Dinner for this night featured tofu ceviche, lobster bisque, beet steaks, and vegan panna cotta. It marked the first time when I brought out some major cooking equipment, such as a food processor, and even a commonly used ingredient in molecular gastronomy, agar agar. While I was excited to bring out a few big guns, I was even more excited to have shared this dinner with an old college friend visiting from Boston, as well as my favorite regular dinner guests. The food turned out pretty well, but the company and the banter was legendary.
A few thoughts on this dish. Beets are actually pretty wonderful when fresh, I really enjoy using different types of beets such as golden or candystripe because they add some amazing aesthetics. Be careful on adding too much pistachio to the pee puree as it can completely overwhelm the peas very quickly. I learned about braising pistachios from Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame and let me tell you, she was on to something. The reduced broth and braised pistachios are stunningly good, I will certainly be using it as a sauce for a dish in the near future. I tried to use totally different colors to paint a picture on the plates, but my artistry was a little off this night, I feel like some stunning dishes could be created from this base. As far as vegan entrees go, this is a winner in terms of flavor and, more importantly, nutrition. Overall, I was very happy with this and would highly recommend!
Beet Steaks w/Carrots, Pistachios, & Pea Puree: 6-8 servings
- 3 beets w/stems
- 4 carrots, cut into even sticks
- 2 shallot, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces peas
- 1 cup pistachios
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- half bunch parsley
- 10 mint leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- vegetable stock
- coconut or almond milk
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Cover beets in a pot w/salted water, bring to a boil, simmer until beets are tender, peel and cut into large chunks, add fresh oregano, pickled garlic and juices to taste, salt and pepper to taste. Keep in oven at 200 to keep warm.
Blanch garlic for 1 minute, add vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, let sit for 30 minutes and up to 2 weeks.
Cut carrots into similar sized carrot sticks, toss w/olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in an oven until tender. Toss occasionally, when finished roasted toss w/drizzle of honey and season to taste. Keep in oven at 200 to keep warm.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup pistachios and 1 cup vegetable stock, simmerl on medium low heat. Continue adding stock as it reduces and simmer until tender, season to taste w/salt and pepper.
In a second pot, bring water to boil. Blanch peas until tender and remove peas to a mixing bowl. Blanch parsley and mint for 1 minute, drain and put in mixing bowl. Add 1/4 braised pistachios and 1/2 cup coconut milk. Puree combination, adding more milk for consistency, salt and pepper for taste, strain through fine sieve, heat up on low heat while stirring frequently when ready to serve.