Everyone's calling and asking..."what should I make"...you would think that this was the first Thanksgiving. In some ways it is. Either you make everything exactly the same year after year or you want to have something new.
Some friends came by the other day for a paella. I had just purchased a paella pan and wanted to experiment a bit. To start I made a selection of tapas or appetizers. I didn't photograph while I was cooking -- too nerve racking. These are each mostly very simple but with lots of variety. For dessert I made a Chestnut Cake (Rose Levy Berenbaum) covered with a chocolate ganache. I served it with a Chestnut puree and some Rum Raisin ice cream. We drank lots of wine...and enjoyed a post prandial promenade around the block.
Here is the list and a few recipes and photographs:
Celery Root Remoulade
Melon, Artichoke and Hard Salami
Green Beans with Pine nuts
Sweet and Sour Beets
Spicy Oil-cured Black Olives
Celery Root Remoulade
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large celery root or 2 medium, peeled
2 tablespoons flat-leafed parsley, minced, optional
Whisk together the egg yolk and mustard. While whisking, pour in 1 teaspoon oil a few drops at a time to create a thick mixture. Continue whisking, adding oil in a thin stream
1 teaspoon at a time, until sauce is thick and creamy. Whisk in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt then cover with plastic warp and chill. Yes, this is mayonnaise.
Using a mandoline or a large knife, cut celery root into 1/8-inch thin slices. Stack 2-3 celery root slices and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch matchsticks. Repeat. Transfer julienned celery root and remaining lemon juice to a large bowl; toss to combine. Add reserved remoulade and toss. Cover salad; chill until celery root wilts slightly, about 30 minutes.
Garnish with parsley.
Sweet and Sour Red Beets
about 2 tablespoons each of sugar or honey, and white vinegar
Mix the sugar and vinegar in a small bowl, taste. Mix until you get the right balance of sweet and sour then pour over the beets. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or put into a jar and leave for a couple of days.
1 package of white mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons minced parsley
salt and pepper
Rinse the mushrooms and cut the stems even with the bottom of the mushroom. If some are large, cut them in half. The mushrooms will shrink after cooking.
Pour the oil into a non-stick frying pan and heat. Add the mushrooms and toss gently. Add the garlic. Cook until the mushrooms cook through and release their liquids. Stir in the parsley. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
This can be refrigerated and reheated. Serve warm.
Melon, Artichokes and Hard Salami
1 cantaloupe melon, peeled, cut into large dice
frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's)
hard Salami (or artisanal chorizo), outside paper removed, diced small
Dressing: 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar,
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, salt and pepper.
Use your own discretion as to how much you want to make. There should probably be a bit more melon than artichoke hearts, but combine how you like.
Heat the olive oil and add the artichoke hearts, saute until slightly browned. Cool.
Toss the melon, artichoke hearts and salami or chorizo together.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper, whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the melon mixture and toss well. Serve room temperature.
Green Beans and Pine Nuts
about 1 pound fresh green beans, topped and cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces, roughly
1 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
mint and oregano, fresh if you have, or use dried, a few pinches of each, or to taste
Dressing: 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, salt and pepper
Boil the beans for about 5 minutes in salted boiling water then drain and run some cold water over them. They should still be crispy. Place in a bowl large enough to contain them.
Toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan until lightly browned then add the smoky paprika and add to the green beans.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the shallots then garlic to wilt. Add to the green beans along with the mint and oregano. Toss.
Mix the dressing but only add it right before you are going to serve the green beans. The acid in the vinegar will change their color. Mix the vinegar with the salt and pepper then whisk in the oil....you know: make a vinaigrette. [By the way, it's vin-ah-gret and not
Spiced Oil-cured Black Olives
1 jar oil-cured black olives
zest of half a lemon
a pinch of red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, if you have some
a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil
Mix all together.
I didn't serve this that night...but here is a nice cheese appetizer...that is very easy.
Easy Cheese Appetizer
1 log of plain goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon z'atar and/ or fresh thyme, oregano, marjoram
Extra-virgin olive oil
Place the goat cheese, heavy cream and herbs into a food processor and blend until smooth. Into a ceramic serving bowl place a sprinkling of the fresh herbs on the bottom.
Scrape out the goat cheese mixture and smooth the top with a spoon. Sprinkle some more z'atar (or smoky paprika) and fresh herbs on top and drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with a crusty bread and/or raw vegetables.