Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Supper at the Farm

I recently spent a lovely weekend with Valerie and my sister up at my mother’s farm in upstate New York. The weekend was full of household chores and work on the property though in compensation for the manual labor we ate extremely well. My mother did most of the cooking, which is always a treat, and invited a few friends over for Saturday supper. As I have mentioned in past posts my mother is an unbelievable cook who truly loves to entertain and share her love of food with others. I am blessed to have inherited a rich culinary legacy from both of my parents. My father has passed down his love of food and eating out at the best and most refined restaurants of Europe and the United States. I attribute my critical judgment of food and wine as well as my love of French Haute cuisine to him, a true gourmand and wonderful chef. My mother hails from a much different culinary tradition having grown up in the Midwest. She is a master of classic American cooking with an impressive arsenal of my grandmother’s recipes at her disposal. My mother is also a big fan of Julia Childs, which has imbued her food with a rich sense of elegance and subtlety.

We ate very well throughout the weekend, snacking on the delicious homemade breads, pies, and
cookies that my mother whips up from scratch. The highlights were a butternut squash soup, the porc au prunes, apple pie, and egg salad sandwiches that were to die for. She also made a couple of loaves of bread, I could not believe it when they came out of the oven looking and smelling fantastic! Porc au prunes is a dish that my father made quite often while I was growing up and my mother makes a version that rivals his. It consists of pork tenderloin browned and then braised in the oven with stock, potatoes, prunes, and cippolini onions. It is basically a one-pot meal cooked for an extended period of time in the oven. The end result is tender slabs of pork with prune flavor running throughout and a jus that serves exceptionally well as a sauce. The one dish I contributed to the Saturday supper was a beet tartare using beautiful beets from a local farm stand on the side of Route 28. I have had a couple of vegetable tartares at various restaurants in the City and have been meaning to try my own version using roasted beets. The red of the beets resembles beef and the finished plate looks remarkably like steak tartare. The meal was a big hit and we all ate far too much before sitting down to an episode of Twin Peaks. That David Lynch is a crazy cat. Enjoy and as always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious foods and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

Red Beet Tartare with Chevre

4 large red beets

1 package of
micro greens
1 small log of chevre

a handful of chives

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Clean and wrap beets individually in aluminum foil with salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil. Roast at 350 for about an hour and a half or until fork tender. Peel and mince or pass through a ricer into a large bowl.
Prepare a basic vinaigrette with the Dijon, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour half over the beets to marinate and reserve the rest. Place a layer of the beet mixture on the bottom of a ramekin and top with a layer of room temperature chevre, careful not to disrupt the beets. Top with a second layer of beets to completely cover the chevre. Press in with the flat of a spoon to remove all air between the layers and tap out onto a small plate. Toss the micro greens in a bit of the vinaigrette and surround the tartare with small leaves. Top each tartare with chopped chives and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serves 4.

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