Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dinner, plus One

Last night we had an easy fun favorite-- Gyros! I served them with two kinds of Alexa potato products... seasoned red potatoes and we also tried a bag of their new Sweet Potato French Fries (the unseasoned ones-- they also have ones with a chipotle seasoning). The Alexa oven roasters and the french fries are great products and an easy baked substitute for traditional deep-fried fries. I tossed each in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper and in 18-22 minutes, Voila! Starch! :) I also made a homemade tzatziki and I used the new Greek style yogurt from Stonyfield Farm. I have to say, I wasn't crazy about it. The yogurt itself tasted a bit chalky. I prefer using regular plain yogurt, or if you want to use Greek yogurt use Fage. For the filing of the gyros I sauteed chicken breast pieces in olive oil with some sliced shallot and capers. I also added in a bit of white wine and some oregano, salt and pepper. Usually I serve feta with Gyros as a topping, but when we were at WF I couldn't find feta crumbles so I picked up some goat cheese crumbles instead. It's a less authentically Greek taste, but it was very good. The goat cheese was tangy and got a bit soft and melty with the hot chicken. Served up with fresh diced tomatoes on fresh pita-- Yum!

Then, for tonight I tried to recreate one of the best meals I've ever had-- Coquilles St. Jacques from the Restaurant le Christine in Paris. When we were in Paris last, we ordered in from the Restaurant le Christine (a great feature of staying at the Relais Christine is that you can order in-room dining from the restaurant next door!) and I got the Coquilles St. Jacques and it was completely amazing. The scallops were cooked to perfection, super fresh and in the most wonderful sauce. Not to mention the amazing mashed potatoes that they were delicately placed atop. Scrumptious! Anyway, two years have passed and I hadn't yet tried my hand at this dish, though I'd been meaning to. This week I decided it was finally going to happen. Sadly, neither Martha Stewart's encyclopedia of cooking nor Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris had a recipe, so I went to Epicurious. On the website I found a recipe from Gourmet Magazine's March 2001 issue. I decided to serve it with mashed potatoes (for which I used California golden potatoes) and green beans sauteed in olive oil with garlic and cashews. I pretty much stuck to the recipe (though I did dredge the scallops in flour before sauteing them). Can I just say! The burre blanc was terrific! The tarragon only gave the slightest hint of licorice, and all in all it was just really tasty. While mine wasn't as amazingly outstanding as that in Paris, it was pretty good, especially for my first time making scallops. Yum!

Also, for a little history lesson in the Christian symbolism of the scallop shell and it's relation to St. James, check out this link on Wikipedia. Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols discussed this connection while walking a part of the Pilgrim's Walk on one of the episodes of Spain on the Road Again!

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