Thank you to all of you who have been supporting me and voting for me, helping me to advance to this Challenge. And whew,this last one was was quite the challenge ! You can click here to see my entry for Round #3. Finding out on Friday that you made it to Round # 3 and then getting your challenge completed in time to host the dinner party,take the photos, write the post and get it posted before the deadline on Sunday evening. Yes , you had better be good at planning and preparation.
I planned on a good mix of store bought and homemade appetizers. No, I didn't make my own cornichons but I did make a delicious olive & fig tapenade, an incredible chicken liver pate with cognac butter and a soon to be repeated olive bread with pancetta,cheese and herbs !
Black Olive and Dried Fig Tapenade
Black Olive and Dried Fig Tapenade
adapted from Patricia Wells The Provence Cookbook
1 cup quality French brine cured black olives pitted or any good quality brined black olives, pitted
1 cup dried figs, stem ends removed, cut into tiny cubes
1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a food processor or blender combine the olives ,figs and olive oil. Blend/process keeping the mixture a little chunky. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Baker's Foie with Cognac Butter
The Baker's Foie with cognac butter-you will have to buy Chad Robertson's book Tartine Bread for this recipe. The recipe hasn't made it to the Internet and out of respect for Chef Robertson and to support a truly incredible baker -buy the book ! The recipe is made up of chicken livers,cognac, butter,shallots and herbs-really quite tasty. Even the guests who didn't care for chicken livers thought it was delicious !
'Le cake' aux olives et au reblochon'Le cake' aux olives et au reblochon
From A Table in the Tarn by Orlando Murrin
Makes 1- 9 x5 loaf or 3 mini loaves
Preheat oven to 350
1 cup cubed pancetta
handful of black olives, rinsed, dried, pitted and coarsely chopped
generous 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper and I mean plenty-it really gives it a nice bite
1 cup cubed Reblochon or other semi soft cheese - I used Camembert
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs
1 cup milk
3 1/2 tbsp melted butter
1 large egg
3/4 cup crème fraîche
Fry the pancetta till just beginning to go brown. Leave to cool and mix in the olives.
Grease the pan or pans and sprinkle half the Parmesan evenly over the base. Whisk the flour, baking powder and seasoning in a large bowl . Mix in the Reblochon or whatever soft cheese you are using, herbs, pancetta and olives
In a small bowl, whisk the milk, butter, egg and crème fraîche. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the wet into the dry until just mixed-the mixture is meant to be thick and sticky-and stop when it is just combined. Turn into the pan , sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes (small pans) or 45-50 minutes (large pan) at 350°F till a skewer comes out clean. You really have to be careful that you aren't getting melted cheese on the skewer and thinking it's dough baking it too long ! Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes then remove from the pan and serve warm.
Dinner began with a sweet butternut squash soup,garnished with chestnuts and whipped cream; followed by a fresh salad topped with parsley,dill,a fruity extra virgin olive oil and anchovies. The main course was roasted lamb on heirloom tomatoes with roasted potatoes. And dessert, baked by moi, was the most fantastic pear cake ! I also included miniature blackberry tarts (from Whole Foods) for any non pear lovers-of which there were none, I'm proud to say. We ended with some freshly brewed espresso accompanied by Chocolate ganache cherry cups (again compliments of Whole Foods). Oh and then there was the infamous cheese platter that never made it to the table !
I changed and adjusted the menu and my preparation all week as things around me changed-just a little thing like a job interferes with all the fun things in life ! So I decided I didn't need to bake 2 desserts-1 would do the pear cake and supplement it with a purchased dessert ,because you can never have too much dessert ! And I really didn't need to make my own chocolate truffles at 2:00 in the morning when Whole Foods had those luscious chocolate cherries ! Have to be ready to go with the flow and be flexible when planning any type of dinner party.
It was a lovely evening and one of the best dinners I have ever created. And as promised here are the recipes for the wonderful food we enjoyed Saturday night on the deck in the garden. I hope you try them and enjoy them as much as we did. Bon Appetit !
Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts and Whipped Cream garnish
Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts and Whipped Cream garnishfrom Gourmet Magazine
4 large shallots, chopped1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 large thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into (1-inch) cubes (about 31/2 cups)
5 cups water
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 bottled cooked chestnuts, chopped (1/2 cup)
Garnish: softly whipped cream
Cook shallots, carrot, celery, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf in oil in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add squash, water, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and simmer, covered, until squash is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf.
Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth . Thin soup if desired and season with salt and pepper.
Place 2 chestnuts in each bowl and ladle soup over them.
Roasted Rack of Lamb Provencal with Tomatoes and Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Rack of Lamb Provencal with Tomatoes and Roasted Potatoesadapted from Gourmet Magazine
6 garlic cloves6 teaspoons chopped thyme
3 teaspoon chopped rosemary
9 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 medium tomatoes, halved - I used a wonderful combination of heirloom tomatoes from the market
3 (1-lb) Frenched rack of lamb , cut so that each section is made up of 2 chops
6 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
6 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
6 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir together with herbs and 3 Tbsp oil.
Put tomatoes cut sides up in an oiled small baking dish and drizzle with a third of garlic mixture. Roast until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and season with 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown lamb on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and discard oil from skillet.
Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat and cook shallots and potatoes, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in water and half of remaining garlic mixture and remove from heat.
Rub remaining garlic mixture on fat side of lamb racks. Arrange lamb over potatoes and roast in oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F for medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let stand, loosely covered, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with tomatoes.
Mireille’s Tomato,Green Pepper, Olive and Anchovy Saladadapted from Patricia Wells The Provence Cookbook
10 oz of arugula washed and dried- you can use whatever salad greens you prefer
6 semi ripe tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into thin slices
1 green bell pepper trimmed, seeded,cut into thin strips
2 shallots, peeled and cut into thin rings
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup finely minced fresh chives
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 Anchovy fillets in olive oil,drained
12 brine cured black olives-pitted
Fresh ground pepper for seasoning
Layer the bottom of a large, shallow bowl with the arugula. Arrange the tomatoes as the next layer. Scatter the pepper strips, shallots,parsley and chives on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Arrange the anchovies in a criss cross pattern on top of the tomatoes and peppers. Scatter the olives on top.
Pear Cakealso known as Three-Pear Cake (Gateau aux Trois Poires)
From Patricia Wells The Provence Cookbook
**Just as delicious made with one variety of pear
1/2 cup all-purpose flour1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pear eau-de-vie
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 16ths
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pear eau-de-vie (a liqueur)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Equipment: A 9-inch spring-form pan
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter the pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir to blend. Add the vanilla, eggs, oil, eau-de-vie, yogurt, and lemon zest, and stir until well blended. Add the pears and stir to thoroughly coat the fruit with the batter. Don't be alarmed at what little batter you appear to have !
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until fairly firm and golden, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, egg, eau-de-vie, and lemon zest and stir to blend. Set aside.
Once the cake is firm and golden, remove it from the oven and pour the sugar mixture on top of the cake, evening it out with a spatula. Return the cake to the oven and bake until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 10 minutes more, for a total baking time of 50 minutes.
Remove to a rack to cool. After 10 minutes, run a knife along the side of the pan. Release and remove the side of the spring form pan, leaving the cake on the pan base. Serve at room temperature, cut into thin wedges. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream..mmmm
If you try nothing else you have to make this cake , you trust me right ? Bake it you will love it !
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