After a great costume party with my cooking club this weekend, we decided to keep things simple Monday night with appetizers and wine. We had a small group this week, and it was wonderfully cozy and laid back as we puttered about the kitchen, stretching our dining into a 3-hour graze.
We started with mounds of tender French bread dipped in copious amounts of fruity olive oil, balsamic vinegar and an assortment of herbs.
Jon presented us with another of his amazing inventions: Roasted Mozzarella Potato Slices with Pistachio Portabella Cream. It was a truly crazy ensemble of flavors, but boy oh boy was it ever good!! The potatoes were crispy and salty and the cream, oh my, it was fabulous. I don’t even like mushrooms and I ate every last bit!
I made mini Zucchini Tarts with puff pastry, pesto and roasted zucchini topped with toasted Parmesan. Mmm, I love those savory little morsels!
Jenny dazzled us with not one, but THREE kinds of roasted pumpkin seeds: Salted, Worcestershire, and Cinnamon and Sugar. Mercy – they were all scrumptious and toasted to perfection.
In keeping with my newly established tradition, I now present two more of my beloved cooking cohorts: Toby and Cameron. Toby makes the most fabulous soups and is my fellow World War II history addict. (Foyle’s War, anyone?) Cameron is our resident meat master, and with a bit of smoke and his own special rubs and sauces can turn any meat (even SPAM!) into perfection. Cameron just returned from South Africa and very soon I’ll be featuring a fabulous South African dinner he made with his awesome girlfriend, Robin.
I sure am blessed with a lot of wonderful cooks in my life. Who are some of your favorite people to cook with?
Jon’s Roasted Potato Slices with Portabella Pistachio Cream
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
salt and pepper
Several slices mozzarella cheese, cut to fit potato slice
1/2 onion, chopped
1 baby portabella mushroom, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt to taste
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp dried basil
- Preheat the oven to 400
- Slice 3 small potatoes 1/8″ thick
- Toss potato slices with oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard powder.
- Spread evenly on cookie sheet and bake until crispy (approximately 20 minutes)
- For Sauce:
- Heat olive oil in saucepan and saute onion and mushroom until onion is transparent.
- Add garlic, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, and salt, and saute 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Add pistachios to food processor and chop finely. Add onion/mushroom mixture and yogurt and blend until smooth.
- Just before potatoes are done, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on each potato slice and bake until cheese melts and begins to brown.
- As they come out of the oven spoon some of the yogurt sauce over top and sprinkle with dried basil.
Krista’s Mini Zucchini Pesto Tarts
1/2 package puff pastry sheets, thawed and cut into 12 squares
1/2 jar pesto (sun-dried tomato is my favorite, but olive tapenade works well too)
1 baby zucchini, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place puff pastry squares on cookie sheet and top with layer of pesto.
- Toss zucchini slices with olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange on top of pesto, about 4 slices per square.
- Sprinkle each square with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry has puffed and cheese is golden.
- Serve warm.