Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dinner for Dennis

The fish platter

Blogging has been a adventure from the beginning! I have learned SOOO much from following other blogs from professional to personal. Not being an incredibly "techie" person, my family and friends didn't discourage me but possibly wondered how long "this phase would last".  Happy to report that next month it will be a year since my first post!

My format hasn't changed much; I still take pics with my iPhone, of items that we're actually eating for a meal or places I've been, stories of my life experiences, supplying "how to" series of photos with instruction. Hopefully, my photos have improved and that my stories seem relevant and you're enjoying the recipes!

One of the coolest things that happened was the opportunity to create a meal as a gift from a person who saw my blog!  His friends gave him a dinner for two as a get-well gift but the gift was given to me as well!  Dennis' friends, knowing he's a foodie asked me to cook dinner for he and his partner and I jumped at the chance. How fun to deliver a dinner to other foodies from a menu they created...look out Iron Chef!

They chose Rock Cod Piccata, green beans with smothered onions and bacon, oven roasted brussel sprouts with shallots, roasted garlic and more bacon, Pane D'Amore dinner rolls and lemon pound cakes.

Lusciousness on a plate

Life is short, let's start with dessert first! This will give it time to cool and glaze before we leave for Dennis' houses. This recipe is the BEST EVER Lemon Pound Cake from Boyajian. They make a line of fine culinary oils and can be ordered online directly, from Amazon and Sur La Table to name a few.

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe
3 tsp Boyajian Pure Lemon Oil
11/2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
3 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
21/2 cups sugar
6 eggs (beat well)

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in the beaten eggs and Boyajian Lemon Oil. Add sour cream, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes. Bake in well greased bundt or tube pan for 11/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool pan on wire rack for 30 minutes before unfolding.

you should smell my house right now...
The glaze is adds a little sparkle if desired. Whisk 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a few drops of lemon oil in a large bowl and add enough cold water to thin the glaze, about 4 tablespoons. It's up to you...I like thick enough to see it but not have it goopy. Spoon gently over the top of pound cakes. Zest strips from lemon and top with any fresh berries available.

Boo ya! Desert is done; glazed, zested and garnished

So now I'm onto our more savory elements now that dessert is done. 

The onions starting to "smother"
The smothered onions will take the longest so I sliced up 2 sweet onions and about 4 tablespoons of butter on medium high heat, in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. These will go for at least a half hour as the object is to go slow and not to sauté.
The brussel sprout stalk

The meal would be served hot to Dennis' door so I will be doing many things simultaneously, I'll tell you where we are along the way. For now, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and place the two heads of fresh garlic inside. Set timer for 15 minutes and check.

Next, the tender, fresh and organic brussel sprouts need to be taken off there stalk & placed in there baking dish.
Extreme close-up of the sprouts

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This endeavor is fast and easiest when the stalk is laid flat on a cutting board to hold with one hand and cut with the other, with minimal if any slippage of the stalk. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice each sprout off the stalk.

The reduced onions with chopped shallots

Chopped pepper bacon 

 The bacon is added to the onion/shallot mixture to finish the sauce for the brussel sprouts and the green beans. Cook bacon for about 8 minutes until fat is turning translucent and starting to brown. Remove half the onion, shallot and bacon mixture and store in heat proof bowl.

Baked, caramelized and ready to join the party!
We now welcome back the roasted garlic heads back into the mix. It's easiest to extract the smooth, roasted garlic inside by slicing off the top of the garlic head using a serrated knife, then gently and slowly squeeze from the bottom and sides (like juicing an orange) and the garlic will begin to emerge.  Let it drop into the sauté pan with the softened onions and shallots.
brussel sprouts added to the bacon, onions and shallots
Add the brussel sprouts and sauté with remaining onion mixture for 5-8 minutes on medium high covered to capture the steam. Place contents into an uncovered baking dish and into the 400 degree oven to crisp exterior for another 10 minutes. Garnish with creme fresh if desired, Dennis and I did!

The rest of the dinner comes together quickly; back into the reheated sauté pan goes the other half of the onion/bacon mixture and the fresh green beans. Use tongs and combine, the lid goes on to steam for a few minutes. After a few minutes, toss the beans again and place the lid back on for a few more minutes. Place semi-cooked green beans onto the serving platter for the fish and beans and keep warm in the oven while cooking fish.

The Rock Cod Piccata is simple, tasty and fast. Put the large sauté pan back on the high heat again. Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons each butter and Olive oil and add the 2-3 filetsfilets over. Quickly add the coarsely chopped 3 toes of garlic, about 4-5 Tablespoons of capers, the juice of a half fresh lemon,  half cup white wine.  Simmer for about 3 minutes and gently remove the filets and place on warm platter with green beans. Continue to reduce sauce for another 3 minutes or so until slightly thickened and then top the fish with the sauce. Voila!  Dinner is served.

Dinner for Dennis complete with a Pan D"Amore roll

Dinner for Dennis went over well. He was so pleased upon arrival that he invited friend to join in.
That dinner nourished me that night too. Blogging has expanded my artistic expression and for that I am fed. I'm glad I started in on this journey that really challenged me on so many levels because it's been equally rewarding. Thank you for all your continued support my friends!

Challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort level, the grass is greener for having tried! 

Chow for now my friends.

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