Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 11-12, 2006: Tapas

Our swag of goodies from the Collingwood markets had me pulled in all sorts of directions for the rest of the weekend's eating. Once I'd hit upon it, I become set on the idea of preparing a series of tapas-style tasting plates for the evening. Michael was feeling lazier, but kindly chipped in anyway.

Round 1: strips of home-roasted capsicum with Holy Goat silk cheese, torn basil leaves, black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The capsicum and cheese were a perfect pair, the cheese being as smooth as the name suggests and very mild in taste. The balsamic added the acidity it needed, as did the tiny glass of iced limoncello I had on the side. A fabulous start, inspiring me to return to the kitchen for...

Round 2: shitake mushrooms fried in a little butter, flavoured with garlic, chilli and parsley. I intended to buy Swiss brown mushrooms but was careless at the shops (wish we'd hit the markets before the mushroom stand closed). I found the shitakes too rubbery in texture for this dish, but the flavour was spot-on.

Round 3: white bean and roasted garlic spread on toasted rye and caraway sourdough, with baby spinach leaves on the side. The dip comes from The Bold Vegetarian Chef and it's made by processing a head of roasted garlic, 2 cups of cooked white beans, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 or 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce, 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley and basil, salt, pepper, and a bit of milk to thin it out. I found the fresh herbs a bit overpowering, and a bad clash with the caraway seeds in the bread. We'll know what to do on our next attempt!

By this time Michael and I were well fed and not inclined to make our final dish. We saved it up for lunch on Sunday:

Round 4: Steamed aparagus with lemon dressing and a sprinkle of parmesan. Sensational, especially with a bit of bread to mop up the leftover dressing. You can make the dressing by whisking together the juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 of a teaspoon of pepper, and a 1/4 of a teaspoon of nutmeg. (Kudos to Kurma Dasa and World Vegetarian Food for that recipe.)


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