Artichoke and Potatoes with Gruyère and Vanilla

A surprisingly delicious dish that would be a great addition to any meal. The slight sweet and musky flavor of the vanilla plays well against the roasted potatoes and silky artichokes. A little lightly smoked gruyère cheese and alleppo pepper round out the dish.

1 lbs small new potatoes
1 dozen artichoke bottoms
5 tbsp grated gruyère cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 vanilla beans, "seeded" with pods reserved
1 tsp alleppo pepper
1 tsp salt
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Place potatoes in a large skillet with vanilla bean pods and teaspoon salt with just enough water to cover. Bring water to a boil and simmer until water has evaporated off. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and brown potatoes.

Meanwhile, in a baking dish, place artichoke bottoms, vanilla bean "seeds", gruyère cheese, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Add potatoes to oven as well if they are not done.

After 30 minutes, remove from oven and season to taste. Plate with remaining olive oil and garnish with alleppo pepper.

Pea and Chervil Mousse

pea and chervil mousse, originally uploaded by six course dinner.

I just love these little egg cups. They are perfect for something small with a lot of flavor. In the past they have held soups, broths, and even juices. In fact, I don't think I have ever even used them for eggs (maybe that needs to change...).

I wanted to serve something different just before the main course of my recent big dinner and I thought a savory mousse would be an unexpected and delicious idea.

Inspired by another savoury mousse recipe in the wonderful Spanish cooking tome 1080 Recipes.

1 package frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup homemade mayonniase
1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tsp chervil
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, process peas until smooth. Add mayonnaise and process further until smooth.

Add gelatin to boiling water to dissolve and then add a little bit at a time to pea/mayo mixture. Mix well until smooth, adding chervil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into serving vessel, in this case I used egg cups. Garnish with chervil and refridgerate for at least two hours or until set.


An Actual Six Course Dinner!

I've finally lived up to the title. I shopped for, cleaned the apartment for, prepped for, cooked for, and served for a few great firends this past Sunday. Usually my dinner parties are either four or five courses, but hey, this blog isn't titled SIX COURSE DINNER just because it sounds good! So I'm raising the bar for myself. And I think I will keep it there. Unless outside forces conspire against me (farmers market shuts down, meteors, third Bush presidency, etc.) I'm gonna shoot to keep the course number at six.

Because of my apartment's, well, let's just say climate control issues, I can only usually do this type of thing in the spring and fall. I'm hoping to maybe get another one in before summer's long days have a chance to destroy all will desire to even go near an oven. Enough chit chat, here's the menu:

I - Lemon Baked Mozzarella and Mushroom Crostini

II - Red Pepper and Yogurt Soup with Grapes and Horseradish

III - Artichoke and Potato with Gruyere, Vanilla, and Alleppo Pepper

IV - Pea and Chervil Mousse

V - Trout with Mustard Manchego Bechamel, Risotto Cakes, Apple, and Watercress

VI - Grilled Chocolate Brioche with Sesame Cream

Judging by the very clean plates (before they were even anywhere near the sink) I think I did well. The Artichoke and Potato was probably the hit, which I am very pleased about. I think it was my favorite as well. Recipes will all be up shortly. And thanks to my guests for bring great wine, big smiles, and empty bellies. You are awesome.


Broccoli and Asparagus Deep Dish Pizza

After reading about making deep dish pizza in a cast iron skillet at Everybody Likes Sandwiches, I knew I had to give it a try. Such a great idea for making a quick dinner with plenty of left overs for lunch. (Unless of course breakfast wins out. I tend to believe that pizza may be at its prime first thing in the morning.) I decided to load my pizza up with asparagus and broccoli, two vegetables I have been craving lately. Mixed in you will find tomatos, shallots, and a healthy dose of farmers cheese as well. Great suggestion on the cheese!

I started off cooking the broccoli and asparagus with a little sherry and a splash of soy sauce until they just started to get tender. While I shredded the cheese, I preheated the oven to 475F. The dough was stretched to fit into an oiled cast iron skillet. Then the toppings went in just before the skillet went in the oven.

deep dish vegetable pizza

Thirty minutes later (20 to bake and 10 to cool - cast iron really holds its heat!) I dug into some very tasty deep dish. Nothing like what you can find in Chicago, but still pretty damn good.

Unfortunately, it was so good I forgot to take an 'after' photo. Just Imagine the above with nice golden melted cheese and perfect crust and you've got the idea.