A Slow Restart

2014.Aug.08 Friday · 1 comment

in Casa SaltShaker

With Henry still away, and a mountain of things to catch up on, I’ve limited the number of dinners over the last two weeks since returning. I’ve been spending a lot of time experimenting with recipes, some of which will be showing up over the next few weeks, some of which already have. Given the limited number of dinners I kept part of the menu the same both weeks, playing around with just a couple of the new dishes in rotation.

Heart of Palm Tart

Our ever popular palmito tart with manchego cheese and chipotle chili. Instead of the usual swath of arugula or radichetta leaves, I thought that pea shoots would make a better garnish, both visually and flavor-wise. They worked.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

A new soup on the roster – roasted cauliflower. Into the oven with a head of cauliflower, cut into wedges, a large white onion, and half a dozen garlic cloves. All splashed with some olive oil and roasted until soft and starting to caramelize. Then pureed with freshly made vegetable stock and just a little fresh rosemary. Garnished with sesame oil, garlic chives, and a crumble of spicy longaniza sausage and panko crumbs.

Matambrito cannelone
Hueveras Fritas

In the last post, our online cooking “competition”, I mentioned a couple of sauces – a savory lemon curd and a three paprika yogurt. I really liked both, and particularly in combination. So, one week, I brought back the milk braised matambrito (pork flank). I cooked it in advance, cooled it, shredded it, and filled canneloni with it and a dollop of the yogurt. Then baked them to order and topped with the lemon curd, a mixed herb (rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley) salsa verde, deep fried cherry tomatoes coated in panko crumbs and togarashi, baked green olives filled with roasted garlic puree, and a scattering of radichetta.

The second week I basically repeated the hueveras fritas from the competition. A few changes – I wanted to lighten it up a little, so instead of the pommes anna I went for a brown butter and balsamic daikon puree, and left off the bacon crumble, just scattering some quickly fried basil leaves. It was good, but I should have left it as is, because with the potato and the bacon, it rocked, plus, maybe too many purees in this meal…. To be repeated, but more as a main course instead of a mid-course.

Poulet au vinagre
Grouper with spicy artichoke puree

The first week, brought back a chicken classic, poulet au vinagre, a favorite Lyonnaise dish from the 60s – creamed swiss chard, daikon fondant, and a scattering of toasted quinua. The second week, brought back a fish dish from a couple of months ago – spice rubbed sea bass over a spicy artichoke puree. Instead of frying the cherry tomatoes this time I roasted them in olive oil with sea salt. Somehow, the blanched brussels sprout leaves didn’t make it to the plate – but they made a lovely salad for me the next day. I did add in a salsa verde of parsley and oregano, and a little cured red onion salad. It was a hit, even without the brussels sprouts.

Peas & Carrots

Another new dish I’ve been playing with. Your mother always told you to finish your vegetables if you wanted dessert – but how would she handle a dessert made from vegetables? I’m calling this “Peas & Carrots” – it’s a baked sweet pea pudding, a roasted carrot cheesecake, whipped cream, candied orange peel, walnut crumble, and a fresh mint fluid gel. One person between the two weeks found it a little “dietetic” and not sweet enough – but he was pushing for dulce de leche – nothing else is that sweet! I loved it, and it seemed like everyone else did too.

Off to Uruguay for a gastronomy and wine festival, news to come.


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