Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24th - Maple Glazed Salmon and Chilled Pea and Ginger soup

We had guests over. It seemed like a good idea when we invited them for a Friday night. No big right? We have plans for Saturday and we haven't seen them for a while and it's hard to get a good time as they have kids and we're all over the place. So when they offered up Friday, we offered to cook. Well, realising Thursday night that we both have day jobs and hadn't bought any groceries and they're coming over 2 hrs after the earliest we could possible get home. Actually, about the time we normally get home... well we were freaking. Thankfully D was thinking ahead and when he set aside three bottles I thought they were all for dinner. I was wrong, gleefully. One was for while we were cooking. That made things seem far less pressed for time.

Starter 1 was a Lime and Cilantro Hummous Dip we bought at the farmer's market from the Bean Guy. Which I guess, if we'd planned better we could have made but it worked out because we always make too many appetisers.
Starter 2 I made, sort of winging it because I couldn't find the recipe I wanted and was getting frustrated while searching for it amongst pasta sauces and vinagrettes.

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

2-3 Roasted Red Bell Pepper (from a Jar if you don't have time, instructions from scratch below)
1-2 cloves garlic depending on size
3-5 of your favourite olives, (remove the pit)
1 t or 4 springs of fresh Orego-Thyme off the stem
1 t capers
1 t anchovie paste
1/4 c or so of chili olive oil (depends as you mix how much you need)

Load everything into a food process except the olive oil. Pulse until the texture of salsa. Then start on a steady chop and drizzle in olive oil until you get the consistency you want. If you're using a smaller machine pour in the oil about a 1T at a time and puree in. Serve with crackers or bread. Add cracked black pepper but don't add salt. The capers, olives and anchovie paste is enough.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper
BBQ or Broiler or Gas Stove Top all work.
Whichever you're using turn it on high.
1. place pepper on BBQ, or directly on gas element or on a pan directly under broiler.
2. turn as it cooks until it's charcoal BLACK. You're roasting off the skin.
3. when it's black all over, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place in a paper bag and fold shut. 3-5 minutes
4. they'll still be hot so becareful. use a cloth napkin, it's best but bare hands or paper (NON LINTY) towel. In the sink, rub off the black. It should have steamed off from sitting. Do not use water to rinse!
5.Cut open and de seed. They're ready for use.

You can make dip like above, pasta sauce or serve in filet sized cuts as anti pasta with some olive oil and garlic. So good.

Next course was Chilled Pea soupe with Ginger and Mint garnished with Sour Cream from Taste magazine. So simple and so tasty. You can really taste the freshness of the peas and the ginger.

If you don't have time to chill you can serve it warm.

Chilled Pea and Ginger Soup
Serves 6
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp or two thumbs of fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
3 cups stock
4 cups (or 500 g, but we used the whole 1/5 lb) fresh or frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp or 10-12 leaves fresh mint, minced
freshly ground white pepper
sour cream, optional
  1. Sauté onion, ginger and garlic in butter in a saucepan until softened. Do not brown.
  2. Add the stock peas and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes just to blend flavours.
  4. Stir in mint. Purée in a blender until smooth.
    Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and chives or chill and serve cold.
Main was a Maple Ginger Glazed Salmon on Scallions BBQ's on a cedar plank (we don't have a cedar plank but we did BBQ)

Cedar Plank Salmon with Ginger Maple Syrup Glaze
(Chef Eric,, D took an intermediate cooking class with him)

1 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsps fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsps soy sauce
2 lb. center cut salmon filet, with skin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of scallions

In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, ginger, lemon, garlic, and soy sauce. Simmer and reduce to about 1 cup (about 30 minutes). Let cool.

Using a clean cloth, rub the top of the plank with ½ cup of olive oil. Arrange the scallions on the surface of the plank. Preheat oven to 400°F.Place the salmon, skin side down, on the scallions.

We BBQ'd and did not have a plank. We heated the BBQ up. Laid the scallions directly on the Grill. Placed the Salmon directly on the scallions on the grill and contined normally.

Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper. Using a large brush baste the salmon. Roast for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through. During the cooking process, baste every ten minutes, and baste again just before serving.

Serve on the plank. if you have one. We served at table on a nice little cutting board. The scallions were all carmelly and absorbed alot of the nice fat from the fish. Very good. Even our more reserved guest reached over and grabbed the scallion left sitting on her husbands plate.

Highly recommend you try the glaze at the least.

Here is a picture from the Chef's website because I didn't want to take too many photos with our guests here.

I'll have to load the Dessert recipe later. I am burning the morning away.

Dessert was a Vanilla Bean and Ginger Creme Brulee... YUP Ginger themed. SOOOOO GOOOOD and GOOOOOD for you.

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

For Custard
2 cups whipping or heavy cream, sorry no low fat substitutes here.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4-5 large egg yolks, well we normally have 5 but we were short and it turned out okay.

For the caramel Brûlée
12 teaspoons sugar
Sliced Kiwi on top

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place three 4-inch-diameter ramekins in a large roasting pan.
  2. Mix cream, sugar and ginger in heavy medium saucepan.
  3. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan.
  4. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors.
  5. Strain into large measuring cup.
  6. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend.
  7. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among dishes.
  8. Pour enough hot water into pans to come halfway up sides of dishes. (This is called a Bain Marie. It helps cook things like cream evenly.) Carefully transfer pans to oven. Or pour whilst the pan is on a rack in the oven and pour the water in while it's in the oven.
  9. Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes for fluted flan dishes and 35 minutes for ramekins. Using metal spatula, transfer custards in dishes to work surface; cool 30 minutes.
  10. Chill.
Sugar Caramel Crème Brûlée top:
  1. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard.
  2. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold butane cooking torch so that flame is 2 inches above surface.
  3. Old the ramekin with the tips of your fingers, use the hand you're better with because you turn the dish while you hold the flame still in the same spot.
  4. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes.
    Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle.
Garnish crème brûlées with fruit.

Sorry no photos. The recipe made six. We had four so I'll photo the last two when we have them.

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