Tag Archives: tapenade

Cookbook Night Vol. II

18 Sep

Last year I wrote about Cookbook Night, a day/night when my great friend Tiffiny and I pick a cookbook we’ve not tried, spend all day making many dishes out of the cookbook, then have people over to gorge on the new recipes. We’ve been doing this for a while; it’s a day the two of us can hang out in the kitchen, catch up, laugh a lot and, well, cook up a storm. The actual night is casual. We use paper plates and disposable flatware, for instance…. though somehow we still end up massacring the kitchen. All told, it’s a wonderful time with a lot of great conversation and much food and drink being consumed.

We usually do two of these a year but given my ‘one armed status’ (see here) this is probably our only cookbook night of 2014. (We did have a great canning and preserving day earlier in the summer, when I didn’t look like Robocop. We made homemade worcesterhire sauce, some hellacious pickles and Caramelized Pineapple in Tequila… oh my is that good.) For this particular cookbook night, we chose My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Lebovitz is a wonderful writer, I highly recommend both the book and his website!

As I am still operating at less than full speed, there will be less writing and more photos in this post (I hear some cheers out there) with links to many of the recipes. Thanks to my buddy Chris for the great photos! Thanks also to the various blogs I am accessing for recipes, including Mr. Lebovitz himself.

 

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 APPETIZERS

We tried a variety of appetizers, served cocktail party style with everyone standing out back. All the apps were terrific.

In the first picture below, along with Tiffiny’s wonderful cheese plate, you see crostini spread with Homemade Goat Cheese, topped with Slow Roasted Tomatoes. This was a favorite of a number of people.  

Next is a Duck Terrine (kind of a pate) that was incredible. I’d never before made a pate and truth be told, my buddy Chris did most of the work. It sits for a few days so we made it a few nights before. It was a lot of work but not difficult work so don’t be scared. Try it sometime! It was delicious, filled with duck and pork and many other wonderful ingredients. Also served on crostini with an excellent mustard, and pickles, this Duck Terrine will impress even the most jaded foodie.

Another highlight of the night was the Artichoke Tapenade. Tapenades are a breeze, btw. You throw olives and whatever else you want into a food processor, chop it up, let it sit, then dive in. If you like olives, learn to make tapenade! 5 easy minutes of your time, max.

Recipes under each photo.

Goat cheese

Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese and Slow-roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

 Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Homemade Goat Cheese recipe, click here.

Pate

Duck Terrine

Duck Terrine recipe, click here.

Tapanade

Artichoke Tapenade

Artichoke Tapenade recipe, click here

Oh and this was the aftermath of the cocktail hour. Note the rag on the floor, my way of cleaning the floor. To quote the late, great Joan Rivers, “If God had wanted me to bend over, He’d have put diamonds on the floor.” My version of her joke would I guess be Mac-N-Cheese on the floor.

bar

yikes!

 

SOUP

Tiffiny made a terrific Gazpacho from the book. I loved this very, very much.

gazpacho

Gazpacho

 

SALADS and PALATE CLEANSER

We did three salads for the first seated course: Salad with Bacon, Egg and Garlic Toasts; Celery Root Remolaude and a Grated Carrot Salad. The first is a french classic, normally served with frisee, which was nowhere to be found! So Tiffiny did a beautiful adaptation. I myself can’t get enough of Celery Root Remo, as I like to call it, another french classic served everywhere in Paris, so I made Lebovitz’s version. And the carrot salad was a lovely, healthy alternative to many heavy dishes before and after.

As a palate cleaner, I made a weird and wonderful Gin and Tonic Sorbet, a recipe my dear friend Janet sent me, knowing how much I would love it. Props to my best friend Mark who stepped out of his Hamburger Helper comfort zone and prepped the sorbet. I will be making this sorbet often.

Here you see Tiffiny’s gorgeous salad. Recipes below.

Salad

Salad with Bacon and Egg

Frisee Salad recipe, click here.

ginandtonicice

Gin and Tonic Sorbet

 Gin and Tonic Sorbet recipe click here.

 

MAIN COURSES and SIDES

We did two mains: Lebovitz’s wonderful Mustard Chicken and a french/asian take on BBQ ribs, Caramelized Pork Ribs. Photos and recipes of both below. The sides were Braised Vegetables served with Salsa Verde (perhaps my favorite, I could bathe in the salsa verde), Lebovitz’s amazing rendition of sautéed green beans and a scalloped potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic! People went nuts over all of them, the ribs in particular. I myself could not get enough of the chicken!

 

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Mustard Chicken and Caramelized Pork Ribs

 

chicken

Mustard Chicken

 For the Mustard Chicken recipe, click here.

For the Caramelized Pork Ribs, click here

Beans potatoes

Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic; Green Beans with “Snail Butter”

For the potato recipe, click here.

For the wonderful green beans, click here.

 

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Braised Vegetables with Salsa Verde

 Scroll down for the vegetables and salsa verde recipe here.

DESSERTS

Somehow, we never ended up taking pictures of dessert. We made two: Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse, which is as wonderful as it sounds, and an amazing Orange Pound Cake, half of which I think I ate myself. I swiped this photo of the mousse:

mousse2

Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse,

Here is the recipe for the mousse. To. Die For.

Finally, a few more random photos. Try these recipes, though, or just get the book! You will be very happy with Sir Lebovitz’s food and writing.

heeses

Tiffiny’s Cheese Plate

lights 2

new lights in the back

ighths

“Zach’s Lights”

Bacon

Tiffiny frying bacon for a number of the dishes

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Caramelized Pork Ribs

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cocktail hour

Healthy Crack

12 May

I practice and teach yoga, which is not as weird as it sounds…unless you are as I was before I took a yoga class. Back then I had the idea that yoga was people in a room kind of stretching but mostly burning incense, chanting and smoking the devil’s lettuce. While there might actually be some yoga classes out there where this occurs, for the most part yoga is a brutal, kick-ass workout that puts even the most ‘manly of men’ on the floor begging for a break. It’s particularly true of the yoga I practice and teach, Bikram Yoga, which is yoga practiced in a room heated to a minimum 105 degrees.

The point of this is that practicing and teaching yoga over the last eight years has led me to explore some healthy lifestyle choices I previously would have ignored or dismissed, given I was raised in a family with many doctors. I’ve done quite a shift from West to East in terms of medicine and health. I’ve tried chiropracty (awesome) and acupuncture (effective but for me it was a little intense.) I’ve also explored a variety of approaches to food from various cleanses (I love The Master Cleanse, I also enjoy juice cleanses) to Vegan and Raw foods. I once even ‘went raw’ for about 3 months, which means all I ate was raw food. I really enjoyed it, though to eat raw full time is a much bigger time commitment than one might think. I initially thought it would be easy: no cooking! But to eat quality raw food full time takes quite a bit of planning and preparation. You certainly feel healthy, alive and full of energy eating only raw, though.

I don’t eat raw full time now… clearly. But I still love raw food. For those who are thinking a raw diet sounds weird, here are some examples of raw food: Guacamole. Pico De Gallo. Most green salads. Tapenade. Many cheeses. Sushi. Crudite. Fruit salad. Many smoothies. Pesto (sans the cheese, or with raw cheese). Gazpacho. Bruschetta (no bread, I just eat it with a spoon, terrific.) These are just a few of the regular foods most of us eat that are raw. And wonderful. Guacamole!!!!! oh my. Don’t discount raw.

Today, then, I want to give you two of my favorite raw recipes. Both are easy. The second one takes a little prep but once you’ve done the prep, it is very easy the rest of the week…or as long as the ingredients last, which may not be very long! Both also are insanely good. So good, in fact, that friends and I have termed them ‘crack’ because they are so addicting. While I mostly eat either of these in the morning for breakfast, when I am not, you know, scarfing down eggs, they both can be eaten anytime of the day. As a meal. As a snack. As a pre-egg appetizer! And both work wonderfully as healthy dessert. Give them a try and let me know what you think. And let us know if you have raw foods you enjoy eating already.

RAW FRUIT AND NUT PARFAIT

 

Click here for the recipes and more

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