Search This Blog

Friday, September 18, 2009

Assiniboine Park Conservatory cooking series with MLCC - Fundraiser

I had the great pleasure of participating in a fundraising/educational event for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory at the Madison Square MLCC. Wednesday's theme was Southern France so I prepared the following items for evening. We also enjoyed some lavender syrup in a cocktail to pair with the rich chocolate mousse.

Enjoy! Contact the Assiniboine Park Conservatory to reserve your space in their other events.

1. Black olive Tapenade

1 cup black olives, pitted
½ cup softened sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ (+) cup Olive oil
Pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients to a paste in a processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. Use on crackers, baguettes, stuffed in meats, etc.


2. Ratatouille

1 large Globe Eggplant, cubed
½ (+) cup good olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb tomatoes, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs dried Herbes de Provençe
Pepper, to taste

If eggplant is not absolutely fresh, cut and salt and rinse out after 30 minutes. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onions until translucent. Add eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and garlic and stir gently. Add the Herbes de Provençe, season with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until much of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy with baguettes, couscous, rice, etc.

3. Foie Gras with apples and Calvados

1 Foie Gras, trimmed, de-veined and cut into serving-sized pieces
2-3 tart apples, cored and thinly sliced
2-3 shallots, minced
Drizzle olive oil
¼ - ½ cup Calvados
¼ cup unsweetened butter
Pinch truffle salt or truffle oil
Crostini slices

Sauté shallots until translucent in 1 tsp butter and some olive oil. Add apple slices and sauté until soft. Add a healthy splash of Calvados and simmer. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining unsweetened butter with some olive oil and quickly add the foie gras slices. The butter/olive oil will prevent too much smoking. Turn slices and add Calvados and reduce.

Place apple mixture on a crostini slice and top with a piece of foie gras. Add some cracked pepper and a pinch of truffle salt.


4. Chocolate Honey Mousse

Sweetening the mousse with honey adds a Provençal touch to a classic French dessert.

2 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons honey
Stir 3/4 cup cream, chocolate and honey in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally.
In large bowl, beat 1 1/4 cups cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Divide mousse among eight 3/4-cup ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream to firm peaks. Spoon a dollop of cream in center of each mousse.

1 comment:

Elatia Harris said...

MM-M! Marvelous! A while back I was trying for a chocolate-honey mousse with a semi-wild provencale note -- I used a recipe a lot like this one with chestnut honey (very dark, great synergy with chocolate.) I couldn't believe how easy it was to get a great texture and structure. Also, I suffused the whipping cream with sprigs of lavender 24 hours before beating it into soft peaks. While you couldn't say this dessert was refreshing, you could say it was floral...