I prepared this recipe the week before our departure to the “nano-kitchen,”  (which I’m still adapting to), but using only the appliances I took with us, as a warm up for the “adventure.”   I’d also  like to say that this is a simple and straightforward recipe.   In some ways it’s not, but in other ways it is:  it takes  time and effort in the prep work, but once that’s completed it’s painless.  After tasting it, I predict that you won’t mind the road you traveled to make it.  I suggest that you assemble it on a weekend afternoon with nice music playing, perhaps this excellent  CD from Yo Yo Ma (skip the Metallica, or you may lose some fingertips).  I made individual servings with 3″ ring molds that I originally bought for cakes, but never used for that purpose.

(adapted from Michael Bauer’s Secrets of Success)

for the tomato sauce:
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 lb tomatoes, seeded and diced
2  garlic cloves
5 basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

for the veggies
1/2 pound eggplant, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound kabocha (or other squash), peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound celery root, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 bunch basil  + 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 pound soft goat cheese (Montrachet type)
salt and pepper

Make the tomato sauce by sauteeing the garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds, adding the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.  Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes and reserve.

Heat a non-stick skillet (or preferably a large electric griddle), sprinkle each slice of vegetables with a little salt and pepper, and add to the hot surface of your non-stick pan (or griddle) for a couple of minutes on each side, until it just starts to show some color.  Do not let it burn, or completely cook.  Reserve the slices.

Mix the olive oil with the basil (you can use a food processor or finely slice the basil to help releasing its flavor.

Assemble the dish: coat a 8 x 8 inch baking dish slightly with olive oil to prevent the veggies from sticking.  Layer the eggplant slices, zucchini, squash, and celery root.  Add a little basil oil as you form each layer.  Continue layering the veggies until they are all used up.   Spoon some tomato sauce over the top, crumble the goat cheese and bake in a 450F oven for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are hot and the cheese shows some golden brown spots.

(If making the dish in individual rings, coat them slightly with olive oil to help removing the rings before serving – bake on a baking sheet, and use a flat spatula to remove each ring to the serving plate).


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Michael Bauer states that the secret of this dish is to thin-slice the vegetables,  and he’s absolutely right.  By doing so, the different layers bake into a single entity in which each flavor mingles with that of its  neighbors. It’s a feast for the taste buds.   I advise you to avoid excess  tomato sauce, because this is not about the tomatoes,  which just give it some extra moisture and flavor.  This recipe lets the veggies do the talking.  I couldn’t find celery root, so instead I used butternut squash, for its texture and color.  “Dry sauteéing” is an interesting, low-fat technique.  You’ll still need some oil while layering the dish, but it will finish lighter than similar versions that rely on “regular” sauteéing.  Eggplant, in particular, absorbs oil and I usually avoid frying it, so this preparation suits my style.  Play with different vegetables, as it’s fun to change this basic recipe.  It’s perfect for entertaining:  assemble it ahead of time, and bake it just before serving.

ONE  YEAR AGO: A peachy salad for a sunny day!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


I don’t know Michael Bauer, so I have absolutely no ulterior motives for returning to the recipes of his book ‘Secrets of Success,” except for the fact that many of them result in absolutely delicious dishes 😉

This recipe comes from Fabrice Marcon, who was a sous chef for Paul Bocuse, and then opened his own restaurant in San Francisco, Hyde Street Bistro. His cuisine falls into the category of “French-Californian,” simple words that attract me the way that flowers attract bees. France and California: two places I called home in the past, that always bring a nostalgic smile to my face.

Try this dish, it’s very good.

(receita em portugues na pagina seguinte)


(from Michael Bauer, Secrets of Success, original from Fabrice Marcon)

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces firm Roquefort cheese, crumbled
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Anjou pears, diced
1/2 pounds salad greens of your choice
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
hazelnut oil

for vinaigrette

1 T red wine vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 375F, and bake the potatoes until tender (about 1 hour). Let them cool until you can handle them, peel them, and transfer the flesh to a bowl. Mash slightly, add the roquefort and 1 T olive oil. Stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, going light on the salt as roquefort is salty. Form the mixture into 4 equal patties, 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, mustard, and shallots in a small bowl to blend well. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the oven to 350F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the potato patties and brown on both sides until golden brown, 7 minutes total. Transfer them to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Toss the pears with the salad greens and tarragon. Add the vinaigrette and place in a serving bowl, or divide into individual plates. Top the salad with the potato cakes, and drizzle with a little hazelnut oil.

(serves 4 regular guests, or 2 very hungry people… )


to print the recipe, click here

Comments – Great food is all about contrast. A little spice, a little sweetness, something smooth, something crunchy, teasing your palate at every bite. This dish is it. The roquefort cheese (which must not be too soft or the cakes will not stand up to the frying), counteract the sweetness of the pears extremely well, and the hazelnut oil ties it all. Who doesn’t like cheese, fruit and nuts? 😉 The cakes are wonderful by themselves, but please follow Marcon’s take on it, you won’t regret it.

Continue reading