Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Impressing the Colleagues

I had folks from work over last Friday night. Why I feel like I have to make that even more spectacular, I'm not sure - but I did. I ended up with a French-ish menu (something that I could do while working most of the day).

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets
Apricot Tart

I went with an easy salad so I could get it done quickly. I roasted the beets in foil for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, pulled them out and left them on the counter. After they cooled, I ran them under water and wiped the skins off - totally easy. If I were really on top of it, I would have done the aoli afterwards and used the lemon to get the beet dye off my skin (it wasn't that bad anyway because I was under the water). I did my usual mustard, balsamic, olive oil and spices dressing.

I was a bit disappointed in the bouillabaisse. I used Anthony Bourdain's recipe - and this is seriously the first non-fantastic experience I've had with his Les Halles cookbook. I think part of the problem with fresh direct (moldy garlic, so I subbed with the jar stuff I keep in the fridge for emergencies, but...) but the second part was the direction that I most hate in all of cooking (cover with water -- do these people not realize that stuff floats in water and what does cover mean, just cover? mostly up to the top? etc.) Anyway, the fish and everything was great, but the broth didn't have the flavor I was hoping for (I think it was too watery (see above), because the complexity was there, but the power wasn't)) - but it was probably my fault and I probably will try the recipe again, just with a little more oomph. I also didn't have the greatest luck with the aoli (hand held 'food processor', huge garlic cloves (ended up with three egg yolks instead of one (basically I tripled the recipe), etc.) So, everyone still raved, but I didn't love it.

The tart was amazing - and potentially the EASIEST thing I have ever made. Basically you mix sugar and butter, add a little vanilla and almond, add a bit of flour, push it out on the pan - throw a couple of things in with the creme fraiche and halve the easiest fruit ever (the practically tear themselves in half). It seriously could not have taken more than 10-15 minutes for a truly amazing tart. I will make this again. Definitely!


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