Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Easy Breezy Bruschetta

If I think Italian and If I think appetizer... I have to be thinking of Bruschetta. Introduced to it at La Belle Vie, though I have never been able to replicate it completely, this came close.

Heirloom tomatoes seeded and diced. A good measure of olive oil, salt and freshly cracked pepper. Basil and chopped capers. All let to marinade for an hour in the fridge and topped on crusty bread. Can never go wrong with this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time for Tart

Inspired by Tartelette's Swiss chard, Goat cheese Proscuitto Tart, this eggetarian version has vegan goat cheese, swiss chard and grape tomatoes with a generous dose of chervil.
Took the easy way out and used a store-bough puff pastry sheet instead of a home-made base. But it was still good...

Puff Pastry Sheet
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard washed, dried and torn into bits
12-14 grape tomatoes
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup whole milk
salt and pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 to 6 oz crumbled goat cheese
a few sprigs of chervil

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat and cook the onion until translucent, add the Swiss chard and cooked until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Layer the onion and Swiss chard at the bottom of the crust and slowly pour the egg mixture over it. Top with slices of grape tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the tart starts getting golden brown and the custard is cooked. Spinkle with freshly chopped chervil.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ratatouille's Ratatouille a.k.a. Confit Byaldi

This is all thanks to my vegetarian friends and "taster". Else, I doubt I would have tried this one. It has been in the back of my mind ever since I watched Remy whip one up more than two years ago. The recipe is an exact replica of the one posted on NYtimes - right down to investing in an offset spatula for the plating.

1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/2 a bay leaf
Kosher salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
1 Japanese eggplant, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oi
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. To serve, heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Diwali Spread

Its Deepavali... The festival of lights in India... And when all of us end up in Portland, we whip up a feast...