Sunday, November 11, 2012

Upping My Game

Things have been busy in the firehouse lately with our call volume increasing, fire prevention duties, community service stuff, residential smoke detector installations, and a new lieutenant working on our shift. Our crew works our tails off. We are probably the most active platoon in the station and now that the cold weather is here it's just going to get busier.

Before the really busy season starts I wanted to treat the crew and the new lieutenant to a really good dinner (I know how to suck up to a new boss too!). Something over the top. A wowza meal. Something they would remember. This was going to take some planning. The biggest issue is time management because as everyone knows, at a moments notice we go from 0 to 60 and are on our way to answer a call.

After careful planning this is what I came up with:
Spring Salad
Baked Salmon over Truffled Cauliflower Puree
Razzberry Turnovers
Well, unbelievably the meal went off with out a hitch and it was well received by all. In the interest of sharing my love of food and cooking, the recipes and pictures are below.

Spring Salad


4 cups baby arugula leaves, washed 
2 cups babay spinach, washed
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup shelled peas, blanched *

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan Cheese 
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
* To blanch peas: Drop it in boiling water for one minute, then place in an ice bath for one minute & drain


Combine arugula, baby spinach, 

mint, parsley, chives, radishes and peas in a large bowl.  Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.  Pour 2/3 of the dressing over greens and toss to combine.  Arrange on plates.  Top with shaved Parmesan and lemon zest. Drizzle with remaining dressing. 

Baked Salmon over Truffled Cauliflower Puree

Ingredients: Truffled Cauliflower Puree   
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 pound cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon white truffle oil

Heat butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.
Sauté shallot until translucent, then add cauliflower florets, cream, salt and pepper.
Stir to combine.
Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes.
Add salt and white pepper; stir in truffle oil.
Transfer mixture to a blender.
Blend until smooth and creamy.

Ingredients: Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard (about 1 large bunch), cut into strips
 (baby spinach works if you can't find swiss chard)
1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper


Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add onion and garlic, and sauté until fragrant.
Add the Swiss chard and sauté until slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
Add the wine, salt and pepper; simmer until wine is reduced and Swiss chard is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.

Ingredients: Baked Salmon

1 cup breadcrumbs (I use Panko breadcrumbs)
1/3 pound smoked salmon, very finely chopped
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 (6-ounce) filets salmon

Preheat oven to 280°F.
Combine panko, smoked salmon, horseradish, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Stir until breadcrumbs absorb oil and mixture is combined.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Sear salmon on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Cool to room temperature. Evenly distribute panko mixture among the tops of the salmon filets.
Bake salmon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is golden and salmon is just cooked through.

Razzberry Turnovers

(Ok. So I cheated on dessert)

Well, that's it. from prep time to plating took me about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
I hope you enjoy!

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