- Whole wheat sourdough toast with guacamole (avocado, lemon, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt) - I think Gitane did this as deconstructed guacamole
- Grilled eggplant with olive tapenade, pesto, and buffalo mozzarella on spring greens - Gitane did this with watercress and goat cheese, but everyone wanted the spring greens and I thought buffalo mozzarella would be cooler
- Roasted tomatoes
- Tasting array of Oleum Vitae olive oils (wasabi, raf tomato, ginger, pomegranite, and chive)
As for the eggplant dish, everyone enjoyed that. Personally, I think I will need to tweak it before it is ready for a bigger party (note, I need to take a picture of it!). What I plan to do if serving it again is to make it more of a side dish. Last night I served it on a big bed of greens, which people could season with my spicy cilantro-chile spread or balsamic vinegar. In the future, I think I would cut the greens in half. As for the eggplant, the slices seemed too small, so I will try to do bigger slices so that I can stack them easier like Gitane does.
I enjoyed the roasted Roma tomatoes, as did the others. They thought having them to go with the avocado toast would be best. In my opinion, I think the possibility of having the roasted tomato with an avocado topping, while also sounding like a guilty pleasure dish, is also tantalizing enough that I must test it out. Another thought for the roasted tomatoes would be to top with a little buffalo mozzarella towards the end of the roasting, or shaved Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Since I have a bunch of Roma tomatoes still, I'll be testing that tonight and posting a picture of the result.
Finally, out of the Oleum Vitae oils, everyone liked the chive one the best. In general, I thought the idea of a tasting of infused Spanish olive oils was fantastic. Unfortunately, since I've only been able to locate these oils at Despaña NYC, I just have to keep spare space in my luggage whenever I travel to NYC (or find someone who can buy them for me when they visit NYC...). Also, I need to find a good tray of small serving dishes for when I serve these in the future.
By the way, speaking of that watercress, since no one ate it, I was left with it to use today. I recalled that in World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey had a recipe called "Stir Fried 'Foreign Vegetable'" where the foreign vegetable was the watercress since it was foreign to the Chinese whose recipe this was.
Here's the recipe ingredients:
- 2 bunches watercress (10 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
- 2 slices of peeled fresh ginger
- 2 garlic closed, lightly crushed and peeled but left whole
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
- 2 or 3 bunches of watercress
- Enough olive oil to coat your wok
- Ginger powder (I prefer sliced ginger, but didn't have any)
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced (think this works better)
- Salt to taste (1/2 a teaspoon is too much)
- Oleum Vitae wasabi olive oil
How to make this:
- Break the watercress stalks into 3 inch pieces (optional)
- Heat the wok over high heat (obviously, you would oil it before doing that, wouldn't you?)
- When hot, put the garlic and ginger in, stirring until the garlic turns golden (maybe 1 minute)
- Put in the watercress and salt, stirring and cooking it until completely wilted or about 3 minutes
- Pour in a little of the wasabi or other flavored olive oil you like