A dish for Mr. Spock (who will always live in my geeky heart)
Geeks all over the world, myself included, recently mourned the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who died at 83 of complications from COPD.
See, I was a 10-year-old Trekkie, religiously watching Star Trek reruns every afternoon. Truth be told, I only started watching the show because my dad loved it, and I wanted him to think I was cool like him.
Over time, however, I grew to love the heroic Captain Kirk, the stoic Mr. Spock, his polar opposite and counterpoint, the hotheaded Dr. McCoy, and my role model, Lieutenant Uhura. Not only was she the lone female senior officer, but she also happened to look smashing in a miniskirt.
I became fascinated by the idea of “Going boldly where no man has gone before,” the time-space continuum, ethical dilemmas posed by the prime directive, Klingons and Tribbles.
Decades after, I would continue to follow the other Star Trek series in the franchise, including Voyager and TNG (that’s The Next Generation to you non-geeks). And always, I was fascinated by each show’s resident poker face, whether it was Data the android or my personal favorite, Seven of Nine. But despite my love for Seven and all things Borg, Spock, with his insistence on holding everything up to the cold, hard light of logic, remained an icon.
Perhaps it was the eternally romantic notion of a powerful man who almost always successfully kept his deep and simmering passions below the surface. Perhaps it was his unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and the needs of the many. Perhaps it was the pointy ears. All I know is that my beloved Mr. Spock will always “”live long and prosper” in my geeky heart.
And so, in honor of the late, great Leonard Nimoy, here’s a recipe for a deliciously indulgent mushroom, artichoke and goat cheese crostini. Enjoy this with a nice glass of wine and, as you raise your glasses, make a wish that we all live long and prosper. As for you, Leonard Nimoy, thanks for the memories. May you rest in peace and find eternal joy in “Space … the final frontier.”
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MUSHROOM-ARTICHOKE & GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI
(Yield: Approximately 12 servings)
6 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds fresh assorted mushrooms, chopped coarsely (I used button because that’s what I had on hand, but you can also use Portobello, shiitake or any combination thereof)
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped coarsely
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 log goat cheese (approx. 4 ounces)
1 crusty French-bread baguette, cut diagonally into 12 1/3-inch-thick slices and brushed liberally with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, dried red pepper and thyme, sauté 1 minute.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Add wine, lemon juice and artichokes, and simmer 2 minutes.
Add goat cheese and toss until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. (The mushroom mixture can be prepared to this point several hours ahead and reheated when needed. Alternatively, you can also reserve the goat cheese and just serve alongside the mushroom mixture and crostini.)
Add basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet. Bake until slightly charred, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm crostini with goat cheese and mushroom mixture.