It’s hard to believe I haven’t blogged in a few days; it feels ludicrous to say I’ve been busy because my only work is to take care of my family. Challenging, but a far cry from working full-time AND taking care of my family.
I did have our monthly mommy dinner; I couldn’t decide between a fancy Valentine’s theme or a party-on Mardi Gras theme. I had been leaning toward Mardi Gras until I realized my friend Margo, who hails from Louisiana, was coming. I quickly nixed the New Orleans menu because I feared my rendition of her home state fare wouldn’t meet her expectations. I think she thought I was crazy when I told her the story, but that’s just how I am.
So I served fancy 80’s, festive food: Kir royales, salmon mousse with “entertainment” crackers, almond-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. I knew the dates would be a hit because I had once served Giada’s goat cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in proscuitto to a very happy crowd. As Grace said when I told her I was making the “other” date hors d’oeuvres, “Oh, if they liked the Giada dates, they will LOVE these.” She was right!
For dinner, I served a Giada recipe aka “man food.” Hearty lasagna rolls stuffed with cheese, spinach and shredded beef short ribs that had been braised for hours in red wine, beef stock, rosemary and garlic. All topped with, believe it or not, marinara sauce from a jar! Yeah, they were that good and the roasted Brussels sprouts were my nod to something “light.”
For dessert, I served a four-layer red velvet cake. Originally, red velvet cake was frosted with a cooked vanilla frosting, but now you see them frosted with a cream cheese-based frosting, which I find a little heavy. My frosting uses cream cheese and mascarpone as a base; it’s lightened with whipped cream. The cake is moist, the frosting fluffy and people who normally do not like red velvet cake, like this one a lot! (You do have to get over the fact it’s made with a bottle of red food coloring).
The ladies told me I needed to blog on the red velvet cake and the dates. Of course I took pictures of the salmon mousse prep and almost all the steps for the red velvet cake (as usual, I was distracted). I forgot to photograph the steps for making the frosting, cutting the cake into layers and frosting it. I didn’t bother with the date preparation because it was so easy! In a perfect world…
So today, you just get the salmon mousse recipe. It’s light, although made with mayonnaise and whipped cream. The recipe is from the Silver Palate Cookbook (as I said, 80’s food). You can serve it as a first course (I would probably spoon it into individual ramekins), but I’ve always served it in a bowl with crackers. It’s a lovely, easy, make-ahead dish.
Salmon Mousse (from the Silver Palate Cookbook)
- 1 packet gelatin (as in Knox)
- 1/4 c cold water
- 1/2 c boiling water
- 1 c mayonnaise
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 TB chopped dill (or to taste)
- 1 TB grated onion
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- a few shakes of Tabasco
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 14 oz can red salmon (it must be the RED, not pink), drained, skin and bones removed and finely flaked
- 1 c whipping (heavy) cream
- entertainment crackers
Here’s how you do it:
Place metal mixing bowl and the beaters to your handmixer in the refrigerator to chill; this helps when whipping the cream later.
In a medium bowl, combine the gelatin with the cold water.
Add the boiling water and whisk well to dissolve the gelatin. Let the gelatin mixture cool to room temperature.
Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated onion, dill, paprika, hot sauce and salt.
Whisk thoroughly to combine, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes til mixture firms up slightly. I usually taste the mixture before it goes into the fridge to see if the flavors are right.
In the meantime, prepare the canned salmon by removing the skin and bones then finely flaking the meat. (I use my fingers).
Whisk the chilled gelatin mixture, then fold in the flaked salmon:
Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add a little of the cream to lighten the gelatin base, then quickly fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Scrape mousse into a bowl and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour.
Serve with crackers.
On deck: Red Velvet Cake and and easy Bacon Date hors d’oeuvre…