Saturday, August 16, 2008

OLS- Week 11 Feast!

I believe a bet was made between Adam and Kate. We don't want you to move Ad, but we'll come and visit!

My lovely sister and me

We were treated to an incredibly sunset. My husband looks very melodramatic here. This is east towards Prospect Park

Vic and Peter talk shop while watching the sunset over the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty.

This evening was what life is all about: the best of friends and family, incredible food, and a ton of shared laughter over a few bottles of wine. In some ways we really need nights like this especially after my father's death. Its been really difficult on my sister and I and equally tough on our significant others and close friends. There is nothing easy about losing a much loved parent.

This particular meal was for me, one of the most important in my life, because it meant, for just a few hours, that we could get back to normal and eat, drink and laugh, and it felt just like that, normal. I should also say that this is one of the funniest groups of people around and at one point I was very concerned that the neighbors would come upstairs and ask us to stop laughing.

I set out my menu the other day with the intent of showing everyone a simply, delicious local meal that was in line with the unique challenges of this group. I didn't know how many people would show up, didn't know what I would find at the market, some people prefer a low-carb meal, and I, of course, don' eat tomatoes, dairy, and onions. I, to my detriment totally ignored my own restrictions. I also wanted a menu that would be easy and could allow people to help out if needed and could be done mostly in advance. I paired my meal (with the help of the guys at Big Nose Full Body) with some nice wines. I should also say that the farmers market this weekend was incredible with more choices than I could have imagined. I shopped for almost all of my ingredients there, though I did have to buy organic eggs from PA from the deli across the street. So here is my menu:

To Start:
Kate's Homemade Hummus (I'll have to ask her for her recipe)
Red Pepper Slices (Farmers Market)
Green Peppers (From our garden)

Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil Salad
Mozzarella from Russo's across the street
Tomatoes from the Farmers Market and our garden
Basil Salad from our garden

Ricotta, Bacon, and Kale Fritata
Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 Minutes

Original Recipe from here

1 lb Kale
1 package Bacon
1 large onion
.5 lbs Ricotta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbs Olive Oil
14 large eggs
Salt, pepper, Tabasco, nutmeg, dried basil all to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan. Dice the onion and tear the kale into 1 inch pieces. Saute the onion and kale until tender. Cook the bacon until extra crispy and when cool, break into small 1 inch pieces.

Add the eggs, bacon, kale, ricotta, parmesan and spices to a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth.

Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray. I used my cast iron buffet casserole dish but any round dish with 3-4" sides will do nicely. I transfer the fritata straight to the table so I keep presentation in mind. Pour your egg mixture in the dish and set on the stove. Set the stove to medium high heat and cook it until the edges firm up. Transfer to the over and cook it for approximately 30 more minutes or until the middle stops jiggling.

Remove from the oven, cool, and serve in slices.

BLT Salad
Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

3 heads of lettuce (I use different types)
6-8 tomatoes (again, different colors and types)
1 large cucumber
2 small yellow cucumbers
6-8 strips of bacon

1.5 cups good balsamic vinegar
3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
3 tbs dijon mustard
5 small basil leaves
Salt, pepper, Tabsasco, dried basil, dried garlic, nutmeg to taste

If you get your lettuce from the farmers market it is likely going to come home with a lot of mud on it. I chop the lettuce and throw it into a cleaned sink filled with cold water and let it sit. Swirl it around occasionally. All of the dirt falls to the bottom. Remove the lettuce from the water and let drip dry in collender. However you do it, clean and dry your lettuce.

Clean the tomatoes and cut them into slices. Peel your cucumber and cut it into 1/8" slices and then cut in half to make halfmoon shapes. I found some small, round cucumbers at the market and threw them in. I think they were lemon cucumbers and they were one of the best tasting things I have ever had. You can prep the salad a few hours in advance but don't dress it until it is about to go out on the table.

Make your bacon extra crispy and chop it into 1" sections. I served this on the side so that it would stay crispy.


Chiffonade the basil and add everything to a sealable container. Shake well to blend and then dress the salad right before it is going out on the table.

Herb Bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves 8

1 stick butter
1 baguette
1 large garlic head or 3 small ones
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cups total fresh basil, thyme, parsely, mint, and sage

Preheat the over 375F.

Trim the roots off the garlic and lay it on a small sheet of tin foil (enough to wrap it up in). Generously drizzle the olive oil on the heads and wrap it up in the foil. Place the tinfoil and garlic in a heat proof dish and roast in the over until the heads are easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.

Soften the butter. Dice the herbs and place in the softened butter. Add the cooled garlic and mash everything together with a fork.

Slice the baguette into 3/4" pieces and lay onto tin foil. This can get messy and drip so the tinfoil helps.

Use a spoon to slather the butter onto the bread on both sides. Wrap in the tinfoil and place in the over for 15 minutes.

Roasted Green and Wax Beans
I written about this recipe before but for 8 people you will need about 2 lbs of beans.

I have wanted to try this one for a while and finally got to it:

Peach Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted, Salted Pistacios Drizzled with a Balsamic and Bay Leaf Reduction
Adapted from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop"

Serves 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 30 minutes and 30 minutes and 30 minutes

1 cup unshelled pistachios (not local)
1 1/5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
7 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 oz. fresh ricotta
6 large egg yolks
2 large peaches
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp salt

2 cups high quality balsamic vinegar (not local)
2 bay leaves (not local)
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (not local)

Preheat the over to 350F.

Place the pistachios on a small cookie sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes.

Puree the peaches. Add the pureed peaches, goat, and ricotta cheese into a large mixing bowl. Place a small strainer over the bowl.

Remove the pistachios from the over and cool them. Crush them in a food processor with the teaspoon of salt. Add to the cheese and peaches bowl.

Add the egg yolks and pinch of salt to a small mixing bowl.

Add the milk and sugar to a small saute pan (I prefer my 8" cast iron saucier) and heat until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Pour the milk and sugar mixture into the small mixing bowl with the yolks, stirring constantly. I almost always have someone help me with this but when alone I use a lighter saucier. Mix throughly.

Add the milk, sugar, and egg mixture back into the saucier and turn on a medium low flame. If you've never made a custard before it's a bit daunting. If you're not up for the custard making you could do this recipe as a frozen yogurt very easily. See my recipe for peach pie with a balsamic stripe. Ok, back to the egg, sugar, and milk mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and thickly coats the back of a spoon. Turn the heat off and pour the mixture over the peaches and cheese bowl and mix throughly.

Cool the mixture in the refridgerator for 30 minutes. Make according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Balsamic Bay Leaf Reduction

Add the ingredients to a small saucier. Stir over medium high heat until it reduces by half or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove the bay leaves and pour over the ice cream.

We started with mojitos (we now call the mint plant a mojito plant), had a dry rose with dinner, and finished dessert with a nice cava.

1 comment:

mia said...

That is one impressive feat! and feast. and post.
yum. well done.