My Kitchen’s too Small! – what’s cooking 5/30/12

This is a big week… it’s the weekend that Parley Lake Winery opens for the season!

Catalyst Cooks is making some small bites to accompany the new Parley Lake wines, for a special event we’ll be having tomorrow (Thursday 5/31).

If you’re looking for counter space, I don’t have any available.  :)  Furthermore, being in the kitchen is a bit of a blur of activity!

I am really excited to do more and more of my cooking creatively, without using a recipe.  As I become more confident in my skills, I’m able to apply basic techniques and experiment with flavors and hone the taste as I bring dishes to the finish line.  The result is heavenly, and different each time I cook.

I also enjoy making up flavor profiles that match our wines just perfectly.  This week the small bites have been a fun challenge!

On the menu at the winery 5/31:

  • Leek, potato and tarragon Amuse bouche with Frontenac Gris white wine
  • Carrot Citrus Quinoa with Lakeside White wine
  • Mango chutney & cheddar cheese with Frontenac Rosso rose wine
  • Chevre pear walnut spread with Marquette red wine
  • Olive tapenade crostini and spiced nuts with Artisan wine

To make life a bit easier, I duplicated some of these flavors in my meals this week too.

Homemade Fettucine tossed with olive tapenade and grilled veggies

The asparagus and peppers looked especially enticing at the store- so they came home with me and landed on the grill after being tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  I added fresh pasta and some tapenade to the mix and shook the closed container.  The acidity of the tapenade balances well with the natural sweetness of the grilled veggies!

Carrot Citrus Quinoa topped with a BBQ chicken breast

I made a ton of quinoa- half in my rice cooker and half in a stock pot.  The rice cooker did a much better job of cooking the quinoa and I’ll have to remember this for next time…. it was much fluffier than what came out of the stock pot.

I grated some organic carrots, which have a lot of natural sweetness… and the topped the whole mix with a citrus vinaigrette that has fresh squeezed lemon, lime, orange; some tamari sauce, olive oil and honey.   Topped with a chicken breast, marinated in sweet & spicy banana BBQ sauce then grilled, is the perfect combo!

Vichyssoise soup with homemade bread

I’m especially proud of the Vichyssoise this time because I was extra diligent about getting to the texture I wanted.  I boiled yukon gold potatoes in the skins, then used a ricer to remove the skins and get the potato nice and creamy with no lumps.  The leeks and onion were sauteed in butter then thrown into the food processor.  I combined all this with homemade turkey stock, and strained and processed all of it again.  The result is creamy and luscious without cream.  Voila!

 

Enjoy your food this week!  I’m off to the winery!

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