Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hello, Haroseth

I love it when you try something new and it feels as though you've known it all along. I had not ever tried haroseth, a traditional Passover dish. But it has a familiar taste to it. It is like remembering fig newtons and rugelach. A mix of dried fruit and toasted nuts, spices and a dash of wine, this sweet spread is served with matzoth at Passover. I decided to use the mixture as a tart filling.

Sweet dough is fun to make. It's a tactile experience from the start, from incorporating the butter and dry ingredients to the little tin foil pockets of beans you put into the shells while they bake. Sweet dough forgives all your stretching and maneuvering into the tins. It's flexible and easy-going. And the sweet buttery result is worth the mess in your kitchen.

For the dinner party, I made some savory dishes to partner with the tarts. A mixed vegetable salad with a Greek twist, Turkish lamb meatballs with accompanying roasted red pepper sauce, as well as hummus and flatbread. The lamb meatball recipe is from Bon Appétit, earlier this year. They were easy to make, but the fragrance lasted for days, even after tart baking. Not an unappealing smell, but still strong. (Open your windows and run a fan.) The roasted red pepper sauce recipe called for pomegranate molasses, which I did not have or try to locate. Instead, I used a bit of maple syrup and a dash of balsamic. I have no idea if this comes close to the intended flavor, but it worked for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

oh, the possibilities

The warm spinach salad from Breakside Brewery has had occupied my mind for days. They toss the spinach with chèvre, prosciutto, carmelized onions, wild mushrooms, and roasted garlic - with an olive oil/balsamic dressing. (These are a few of my favorite things...) I shared a few bites, but later realized I had eaten all the creamy chèvre bites before sharing. I guess we'll have to go back.

I half-created a similar salad tonight, but my garlic wasn't roasted in time and I didn't have the prosciutto or mushrooms. So, it was a different salad. But I did have pancetta, which was a suitable meat substitution and sparked my taste memory.

In the spirit of cured meat and cheese happily coexisting, and because I was obsessing about that salad at breakfast, I scrambled some eggs and added comté and salami. Oh, the possibilities.

Speaking of obsessing about food... Over the last couple months, I have tried again and again to eat at a food cart called Nuevo Mexico, but every time I get there, they are closed. Too late, too early, out of food. They leave notes stating the reason. I don't know if I should give up or try harder. I'm tempted to start leaving notes in response. "What does it take to get a sopapilla?"