Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday Night Menu, "Farmstead" Mac and Cheese, August 5, 2011

So a funny thing happened this week.  I looked in the cabinet that holds all my food magazines and I randomly picked a magazine that happened to be Bon Appetit September 2007.  I saw a picture of a macaroni and cheese that I wanted to make when I first got that magazine back in “07 and I never made it.  So I figured I would finally make it, that could be the main dish and I will go from there.   Keep in mind that I never tell Tony what Friday Night Dinner will be, I keep it a surprise until he comes home and reads the chalk board.  This macaroni and cheese dish is from a restaurant in Providence RI that we went to with friends probably 10 years ago, called “Farmstead”… Skip to Friday, while I am preparing dinner, I get an e-mail from Tony who is working very hard.  He sent me the menu of “Farmstead”, and said “we will have to go back here sometime”.  I thought that was funny because we hadn't mentioned that restaurant lately and after so long, he was thinking about going there, while I was making a dish from there.

Tomato Tartare (ta ta for Lisa)

Tony thought I would be interested in the newest “No Reservations” show with host Anthony Bourdain.  So I turned it on and fell asleep 15 minutes later (not because it was boring, I was just tired), but I got this one idea from the show before falling asleep.  It was a show on the closing of the best restaurant in the world.  It’s in Spain and it was called “El Bulli”.  They served Anthony Bourdain this dish called Tomato Tartare.  Tartare is usually raw Steak or Tuna and it’s basically freshly ground, very high quality steak or tuna and it’s mixed with different flavorings, plated and served with crostini toasts.  They said on the show that it tastes exactly like Steak Tartare.  I did what I thought that might be (since they don’t give recipes and I have never had steak tartare).  I skinned 3 meaty local red tomatoes and 1 big fat brownish-red heirloom tomato by making an X on the bottom of the tomatoes and plunging them in boiling water for 12 seconds then plunging them into a bowl of ice water.  The skin comes off very easily.  I seeded the tomatoes and just used the really good full flavored "meat" of the tomatoes.  Chopped them very finely and let them drain over a colander to remove as much water as possible.  After a few hours, to the drained tomato I added 1 small garlic clove minced into a paste, ¼ cup shallots minced to a paste, 1 scant Tbsp capers into a paste, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, a scant tsp grated orange zest, 1/8 cup olive oil whisked in, season with salt and pepper.  I plated it with a ring mold and on top I placed just the yolk of an egg that I cooked sunny side up. Tony said it was a very good imitation; he has had steak and tuna tartare’s , he was very impressed. 

“Farmstead” Mac and Cheese

I was just reminded of how good this dish was last night, because I just had it for lunch.  Here is the recipe.  It’s a great cheese combination of cheddar, gruyere and brie.  You start with a white cream sauce by cooking flour and butter for a few minutes then add milk.  When that mixture thickens you add the three cheeses and combine it with pasta that is cooked to al dente.  After spooning the mixture in serving dishes it is topped with the homemade bread crumbs which I have to say was the perfect thing to go on top, then it’s put into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, so good!

Chicken and Prosciutto Croquettes

I happened to see these croquettes in the same magazine the mac and cheese was in and I thought they would be the “meat” part of tonight’s dinner.  It was different for me, I hadn’t made croquettes before.  It’s funny because these also have a white sauce (just like the mac and cheese) that is kind of the glue that holds all the ingredients together.  I found the recipe on someone else’s blog, here it is.  These turned out good too, but I wasn’t thinking about color obviously.  The mac and cheese and these croquettes were basically the same color, usually I take color into consideration when planning my menu.

Caramelized Fresh Pineapple Tiramisu

In the same magazine I saw this recipe.  I love tiramisu and I couldn’t imagine it made with pineapple, so I had to make it.  It’s really interesting, it’s almost more summery.  The other thing that interested me about this recipe was that it’s made using the fresh, soft lady fingers that you get in the bakery section of the supermarket.  Whenever I make tiramisu it’s always with the “crunchy” lady fingers from the cookie isle.  This is made by a chef named Pichet Ong.  He gives this “usually Italian” tiramisu a Southeast Asian feel with the pineapple and the coffee mixture includes black tea leaves.  If you make this, keep in mind the recipe calls for 4 -3 oz packages of the lady fingers but you only need 2 -3 oz packages (I will have to invent a dessert with the extra packages I bought).


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