Monday, September 17, 2007

i can do that!

Forgive my absence this last week, my loyal readers. I was off gallivanting in the Hamptons "for work". Here are some myths I can confirm/dispel regarding just how much you get to eat when shooting a travel food show in the field:
1. You get to eat a lot - So not true. So don't have time to eat.
2. You get to eat food you ordinarily wouldn't get to eat - I'll say yes simply because I would have no other reason to be in the Hamptons but for work, and I probably couldn't afford that dinner that I got 3 bites of.
3. You get some "special" food - Not really. I did get a donut fresh off the donut machine, which was totally awesome and worth the whole trip, but it's not like something nobody else gets. Giada did offer me a donut that she had licked the cinnamon sugar off of, and I considered taking it and trying to sell it on eBay.

Anyway, it was loads of fun on hardly any sleep and I got to eat soup on camera and discover that red soup is so not cool to eat on camera when wearing a white top. It was good soup though. And the one meal I did actually get to sit and eat was so good that I decided to recreate the dish last night, except that in my world it was merely a starter and not the only real meal I would eat the entire day.

It was a salad at Babette's in East Hampton, on their specials for the day, made up of greens, haricot verts, roasted beets, a lemon vinaigrette, and goat cheese wontons.

The wontons, of course, being the best part. I never deep fry at home because it's really hard to get myself to use so much damn oil, but I decided I should just suck it up and try it. The upside is that the wontons came out perfectly and were ridiculously easy to do.

The downside is that it was so successful that J-Cat is now into the idea of stuffing wonton wrappers with anything and everything and deep-frying it.

The rest of the salad was pretty straightforward, although my vinaigrette was somewhat different from what I had at Babette's because theirs used preserved lemon and mine didn't. Also, I laid mine on a bed of butter lettuce because I love butter lettuce. Apparently Opaw does, too, because she stole some off of J-Cat's plate.

Recipe after the jump!

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Wontons
Inspired by Babette's of East Hampton

1 head butter lettuce or greens of your choice
1/2 pound haricot verts, blanched
1 large beet
2 ounces goat cheese
10 wonton wrappers
a whole lotta oil for deep frying
juice of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

For the salad:
Scrub the beet, then wrap in foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 45-1 hour, until fork tender. Remove and set aside to cool before peeling and cubing. Blanch the haricot verts in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Assemble the salad with greens on the bottom, haricot vert laid on top, then the cubed beets scattered on the plate.

For the dressing:
Whisk olive oil into the lemon juice to emulsify. Add olive oil to taste, then salt and pepper. Set dressing aside until ready to serve.

For the wontons:
Place a teaspoon of goat cheese in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Using water on your fingertips, wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over diagonally to make a triangle and press the edges together to seal. Bring the two bottom edges of the triangle together, wet, and press together to seal. Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a deep pot. The oil is hot enough when a small chunk of white bread is tossed in and sizzles. Drop the wontons in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 -2 minutes. Remove and drain the wontons on paper towels. Dress the greens and beets, then lay the wontons on the edges of the plate.


Leah said...

Fabulous post, Fay. Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous food. Did Giada really offer you a licked donut? Was she being jokey?

faycat said...

She did and she was totally being jokey. When we were shooting dinner just before the donut place, she was passing plates of food and asking who wanted to taste stuff, and not surprisingly I wanted to taste everything. So she just started passing everything directly to me. Yeah, I'm not ashamed, I had the most junk in the trunk of anybody on the shoot...

B said...

Taco wontons! Just use Lawry's taco flavoring with ground beef and shredded cheese for the filling. Fold into triangles, a seal/press with a little water, and fry. Tasty! Greasy!

faycat said...

But taco seasoning in a packet! It must be stopped!

Leah said...

I confess to using taco seasoning in the packet too, but, hey--it is a little tasteless. I'm always put to shame when we visit Alex's relatives in Texas, who slave over their stone mortars and pestles, grinding spices for the Mexican dinner from early morning. Seriously. Well, even they resort to the packets sometimes when they can't be bothered!