Sunday Suppers: Rustic Rhapsody

Sunday Suppers.
Rustic Rhapsody.
Great make-ahead dishes…
and for savory marinade.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great menus…
and good times with good company.
Garlic and Cheese Crostini
Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon
Ratatouille
Olive Oil Couscous Cake with Creme Fraiche + Date Syrup
Garlic and Cheese Crostini
24 (1/3-inch-thick) baguette slices
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
5 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Arrange bread slices in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and brush tops with 3 tablespoons oil. Stir together remaining tablespoon oil, cheese, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle each slice with about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture, mounding it slightly.  Bake until topping just starts to melt, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and kosher salt to taste.  Serve warm.
Try a splash of Prosecco for extra sparkle
Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon
1 1/2 cups dried Italian butter beans — soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Rinse the beans and transfer them to a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf and 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until nearly tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season the beans with salt and simmer until they are tender, but still hold their shape, about 45 minutes longer. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the onion and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain the onion and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Drain the beans. Add them to the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss. Let the beans stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, fold in the parsley and tarragon.
NOTE: The dressed beans can be refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature and fold in the herbs before serving.
Ideal for Sunday suppers because of the simplicity + can be made ahead…and… for extra marinade soak.
Ratatouille
2 1/2 lb tomatoes (4 large)
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
1 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large onions (1 1/2 lb total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 assorted bell peppers (green, red, and/or yellow; 1 1/2 lb total), cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium zucchini (2 lb), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch together in a 4-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife. Coarsely chop tomatoes and transfer to a
5-quart heavy pot with garlic, parsley, basil, and
1/3 cup oil. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with
1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook onions in 3 tablespoons oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, then add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook bell peppers with 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer peppers with slotted spoon to bowl with onions. Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer zucchini with slotted spoon to bowl with other vegetables. While zucchini are cooking, pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Add remaining oil (about 1/4 cup) to skillet and cook eggplant over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to12 minutes. Add vegetables, remaining teaspoon salt, and black pepper to tomato sauce and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour. Cool, uncovered, and serve warm or at room temperature.
NOTE:  can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature or reheat before serving.
Olive Oil Couscous Cake with Crème Fraîche and Date Syrup
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sweet Muscat wine
6 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chilled créme fraîche
12 dates, pitted, thinly sliced
1/2 cup date syrup*
*Available at Middle Eastern markets and from igourmet.com
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 3-inch-high sides with olive oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper round; brush parchment with olive oil. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Stir in couscous. Whisk olive oil and Muscat in another medium bowl to blend. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, eggs, and 1 cup sugar on high speed in large bowl until thick and pale yellow, about 7 minutes. Transfer to large wide bowl. Stir in orange peel. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in flour mixture alternately with olive oil mixture in 4 additions each (mixture may deflate slightly). Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on work surface to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake cake until dark brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan at least 30 minutes. Turn cake out onto platter (cake may fall slightly in center).
NOTE:  Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool.  Cover with foil ans store at room temp.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream and creme fraiche in large bowl until soft peaks form. Cut cake into wedges. Place 1 cake wedge on each plate. Drizzle date syrup over.  Spoon whipped cream alongside.
Sprinkle dates.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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