Monday, 6 February 2012

New potato, mushroom and goat cheese mini-galettes

Do we all go through a phase in our life when we have to choose between two worlds? For me, this choice happened when I was seventeen years old. I was nearing the end of high school and it was time for me to figure out where I wanted my life to go. If you know me now you know me as a scientist, a lover of viruses, disease and research. I have always loved science; biology was my favorite subject and math was my best subject in school. I was (still am) a serious nerd. 

I also loved art. I loved to paint and draw and I had binders that are now stored in my mom's closet that are full of poetry. But, a time came when I had to decide what I wanted to focus on. I was applying for university and I had to choose a path; art or science. Needless to say I chose science and at the time it was an easy choice. We all learn the term "struggling artist" at a very young age and growing up in a home where money was tight deterred me from choosing a path of  creativity.

In grade 12, I also took an aptitude test to help me make my decision. It was explained to me that the test chose your aptitude based on your likes. Apparently if you poll people who are in the same field it turns out that they share a lot of the same likes outside of their primary profession. I only remember one of the results of my test: crafts. Apparently I have a lot in common with people who like to do crafts! Is that not the weirdest thing ever? When I thought of crafts back then I thought of kindergarten, knitting, construction paper, glue and sparkles.

At the time, that result meant little to me. The choice I made? Engineering. I was convinced that my love of math and science would make engineering a great career choice. Although I really wanted to challenge the statistics of engineering being a man dominated world, I knew almost immediately that it was not the place for me. The only engineering that tickled my fancy was biological and genetic engineering; hence I eventually switched into microbiology. 

The point of my story is that the other day it occurred to me that despite my anchor in the world of science I also crave creativity and I see now that this blog has become my creative outlet. Taking these pictures is for me an art, these stories are my poetry. And so, I think back to seventeen-year-old-me and how a career aptitude test that I took 12 years ago placed me in a category of people who like crafts. And who am I kidding if I do not admit that edible biology is essentially a glorified craft?

I made these crafty mini-galettes to go with the carrot soup from my last post. I had originally intended to make a large, pastry encased galette but to save time I made these little ones instead. Because of their size they were cooked in about 30 minutes and no pastry making was required. Mike informed me that these tasted like something I have made before. He may be referring to my Swiss Chard Pie or maybe he is thinking of my breakfasts. It is winter, the number of ingredients I am choosing from is dwindling and I love all three of the main ingredients of this dish so it is plausible that it tastes like something I have made before.

New potato, mushroom and goat cheese mini-galettes
Winter seasonal: mushrooms and potatoes

2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
8 new potatoes, sliced with a mandoline slicer
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Goat feta (about 3 - 4 tbsp)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano
Sea salt
Parchment paper
Muffin pan

1 - Preheat oven to 400F
2 - Heat skillet on stove, with 1 tbsp of olive oil, to medium high heat.
3 - Stir in mushrooms, shallots and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
4 - Lightly grease muffin pan, cut parchment paper into rectangles, about 2.5" X 5" and place into muffin tins.
5 - Mix potato slices with 1 tbsp oil, crushed garlic and season with sea salt.
6 - Place a few potato slices in bottom of parchment paper, in the tins (it is okay if they overlap).
7 - Scoop in a tsp or two of mushroom mix, then sprinkle in goat cheese.
8 - Repeat with another layer of potatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese then top with the remaining potatoes and push down gently to compact the galettes. 
9 - Place muffin pan in oven and cook potatoes about 25 minutes, or when potato edges are starting to brown.
Note: I cooked my galettes on top of a pizza stone that is always in my oven. It is possible that cooking times may vary.
10 - Remove pan from oven, top the mini-galettes with a teaspoon or so of parmesan and place back in oven for about 10 minutes.
11 - Remove from oven and serve with carrot soup perhaps?

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