Friday, November 21, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well

It was a day like we've all had. Murphy's Law was the rule of our day in Paris. I won't bore you with all of the details, but my friend, Michelle and I were having the same kind of luck on the same it was times two. Trying to turn it around we went for coffee on rue Dagurre to shake loose of the goblins. It was an exorcise we thought had worked as we paid for the coffee and went on our merry way to buy chocolate. Loaded down with beautifully wrapped bags of chocolate dressed in turquoise tissue paper, it started to drizzle.....but, of course!! Well, now we had to take the metro to the Marais, so down the stairs we went feeling lucky to escape the gray Paris rain. Wow, a train pulled right up, (maybe our luck was changing) and it was empty (never had that happen). Jumping in and sitting down I noticed my throat felt raw and my nose started to burn, and oh yeah, the eyes teared. We looked around and the other "lucky" people that got on had their faces covered and were coughing. Jumping off at the next stop, we learned from the gendarme that pepper spray had been sprayed on some mauvais garcons, the local bad boys. But, of course........again!

As the evening wore on, the curse wore off and we had the most delicious dinner with friends. For a starter I had a goat cheese and pistachio terrine, surrounded by a light walnut, raisin vinaigrette. It was topped by, you guessed it, ground hot pepper. Trust me, it is much better to eat it than to breathe it. Two other fulfilling courses followed. After dinner we all concluded, as we wiped the last crumbs from our mouths, all's well that ends well.

Here's my version of the terrine.

Goat Cheese Pistachio Terrine

12 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
4 ounces butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
pink peppercorns

Line a 4 cup mini loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of about 2 inches all around. Put room temperature goat cheese, butter and cream cheese in food processor, fitted with steel blade. Process until smooth and creamy and then put into a medium
sized bowl. Fold in the shelled pistachios evenly and pour into the lined mini loaf pan. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap towards the center to fully cover the terrine. Chill for an hour or until firm. To take out of the mold, grab the overhanging plastic wrap and pull up. Put it on a serving dish and sprinkle with pink peppercorns. The terrine may also be served in slices with mesclun salad greens topped with a walnut cranberry vinaigrette and a crusty baguette as a starter or light lunch.

As an alternative, the recipe may be reduced and put into any size and shape mold. Serve with bread or crackers as an appetizer.

Walnut Cranberry Vinaigrette

1/3 cup walnut oil (not super refined, it should be a light amber)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried cranberries (may substitute with any dried fruit)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped walnuts

Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl and then add cranberries and nuts. Let sit for at least an hour before serving so the dried fruit becomes plump.
Serves 2

Written and photographed by Diane

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