Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Dinner–Just in Case

Christmas TableWith Jaimee’s due date just days away, I thought an early Christmas dinner might not be a bad idea! This menu gave me a chance to try out several new recipes, all of which I can attest are easy to do after spending the day in line at the post office and grocery store. Enjoy!
Menu: Salmon with Cider Sauce, Butternut Squash Bake, Sauteed Spinach, Grand Marnier Cake with Chocolate Glaze.
(Note – I’m going to make an effort – gulp! – to use this space to keep track of recipes that work. I’m not a food photographer by any means; I’m a teacher. I can’t promise gorgeous pics, but I’ll do my best to explain things clearly. If you have questions just holler.)
Simple Salmon with Cider Sauce
1 salmon filet, fresh, figure about 1/2 lb. per adult serving
Seasoning, your choice. I like Paul Prudhomme’s Magic  Salmon Seasoning (grocery store) or Williams Sonoma Potlatch Seasoning
Olive Oil
Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam. Place the salmon, skin side down, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning. Dust with flour. Cook under preheated broiler, close to the element, until done on the inside (some like it more rare – your preference) and crusty on top. Should take around 10 minutes or so at the most. Serve with Cider Sauce.
Cider Sauce (can make ahead and warm later)
1 can frozen apple juice concentrate
3 large or 4 small shallots, sliced
2 T. whole black peppercorns
Directions: Boil the ingredients together until sauce is reduced by 1/2. You’ll have about a cup or so of liquid. Drain. Serve warm drizzled on top of salmon.
Butternut Squash Bake
(This is a nice change from the super-sweeet “It’s really a dessert” squash recipes that are common this time of year.)
2 small or 1 large butternut squash. Use a potato peeler to peel the skin off. Cut off the bottom rounded part and cut in half. Use the peeler to scoop out the seeds. Using a large chef’s knife slice the whole thing into 1/4” slices.
4 T. butter for sautéing squash
salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. heavy cream mixed with 1/3 c. sherry
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
2 T. butter for sautéing bread crumbs
Directions: In a large skillet melt 4 T. butter and sauté slices until brown, about 7-8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a little grated nutmeg. Place half of slices in a buttered casserole dish (I actually used a deep dish pie plate. It was red. I love red.) Top with 1/2 of cream-sherry mixture. Repeat.
In the skillet where you sautéed the squash, melt the remaining butter and toast the pecans for just a minute. Mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle topping over squash. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
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