Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone had a great holiday. I, for one, was able to spend the weekend cooking … a great treat. I posted the menus earlier and both meals were pretty good. First, the birthday lunch … starring some amazing fresh produce … a great sauté of tomatoes and corn cut off the cob, Vidalia onion tart, a “slaw” of peaches, melon, and nectarines that accompanied the ginger-garlic salmon, cucumber salad with a Thai vinaigrette, and an almond berry cake.
I’ll post the recipe for the onion tart later, it is part of the cookbook challenge and really turned out great, but I was most amazed by the salmon.
When I was planning the menu, I asked my Dad if he had requests. He did not, but mentioned a great salmon recipe my Aunt used to make in the microwave. Now, I am not a microwave chef. I would much rather get a dish dirty and the microwave is primarily used to reheat items, especially now since my coffee maker also has a hot water tap for tea. But the recipe, compliments of epicurious.com is a keeper. The link is here http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Poached-Ginger-Salmon-Steaks-11565, but it is important to note that microwaves have gotten more powerful since 1993 so adjust the cooking time. I poached about 1.5 pounds in 4 ½ minutes. This is definitely a keeper recipe and sure to become a rotation for those quick dinners after work. I look forward to trying other flavor combinations, but the suggest garlic, ginger, lemon mix was quite delightful.
Another winning combination at lunch was the Thai Cucumber Salad.
This is something I have made in various forms for a few years. Fresh cucumbers, some peppers for color, and this weekend a bit of radish is marinated in a sauce of rice wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice (I prefer lime), some sugar, fish sauce, and herbs. The past few times I’ve used Gourmet Garden Thai Blend (http://www.gourmetgarden.com/us/product/view/Fresh-Blends-Thai ) primarily because it is really handy to have around versus buying all of the individual ingredients. I just mix to taste but usually it is 1:1 for vinegar and juice, about a ½ tsp of Thai seasoning, a touch of sugar and fish sauce. The “heat” can ramp up or down based on the crowd.
The almond berry cake, normally one of my best recipes, was not great, but still passable.
Then, the next day it was dinner. The lamb was inspired by Dinner: A Love Story Father’s Day meal (http://www.dinneralovestory.com/tag/grilled-leg-of-lamb/ ) and turned out quite well. We had lamb chops instead, but the flavor combination was lovely. I served it with some pesto roasted potatoes, grilled pepper, green beans, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and a big salad. A great meal, topped off with some Crème Brulee, with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. No pictures of Crème Brulee due to the darkness of night and fireworks, I meant to make one before I drove home this morning, but I forgot.
All in all, a great holiday weekend with fun in the kitchen and with family. The trip home was uneventful, and the trip to my parents took about two extra hours due to road construction, but I had a great co-pilot with Pippi, my 18 month old Lab, while Charley, the dauchsund, slept in the backseat.
Have a great second half of the year.