Monday, August 2, 2010

Friday Night Bites #6

I started the dough for the mini French Baguettes on Thursday night, (it's the Jim Lahey method of a slow 12-18 hour rise). On Friday morning I made the ricotta cheese from whole milk and lemon juice for the Ricotta Panna Cotta and the stuffed squash blossoms. After that I made the custard for the homemade vanilla ice cream and got that chilling while I went on the treadmill for a work-out. After my shower I made the pastry dough for the Almond Cream and Blueberry Tart and got that chilling, then the homemade pasta sheets and the dressing for the salad and the............

I did too much! I have been missing my Friday Nights the past few weeks because of our anniversary and the prep for the big party and then the party, so I wanted to cook, but I went too far. Everything was good but by 7:30 PM I was wiped out!

Spring Mix Salad with Fennel Foliage and Fried Chick Peas with Homemade Bread and European Butter

The dressing included shallots, garlic, lemon juice and zest, spicy mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. I coated some canned chick peas (that I drained, rinsed and dried) in rice flour and fried until golden in Safflower Oil, removed to paper towel and seasoned with salt and pepper. Picked some Fennel tops from the garden and tossed it with the spring mix lettuce. A handful of really good olives (about 4-5 different ones) from Whole Foods. I combined all the components of the salad and topped with the dressing. Served some crusty homemade baguettes and really good European butter from the cheese department of Whole Foods along side. It was lemony and fennel-ly goodness to start things off.

Ricotta Panna Cotta with Crispy Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I found a recipe in a Bon Appetite magazine a while ago for homemade ricotta cheese, and I have used this recipe to make goat cheese, by just substituting goat's milk instead of cow's milk. Its 1/2 gallon of whole milk in a sauce pan and 1/2 tsp salt; bring to a simmer and add 3 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice; continue simmering and after about 2 minutes, remove the cheese curds that form with a slotted spoon to a cheese cloth lined colander; let sit for 1 minute to drain and transfer cheese to a bowl. I made the panna cotta by following a recipe in my "joy of cooking", and in place of the milk I put in the ricotta (1/2 the sugar and no vanilla and a pinch of salt). For the squash blossoms I mixed together the ricotta with an egg, salt, pepper and fresh tarragon (for a change). I have planted squash in the yard just to get the blossoms and it seems to work out good, I am letting a couple actual squash grow too. I usually make a tempura batter for the squash blossoms and that works fine, but I saw that someone on line dipped it into egg and flour and I tried that (that's what Friday Nights are all about, trying new things), I won't do it that way again, tempura is better. As far as the panna cotta goes, it was good but I should have used no sugar at all.

Swiss Ravioli, Chicken Tenders and Crispy Prosciutto on a Bed of Soft Eggs, topped with Sage Cream Sauce

We were watching a show and they showed a chef (who was making small dishes) who was finishing a dish by taking some just boiled ravioli and putting it into another pan that had eggs, and tossed that pan to cook the eggs in and around the raviolis, he plated it and put on a sauce. I did a spin on that idea. I put just a square of Swiss cheese into small ravioli shapes and boiled that up, and put it into eggs that I had beaten and just started to cook. I also made a sage cream sauce, I cooked off just about 6 pieces of chicken tenders, put slices of prosciutto in the oven to crisp up and brought it all together for form kind-of-a...saltimbocca--cordon bleu kind of thing. It was good I'd like to taste it again today (but I only made a small amount) to really tell you if it was perfect, it may have been too much sauce and egg and cheese in one dish, a little too heavy, but the flavors were really good together.

Blueberry and Almond Cream Tart wit Almond Strusel topping and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I didn't have a good idea for dessert but I knew I wanted to use some blueberries I had in the refrigerator (there was a two for one special at the store), and I wanted to make an almond cream, which is basically a mixture of eggs, almond flour, butter and sugar that can be the base of a tart. I also was interested in a strusel topping I saw Ann Burrell do on her show. It looked different and it had whole wheat flour and oats and vanilla, I put everything together to come up with this. It was very good, if I had a few more blueberries I would have put a bit more in. I served it with the homemade vanilla ice cream. I used my vanilla sugar in my pantry, which is just regular granulated sugar in a mason jar and every time I scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean, I submerge the vanilla pod into the sugar, the sugar picks up all that great vanilla flavor and you just keep adding sugar and vanilla pods and it will last forever.

1 comment:

  1. you make Martha Stewart look lazy.