LWD – Chez Troy

October 24, 2008

Sarahbyrd, Juli and Liz came over Wednesday night as it was my month to make the LWD dinner. Menu was as follows:

– Salad of red lettuce (csa), radishes (csa) with sardines and green wine.
– Crusty bread with spanish cheeses (bread was provided by Liz and cheeses were provided by Sarahbyrd)
– Braised beef shortribs with sauteed Tsa Toi (csa) on a bed of semolina polenta (made w/ leeks from the csa) served with Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (provided by Juli. That stuff is yum!).
– Mitsu and pecan apple tart served with port.

Apple Pecan Tart

The tart was a variation on several simple apple tart recipes I found on the web:

– 1 sheet of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms. They come in a double pack. One sheet makes four servings)
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– two apples thinly sliced (put aside in lemon juice and water)
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– 1/4 cup of pecans
– 2 (or 3:) tbsp. of softened butter
– 3 or 4 tbsp. of turbinado sugar

Place pecans and sugar in a mini-prep or grinder and fine grind (as much as possible. Can be rough. this is rustic.:). Then add butter and form a paste. Spread paste onto the puff pastry (laid out on a cookie sheet) but leave a bit of room at the edge of the pastry. Then layer on apple slices tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes (you will see that it is a golden brown on the puffed up edges of the tart). Let cool…as long as your self control will allow! and serve. You can add ice cream to this or whipped cream but it is really great alone. Serves 4.

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Cheese on a budget may sound like a joke these days but it is possible. The other night I achieved GREAT THINGS with a little planning and some ingrained habits concerning shopping as a poor food lover.

I served the following:

– Montchego
– quince paste
– parm. reg.
– prosciutto
– new “La Tur” type cheese (w/ Goat, Cow and sheep milk)
– water crackers
– rosemary breadsticks
– dried cherries
– pistachios
– spiced nuts
– olives
– grape tomatoes

This was both the appetizer and the first course! Second course was my curry carrot soup with Creme fraiche dollops and some naan on the side. Dessert (that never happened because we were all talking so much) was supposed to be ginger ice cream with Calabrian fig molasses drizzled over it.

First of all, see the Tapas night entry. Notice any repeats? The Montchego, properly stored, lasted the week easily. Simply rough dice your left overs and put it on a serving plate. I then put a portion of parm pieces (approximately 1/5 pd. of the pd. we bought at DiPalo’s for $11. The rest will be snacked on for another week and the ends will be saved to grate on pasta for the month, probably), two tbsps of quince paste, a small handful of dried cherries and a tiny dish of pistachios on this plate. The quince paste was bought at Murray’s two months ago for $6.99. I have about 3 servings left in the container. It is used frequently with cheese but can also serve as a gourmet match on a PBand J (serving as the J). The dried cherries and all nuts were bought at Trader Joes.

ON another small plate I took 8 pieces of prosciutto (had already used the rest for sandwiches and snacks over the past few days) and rolled them into 8 individual rolls. On another small plate I took the new cheese (I had purchased a 1/2 round for $4.99 at DiPalos. After the evening I had 1/3 round left which is now in my fridge and will be snacked on, probably, tonight). On another small plate I put the homespiced nuts (I took 2 handfulls total of walnuts and pecans and toasted them in a skillet with 1 tbsp. of butter, 3 dashes of cayenne pepper, 2 dashes of salt and a little ground black pepper).

Finally, on another medium sized tray I put rosemary breadsticks, water crackers, baby tomatoes and a small bowl of olives in the center.
The rosemary breadsticks come in a box of 6 packs for $1.99 at the grocery store. I used 3 packs for this. I get my water crackers from Trader Joes ($1.29ish) or Whole Foods (365 brand is under $2) and used half a box. The olives were the other half of that two dollar container from Tapas night. The cherry tomatoes were a small portion of a $2.49 container I’d purchased and consumed throughout that week.

I highly recommend stocking up on dried fruit, nuts and crackers at Trader Joe’s. I also recommend breadsticks. I have MANY times put out a plate of rosemary breadsticks, dried cherries and some kind of nut/s when an unexpected visitor has come through and gotten oooo and aaaaah and “how did you manage?”. You can use these for salads. Use the crackers and breadsticks for snacks and soup nights. AND on and on and on and these just aren’t expensive, are good for you and keep the need for amounts of the expensive things like cheese and meat DOWN!

Total for an AMAZING spread of cheese and goodies for 4 (on a special occasion. Jared came up from DC to visit) =

$15.35

(and making the soup and naan was around $9, the molassas is $8.99 for a years supply and ice cream was $4 so dessert cost $4.50 max)

That is a dinner party for 4 that comes in under $30.

Enjoy life cheaply.

Additional note: We had soup leftovers. Enough for bowls with sandwiches the next night for dinner and we have about 3 servings we can freeze still!