Preview: Aran Goyoaga Hosts Terrain Table
An Update: Our Terrain Table dinner with Aran is being postponed, but the good news is that we'll have a ready excuse to visit with her again soon and we'll be sure to post the details here as soon as we do!
On the evening of October 10, we're gathering in our cozy Mushroom Hut at Styer's for the inaugural terrain Table, a monthly series of dinners hosted by artists, chefs, farmers, makers, and other community members who inspire us. This month, we're thrilled to welcome chef and food writer Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille as our host. In collaboration with terrain's Chef Keith Rudolf, Aran will be sharing a gluten free feast with 12 guests, featuring five courses inspired by her new book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats. We had a chance to chat with Aran before her visit, and she shared a peek at the menu along with her recipe for the evening's dessert.
terrain: How did you decide to write Small Plates & Sweet Treats? Was the experience of writing a book different from blogging day-to-day?
Aran: People began asking me about a book fairly soon after I started blogging, but I never felt like I had a story to tell. Also, my initial recipes were very chef-oriented because of my background as a pastry chef. They were difficult recipes, sometimes with hard-to-find ingredients, so they weren't that accessible to everyday audiences. Around 2009, I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, which changed the way I cooked. The need to eat gluten free, along with having two kids, made my cooking style more simple and relaxed, and I felt then like I had a story to tell, too.
My goals for the book were to create something visually heavy and to share what it's like to be gluten free from a European perspective. Even though it's a different format, I also wanted the book to feel consistent with the blog, which is very seasonal. When I was developing the recipes, I started with winter and moved chronologically through the seasons, cooking with what I found when I visited the farmer's market.
terrain: What inspired the two halves of the book?
Aran: "Small Plates" is inspired by my childhood in the Basque Country of Spain; I moved to the US when I was 24. The small plate recipes draw upon the Basque tradition of tapas or pinxtos, little dishes that you can order at any bar. That's how I love to eat. As for "Sweet Treats," I come from a family of pastry chefs and started out as a pastry chef myself.
terrain: You were already a pastry chef when you found out that you were gluten intolerant. Was it a challenge to adapt your cooking style?
Aran: My best friend and her family had been gluten free for years, so it was on my radar, but I never thought it would be for me. I had experimented with gluten free flours in the past in conjunction with wheat flours, however I hadn't baked totally gluten free. It took some time to understand what each flour does, its flavor, characteristics, and how it combines with other ingredients, but the transition wasn't a painful one-- I was never scared that I wouldn't be able to eat good things anymore. Actually, I was excited about the possibility of exploring new ingredients, which is one of my favorite parts of cooking.
terrain: The menu for terrain Table is completely gluten free. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Aran: I'm really excited about the menu for this dinner, which follows the philosophy of the book and incorporates some elements from the terrain kitchen into my recipes. In Small Plates & Sweet Treats, each recipe is meant to be a little dish rather than an entree, so some of them were adapted to fit as a disctinctive course. For example, Keith paired my Fennel & Brown Butter Risotto with scallops and parsnip chips. The dessert, however, is taken directly from the book.
Chocolate, Hazelnut, & Fleur de Sel Pot de Crème
from Small Plates & Sweet Treats
Makes six 4-ounce custards.
1/4 cup (30 g) hazelnuts
2 cups (500 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeded
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons hazelnut butter
2 ounces (60 g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Roast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes until golden and fragrant. Place them in a dry kitchen towel and rub the towel against their skin to remove it. Let the hazelnuts cool and then chop them coarsely. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F (150C).
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk, the vanilla bean, and its seeds over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, coconut palm sugar, and hazelnut butter until almost lump-free.
4. When the coconut milk has come to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod and add the milk and bittersweet chocolates. Stir to melt the chocolates into the milk.
5. Pour a little bit of the hot coconut milk mixture over the eggs while whisking to keep the eggs from coagulating. Add the rest of the mixture and whisk. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add the fleur de sel and stir.
6. Pour the custard into 6 (4-ounce) oven-safe ramekins or jars. Place the ramekins in a deep baking pan and place the pan on the oven rack. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath.
7. Bake the custard for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is set. Let the ramekins cool to room temperature. They can be served at room temperature or chilled.
terrain Cheese Platter, house made pickles, preserves, gluten free crackers
Baked Farm Eggs, Doe Run hummingbird cheese, duck prosciutto, cherry tomatoes
Black Quinoa Salad, roasted brussels sprouts, acorn squash, baby beets, honeycrisp apple, spiced pumpkin seeds, red beet puree
Diver Scallops, fennel & brown butter risotto, fried parsnip chips, parsnip & apple puree
Red Wine Short Ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, honey roasted root vegetables, smoky bleu cheese butter
Chocolate & Hazelnut Pot de Crème
Aran joins us at the terrain Table on Thursday, October 10. For more details or to RSVP, please visit our events page.
Photos courtesy of Aran Goyoaga.