Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 11, 2008 at 11:23am

Ahhh,Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely day! I sure am – John’s doing the dishes from last night’s dinner party – now that’s a gift. (As you can see in the pic, we put a fair amount of tableware through its paces.)

So, last night’s dinner menu (recipes posted in comments, below). I leaned pretty heavily on one of my favorite cookbooks, Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. The book is broken down into seasonal menus, eight/season – I didn’t follow any one menu to the letter, but pulled favorite little gems from here and there, all spring-y, all tasty. Stu and Rudy brought fabulous wines to taste and share, also listed below.

Swiss Chard Tart with Goat Cheese, Currants, and Pine Nuts
Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Champagne, Reims (France)
Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc 2006, Sonoma County

McGrath Farms’ Watercress Soup with Gentleman’s Relish Toast
Adrian Fog Pinot Noir 2003, Anderson Valley, Savoy Vineyard (brought by Stu)
Chambolle-Musigny Clos du Village Monopole 1999, Domaine Antonin Guyon, Cote d’Or (France;
brought by Rudy)

Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic & Herbs (my recipe)
Artichoke-Potato Hash with Black Olive Aioli (because there were no artichokes available at Byerly’s – very odd – we instead had Asparagus-Morel-Potato Hash, worked quite nicely)
Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru 1992, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Cote d’Or (France; brought by Rudy)
Cain Five 2003, Napa Valley

Buttermilk Lemon Tart (the almond crust is via Sunday Suppers, from the cherry tart recipe; lemon filling is mine)

Despite being pretty wiped out from his birthday party the night before, Nathan was able to join us for (most of) dinner (he’s a BIG fan of Bizarre Foods). Man, it was great to finally pull this party together, I’m kinda bummed that it’s over. We’ve had good intentions, but getting Zim and Rudy in the same room, in the same city, at the same time, is a bit of a challenge – how crazy we pulled it off twice in one week! I particularly had a blast cooking all day, I don’t get to do that very often these busy days. The only thing that could have made the day better was a lot less rain, and just a bit of warmth, for appetizers on the deck. But whatevs, we have all summer for outside fun (listen to me, so nonchalant about summer, ha), and having everyone in the kitchen with me while I cook is pretty damn sweet.

Today, leftovers baby! Already had some soup for lunch, nice. Perhaps a bite of a lamb chop in a bit. Dinner tonight a laLucia’s, with Mom and Stacey, to celebrate Mother’s Day (natch) and Stacey’s Birthday – Happy Belated Birthday Stacey Pooh (here with Cooper; I know she’s having a Happy Mother’s Day, ha.)

Moderate it: Stace, you may feel older, but you’re never as old as me. After party – enjoy the party leftovers! It’s too much work for just one meal – just be ready to pare back to normal. Er, tomorrow.

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  1. By Stephanie on May 13, 2008 at 10:45AM

    Swiss Chard Tart with Goat Cheese, Currants, and Pine Nuts
    Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
    Serves 6

    Note: assemble the tart in the morning, cover, and refrigerate. Bake just before you’re ready to serve.

    1 frozen sheet all-butter puff pastry (8x12 inches or equivalent; Trader Joe’s carries an all-butter puff pastry – otherwise, Pepperidge Farms is fine)
    2 large egg yolks, one whisked with 1 tsp. water (reserve the other)
    1/3 c. pine nuts
    1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 sprig rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary)
    1 tsp. thyme leaves (or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves)
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    3/4 c. finely diced red onion
    1/3 c. dried currants, soaked in boiling hot water for 10 minutes
    1 Tbsp. excellent quality balsamic vinegar
    1 large bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, center ribs removed, roughly chopped
    1/2 c. whole milk ricotta, drained
    1/4 c. crème fraiche
    6 oz. goat cheese

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Defrost the puff pastry slightly and unroll it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a paring knife to score a 1/4-inch border around the edge of the pastry. Brush egg yolk-water mixture (egg wash) along the border (you will not need all of the egg wash). Chill the puff pastry in the freezer until ready to use.

    Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool. Return pan to heat and add olive oil, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, red onions, and soaked currants. Saute a few minutes, and add half the Swiss chard. Cook a minute or two, tossing the greens in the oil to help them wilt. Add the second half of the greens, and season with a heaping 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of black pepper. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over and cook for several more minutes, stirring frequently, until the greens are tender and liquid is evaporated. Cool in the pan. Stir in the pine nuts.

    Place the ricotta, remaining egg yolk, half the goat cheese, and crème fraiche in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth, season with salt and pepper.

    Spread the ricotta mixture on the puff pastry inside the scored border, arrange the greens mixture on top, and crumble the remaining half of goat cheese on top. If you aren’t ready to bake, cover the tart with plastic and chill.

    Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Check underneath the tart to make sure the crust is really cooked through (if you under-bake the tart, it will be soggy).

    Cool a few minutes, and then transfer the tart to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

  2. By Stephanie on May 13, 2008 at 10:38AM

    For grilled lamb chops: I cut a rack of lamb into two-chop segments for grilling - then each chop has a crusty side. Finely mince 3-4 cloves of garlic with salt, 1 tsp. of dried rosemary leaves, and 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves. Stir together with 1/3 c. of olive oil, then using your hands, smear the paste onto the lamb chop pieces. Sprinkle each piece generously with coarse salt. Grill over hot coals (watch flares) to medium (pink inside); timing depends on your grill, about 6 minutes/side. Let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes, slice the two-chop segments into single chops and serve.

  3. By Stephanie on May 13, 2008 at 10:33AM

    Artichoke-Potato Hash with Black Olive Aioli
    Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
    Serves 6

    For some odd reason, there were no artichokes to be found the day I prepared this – on a whim I substituted asparagus and morel mushrooms and it was lovely. Also – I could not get the aioli to emulsify with just a yoke, so I used a whole egg. In the end, because the flavors end up rather diffused/melted into the dish, I would use regular mayonnaise, stir in olive tapenade, lots of fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. It’s not as lovely as a homemade aioli, but it would work quite nicely, I’m sure.

    This recipe is written to be served with grilled steaks. I served it alongside grilled lamb chops. Either would be tasty.

    Note: You can roast the potatoes and sauté the artichokes ahead of time. Sate them together to make the hash just before serving; the hash can sit in the pan while you finish the steaks (meat). You can make the aioli a few hours ahead as well.

    1 1/4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
    2 Tbsp. + 1/2 c. olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
    4 thyme sprigs
    1 bay leaf
    12 baby artichokes (or two small bunches asparagus, top three inches only, diced)
    4 oz. morel mushrooms, halved (optional)
    2/3 c. sliced shallots
    2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
    Black Olive Aioli (below)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt. Place in a roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil, and roast about 45 minutes, until tender when pierced. (Depending on the size, age, and variety of potatoes, cooking time with vary.) When potatoes are cool, discard herbs, dice the potatoes, and set aside.

    While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the artichokes. Cut off the top third of the artichokes, and remove the tough outer leaves, down to the pale yellow-green leaves. Using a paring knife, trim the bottom of the stem and the stalks. Cut each artichoke in half and remove the fuzzy choke if there is one. (If you clean the artichokes ahead of time, immerse them in a bowl of cold water with the juice of one lemon added, to prevent them from turning brown. Be sure to drain and dry them well before cooking.)

    Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour 1/4 c. olive oil in the pan and wait a minute. Add the artichokes, and season with 1 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Turn the heat to medium, and sauté about 10 minutes, tossing often, until the artichokes are golden brown. Remove artichokes to a plate. (If you’re using asparagus and morels instead, sauté the asparagus until browned, about 10 minutes, add the morels and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and continue, below.)

    Add the remaining 1/4 c. of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the potatoes, and season with 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the potatoes are crispy on one side. (Don’t try to move them or turn them if they are stuck to the pan; they will eventually release themselves, just be patient.) After 8 minutes, when they’ve browned nicely on the first side, turn the potatoes in the oil, letting them color on all sides. (To work ahead, off heat, stir in the shallots, artichokes, and remaining minced garlic. Cover lightly with foil, continue per below before carving grilled meat.)

    When the potatoes are golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and add the shallots, artichokes, and remaining 2 minced cloves of garlic. Toss well, and sauté the hash together 5-6 minutes, until the artichokes are hot and the shallots are translucent. Toss in the chopped parsley just before serving.

    Serve hot with a dollop of Black Olive Aioli, topped with slices of grilled steak (or lamb chops).

    Black Olive Aioli
    1 extra-large egg yolk (I had to use one whole egg to achieve emulsification)
    1/2 c. grapeseed oil (I used expeller-pressed avocado oil; the goal is a very clean, tasteless oil)
    1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil (should taste very good on its own)
    1 small garlic clove, minced
    1/4 c. pitted black oil-cured olives, half minced, half coarsely chopped
    1/2 lemon, for juicing
    pinch cayenne pepper
    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place the egg yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Begin whisking in the grapeseed oil drop by drop, as slowly as you can bear. Continue in this manner, following with the olive oil, as the mixture thickens. Once the mayonnaise has emulsified, add the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking all the time. If the mixture gets too thick and is difficult to whisk, add a drop or two of water.

    Fold the minced garlic, minced olives, and chopped olives into the mayonnaise. Season with salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper to taste.