Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So the main event in our weekend adventure is our Saturday night feast prepared by our groups' amateur chef. He has a vary particular style of small plates served over a long period of time. It's lovely as it allows for a lot of chatter and full appreciation of each plate. This year we had 7 courses followed by a light sweet snack.

Its always interesting to watch someone else cook and Jan has a very distinctive style and preferences for certain ingredients. In the few times he has cooked for me I have noticed a strong preference for root vegetables (though this may be influenced by the season), toasted nuts (hazelnut seems to be a strong favorite), and something involving truffle oil for which I cannot blame him. This year my favorites were the house smoked trout, the beet relish, and a shitake leek soup that he serves like a french onion with a slice of parmesan floating in the bowl. This simple soup utilizes a beet based stock which makes for a nice juxtaposition with the earthiness of shitake:

Shitake Leek Soup

3 cloves garlic crushed
1 leek, julienned
2-3 cups dried mushrooms (porcini or shitake or a combo)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
3 cups veg stock (made from blanching beets which can then be used to make beet relish)
½ cup red wine

Sweat garlic & leek in saucepan with butter and olive oil (I am informed that "sweating" means saute without browning). Add stock, wine, mushrooms, Dijon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mushrooms are reconstituted. Serve with a slice of Parmesan.

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