Saturday, May 5, 2012

Oh My Goodness.

Ok, I admit it, I am very ahead of myself on this one, but c'mon!  I want to relax and enjoy the weekend just as much as the next person.  It being Friday and all, I was trying to figure out a way to use up all of my foodie finds from this past shopping excursion- it's my goal to never let anything I purchase go to waste, of course.  We have a busy next couple of days coming up, so I thought I'd get this meal down on paper, er, computer screen, as soon as I had it prepped.  I was left with fresh salmon, a giant head of cauliflower, a bushel of brussel sprouts and some mighty fine looking shitake mushrooms.  Not bad after an entire week.  Can't wait to taste it!!

*Broiled Salmon filets with Shitake Butter*
1 lb. fresh, farm raised salmon
1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

I broil my salmon on a broiler pan in the oven.  For those of you unfamiliar, broiling is to cook by direct exposure to radiant heat.  Most home ovens have this setting- it allows for you to basically "grill" inside your home, with the process going much quicker than firing up the bbq.  Clean your salmon, and place directly on broiler pan.  Make small, 1 inch slices in the thickest part of the salmon and insert a slice of lemon.  I do only two pieces in each.  Place salmon in oven on "broil" and cook for 15 minutes.

**Shitake Butter**
1 lb. fresh shitake mushrooms
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
Sea salt

Wash and stem mushrooms, break into pieces and place in bowl.  I used my mini food processor for this next step, but a blender or really fine dicing will do.  Melt the butter in a small bowl in your microwave and set aside.  Pour mushrooms into food processor and add melted butter.  Grind on high.  Repeat until mushroom all mushrooms have been ground.  The butter cools as you grind, creating a sort of paste with the mushrooms.  Add sea salt to taste.  Transfer paste to serving bowl.  You can either spread it on the salmon the last five minutes it's cooking, or use it on the side.

*Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic*
1 large head of fresh cauliflower
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 stick of unsalted butter

Clean and break apart your raw cauliflower and place in large, lidded pot with steamer rack.  Steam cauliflower for 20 minutes on high or until tender- test with fork.  Transfer cauliflower from steampot to large glass mixing bowl.  Place butter in small dish and melt in microwave for 30 seconds.  Add to cauliflower.  Dice garlic into small pieces and place in small saucepan on high.  Saute the garlic until golden brown, remove and pour into cauliflower.  Next, use a masher or fork to "mash" the cauliflower.  In the end, the cauliflower should resemble mashed potatoes.  Transfer to baking dish, place in oven at 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Delish!

*Baked Brussel Sprouts au Gratin*
1 lb of brussel sprouts, washed with stems removed
1/4 cup of milk
1 cup of fromage blanc cheese or other soft cheese of choice
Olive oil

Steam brussel sprouts for 20 minutes on high, using a large lidded pot and steamer basket.  Once steamed, pour into a large baking dish greased with a small amount of olive oil.  Add cheese of choice and milk, stirring well.  Place baking dish in oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Add salt & pepper to taste once served.

This entire meal was incredibly easy to prepare, although I cheated by using electric devices for help.  Not everyone has a food processor, but I hope that you can find a way to use your imagination if not.  That's all I do, really.  Chopping by hand is actually more fun and gives the meal an authentically hand made feel, which is lovely.

I can't wait to fire up the oven and enjoy the rewards of my inventive meal tonight.  I plan on eating, relaxing and basking in the blooming backyard amidst this fine, sunny weather.  When the wind dies down, the umbrella goes up and it's dining "al fresco" for me and the hubbs.  Beautiful.

Best wishes for a happy Friday,

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