"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Change of Plans

I had grand plans yesterday for dinner.  Grand, I tell you.

And they would have worked too...if I hadn't made a minor...erm, correct that...major faux pas.


Soufflés really do want to be thoroughly mixed before they go baking away.  The egg yolk-bechamel  with the beaten egg whites that is.  It was going to be really lovely too, if only I hadn't been such a muppet, and too gingerly mixed those egg whites into the bechamel.  We had a couple of bunches of arugula from our CSA box, and some gorgeous chives, along with a sheep's milk cheese...ohhhhh, it was meant to be perfection.

It looked perfect:

Right?  Sadly though, when I went to dish it up, I learned a rather humbling, if not downright painful, lesson.  Mix those damn ingredients, and don't be such a coward about it.  I've successfully made a soufflé before, but well, not this time.  Bit of an uncooked soupy mess at the bottom.  Argh.

I will try it again, and once (if) I get it right, I'll be back to blog about it.

Instead, I've got tonight's dinner to share with you lovely people.  Super quick, super simple, and everything can be prepped several hours ahead.  My kind of dinner.  Not like that blasted soufflé.

Aprés soufflé bomb, I headed back to my tried-and-true Around My French Table.  Ah, Dorie, I know I can always count on you.  Now, before you turn your nose up in disgust, as I once would have, prior to living and traveling around Europe, hear me out.  Sardines are good.  Sardine Rillettes particularly.  Rather like a paté, smooth and creamy, surprisingly un-fishy.  Seriously, milder even than tinned tuna, wouldn't you know.  Served atop a nice crusty slice of bread.  Oh, delight.

And alongside, a green salad, of which I don't think I need to share a recipe...because, well, I am pretty sure anybody can throw some veg into a bowl and call it good.  But how about this for a tasty dressing...Sundried Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette!  Oh yeah, baby.  I will take some of that, thank you very kindly.

So, here's tonight's rather more successful meal.  And yes, I took the photo after I'd already begun eating.  Not due to any oversight of course.  Just so you know it's that tasty.

Okay, it was an oversight.  Forgive me and my novice ways.

Willie Green's Sun-dried Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette - adapted from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook

-makes approximately 1 to 1 1/4 cups

3 Tbs soaked and softened sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/3 cup, I like a little zing)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, because that's what I had.  The recipe calls for 1 tsp each summer savory and basil)

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes (not the type stored olive oil) in boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain, and save the water for soup or to cook grains.

I threw all the ingredients into my mini-food processor and gave it whiz about half an hour before serving.  Dreamy.

Sardine Rillettes - adapted from Around My French Table
-makes 1 cup

Two 3 3/4 oz cans boneless sardines packed in olive oil, drained (Trader Joe's has some lovelies)
2 1/2 oz cream cheese
2 tsp minced shallots
1 - 2 scallions, white & light green parts only, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 limes, or 1 lemon, or to taste
2 - 3 Tbs minced fresh herbs (I used chives and cilantro)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne or Piment d'Espelette (I used cayenne)

Throw all ingredients, except sardines and 1/2 lime, into the food processor, and blend til smooth.  If you'd like a smooth, paté-like consistency, throw in the sardines next, and whiz to combine.  If you prefer a bit of texture, mix them in with a fork.  I chucked it all in the food processor.  Easy peasy.

Taste for seasoning, and add a little more citrus, or salt and pepper, if necessary.

Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.  Will keep for up to two days.

Bon Appetit!

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