Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Nights

Decided to just have friends over for a casual Monday night - taking advantage of "summer's bounty".

  • Gazpacho This was a new recipe for me. It uses tomato juice, which made me nervous, but it tasted good. I added a little extra garlic, lemon juice and salt - though otherwise stuck to the recipe (forgot chives)
  • Gougeres I served these with the gazpacho which was an awesome pairing! This was the first time that I did the reheating thing (the recipe said it was fine) and it worked out really well. These are delicious (I've now made them many times; the only down side is the stress of the cooking part, which has never gone wrong, but still feels stressful).
  • Roast Pork Loin with Figs For future reference, 1 1/2 cups of dried figs seems to be about 6 ounces.
  • Leek and Prosciutto Risotto I left out the asparagus. It was good. I forgot the parmesan - which was why it needed extra salt.
  • Peach Crisp This was good. Rave reviews from my guests. I thought maybe too much vanilla/raisin, but at the end of the day I think I'm a fruit purist, and most other people like a little more kick. I would do it again.
  • Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    Summer Loving

    Tonight the goal was to celebrate summer. Next time we might want to do this with less of a dependence on the oven, but otherwise it was great!!

    There's nothing like a good cheese plate. And these three are awesome. Epoisses is one of my very favorite cheeses, but you need to be thoughtful - you have to buy the whole thing, it's very stinky, and it gets everywhere (especially when it's hot out). But man is it good. The Saint Andre is just the most solid, 'go-to' triple cream you can imagine, and the Tomme Crayeuse (in addition to being easy to remember/fun to order) is a perfect cheese with a bit of nuttiness, intensity and still solid like a 'real' cheese (not like the other two).

    We also did the fresh ricotta with olive oil/salt/pepper, some olives and figs (halved) with a bit of marscapone and salt (we made up the recipe - it needed salt).

    This was great. A little heat, but not a lot. It tasted very summery. That said, doing it inside was a bit of a disaster. First of all, if you need to roast red peppers, it's very simple: take the whole thing, plunk it down on a burner, turn the gas up pretty high, when the bottom side turns black, rotate it. Once the whole things is black (seriously, make the whole thing black, it makes the skin removal, much, much easier), toss it in a paper bag and close the top. Do something else for ~5minutes, come back, pick up the pepper, walk over to the sink, rub it to take all the skin
    off - if it's not all off, use a little water to help make the sticky bits come off. And you're done. That's it. It's simple. Roasted corn in an oven - that I have no idea of. We got a little more black than I'd recommend, and I'm not sure if less time or less heat would be the answer.

    This is a great fish stew. That said, a few things to keep in mind. I found it to be a little more watery than I would like - I would keep the fish stock the same and lower the water next time. The wateriness forced me to overcook, which tasted fine, but meant that the fish was pulverized. It was delicious though.

    We wanted to use peaches. So, we bought peaches and roasted them (500 for 20(?) minutes), which meant that we burned some, so next time less time or heat. But the ones that weren't burned had a great flavor. The base was a Pavlova which we've made before, but rather than the lemon, we changed it up. So, I took a pint of whipping cream, added 1/2 tsp of dried ginger and 1 1/2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar (T said he could have handled more ginger, but I wouldn't go wild - the flavor was there with these proportions. Then we put the roasted peaches on top. It was really excellent. I forgot to take a photo until we were on seconds, but imagine the rest of it...