MARCH: Lentil Walnut Pate

Ingredients:

2T butter
1 cup chopped onion
8 hard boiled eggs
4 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup of red lentils cooked in water
I cook these in water with an onion stuck with a few cloves and a carrot
Don’t ask me why? Must have read something somewhere.
1/3 cup of ketchup
1/2 to 2/3 cup of mayonnaise as needed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saute pan and cook the onions until soft and clear.
Transfer to a cuisinart and add the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth.

NON VEGETARIAN VERSION. The original recipe had one cup of sardines in tomato sauce instead of the ketchup and used brown lentils. I came up with this vegetarian option because it was prettier and so many of my clients wanted something hearty for their vegetarian guests.

I now serve this with rice crackers to keep my GF clients happy as well.

 

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MAY: Antipasti

I had to put out an hors d’oeuvre table the other night and here are the antipasti dishes I came up with.

Sliced fresh mozzarella marinated in olive oil and chopped fresh basil. Done at the last minute.

Fresh basil chopped with olive oil, s&p. ( if you have pesto use that but I like just the basil myself and you need to do it at the last minute or it will turn black.)

Roasted red peppers: you can either roast them yourself or buy them in jars to make life easy. I always have a few jars in the house.

To roast peppers: rub with olive oil and either do them on the grill outside or in the oven at 400. Turn until all sides are charred. Place in a brown paper bag until cooled. Peel and slice. Save the liquid to drizzle over the peppers or the mozzarella.

Assorted Olives

Tapenade. You can buy this in jars to have on hand. I made some myself the other day and it was very simple.  Pitted black olives in oil, a T. of capers, chopped garlic and more oil to puree. All to taste.

Cherry tomatoes

Chunks of parmesan

Grilled Bread. I had Semolina and Sourdough, both sliced, in the house. I brushed them with olive oil and grilled each slice outside until there were char marks. We then sliced them into rectangles.

Lots of wine, of course.

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Gravlax

Add luxe Gravlax to your holiday gathering for a touch of elegance.

Ingredients:

3 Tbl Vodka
3 to 3.5 lbs side of salmon, skin on

DRY CURE
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 oranges
3/4 cup of kosher or Himalayan sea salt
9 Tbs  Sugar  (.5 cup plus 1 tbs )
3/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1.5 cups of chopped fresh dill

SPECIAL SAUCE

1 egg yolk
2 Tbs whole grain mustard
1 Tbs honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1.5 Tbs cider vinegar
1.5 tbs chopped dill

Combine all of the dry cure in a small bowl.

Place a piece of plastic wrap  large enough to go around the salmon in a Pyrex or glass baking dish.

Place a double layer of cheesecloth over the plastic wrap, again big enough to go around the salmon.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the dry cure over the cheesecloth.

Place the salmon, skin side down on top of the dry cure.

Drizzle the vodka over the salmon. Then place the rest of the dry cure over the surface of the salmon. Use your hands to rub it into and to cover the fish.

Wrap the fish in the cheesecloth and then in the plastic wrap making a tight package.

Place in the refrigerator. Place weights on the fish. I use 2 bricks wrapped in tin foil, or cans of food.

Turn the fish once a day for 4 – 5 days. You may let out the juices that form after 2 days. Reseal tightly.

After 4-5 days, remove from all of the wrapping. Wipe off the dry cure. I like to use paper towels until it is all gone. Place uncovered in the refrigerator for one hour to dry. Take out and place on a cutting board. Slice very thinly.

To make the special sauce, mix together all the special sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Serve fish with special sauce, chopped egg, and minced red onions along with thin slices of Pumpernickel or Rye Bread.

 

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Mushroom Galette

Mushroom Galette PlatedThis rich and delicious cheese and mushroom tarte makes a perfect hors d’hoeuvre for virtual happy hour. Won’t the other guests be jealous.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
optional : 1 tsp dried thyme or tarragon
1/3 cup ice water

FILLING:

4 oz. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
3 Oz. cream cheese, full fat
3 Tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

TOPPING:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1.25 Tbsp assorted mushrooms, quartered and sliced
1 bunch of scallions white and green parts, sliced quarter inch
.5 tsp dried Thyme, more to taste
a Pinch of dried Fennel powder
.5 tsp dried Tarragon, more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup of grated Swiss cheese

CRUST:  This is a bit fussy but once you get the hang of it you can use it for many fillings.

Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. If you are using the dried thyme add it now. Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cuter until small flat irregular pieces.

Drizzle 1/3 cup of cold water over the flour mix and mix with a rubber spatula until it comes together. I then use my hand in the bowl to work it together very quickly so as not to heat the butter. It will be messy and uneven. Form into a mass.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and with your hands and a rolling pin roll it out into a 1/2 inch thick square. Fold in half into a rectangle and then fold that into a square.. Press down to make it hold together. Roll again to make a rough square  that is 1/2 inch thick. Repeat the folding process. Now gently flatten the dough rotating it into a 6 inch round disk.

Dust the surface with flour and roll out into an irregular 14inch circle. Fold in half and then again into a triangle. This makes it easier to move. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you make the filling and topping.

FILLING: Cube the Mozzarella and cream cheese in a small bowl and mash with the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

TOPPING:

Slice and quarter the mushrooms. Melt the 4 Tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan. When the butter has melted add the mushrooms, scallions and herbs. Saute until all the liquids have evaporated.

Season with salt and pepper.

ASSEMBLY:

Remove crust from the refrigerator and open up onto the parchment paper. Spread the filling mixture into the middle of the crust leaving the outside edge free of filling for about 1.5 inches.

Put the mushroom mixture on top of the filling. Now make cuts into the outside of the pastry crust about every 1.5 inches. Fold these over the mushrooms.

Bake in a preheated oven, 375,   for 30 minutes. Open the oven and sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the Mushrooms. Return to oven and bake another 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Serve with an extra dollop of sour cream and a salad.

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