Saturday, June 19, 2010


No, that's not the theme of the next Culinary Smackdown. But Team Eggplant has been announced the winner of the June Culinary Smackdown: Picnic Basket, and we are tickled pink, er, purple.

Big thanks to uber-busy La Diva for her hosting efforts, to the other talented cooks who participated (you can find Diva's round-up of their dishes here), and to the rest of Team Eggplant!

Quick update on a couple of my dishes. Those pickled sugar snap peas grew on me after being in their brine longer. Great crunch from both pod and pea.

For those roasted radishes many of you commented about, I made a horseradish-sour cream dipping sauce, which added some zing to the leftovers. And I melted some blue cheese over a slice of that savory cake to counter its dryness (since I foolishly failed to follow the recipe as closely as I should have).

As the winner of this month's Smackdown, it's my duty to select the theme for next month's contest. I'll announce it next week and try to give everyone ample time for their July entries. Thanks again to all!

Here's the recipe for the savory cake, which Moi requested. Let me know if yours turns out more moist than mine did.

Savory "Cake" with Bacon, Chervil, and Figs (Cake Sale aux Lardons et aux Figues
From Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard, from the section “Three Recipes for a French Picnic”
The author's headnote: "Somewhere between a tea cake and a quiche, cake sale is a marvelous invention; it often graces buffet tables at parties. You can vary the filling as you choose - olives, hazelnuts, feta, bacon, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes have all gone into the mix at one point or another. This is one of my favorite combinations, adapted from Cakes Sales et Sucres by Christian Ecckhout (Editions Auberon, 2007). 

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
7 ounces lardons, pancetta, or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
8 dried figs (the tender, partially rehydrated kind)
2 packed tablespoons chervil, chopped
1 cup grated Comte cheese, lightly packed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Line a 9-by-5 inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a small frying pan, fry the lardons until they have rendered their fat; drain on a paper towel.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and salt. Add the oil and milk; whisk until light and foamy.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until just combined. Don't overwork the batter - a lump or two is fine.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir lightly to combine. Transfer the batter to your loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a wire rack and cool completely. Place the loaf on the picnic blanket (or coffee table) and lt your guests cut themselves a slice. Store wrapped in aluminum foil.

Yield: Serves 8-10 as an hors d'oeuvre


Heff said...

Congrats on the win !

moi said...

Yum! Thank you! I'll let you know how it turns out.

WaterDog said...

Hey Great we won!!! All that work paid off. Let me know what is up for July. Just proves what a great cook you are!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

congratulations on winning!! you certainly deserved it!

Lazaro Cooks said...

Congrats on your win. Well deserved for some fantastic food. Great job by team eggplant.

Be Well...

Making Space said...

Congrats to you and Team Eggplant! Woohoo!

Dani said...


buffalodick said...

Some cook all the food and they eat it! Congrats on your win!

LaDivaCucina said...

yay Eggy! Thanks for posting this recipe, I can always use another egg dish for my al fresco recipe file!

All your recipes for the picnic looked really good! I don't think you can go wrong with a sausage and bread salad! haha!