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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chopped Salmon Salad and Asparagus Soup

Soup and salad - Another one of those times I looked in the frig and pantry to see what I had available and then looked through a few cookbooks. I was all for keeping it simple.

I was in recovery - from yet another baking disaster. It was a cold rainy day and I had nothing on my work calendar or to do list. So I decided what a perfect day to make bread – a flatbread recipe from the Mediterranean Diet cookbook that I had not made for several years. I eagerly drove to the grocery to get yeast (not something I keep in my pantry). The feelings and aromas that I associate with making bread, domestic, cozy, warm, fresh …were emerging.

But alas, it is like the item of clothing that has been hanging in your closet and you wonder why you have not worn it for months, maybe closer to a year - so you put it on, go off to office or a meeting and within a short time you become well aware of why you have left it hanging in the closet!

And such was the bread – I lost control of the dough and lost the battle!! There was sticky dough and flour on all surfaces of the kitchen and on me. Looking around I remembered vividly why I had not made the @#!xxx@! bread in years. My last act was to punch that mass of dough down (once again) as I stretched it on to a cookie sheet and shoved it into the oven... admitting once again my total responsibility for not following the directions, precisely.

I did serve pieces of “It” that evening and just told my husband that it was suppose to be tough and bland – after all it was “flatbread!!”

Okay back to the simple soup and salad.

Salad: Chopped Salmon Salad. I originally saw this recipe in the Sonoma Diet Cookbook but adapt it to what I have on hand. This particular day it was chopped Romaine, green onion, olives, capers, red bell pepper and smoked salmon. For the dressing I mixed evoo, lemon juice, a very small amount of sugar and fresh ground pepper.

Soup: Asparagus Soup. I sautéed onions, garlic, and chopped asparagus and then pureed them. I mixed the puree with chicken broth, a squeeze of tomato paste and dash of cayenne and simmered until the flavors were mixed and the liquid had reduced slightly.

I made parmesan crisps by shredding the cheese and putting spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, baking for a few minutes until melted and crisp. I topped the soup with the crisps prior to serving.

Simple, but tasty.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Salad with Endive and Sea Bass in Broth

March 26, 2012

Hello followers, friends and family. Taking time to review and edit my previous entries proved to be a tad boring for me. So please forgive my typos in past blogs and the absence of details – when I edit my final version for that all “American novel” I will hire a proof reader, until then I am just going to plan, cook, dine and enjoy!

Today’s entry like the ones that will immediately follow were enjoyed during January, February and earlier this month.

This meal included several favorites.

First Course: Salad with Endive Stuffed with Blue Cheese. When I lived in Indiana and had the pleasure of attending many dinners and activities at Forest Hills County Club (If you follow golf, this is the club where Bo VanPelt learned the game). One of the items served before dinner was an endive stuffed with a blue cheese and garlic mixture. Each time I see endive at the grocery I am reminded of this very tasty and tangy appetizer.

For this meal I placed it along the salad plate. Radicchio, Boston lettuce, cherry tomatoes and onion were splashed with balsamic vinaigrette consisting of balsamic vinegar, evoo, and ground black pepper. The softened blue cheese was mixed with garlic, oozed thru a garlic press, and a small amount of cream cheese to cut the sharpness.

Entrée: Sea Bass in Broth. I offered this entrée previous but as you know by now I never prepare anything exactly the same way twice (or almost never).

For the broth I sautéed shallots and added chicken broth, sherry and seafood demi-glace. I reduced the broth and then simmered to keep it warm. I brushed the sea bass with ground pepper and a splash of half and half. I cooked the sea bass on a hot skillet for 3 minutes on one side, flipped and cooked for 50 seconds. I then put the oven proof skillet in the oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. I placed the sea bass in the bowl and poured the broth over it.

Side: Roasted Asparagus. The asparagus is splashed with evoo and roasted in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Wine: Robert Stemmler Pinot Noir. This has always been a favorite but we were unable to get it for period of time, but one day it popped up on one of the wine websites we follow.