Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday, April 11th - BBQ Salmon, Apple and Pumpkin Seed Couscous with Roasted Asparagus and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Breakfast was lovely organic egg scramble with grav lox on a Montreal bagel with cheddar.
Lunch was a Spanakopita from the Mediterrean Grocery on Commercial. I have done the testing. The Spanakopita at this greek deli is the best in town. The filling to phyllo ratio is easily the best unless you make it at home. I've had the expensive ones at the Granville Market and the competition in little greektown on East Broadway and I will affirm to you all, the Mediterranean Grocery on Commercial has the best in town! D had something new. He had one that looked like an oven coil. The phyllo in the coils were slightly underdone because of the winding. It wasn't bad but next time, I'd bring it home to bake more.

Dinner was BBQ fresh sockeye salmon with D's Etta Spicy Rub

3 T brown sugar
2 T paprika (sweet)
2 t kosher salt
1.5 t fresh ground pepper
1 t chopped fresh thyme
Olive oil for rubbing on the fish

Mix all these ingredients together. Rub all the fish with oil, particularly the skin side. Cover and pat on the rub all over the salmon. Load it up on the top.

BBQ for 2 min each side. Start on skin side.
Apple and Pumpkinseed Couscous

I made way way too much. I have this issue with portions. This would easily be a side dish for 6 people so prepare accordingly or have as salad the next day.

1 c couscous
2 c boiling water
1 low sodium veggie stock cube
1 medium apple
1/4 red onion finely chopped
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (use your favorite herb, it doesn't matter, parsely, dill, basil)
1 t fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon and the rind
salt and pepper
chili flakes
1 bunch asparagus (1lb)
6 fresh shitake mushrooms brushed, and sliced in thirds
4 cloves garlic
olive oil

Bring the water to a boil in a pyrex mug. Add the the stock cube and break up. Add the chili flakes to taste. Pour over the couscouse mix a bit, cover and set aside.

Chop the aspargus in to 1/5 inch pieces. Peel the garlic. Toss with the mushrooms with olive oil so that all is coated. Salt and Pepper. BBQ on a veggie tray next to the fish. BBQ trays look like woks or square woks perforated with holes the size of peas. It allows you to grill veg without them falling through.

Peel the apple and rub with the lemon to prevent browning while you prem. Chop the apple into cubes. I had a tiny pit of cucumber from the tacos so I threw those in too. Add the herbs, onion and toss. Add the lemon rind and the juice of 2/3 of the lemon. Use the rest on the plate with the salmon. Salt and pepper to taste.

When the roasted veg are ready, carefully toss in. Serve with whatever fish you like. Sooooo good.

We had a Blasted Church Rose with our meal. It was perfect with the apple in the couscous and the slight sweetness in the rub.

Vanilla Bean w Sour Cream Cheesecake

Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes

8 lady finger biscuits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 t instant expresso
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 1/2 cups sour cream

a. Butter a springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and butter that as well.

b. in a food processer, add the biscuits, instant coffee and cinnamon and blitz until crushed. Pour in butter, and stir until mixture is moist. Press mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. Press patiently until a tight, thin layer forms. Chill until needed.

c. pre heat oven to 350 degrees with baking sheet on center rack. Place a roasting tray on the rack. Boil 6 - 8 cups of water. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan in tinfoil. This will be a bain-marie or water bath to cook the cake more evenly so you want to use only one piece of foil to prevent water getting in to the pan. If you're not using a spring form but have chosen the brave route of a cake pan, you don't need to wrap the pan in tinfoil.

d. In a mixer, quickly beat 1/2 4 cup of the sour cream. This will coat the beater and the bowl. This will make the cream cheese not gunk up. Beat the cream cheese until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, 2/3 cup sugar and seeds from 2 vanilla beans, and whisk until very smooth. Scrape bowl with a spatula to break up lumps. Pour into crust, and place in the roasting tray in the oven. Pour the boiling water carefully into the roasting pan so that it comes up about 1inch up the side. Careful not to splash any water into the pan. Bake 30 minutes.

e. Meanwhile, blend the rest of the sour cream with 3 tablespoons sugar. Remove cake from oven, and let sit 5 minutes. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees. Gently spoon sour cream mixture on top, and spread evenly. Return cake to oven, and bake 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

f. It will be very jiggly. I will have to try this recipe again sometime because this is jigglier than I'm used to for a cheesecake. Normally a cheesecake will bake anywhere from 40-50 minutes. They brown and if you you're unlucky, it will crack.

12 servings

It was very good. Creamy and the vanilla beans instead of extract was fantastico. I will try this next time with a baking time of 35minutes then 25 minutes.

See the lovely vanilla bean seeds speckles!!!

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