Paper Chef 46: Jenny's entry
This month's Paper Chef was a real challenge. When I went over to last month's winner, Dale of Home of the Range, and saw the first three ingredients - pasta, chèvre, and beetroots - I said to myself "heh, this will be a breeze!". Then I saw the last one. Peanut butter. Beetroots and chèvre works together like bread and butter, pasta goes with almost everything, but there was no clear way in which to add peanut butter to that mix.
Markus and I couldn't agree on what to cook with these ingredients, so when Markus suggested we do one dish each in a sort of cook-off, I jumped on that. After a lot of thinking, I came up with some sort of starter/cheese course.
Chèvre mousse with beetroot, deep fried pasta and peanut butter caramel
50 g chèvre without rind
2 tsp mascarpone
1½ tbsp honey
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dutch style peanut butter
½ beetroot, boiled
A small bunch of fresh tagliolini
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Mash up the chèvre, add the mascarpone and stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
Heat the oil. Fry the pasta for a minute or so until it's lightly brown and blistered. Place on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
Put honey and vinegar in a pot and boil carefully until the mixture is a bit reduced. Add the peanut butter, stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. The caramel will harden quite quickly, but you can soften it on the stove again if needed.
Cut the beetroot in small cubes. Form an egg of chèvre mousse using two table spoons. Place on a plate, decorate with beetroot cubes, small dots of caramel and the fried pasta bundle.
On their own, the elements of this dish were good. However, the chèvre mousse and the beetroot weirdly didn't go that well together. It wasn't bad, it was just that the chèvre overpowered the beetroot. In hindsight, it would have been better to bake the chèvre in the oven to make it softer and sweeter, maybe with the peanut caramel drizzled on top. The caramel itself wasn't bad either, but I think that it should have been a lot runnier, because the chewy texture didn't work that well with this. The deep fried pasta was cool though, crunchy and kind of reminded us of grissini. So, all in all not a home-run, but with some adjustments this has the potential to be a really cool dish. In a few days, all the other participants' dishes will be posted on the PC website, and then Dale will select the winner. It will be really interesting to see what all the other Paper Chefs have come up with, cause this was quite a tough one!