This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Dinner Bash

Welcome to a new year of The Fork in the Road blogs. I hope your new year has started off on the right foot--healthy and happy!

Our New Year's Eve Dinner Bash theme this year was American Rustic. Meaning pretty much whatever our participants interpreted it to mean but basically foods from the past, and our mains, at least, were to center
around foods we caught or hunted ourselves. We have two hunters in our circle of friends and I am a fisherman of sorts and so we had what we needed.

Our menu:

Appetizers: Salmon spread

Mains: Salmon en Croute (Salmon in pastry), Elk Stew, Pheasant

Sides: Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Veg
etables, Curly Kale Greens and Ham Hocks, Spinach Salad and Brown Rice Salad

Desserts: Indian Pudding and Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Beverages: Champagne, Wines, Hard Cider, Tea and Coffee

My recipes were the Salmon in Pastry and the Brown Rice Salad. The salmon sounds a bit pretentious and French and its official title would make that a correct observation. However, meat wrapped in pastry is an American recipe often made in our early history so in my mind it qualifies. Salmon en Croute is basically, salmon wrapped in a pie crust. It is actually pretty simple to create yet it presents like it took hours of trouble and that its creator must be a chef of amazing ability. I must admit it did have me worried since I had never made it before (something I do not advocate) and so I was very nervous about how it would come out.

2 salmon filets
pie crust (store bought or made ahead)
zest from one lemon
fresh dill

fresh basil

1/4 pound of butter, softened
course ground mustard
salt and pepper
eggs, one beaten whole, the other separated using only the white

Remove the skin from the salmon. Dry the filets well. salt and pepper filets.

Spread the butter mixture over one of the filets and the mustard over the other. Place one filet on top of the
other so the tail end is on top of the head end. This ensures the thickness is more uniform helping make the salmon cook more evenly. Also, be sure the butter and mustard sides of the filet face each other so they can melt into each other.

Butter Recipe:

In a mixer soften the butter. Blend in bits of the fresh dill and course cut (with scissors) the basil leaves into the mixing bowl. Add in the lemon zest and salt and pepper to mix with spatula blade on the mixer. Spread mixture over the top of one filet.

Squeeze the mustard right from the bottle over the other filet and spread.

Place the two filets on top of each other with the sauces facing each other and so the ends of the filets are roughly the same thickness.
Place the filets in the center of the pie crust. Brush egg over the exposed pie crust and fold the crust over the fish making a neat package. Roll the package onto a baking sheet.

Brush egg white over the top of the package. Salt and pepper. Using the back of a knife, gently make cross hatching lines diagonally across the top of the package. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees until the pie crust is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Bon appetit

Out With The Old

The end is near! 2011 is on its way out and the events of an as yet untried 2012 looms large. What will it bring? The end, as the Mayan's calendar suggests? Or maybe our little planetoid out here on the edge of the Milky Way will be struck by an undetected piece of space debris and sent into a permanent winter. Well, nothing to be done about that, so let's get on with it.

Welcome 2012! Cue the hats and noise makers!

Our family plans at least two marvelous trips overseas in the weeks and months ahead. First, off to Thailand for a a two week, first-time visit to that southeast Asian country. Then a longer trip to Spain and Portugal. I'll be blogging on those two adventures after we arrive back home.

Too, I plan to continue blogging on food matters. My first recipe find of the year will appear in the very next blog. Recipes used to create some of the dishes at tonight's New Year's dinner bash, with the Usual Suspects, will be posted with photos so stay tuned.

Our cruising adventures aboard my beloved Key of Sea will no doubt find their way into the blog. I'm looking forward to the new direction my life will take as a retired member of society. Volunteering, substitute teaching, gardening, photography, books I'm reading, will all be fodder for A Fork in the Road over the next year. So whether the world all comes crashing down, or not, stay with me. Let me know what you think. And whatever you do, do have a very Happy New Year!