Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday's Lost Dinners

We had resisted the whole 'Lost' phenomenon for a long time. Then, we discovered surfthechannel and gobbled all the episodes at once, to our grand despair... Then, we bought a tv.

Our Thursday nights are now Lost Nights.
The purchase of this new tv coincided with the beginning of the 4th season.
A new ritual...The Feast.

I usually stop at a charcuterie and cheese shop near my work and load up on favorites and new discoveries... Then, go to the organic place and buy full of veggies. Our evening always starts with crudités and then we hop to the indulgence part.

The indulgence part this week was somewhat more healthy than cheese and meat...

Along with tzaziki, hummus and a lemon-green onion dip, we had lemony-garlic baby potatoes

Yummy yummy yummy parsnip bites

And spicy Chinese eggplant to roll in fresh pita.

The potato part is a must with Simon, just can't escape it. They take on a different for each week... This week was really straightforward: garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, lots of pepper.

Parnips were heaven. I've always been very fond of parsnip... When I was little, I asked my mum for 'carottes blanches' all the time (white carrots), I mostly ate them raw.

As I roasted the parsnip, I simmered some light cream with half a vanilla bean. Then mashed the parsnip with the cream and some butter, salt and pepper. Chilled it so that I could form little balls. Rolled them into bread crumbs and fried them. Yum.

The eggplant was sauteed with a lot of garlic and matchsticks of ginger, and sweet onions. Then I added yellow zucchini, mushroom, and orange sweet pepper. To finish, along with some vegetable broth, part of a chopped chili pepper, ginger-garlic sauce, chili garlic sauce and honey. It was so soft and perfect rolled in pita...

For the sweet ending: starfruit, fresh pineapple, blood oranges...baklava & maamoul.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

recreating a sinful risotto...

A couple of night ago, we were lucky enough to eat at one of the region's best tables. We also had THE best table, it was the one and only window table.

Since we had a gift certificate (from the best bosses in the world!!!), we decided to splurge and give in to the tasting menu, with the wine pairings. The third course was unforgettable. Butter poached lobster on risotto. Last night, I attempted to recreate a part of it...

I am not a fan of risotto. It has always been too mushy for me. Or too cheesy. Or bland. I've tried it many, many times to better understand why this has been a trend in the past few years... And now, I had to face it and could not escape. I will fear no more!

So here is my attempt. It was close!

1 1
/2 cup Carnaroli rice
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock (I mixed with a bit of vegetable stock), hot
2 shallots, minced
3 Tbsp parmesan
1/4 cup finely diced celery
salt and pepper to season
good quality white truffle oil

In a shallow pan, sweat the shallots in oil (I used grapeseed, a habit from my workplace). Add the rice and toast lightly. Add the wine, let evaporate. Add the stock in small batches and let the rice absorb each time. When almost all is absorbed, add the celery, cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the white truffle oil.

We ate the risotto with speck and Sauvagine cheese stuffed chicken, golden beets, king Erinji mushroom and roasted fennel. The wine was Parallèle 45, a French Bordeaux. Yum.

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