First, I have to comment... even though taking pictures while cooking is a giant pain, i'm so glad I do. Because even though I made this dinner less than a week ago (I mean, I just ate the leftover piece of fish tonight for dinner, for crying out loud) -- I have already forgotten about how things went. But, a picture really is worth a thousand words, at least for reminding me about the zillion things I screwed up here.
First up for my "afternoon prep" (yeah, no real break again) were the beet chips. The idea of a beet chip kind of scares me. I mean, it sounds like someone is trying to really stretch my husband's theory that "anything tastes good deep fried" to the limits. Except, they are delicious.
First, I sliced the beets as thinly as I could on my mandoline.
Then I tossed them in a little flour and threw them in the deep fryer in small batches.
When I took them out, I sprinkled with a little salt. I need to say it again: delicious! I ate about 5, then remembered they were supposed to be for dessert. One thing I had a little bit of a hard time with was Keller's instruction that the chip would sink when all the moisture was gone. I had one batch that seemed overcooked after I let them go that long. After tasting one, I determined they were burnt (aside - I discovered this solely because my dog tried to yank the paper towel down to eat some, and after a chip had fallen on the floor, I determined it was ok to eat juuuustt one more. Amazingly, Bandit managed to knock ALL of the burnt ones and NONE of the ok ones on the floor - the first time he's ever done me a favor by being a bad dog!)
By far the easiest thing in the book. NO CHOPPING REQUIRED! And it took like 5 minutes (well, except that debearding the mussel thing - another 'internet lookup' stop).
Basically I just threw all of the ingredients in a big pan... except, I realized I had put the WHOLE bottle of wine in the pot when I only needed a cup. My thirty-millionth screw up of the day (except... still doesn't compare to what comes later!). I don't think it was a big deal, because I had like 40 mussels rather than the 18 specified.
After the mussels opened, I checked all to make sure I had gotten all beards out (hadn't with a few, so I just chucked them). Next I set aside a cup of 'winish-stock' for the vanilla sauce. and then stuck them in the fridge to serve later with the sauce gribiche.
Parmesan Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse
I made the crisps and the goat cheese mousse earlier... so all I had to do was pipe in the cheese. So simple. And they were tasty. Not my favorite canape so far (honestly, probably my least favorite of the three), but at least they were easy to prep ahead of time.
Heirloom Tomato Tart with Nicoise Olive Tapenade, Mixed Field Green, and Basil Viniagrette
I had already made puff pastry rounds, roasted tomatoes, and the olive tapenade, so this was another 'toss things together' dish.
First, I sliced some tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.. then realized the cold tomatoes weren't supposed to have thyme. My bad, oh well.
Next I put the roasted tomatoes on the puff rounds, and stuck in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes:
Finally, I tossed some vinegar in with the basil puree I had quickly made early that am, and tossed with some mixed baby greens.
The finished dish:
When I set the plate down, one guest remarked that it looked just like a fancy mini-pizza, which was pretty funny since Keller says its his "more elegant" version of pizza. Everyone said it was tasty; I have to take their word for it since I had one tiny bit with roasted tomatoes because of my allergy... then ate salad and puff pastry. Which was still pretty yummy.