Across town, while the weekend cake-baking marathon ensued at my place, plans for a special birthday dinner for Anna were in the works for Sunday evening. Howard, who reigns as an artist in his kitchen, designed the menu for the dinner.
Carrot salad with orange and purple carrots encircled by multi colored beet slices topped with arugula pesto – no garlic
Farro tart with ricotta, Parmesan and “a little bit of Gruyere cheese” to give it flavor and fresh green beans
Rose mashed potatoes topped with a tender piece of lobster tail in a port wine sauce with pistachios
The beverage was a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley. http://www.staglinfamily.com/2005saluschard July 27, 2010.
Dessert: Coconut Cake II
All the vegetables were carefully chosen at the farmer’s market by Howard and Anna and artfully prepared. Howard precut the beautifully colored carrots before I arrived. (There are purple carrots, I swear.) No matter how many times I asked if I could help cut up something Howard’s answer, “There’s not enough room.” was polite code for, stay out-of-the-way. I didn’t press him. Since I was coming off of the sugar high from my earlier frosting fiasco, I figured why spread chaos.
I watched and was tutored. Each beet was sliced and carefully placed in a semicircle around the carrots. (Wow! That’s a lot of color.) The beets were like a rainbow on the plate as they surrounded the dazzling carrots. The touches of bright green arugula pesto pulled the plate all together. The carrots were topped with some walnuts and drizzled with a sprinkling of olive oil.
The Farro tart was a brand new pleasure. Farro is a rustic form of wheat grown in Italy and parts of North Africa. The Farro was baked into the ricotta tart. The tarts consistency was creamy and unlike pasta very light. The flavor was so fresh and indescribable because I have never tasted anything so simple yet refined. (I inhaled it.) The green beans were briefly plunged into boiling water. They were a crisp and refreshing contrast to the ricotta. Fresh basil was added at the last moment!
The color of the rose mashed potatoes was a beautiful pale rose color. (The growers from the Farmer’s Market cut a sample in half to display the rose color flesh of the potato.) I did enjoy the potatoes with the port wine sauce thanks to Rene who kindly traded the grits that Howard had made for me. (Grits were made because I usually don’t eat potatoes.) Not only did they look pink the taste was soft and fluffy – cloud like.
It was a beautiful meal! Howard rules! Everyone raved about it. There is hope for civilization.
Farro tart recipe from Epicurious online: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Savory-Farro-Tart-232785
Your recipes and comments are welcome.