Friday, June 12, 2009

Adventures in domesticity

Mike and I have been trying to make meals at home more often, to try and save money. It is hard to save money when your nearest grocery store is a Whole Paycheck, but we've been doing our best. Yesterday I upped the ante a little bit, with a smoked salmon, leek, and goat cheese tart, accompanied by caesar salad with caesar dressing made from scratch. I swear, despite the fancy-sounding-ness, this meal was not time-consuming or difficult (or expensive). It would have been even easier, but Whole Paycheck does not carry unsweetened pie dough. I thought a quiche with sugar in the crust would be odd, so I fell back on my time-saving trick of using phyllo pastry. I used my rectangular tart pan. Recipe to follow.
Another food adventure occurred last week, when I was having dinner with my family. My dad requested that I bring up a bottle of white wine from the basement fridge, but there was only one bottle in the fridge. This one:

As you may have guessed from the label, this was a rosé wine. But what a rosé! It tasted like the magic elixir that Mary Poppins gave to Jane and Michael. It tasted like clouds of strawberries and mists of crème de cassis. We all pondered where this mystery wine could have come from, when my dad realized that the village of Chaux was home to our friend Maryléne's late aunt. We had all visited them on our family trip to France in 1999, and on that occasion we sat on their back patio and drank their homemade rosé. This must be their wine! Here is a close-up of its beauty.
For that dinner party my mother and I made a chocolate-strawberry tart, and I made cilantro-lime composed butter, for the swordfish my dad grilled. A perfect summertime dinner, all told.

Here is the recipe for Smoked Salmon, Leek, and Goat Cheese Quiche, followed by the recipe for Caesar Dressing.

Smoked Salmon, Leek, and Goat Cheese Quiche

12 sheets or so of phyllo pastry, thawed and kept under a damp napkin
cooking spray (i.e. PAM)

3-4 ounces smoked salmon (I used 3 and this was plenty)
1 leek, white part only
olive oil
100 grams soft goat cheese
1 cup milk
3 extra large eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp tarragon, minced
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray tart pan with cooking spray. Fit one layer of phyllo gently into the tart pan, taking care not to rip corners. A good technique is to gently lift the pastry with one hand while with the other nestling it into the geometry of the tart pan. Repeat spraying and pastry-fitting process for the next 11 layers, overlapping the pastry where necessary to prevent holes. Give the pastry a final spray of oil, trim overhanging pastry with a knife, and cover it with a damp napkin for the moment.
Slice the leek in half. Flush all grit from between the layers of the leek with cold water. Remove outer layer of leek. Slice into small pieces. Sauté leek in olive oil until tender but not brown.
Tear the salmon into small pieces. Put in a bowl with the leek.
Beat eggs and milk together. Crumble goat cheese into this mixture. Add tarragon, lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
Arrange leek and salmon evenly in the tart pan. Add egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn off oven and let quiche rest in oven until serving.
Thanks to for recipe source (recipe slightly altered as is my wont).

Note: In the original recipe, the author notes that one must use milk with 2% or greater milkfat, or the quiche will not set. I used 1% milk, and had no problem. The fat in the goat cheese probably helps.

Caesar Salad Dressing
(From Emeril Lagasse. We chose this recipe because we had an exquisite Caesar salad at Lagasse's Delmonico restaurant in Las Vegas. This tastes just as good as at the restaurant.)
Serve over fresh, cold Romaine lettuce, with warm garlic croutons.

1 large, very fresh egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon anchovies, finely minced (about 1/2 a fillet)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan, roughly grated

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except olive oil and parmesan. Whisk together. Continue whisking briskly, while pouring a very thin stream of olive oil into the bowl (it helps to have a sous-chef at this stage). Whisk until the mixture is emulsified (thickened and opaque), and all olive oil is encorporated. Fold in the Parmesan and adjust seasoning to taste.
Dressing keeps 24 hours. Refrigerate until use.

1 comment:

mrcichonboy said...

Excellent blog liz! :)

And for all those wondering, I will confirm that the Salmon Leek, and Goat Cheese quiche is greatness. Thumbs are up.
- I shall also add that we found that it works with grilled or cooked salmon as well. Just in case someone wants to reinvent the salmon from the night before.

- justin