Thursday, January 1, 2009

R2R December: Gruyere Gougeres and "Blue" Cheese Pear Crostinis

Happy New Year y'all!

Phew... after a week of non-stop parties and eating since Christmas (actually a couple of days before that - ti kinda started with my cousin's wedding), things are finally winding down as I step into 2009.

1st Jan also marks the "reveal" date of this month's Recipe To Rival challenge. We were given three choices of appetizers - Gougeres (puff), crostini and oyster en brochette by hosts Temperance & Jen. The oyster option was tossed out of the window as the combo of cost and not actually favoring it personally made it a "i don't think so" almost by default.

The first thing I tried was the interestingly courageous crostini that urged us to combine blue cheese, pears and walnuts. The cheese lover in me was happy at the thought of blue cheese treat (rarely get a chance to have it) but as soon as I mentioned it to my mom (also known in this case as the Keeper of the Kitchen), she gave me THE look that clearly said I was not to bring the "dead rat smelling" thing within 500m of the house. So, with a little ingenuity, I give you my adapted "blue" cheese and pear crostinis.

Cream Cheese or any other soft cheese
A drop of blue coloring
Organic sugar pears
Whole Almonds
Focaccia bread or a baguette

Toast bread with a little butter or olive oil. Spread "blue" cheese and top with sliced pears. Artfully plonk additional pear slices and almonds.

Next Up the Gruyere Cheese Gougeres. The recipe given was from Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook, a book which I've surmised from various blog reads has some deceivingly "easy" stuff especially if you're a beginner. Anyways, i followed the recipe and was lulled by how simple it seemed. Made use of my new piping bag (finally!), put it in the oven and happily watched as it slooowly puffed up. Then about ten minutes after I had reduced the heat, realised that it stopped puffing and worse, when i took it out later and left it to cool it sunk into the appearence of a scone! All was not lost though, despite the un-puff like texture I ended up with, it still tasted buttery fab.


Debyi said...

What great creativity on the "blue" cheese crostini! They look so fun. I'm sorry your gougeres fell, but its good that it doesn't affect the taste. Great job!

Madam Chow said...

David Lebovitz has a post up that has some trouble-shooting tips on gougeres. And you had me laughing about the food coloring!

JMom said...

lol! I love the 'blue' cheese :) I wish I had thought of that. My girls can't stand the stink either.

Temperance said...

I love your creativity! the 'blue' cheese is great! Puff pastry can be tricky the first couple times you try it but it is worth the effort, I think you did great for a first try.