I recently invited a couple over for dinner. I would describe the meal as casually elegant. For appetizers I made salmon mousse with dill. Instead of using canned salmon I used the real thing and poached it in a court bouillon (wine, celery, onions, carrots, thyme & tarragon). I removed the skin and any feather bones lurking in the meat and cooked it until it was firm when gently squeezed. Leaving it in the liquid over night, the salmon retained its moisture. The next day I put it in the food processor with Neufchatel cheese (a light cream cheese substitute), fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt, white pepper and dried dill. It was puréed until silky smooth. The rich pink color and fresh subtle taste made it sublime.
Next I stuffed cherry tomatoes with Red Dragon cheese, a cheese studded with mustard seeds. Our first course was a red and green pepper soup with a splash of heavy cream to smooth the flavor out. Our entrée was grilled lamb chops with lemon and rosemary. A no-brainer since my NSSP (Not So Silent Partner) took care of the dirty work. The rest of the plate was a riot of color. I steamed purple new potatoes and garnished them with chopped chives. Next there were sautéed Romano beans that had been cut into diagonal pieces, sautéed in garlic oil and topped with toasted garlic chips. Nestled in the center of the plate were a healthy serving of chopped tomatoes finished with a turn from my black pepper grinder and French sea salt.
Dessert? Apple strudel made with the first apples of the season. What made it easy was that I didn’t have to tear around looking for recipes nor reinvent the wheel to impress. Also most of it was done beforehand a requirement for any entertaining culinary event I create. More pictures will follow!