This post is also available in: French
La Tartine Gourmande is a cookbook I’ve been spending a lot of time with ever since it came out in the spring. I’ve admired Béatrice Peltre’s blog for quite a while now, and it was the very thing that, almost three years ago, made me want to try my hand at writing about food. Béa’s vision is unmistakably hers, and her love for the ingredients and dishes that she prepares shows through in every photo and recipe. Out of all cookbooks on my shelf (editor’s note, the shelf is overloaded), this one has been the one I’ve read and reread most often and got an incredible amount of ideas from. Béa’s attention to detail and French approach to cooking is something I relate to very much. It’s no secret that us Russians are historically very drawn to anything French, like most of the world, really.
Out of the recipes I’ve tried from the cookbook, this beet mille-feuille was a favourite. It’s a pretty simple appetizer, which happens to be very tasty and impressive in appearance, a great idea for having friends over.
One thing I did here is make my own ricotta cheese, used to do it all the time when living in Russia. It is a surprisingly easy process that requires only two ingredients – milk and lemon juice. And the result is worlds away from the store-bought kind, so much richer and creamier. Since the original recipe calls for both goat and ricotta cheeses, I used raw goat’s milk from a local farm to make this ricotta.
Check out the book for more serious inspiration.
I slightly changed Béa’s recipe by adding radishes, basil oil, apple cider vinegar, and lemon zest to my homemade goat milk ricotta, eliminating goat cheese.
1 1/2 cups freshly made goat milk ricotta cheese (good recipe here) or 1 cup ricotta cheese mixed with 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
3 radishes – chopped
3 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons basil oil (1/2 cup olive oil blended together with 1 cup basil leaves)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
zest of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
3 red small to medium cooked beets – peeled
3 yellow small to medium cooked beets – peeled
handful of fresh greens or microgreens to serve
fresh basil for garnish (optional)
small handful of hazelnuts (optionally toasted)
In a bowl, mix cheese, radishes, chives, oil, vinegar, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cut about 4 horizontal slices in each beet (you will have left over slices). You can use a ring mold about 2 3/4-inch wide by 2 1/4-inch tall to cut each slice with and then assemble the mille-feuille inside the ring mold. Or you can build the mille-feuille by simply placing a neat layer of cheese mixture on top of a beet slice, alternating colours. Use 4 beet slices per each mille-feuille, secure with a toothpick if needed. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before trimming. Use a very sharp knife to trim the mille-feuille to a square shape. Remove the toothpicks if using, optionally drizzle with olive oil and serve with microgreens or fresh greens and hazelnuts if you like. Garnish with basil leaves on top.