At about 2 a.m. Friday night I conceived this crazy idea that I could create a beautiful round tower of deliciousness for dinner. I've been watching my Culinary DVD's that I got for my birthday and its giving me all kinds of ideas that I have no business thinking. I am a good Au Pif cook ("by the nose," or by feel as the French call it) and even though my daughter insists my disasters are so few and minor they don't need mention, I still am more of adventurer than a professional.
It started while my husband was a few feet away, in the garage, putting new batteries into one of his electric cars; a Zenn to be specific. I could see it would take him awhile so I started in on creating the dish that had awakened me about 12 hours earlier. I knew the tower would have to hold together, it needed to be colorful, and I wanted to use the leftover shredded roasted chicken and pan drippings. I was dying to try a pesto I had seen assembled on TV, and there was an eggplant languishing in the fridge. And so the stage was set.
Often when he passes by, things are unassembled and a bit messy. He usually just smiles and asks what step I'm on. This time I was thoroughly entertained by his unfamiliarity with one of our most beloved vegetables.
"What's that?" My husband inquired.
"Eggplant. Pretty, isn't it?"
"Never knew it looked like that. Interesting..." and he was back outside.
I decided that the topping should be a cold vegetable salad so I started with tomatoes (blanching and then peeling them and then de-seeding them before adding to the eggplant, which is I have learned is a simple tomato concasse,) and then the eggplant which I diced and then quickly tossed with lemon juice and a bit of oil to keep it from turning brown while I figured out what to do with it. A quick saute and some apple cider vinegar and garlic and then in the fridge it went.
Next was the pesto, a parsley pesto to be exact. Chopping Italian parsley along with garlic, capers, lemon and olive oil and then whirring it all into a beautiful green mixture that would go into the potatoes and serve as a garnish was so fun!
After boiling the potatoes and mixing in the requisite butter, milk, sour cream and salt and pepper I rough mashed them with a fork and then blended in about a tablespoon of the pesto. It was the perfect light green color. And by improvising with the measuring cylinder I got from Pampered Chef that I thoroughly coated with oil on the inside, and tamping down each of the ingredients with the pestle so it was snug and tight, soon my masterpiece emerged!
I think I will try this technique in the future. In the meatime, enjoy the recipe for all the levels, and don't forget a squirt of lemon juice on top. It really makes it tres magnifique!!!
Get the simple recipe for all these elements by clicking here.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.