As I’d written last week we hosted some friends this past weekend, one of whom is a vegetarian. We ended up making a five course vegetarian dinner for all of us – a first for me.
The first course was watermelon with three garnishes (tarragon, basil and mint), Maldon sea salt and balsamic reduction. This was a pretty great way to start the meal, and it was made better by the fact that all the herbs came from my garden just minutes before I put the dish together.
The second course was a dish I’ve made now for a couple of years – heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese, pine nuts (not pictured here but made their way onto the plate) and a sherry gastrique infused with mint. The greens on the plate here are pea shoots that we picked up earlier in the day at the Durham Farmer’s Market, simply seasoned with olive oil and Maldon sea salt.
Next up was my attempt to replicate a dish that Erin and I had eaten a week earlier at Cityzen in DC: eggplant ravioli, tomato emulsion and dehydrated olive.
I had to do some research on this one, and knowing that Chef Zeibold had worked for Thomas Keller made it a little easier on me. I used the French Laundry’s pasta dough recipe as well as using beurre monte for the base of the sauce. If anything I reduced my tomato liquid either too much or used too much of it, or a little bit of both, though everything was still pretty damn tasty.
The last savory course was something I’d never made and thought would be a good idea. For the most part it was. The idea for the papas arrugas (wrinkled potatoes) came from eating at Jaleo in DC a week prior. The sauce is mojo verde. I thought the addition of fried plantain would be nice but that’s where it kind of fell apart. I was thinking of them as something like scallops and them were dry and mealy. Tostones or something like that would have been a better option, or maybe frying banana instead of plantain. I don’t know. The potatoes and mojo verde were pretty tasty all on their own.
Unfortunately there are no photographs of the dessert we had, I guess because Erin forgot to take one of what she made and I forgot because I’d already had too much wine to drink. Anyway, it was a tasty peach cobbler with peach and basil ice cream.
I think I pulled things off pretty successfully for the most part (plantain aside), and maybe I’ll keep challenging myself in the future with some vegetarian cooking.