When I went to the Salon Saveurs recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a few Chocolate & Zucchini readers. A few hours of wandering up and down the aisles brought us closer, and as we all sat down, exhausted but exhilarated, the idea of creating a little supper club was brought up. The idea was to throw a dinner party where everyone would bring a dish, à la potluck. Isabelle and Ethan offered to host the first edition, which took place ten days ago.
We had a wonderful evening in Isabelle and Ethan's cosy appartment in the 12th arrondissement, everyone engaged in lively -- and often food-related -- conversation, and I was delighted to see my salon companions again, and to meet new friends.
The whole team from the Salon Saveurs was in attendance : Isabelle and Ethan, Alisa, Amy (who came with her boyfriend Nicolas), Pascale (accompanied by her husband David), myself and Maxence. Meg from Too Many Chefs was there too, and we had the pleasure of meeting Christoph, whose comments you may have read on C&Z, and his wife Suzanne. Three foodie friends of Ethan and Isabelle rounded up the count to fifteen, Jonathan, Malory and Peter. Eight from America, four from France, two from Germany and one from Great Britain -- quite the cosmopolitan bunch!
Needless to say, we ate like kings :
- Amy brought a fantastic Pea and Roasted-Garlic Crostini with Olives and Pecorino Cheese,
- Great minds think alike : Christoph and I both brought terrines from the latest issue of the French magazine Saveurs : he made the Sundried Tomato and Fish Terrine, while I made the Fresh Cheese and Vegetable Terrine, the recipe for which I will post soon,
- Alisa made a scrumptious and goodie-filled endive salad,
- And we ended all this on a delightful sweet note thanks to Pascale's Hazelnut Financiers (recipe on her blog) and Pistachio Tuiles, as well as Isabelle's perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (made from the famous Nieman-Marcus recipe).
And for the picture-curious among you, here are the friendly faces of Isabelle, Meg and Christoph, Pascale, Ethan, Suzanne and Maxence, David, Nicolas and Amy, Malory, Jonathan, Alisa and Peter. And I do wish that my pictures did them (and their dishes) better justice.
Below are some of the recipes from that night -- the others will be added when their authors get a chance to type them up for us.
Isabelle's Spring Vegetable Risotto
- 2 cups spring vegetables (asparagus tips, baby peas, etc)
- 1/4 cup light cream
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup grated parmesean
- 5 cups (approx.) broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/3 cup finely minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
Cook the veggies in water for about 3 minutes. Drain, run them under cold water, and set aside.
Bring the broth to a steady simmer in a pan.
Heat the butter and oil -- add the onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Add the rice, stir for 1 minute using a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are well coated. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed. Begin to add the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup (reserve about 1/4 cup to be added at the end). Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
After approx 18 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add the reserved 1/4 cup broth and the blanched veggies, cream, parsley, and parmesan, and stir vigorously to combine the rice. Serve immediately.
(From "Risotto", by Judith Barrett and Norma Wasserman)
Amy's Pea and Roasted-Garlic Crostini with Olives and Pecorino Cheese
- 1 head garlic
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large French baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound fresh peas, shelled, or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
- 1/4 cup slivered black olives
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F (~200°C). Cut top third off garlic head. Rub cut garlic with 1 teaspoon olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast in oven 45 minutes. Remove foil from garlic; allow to cool. In a medium bowl, squeeze pulp from cloves; set aside.
Meanwhile, using 1/4 cup olive oil, brush baguette slices; place on baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove; cool to room temperature.
Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil; blanch peas, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and place in bowl with roasted garlic and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Smash peas and garlic with fork until just chunky. Stir in olives and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with baguette slices.
(Recipe by Rori Trovato, O Magazine)
Jonathan's Instantaneous Carrot Salad
1. Grate some carrots
2. Add some handfuls of raisins
3. Add some handfuls of toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds (see below)
4. Mix in olive oil and balasmic vinegar in more or less equal proportions
5. Eat happily
1. Put some oil into a frying pan
2. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of sunflower seeds or pine nuts
3. Salt and pepper
4. Cook on medium heat until the bottoms turn light brown, then stir
5. Repeat # 4 as need
6. Do not stand there stirring obsessively like some crazy person. This is not a productive use of your time. Just watch the color and the smell and stir a few times at the right moments.
Malory's Asparagus tart
- 1 bunch green or white asparagus (trimmed)
- 1 cup creme fraiche (or heavy cream)
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups Gruyere or Cantal cheese (grated)
- .5 tsp nutmeg (or garam masala if you've married a man who doesn't label his
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pastry shell
1) Line well-greased round dish with pastry dough. Fold over edge to create outer crust.
2) Steam asparagus for 8-10 minutes until tender but not mushy. Transfer to bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
3) Whisk together cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg (or garam masala--it works!) Pour this custard into pastry shell.
4) Sprinkle 2/3 cheese on top of custard and then arrange asparagus spears like the spokes of a wheel with their tips out. Cover with remaining cheese.
5) Bake tart in middle of oven until custard is set, about 20 minutes.
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