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Friday, May 22, 2015

Salmon Mousse!

Behold the mold! I don't know what exactly possessed me to wish to possess a copper mold fashioned into the shape of a salmon. Nevertheless, I found an antique copper, tin-lined mold for a reasonable price on e-bay and set to work. The Silver Palate Cookbook, the classic kitchen necessity crafted by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, provided the recipe for a fairly simply prepared salmon mousse. The link may be found here. Otherwise, I plated my magnificent mousse with gentle, slightly salty orbs of salmon rousse roe, mache rosettes for the greenery, and half-moons of Kirby cucumber slices around the periphery of the mold. A slice of a hearty olive stuffed with pimiento served as the onlooking eye!

As the recipe suggests, refrigerate the mousse for at least four hours. If you use a "decorative" mold, as I did, invert it afterward onto your serving plate and let it rest at room temperature, about 15 minutes. When you see it start to ease out of the mold all by itself, carefully lift the mold off and adorn as you will. Do enjoy with toasty bagels as Baby and I did for a late breakfast or perhaps as a starter course for dinner. When serving at a cocktail party, suggest your guests dip in with some kettle crisps!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Derby 2015

Behold the lovely, fragrant lilacs! I do hope your Derby was fun (and profitable!) this year. I bet, as is my foolish wont, and once again, I didn't win a dime. At my party, I put out the usual spread of Martha Stewart's shrimp and grits, Benedictine sandwiches with cream cheese and cucumbers as well as sliced tomatoes sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and salt that filled flaky Pillsbury Grands biscuits. Cornbread was another addition this year and chocolate chip and sugary gingerbread cookies provided a fine finish to the race. And of course, there were mint juleps!

Here's this year's steaming stew of shrimp and grits, laced with thyme and parsley and topped with crisp bacon!

Lazy afternoon views of the table just before the guests arrived...

and more of the room, flooded with flowers!

Giddyap, everybody--and do enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tonight's Menu - Quenelles!

I'd wanted to make quenelles for years, after having once had them at an intimate summer dinner party in the back garden of a friend's apartment in Greenwich Village. Finally, having found the occasion, my own particular pale, fragrant, light fish dumplings were absolutely delicious and were served as our main course, preceded by a green salad, hosted with roasted potatoes, and followed by chocolate mousse cake. Quenelles were once served as a side dish, next to such things as seared scallops perhaps or even a steak but I think they very much stand on their own. The spongy little fellows in question here were made with pate de choux (paht ah shoe--sounds like you're sneezing, anyway it's a French thick sauce base) for substance from a Julia Child recipe. There are so many versions of this delish fish so search quenelles online for your favorite but to see the great lady at work, go here for the video or purchase a copy of The French Chef Cookbook as I did. I draped my quenelles with an impossibly easy, ingenious, really quick hollandaise sauce made in a blender, courtesy of Ina Garten. I shaped the quenelles into balls with two spoons before dropping them into barely simmering water to poach--however next time I would form them by hand, in more sturdy, cylindrical shapes. Whatever your preparation, this is an elegantly arranged, readily prepared dinner for any evening!

Tonight's Menu
Delightfully Served Two
Green Salad of Baby Lettuces (prepared a la minute, table side, with a few good sprays of squeezed lemon juice, a dose of balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground pepper and salt all tossed together)
Monkfish Quenelles (any lean fish fillets may be used) with hollandaise sauce (don't be shy on the cayenne pepper)
Roasted Potatoes (in olive oil, with salt and pepper, and topped with shredded flat leaf parsley--I used perfectly suitable canned potatoes, don't tell anybody!)
Individual Chocolate Mousse Cakes (I bought them at a local patisserie--don't tell anybody!)

Do enjoy!