Friday, July 29, 2005
When I see Shiitake mushrooms on sale, this is the recipe I reach for... It makes a heckuva lot of mushroom pate and frankly it won't last long.I believe I saw the original recipe in Gourmet, but I've made a few changes.
We took this one on our pilgrimage to the remote and hidden hamlet of Bolinas to see about Sean Thackrey's latest release of Pleiades... On that same trip we took a side journey to the Cowgirl Creamery and sampled their experimental little goat cheese coin dubbed Farallon. The pride of place though, deserves to go to the Cowgirl Red Hawk cheese. Red Hawk is an Epoisses style pasteurized cow's milk cheese, but it's one of the best American cheese we're likely to find around these parts.
For mushroom pâté
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry Sherry
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps slices thin (about 4 1/2 cups)
3/4 pound fresh oyster mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced thin (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted golden and ground fine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley leaves (wash and dry before chopping)
1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Butter a 2-quart terrine, 12 by 3 by 2 3/4 inches. Line terrine with wax paper and butter paper.
In a small saucepan bring broth to a boil and remove pan from heat. Soak porcini in hot broth 30 minutes, or until softened. Remove porcini, squeezing out excess liquid, and reserve soaking liquid. Rinse porcini to remove any grit and pat dry. Chop porcini and put in a large bowl. Strain reserved soaking liquid through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter or dampened paper towel into another small saucepan. Simmer soaking liquid over moderate heat until reduced to about 1/4 cup and return to bowl with porcini.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook shallot and garlic, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add Sherry and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer shallot mixture to a blender. In skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté shiitake and oyster mushrooms in batches, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces, as necessary. Add 2 cups sautéed mushrooms to shallot mixture in blender and add remaining sautéed mushrooms to porcini mixture.
Add cream, eggs, and almonds to mixture in blender and purée about 1 minute, or until very smooth. Add purée to porcini mixture and stir in remaining pâté ingredients until combined well.
Pour mixture into terrine and cover with foil. Put terrine in a large baking pan and add enough water to baking pan to reach halfway up sides of terrine. Bake pâté in middle of oven 1 hour and 10 minutes. ( Pâté will not be completely set in center. ) Remove terrine from baking pan and cool completely on a rack. Chill pâté in terrine, covered, at least 6 hours and up to 5 days. Bring pâté to room temperature before unmolding.
To unmold pâté, run a thin knife around edge of terrine and sip terrine into a bowl of hot water 10 seconds. Invert a large plate over terrine and invert pâté onto plate.
Serve with toasts and/or crackers.
Serves 30 as an hors d'oeuvre.
Friday, July 08, 2005
I just wanted to send you all a message to let you know that Eric and Dad and I are all fine. Thanks to all of you for your messages! We also had some phone calls to check and make sure we were okay, and people here have been very kind.
As some of you knew, we're staying in a friend's flat at Russell Square,around the corner from the Underground station and a half a block from the bus incident, but, as luck would have it, we were late finishing our breakfast yesterday morning, and were still in the flat when the explosion happened. The area was quickly cordoned off, and many of the streets here remain sealed off, though not the one that runs in front of our building, so we're out and about today.
Despite all the chaos that everyone has described at the scenes of the explosions, everyone around here is quite calm and going off to work this morning on foot.
It was quite a change from all the jubilance after the Olympic announcement, but I have got to admire how steady the people we saw on the street are. No chaos or panicked runs on the mini mart to clear the shelves of bottled water and canned goods.
We took our cue from them and made a good strong cup of tea and sat around the telly last night.
Cheers for the Brits!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Oh, the Camembert...
Okay, so back in the states, we had "camembert" -- a sort of semi tasty but a bit rubbery brie-like thing. Well, okay, maybe it was a bit headier than brie, but, eh. okay. It was better heated.
On the Air France flight over, we had the French President brand of Camembert. Okay, maybe a bit more flavorful, but, eh.
Then at L'Ardoise, Pierre Jay's fabulous little restaurant near the Tuileries, we had a stellar cheese course, with a wonderful Camembert that melted in the mouth.
But then, we drove out to Normandy and passed through the little town of St. Hilaire-de-Briouze. Really, it's not even a "little town" as the real little town is Briouze. St. Hilaire-de-Briouze isn't even on most maps and it seems to consist of the four houses on the outskirts of Briouze. Oh and the Maison Gillot laiterie, whence comes the artisanal Camembert that won the Concours Generale Agricole de Paris' gold medal.
You can buy it for 2.50 Euros in Briouze's equivalent of the local Safeway supermarket.
Not knowing what we had in our hands (silly us) we carried it all the way to Mont St Michel, planning on a little midnight snacking. Midnight found us in our hotel room with one plastic spoon between us, digging madly at the little round of the best damn cheese you ever put in your mouth. Oh, so good, you want to smear it all over yourself and lick it off.
Where can you get some, you ask? Well, here's the thing, we here in the States are not permitted to have real Camembert. Yes, the Department of Homeland security actually has a BUDGET to keep French raw-milk cheese from making it over the border. Explosive taste? Yes. Terrorist threat, hmmmm.... not so much.