Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Last Saturday, we enjoyed another delicious Austin food bloggers’ potluck, and this time it was a picnic in a park. There are several great photos from the event at Aimee Wenske Photography and Foodie is the New Forty. I wanted to bake one of my favorite cookie recipes for the potluck, and those cookies were shown in one of my earliest-ever blog posts. I shot a few new photos and updated the post after Saturday’s event. So, the cookies were easy enough, but I also wanted to experiment with a new dish. I had recently read the LA issue of Saveur which is full of beautiful photography, including the cover photo, by Austin’s own Penny De Los Santos. In the magazine, there’s a story about Wolfgang Puck and how he defined California cuisine, and there’s a photo of Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleons that caught my eye to say the least. I had some beets from my CSA, and I thought this dish would be something that could be served at room temperature and had a chance of holding its shape while being transported to a park. I did make some changes though. In the original Puck recipe, individual roasted beets were sliced, cut into equal-sized pieces with a round cutter, stacked with a goat cheese and herb mixture, and then cut into pretty wedges. That resulted in some trimmed pieces going to waste, and I thought it might somehow be simpler to layer everything into a terrine and then cut squares from it. Also, in the original, all red beets were used, but I decided to make it a little colorful and used red, Chioggia, and golden beets.
First, I roasted all the beets and then removed the skins when they were cool enough to handle. Slicing them evenly was quick work with a benriner. For the goat cheese, I softened two nine ounce pieces and added chopped oregano, parsley, and basil from my garden. I used a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap and layered golden beets first, topped with a layer of herbed goat cheese, then another layer of golden beets since they were the biggest beets I had they were used twice, more goat cheese, Chioggia beets, goat cheese, and last were the red beets. I covered the top with plastic wrap and set another loaf pan on top. That top pan was weighted down with a few jars, and this all spent the night in the refrigerator. The next day, I turned the terrine out onto a board and cut it into squares. For the orange vinaigrette, I simplified the process from the original recipe and just combined shallots, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, and olive oil. I tossed some red kale micro greens in the vinaigrette and topped each stacked square with a few of them. Rather than the suggested hazelnuts, I used some walnuts that I had on hand and scattered them about the stacks.
One of the great things about terrines is that you have to make them in advance. Because of that, I was actually on time for a party for once. And, after being pressed overnight, the layers stuck together well, and the cut pieces held their shape. However, because the beet slices were overlapped, my version didn’t have the perfectly straight lines of the layers seen in the Saveur photo, but I was still happy with it. The intended flavors were there, and beets, goat cheese, herbs, and orange make a classically good combination.