Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday Night Dinner

Tony here again.  Making another guest appearance.  Jeanne was busy with something yesterday so I agreed to make dinner.  And I had a couple ideas.....

Jeanne had challenged me to do some one bite appetizers as part of the meal (mainly because we wanted to use these little app spoons (see salmon app below). I think she may have been just joking, but I thought it would be a fun challenge.

One bite app #1 - Gazpacho Shooter garnished with baby arugula and prosciutto chip
I did a google search on "one bite appetizers" and a slideshow on came up.  Something simlilar to this came up in their list.  It also reminded me that we had something similar at a wine tasting we went to a few years ago at Wentworth by the Sea in Portsmouth, NH.  I really enjoyed it there, so I thought I'd give it a try.  It's really simple, diced fresh tomato, cucumber, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, a bit of siracha, salt and pepper.  I put it all in the blender and blended until it was still slightly chunky.  The proscuitto chip was an experiment that worked out perfectly.  I put sliced proscuitto on a cookie sheet and baked it at about 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  It stuck to the pan slightly, but that worked out OK too as when I scraped it off it made the perfect size chips for garnish.  The last piece was just a small sprig of arugula.  The flavor was perfect.  A nice little shot of flavor to start things off.

One bite app #2 - Potato coin with salmon mousse & cucumber garnish
Jeanne is more into seafood lately and salmon has been her favorite.  This is great news for me!  Trying to take it to the next level (or maybe a level lower), I bought some canned salmon.  I remember my mother buying this when I was little.  I didn't like it back then, but I thought it was time to try it again and maybe find a low cost way to enjoy salmon.  For this recipe, I sliced a potato and cut it into "coins" using a ring mold that we had, then browned them in a pan.  I mixed some of the canned salmon with goat cheese, marscapone cheese, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne.  I assembled them on the little app spoons with a small piece of cucumber as a garnish.  I had the same reaction as Jeanne did.  The first bite was a bit fishy (from the canned salmon), but the next bites were fine.  The lemon juice and cayenne cut the fishy taste nicely.

Grilled swordfish with bernaise.  Served with sauteed baby kale and roasted golden beets
Jeanne had been talking about trying more of the "classic" sauces and we recently caught an old episode of the French Chef where Julia makes hollandaise and bernaise.  I jumped in and tried bernaise before she could!

The bernaise was easier to make than you would think.  I originally learned to make this way back in our Quidnessett Country Club days.  Credit to my chef mentor Rob V!  A bernaise is an emulsion!  In a nutshell you reduce vinegar, wine, tarragon and shallots.  You then add that mixture to egg yolks and beat over low heat while you add butter.  The result is a sauce that goes great with meat, fish, poultry, just about anything.  The swordfish, beets and baby kale were the freshest looking items at Whole Foods yesterday morning.  All were tremendous!

Jeanne's Apple Tart
Jeanne agreed to make dessert.  And she didn't disapoint with her Apple tart that was inspired by a visit to Alforno's many year's ago.  She served it with vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  Perfect combo.  Photo shows the tart ready to go into the oven.....

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