Tuesday night was a bit of a splurge dinner around here. Sometimes I just have to pull out cookbooks, and force myself to make whatever I think looks delicious. And yes, sometimes for every course. And sometimes I am a bit overly ambitious about it, but my stomach has never complained.
Tuesday's dinner included:
Homemade Rosemary Raisin Crisps
Haricot Verts & Tomato Salad
Homemade Goat Cheese with Fresh Herbs
Parisian-Style Gnocchi with Fresh Herbs and Summer Squash
Peach, Cinnamon, and Port Ice Cream enrobed in a White Peach and Meringue, Baked Alaska Style
I am still annoyed that I somehow completely missed taking photos of the gnocchi, and the duck confit... I am still getting over that. The recipes for the haricot verts, gnocchi, and duck confit were from Thomas Keller's book Bouchon, and turned out fabulously. Well worth the effort, and next time they will be much easier. The duck is actually very low maintenance, and difficult to mess up! Who knew? The gnocchi is a versatile recipe that doesn't have to have ALL the herbs... although it was darn good.
The peach dessert was inspired from this.
I had been working on getting it just right for a year, so I was thrilled that the goat cheese turned out to be super creamy, but still mild and delicate. And I SWEAR it is easy too. The rosemary raisin crisp recipe is adapted from Julie Van Rosendaal from Dinner with Julie, mostly because I've never had exactly the same ingredients. But do try hers too!
Herbed Goat Cheese
2 liters of 2% goat cheese milk
1/2 liter of heavy cream
1/2 cup plain goat yogurt (cow would be fine)
1/4 rennet tablet (I found it at the health food store, along with everything else)
cheese cloth and a strainer
fresh chives, parsley, peppercorns, or other herbs
1. Bring the goat milk and heavy cream to 75 degrees Fahrenheit on the stove, using a thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, a bowl or measuring cup, combine the rennet and yogurt.
3. When the milk and cream mixture has reached the temperature, immediately remove the pan from heat, and at a few spoonfuls or a 1/4 cup to the yogurt and rennet. Stir.
4. Add the yogurt and rennet mixture to the pot of goat milk.
5. Let it sit out overnight.
6. The next morning, cut the curd into 1 inch squares, and place onto 2 layers of cheese cloth in a strainer over a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the curds continue to drain for at least 3-4 hours, or longer.
7. Transfer the cheese to plastic wrap, and gently spread and roll into logs. Sprinkle on some sea salt, as well as fresh herbs or peppercorns. Go ahead and taste! It's the best way to tell if the seasoning is correct... and then try not to eat it all in one fell swoop. Seriously. But the recipe makes a lot, so you'll still have enough to share.
Rosemary Pecan Raisin Crisps, Adapted from Julie Van Rosendaal
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
kosher salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Then add the buttermilk, brown sugar, honey, and egg. Don't over mix, and add the raisins, pecans, sunflower seeds, and rosemary.
3. Pour the batter into 2 loaf pans that have been THOROUGHLY sprayed with nonstick spray (learned this the hard way!), and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Cool on an elevated surface, yes, sometimes I'm lazy and don't use a rack, but I suppose I should.
4. Freeze the loaves. Yes, this is the hard part because you have to be patient.
5. Remove the loaves from the freezer when you want to make the crisps. Depending on the temperature of your freezer, you will be able to slice them sooner or later with a serrated knife. Try sooner, rather than later, and slice as thin as possible.
6. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the crisps-to-be, on parchment paper or silicone sheets on cookie sheets. Sprinkle a touch of kosher salt. Bake 15 minutes on one side, flip, sprinkle a tad more salt, and then 10 minutes on the next. The crisps should be a nice golden brown, but again this depends on just how thick the crisps are. The thinner the crisps, the sooner they are done. Thicker crisps will be a bit less crisp, and crumble less. Experiment, and enjoy!