.

Sixteen hours ago my husband and I made the decision to euthanize our dog Jones. His health had been declining. He’s suffered from hip dysplasia for years and years and in the last few weeks he had started falling. A lot. He’d be walking in from outside and his back legs would just collapse beneath him. Our hardwood floors didn’t help the situation. Over the last year we’d placed rugs throughout the house in all of his favorite spots so that he could get up and down, but we could tell it was getting to hard for him to get around.

Not that he would ever tell us though. Jones was best described as simple. As long as he had food and head scratches he was just happy to be. You know how towards the end of Marley and Me John Grogan asks Marley “you’ll let me know when it’s time, right?”, well, we knew Jones would never tell us when it was time. He would keep smiling and wagging his tail until it was too late.

So when we woke up yesterday and he couldn’t stand, much less walk we took that as a sign. For selfish reasons, we had been putting off the conversation until after Christmas. But we know that we couldn’t put it off anymore. We made the decision.

Jones had a good last day. While my husband had to go to work in the morning for a meeting, I sat with him in the living room doing my best to keep him calm and happy. When my husband came home Jones got to enjoy a rawhide, followed by a couple of ice cubes (one of his favorite treats that we had to stop giving him a few years ago because his teeth were breaking) and a few chocolate chip cookies while we waited for the vet to arrive. There were lots of scratches and many tears as we said goodbye. You can’t help but wonder if you are making the right decision, but ultimately we know this was the best thing for Jones.

So tonight, while Jones is reunited with his old pal Cuba for a game a chase at the Rainbow Bridge, we’ll set the fancy food aside. Sorrow calls for comfort and comfort calls for mac and cheese.

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Sriracha Soy Chex Mix

The other day I was walking through Costco (no story starts that way and doesn’t end without spending $100) and I saw this on the end cap.

“Make Chex Party Mix. What a good idea” (I am so easily influenced, sigh).

I haven’t made Chex Mix in years (and years and years) and, I was hosting a party where I knew snack mix would be a welcome addition. I like the traditional Chex Mix recipe well enough, but I’m not a huge fan of pretzels and I wanted something a little spicier. So, I decided to switch it up a little (or a lot as it turns out). The idea of using Sriracha as the heat in my mix popped into my head, which then led me to add some other Asian flavors. Although the mix takes a little while in the oven it comes together very quickly.

Here’s the ingredients:

 

First, melt the butter in the microwave (or on the stovetop) and then stir the seasoning ingredients into the melted butter. Give the butter a little taste at this point and add more sriracha if you like.

 

Put the cereals and the toasted almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, pour the seasoned butter over top …

 

… then use a spatula to stir and distribute the seasonings throughout the cereals.

 

Place the sheet in a 250 degree oven and bake for one hour, stirring the mix every 15 minutes. Let cool completely and then enjoy!

 

Salty and spicy (and mildly addictive), all my guests raved about my mix. Try it as an addition to your next party. You’ll be glad you did.

Sriracha Soy Chex Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Make this recipe gluten-free by omitting the wheat Chex and increasing the amount of rice and corn Chex to 4½ cups each.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups wheat Chex cereal
  • 3 cups rice Chex cereal
  • 3 cups corn Chex cereal
  • 1½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Seasonings
  • 6 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisen sauce
  • 2-3 teaspoons sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in microwave or saucepan. Stir in remaining seasoning ingredients.
  3. Place the cereals and almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour the seasoned butter over and stir well to distribute seasonings.
  4. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

 

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay and the Final Challenge

Here it is. My last Charcutepalooza post. The challenge for this, the final month in our year of challenges? Show off a little. Basically, have a party, invite a bunch of friends and feed them until they are ready to burst.

Of course there were a few more guidelines than “just feed people”. A list of items (using at least four) that our meal needed to include: something smoked, cured or brined, something made with pork belly, a pate or terrine,  rillettes or confit and sausage of some kind.

I pulled out all of my trusty charcuterie books. For days I pored over them, considering my menu. A few items easily made the list (my buffalo chicken rillettes and pork belly confit) but some needed more consideration.

Finally, after days of adding something to my list only to replace it with something else two hours later, I settled on the following menu:

To start:
• Scotch Eggs
• Baguettes topped with Bacon Jam and Tomato Confit
• Buffalo Chicken Rillettes
• Baguettes topped with Goat Cheese and Lonzino

Dinner:
• Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay (based loosely on the version found in Charcuterie, recipe follows)
• Brined Pork Loin with Cured Lemons (from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home)
• Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Maple Syrup and Pecans
• Jim Drohman’s Pork Belly Confit with tender and bitter greens, mustard vinaigrette and sous vide eggs (pork belly recipe from Charcuterie)
• Polenta with Parmesan

And of course there was dessert (I served a nut tart I picked up at Will Bake for Food) and many plentiful cocktails (including a take on a lemon drop that included lavender and rosemary)

Ninety percent of my friends (and my husband) work at a the corporate office of a major corporation that does not allow anyone to take the day after Thanksgiving off work. So, that is the day I settled on for my gathering. Guests started arriving as they got off work and I started feeding them right away. And then I kept feeding them for the next four hours.

It was a glorious night of gluttony. Think about it, how often do you get to eat pork that has been prepared six different ways. The pork belly confit, which was cooked with cinnamon, cloves and allspice than deep fried was my favorite dish of the night, though the still-pink and meltingly tender pork loin was a close second. But then again, those brussels sprouts were pretty good too. Oh, and the veggie terrine…

I’m sad that my year of Charcutepalooza challenges has come to a close though I’m grateful for the new skills I’ve gained and the community of meat-enthusiasts that I have found. I plan to continue my learning and experimentation. Making my own bacon, grinding and stuffing my own sausage, whipping up a rillettes, just because. And now that I’ve got my curing chamber up and running, cured muscles and sausages are again within my grasp.

Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese Inlay
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This vegetable terrine was a welcome addition to a very meat-centric meal. Add or subtract other vegetables as you see fit, just be sure to think about color transitions as you layer them in you terrine. Make sure to season each vegetable as you prepare it.
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 4 red pepper
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 handful green beans
Goat Cheese Inlay
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 6 ounce Goat cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh soft herbs (parsley, basil, etc)
  • salt and pepper
Gelatin Vinaigrette
  • 2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 3 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. Shake of as much liquid as you can. Spread the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 2-3 hours or until the tomatoes are dehydrated. Once cool, cut into ¼ inch pieces. (This step can be done 1-2 days in advance)
  2. Heat the grill or preheat the broiler.
  3. Slice the eggplant, zucchini and squash into ⅛ inch slices. Toss the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and grill or broil, turning once until tender. Set aside to cool. Repeat the process with the mushrooms and green beans. Roast, peel and deseed the red peppers, leaving the pepper pieces as large as possible.
  4. Stir together the diced tomatoes, herbs and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper then spoon the goat cheese onto a piece of plastic wrap and use it to form the goat cheese into a log shape the same length as the mold you plan to use.
  5. Heat the water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and allow it to bloom. Heat the bloomed gelatin over low heat until dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Add the bloomed gelatin to the vinaigrette and set aside in a warm place.
  6. Line a terrine mold with plastic wrap leaving enough overhang on the two long sides to cover the terrine. Lay the eggplant slices over in the mold so that the ends hang over the sides. Brush them with the gelatin vinaigrette. Repeat the process with the zucchini. In the bottom of the terrine add a layer of green beans, followed by mushrooms, and red pepper, brushing each layer with vinaigrette. Spoon the goat cheese in a line down the middle of the terrine. Layer green beans and squash along the sides of the goat cheese. Add a layer of red pepper. Fold the zucchini flaps over, brush with vinaigrette and then finally fold over the eggplant flaps, brush with any remaining vinaigrette. Fold the plastic wrap over and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove the terrine from the refrigerator. Open the top flaps of plastic and turn the terrine onto a cutting board. Remove plastic and cut into ¾ inch slices.

 

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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